The digital age is the biggest disruptor to traditional marketing. Consumers are now more likely to order products and services online than go to a physical store. As a result, businesses have started adopting innovative marketing strategies specifically designed to compete and reach this new audience of consumers.
In today’s digital age where the Internet is arguably the world’s most powerful tool, having a website for your business is not a want, but a need. Consumer behaviour has changed over time and adapted to the digital age. People are no longer scanning the Yellow Pages, they’re scrolling through Google. If you’re just starting to grow your business and you’re not on Google, know that your competitors probably are and you’re losing out on prospects.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, around half of Australian businesses, no matter the size, are already engaged in the digital economy and this number will only grow further in the future. Having a website is also an effective way for Australian companies to trade with the rest of the world, opening up exciting opportunities for both businesses and consumers.
Websites work. No matter what industry you’re in, a website delivers strong marketing messages to your customers and prospects and does it 24/7. However, having a website is not the be-all and end-all of succeeding in today’s digital age. To achieve your desired goals, you need people to notice your website and know about your business’s existence.
How do you do that and gain a strong edge against your competitors? This is where search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, comes in.
What is the Business Value of SEO?
In simple terms, Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the process of improving your ranking on the results page. To get ahead of your competitors and be noticed by customers, it’s not enough to have a website — your website has to be easy to find for buyers. This is because buyers trust and favour websites that are on page 1 of Google.
No one bothers to go to page 2 if they can find the product or service they’re looking for on page 1.
Buyers, by nature, prefer convenience. Also, businesses on page 1 appear more trustworthy than those buried under them. After all, if Google thinks these are reliable websites, then they must contain what buyers are looking for.
As a result, businesses that appear on the first page get the most traffic and generate the most conversions. The more site visitors, the more opportunities for conversion. Ultimately, the advantage of SEO is that it helps you close more sales and earn more. That’s not all.
By engaging in good SEO practices, you are improving the user experience of your site.
All of Google’s ranking algorithm is summarised in one golden rule: the website that provides the best user experience wins the top spot. And so all SEO strategies — creating high-quality content, minimising load speed, building powerful backlinks — are aimed at creating a better user experience. When executed correctly, an SEO campaign makes it enjoyable to stay, browse and shop from your online store. The result? More conversions and more sales.
But SEO constantly evolves, so Media Crew compiled a list of SEO essentials that will make your site more SEO-friendly.
The 6 Essential Strategies to Making SEO-Friendly Websites
1. Publish High-Quality Content
In SEO, content is king. Your website’s content is where search engines like Google retrieve the bulk of the information to index your site for relevant search results and keywords. Every piece of content serves as a “clue” to help search engines understand your business and determine whether you’re a good fit for users looking for specific products and services.
But the importance of good content does not end there because it also makes a huge impact on potential customers and other users who visit your site.
If your website has little to no content, contains typos, lacks quality information and authoritative links, you’ll likely have a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate. Confusing and lacklustre content will not build trust among prospective customers. Ensuring your website’s content is filled with useful information and impeccable grammar is a quick and effective way of making your site both user and SEO friendly.
Once you have quality content, it’s also important to make the blocks of text easy for visitors to read. You can do this by breaking up the content and adding sub-headers or bulleted lists. When you have a well-written and cleanly formatted page, you’ll be rewarded with more hits and more leads.
2. Insert Relevant Keywords
If you’re new to SEO, keywords are the phrases or words that online users type into a search engine’s search box. Since these are the terms people are searching to find the products or services you offer, it’s only logical to include these on your site.
In the early days of SEO, a website was rewarded with traffic for the number of keywords used. Websites that stuffed keywords into their content — even if they didn’t make sense or made the content hard to read — won the top spot on the results page.
Ranking factors evolved. But again, the current goal of content is to provide a good user experience. Keyword-stuffed content no longer makes the cut. Search engines now place greater emphasis on relevant words and phrases inserted inconspicuously in helpful content. Quality content must benefit the site visitors and consumers, as well as heighten their experience of visiting your site. Thus, businesses can no longer just stuff keywords on a page to improve their site’s rankings.
However, the value of incorporating a number of relevant keywords hasn’t changed. You still need numerous, effective keywords on your site or on a specific page to rank higher on Google. After all, keywords help Google match your site with visitors. You just need to be more strategic about how you incorporate keywords into your content and ensure they are relevant to your website.
But your strategies need to be backed by data, from market research and competitor analysis to technical website audits, to secure favourable results. And expert marketing SEO services can help you achieve those for your business.
3. Invest in User-Friendly Web Design
Similar to quality content, your website’s design plays a major role in both SEO and the user experience. Despite the timeless saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, most online users will judge your business based on the usability of your website — or lack thereof. If your website hasn’t been updated in some time or it’s hard for users to navigate the site, this can cause visitors to jump to several negative conclusions about your business.
Here are some design guidelines that make your site friendly to SEO and users:
- Online users form their first impressions of your business through your website’s design, which is why your website should be an accurate reflection of your business, what you stand for and what you offer. These are manifested in the colour palette, the type of graphics, the typeface of the text, the calls-to-action and other design elements.
- As you design your website, ensure that the user interface is user-friendly and optimised for conversions. All buttons should be easy to notice, menus shouldn’t be cramped and the page should load quickly.
- There’s a fine line between a well-designed website and one that is over-designed, so tread that line carefully. Sometimes a site’s layout may be aesthetically appealing but not necessarily user-friendly.
- Make sure your site’s design isn’t distracting and that it’s easy for customers to navigate. This increases conversions and can also lead to higher rankings on Google and other search engines, making your site more visible to your target audience.
4. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly and Accessible
Your website’s accessibility goes hand-in-hand with your website’s design. Earlier this year, Google urged websites to make their interface more mobile-friendly since a majority of online users now access Google Search with mobile devices. In Australia, more customers are using their smartphones to look for products and services compared to desktop users. As such, those with mobile-friendly websites now receive higher rankings while those whose sites aren’t optimised for mobile drop in rankings.
If your site is mobile-friendly, the web page automatically adjusts to the size of the screen. Customers do not have to deal with disproportionate images and text, misplaced buttons and confusing layouts. It’s an excellent way to improve user experience and ultimately, make your site SEO-friendly.
Aside from adding a mobile configuration, here are other ways to make your website more accessible.
Colour blindness or colour deficiency affects many Australian users. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, around 548,600 Australians suffer from colour blindness. If a huge portion of your target market experiences this condition, it’s important to monitor your colour usage to ensure that someone with this deficiency can use your site as easily as anyone else.
Captions for Videos
If you include videos on your site, adding closed captions is an easy yet effective way to make the videos more accessible to those with hearing impairments. You can also include transcripts of your video, which can help improve your rankings on search engines since they add to the overall content.
Unique and Descriptive Link Names
For hyperlinks in your copy, refrain from using the standard ‘Click Here’ or ‘More.’ Instead, use descriptive and meaningful phrases to hyperlink. For instance, ‘Learn how to use digital marketing to boost your business’ sounds better compared to ‘Click here to learn how to use digital marketing for your business.’
5. Publish Images and Videos
Along with the other factors listed above, including images and videos on your website serves a dual purpose of improving both the user experience and SEO. Many studies show that graphics — videos, especially — are more memorable to users than text information. So if you have a video in your website, your customers are more likely to remember you compared with a bare-bones, text-only site.
Some vital aspects to remember are:
- Adding images and videos creates an element of multimedia to your content, enabling search engines to associate your website with quality content. Search engines will then reward you accordingly with higher rankings.
- You can further improve your SEO by utilising YouTube to host your videos. YouTube itself is currently owned by Google and it’s the second largest search engine in terms of the number of queries.
- You can increase keyword usage and content by ensuring you have transcripts of your videos and descriptive alt-tags for images
6. Easy-to-follow URL Structure
Your URL structure may not be at the top of your list but it’s certainly a key factor to consider for your website to be SEO-friendly. Your URL should be a clear and concise representation of your website and the pages on your site. This has more to do with visitors than search engines. Whereas Google can remember and process a string of incoherent characters, people can’t. Websites with clean, clear URLs are much easier to navigate and return to for users.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
Keep it Short and Sweet
A shorter URL is often preferred to a longer one. This has little to do with search engines, which can process lengthy URLs with no issues, and more to do with practicality. Shorter URLs are easier to remember for customers, more convenient to share on social media and to use on marketing materials.
This means ensuring your URLs don’t look like a random group of letters and numbers typed together. The URLs should provide users with an indication of the page’s content. For instance, “http://yourdomain.com/is-television-dying/” is much clearer compared to “http://yourdomain.com/nfp?post#h32”.
Incorporate Keywords but Not Too Many
Including keywords in your URL can help improve your rankings and also allow people to find your site easily. However, avoid using repeating keywords in the URL as that can mark your site as spam, discouraging both search engines and visitors from rewarding your site with traffic.
Build an SEO Friendly Website with Media Crew Advertising Agency
With an SEO friendly website, you can achieve better rankings on search engines and gain more targeted organic traffic.
Start optimising your website today with Media Crew. As a leading provider of professional web design and SEO services in Australia, we can help your website maintain top rankings on major search engines. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we use the latest methods and techniques to ensure your website stays ahead of your competitors.
We’ll make your site SEO-friendly, so you can outperform competitors and capture more customers. Call our team today.