Diving head first into SEO can be a daunting prospect for anyone, especially so if you are just starting out. Initially there is some technical jargon to get your head around, but as you become familiar with some of the principles and best practices, it is actually quite practical, easy to check and also relatively simple to implement.

Here are some easy tips that cover the SEO basics, and when executed correctly should have a positive result on your website’s ranking:

1. Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords for your business is the first step to a successful SEO campaign. We recommend optimising the website using high demand / low competition keywords, as these will have the best chance of generating quality leads. Take the time to brainstorm and research all keywords that may be relevant to your business, as getting these right can make a big difference in your traffic and conversion rates.

Tools for keyword research:

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Word Stream

2. Meta Tag Optimisation

Optimise your Title Tags so your keywords are in there, but keep it concise and punchy. Quick tip – Don’t exceed 55 characters, or part of the title will be cut off in the search result.

Next optimise your Description Tag so that it’s interesting enough that the person browsing is compelled to click on it. Make sure your keywords are in there, but not at the expense of destroying an enticing description. Finally, it’s really important to ensure that your description is an accurate description of the website. If people are taken to a site that doesn’t match their expectations they will leave straight away, and a high bounce rate will have a negative effect on your ranking.

3. Keyword Density

Measure the keyword density in the content. The days of keyword stuffing content sections are long gone, and Google is now focusing on semantic search factors. This means that they are moving away from direct keywords, but still factoring in the overall theme of the content. As a guide stick to 3% of keyword usage, and make sure that they are included in a natural way.

4. High Authority Back Links

Check the authority of the websites linking to your site. Try to only attract links from sites with a high Alexa ranking, PA and DA. Some examples of high authority sites other than the obvious Googles, Facebook’s & Wikipedia’s of the digital world are moz.com, searchengineland.com and searcheginewatch.com

5. Invite Search Engines to Crawl Your Site

This sounds ridiculous but many sites are missing the Robots.txt file which gives search engines instructions about how to even index your site. Sort this out immediately!

6. Domain Age

If you’re thinking about ditching your old URL for a new one when upgrading your site, take into consideration that domain age is a ranking factor – Older sites have an edge over new ones. Use this tool to compare up to 10 sites at a time – http://www.webconfs.com/domain-age.php

7. Image Optimisation

Check that all of your images have optimized Alt text. Not only does it describe the image to the blind community and display text when the image is disabled, but from an SEO stand point it informs the search robots of its relevance.

8. NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) Info

Another simple (but often overlooked) way to improve your ranking is making sure all of your information on directory listings such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and True Local are an exact match. Be thorough, and keep an updated list of these entries on file that you can refer to.

9. Create Fresh & Unique Content

New and relevant content via your blog page is an important ranking signal to the search engines. As a guide you should aim to blog at least once a week, and if possible post it under the names of a few different authors with online footprints in the industry.

10. Consistent Monitoring

Stick to it!  Your ranking is not assured, so even once your website has made it to the first page of the search results you should be monitoring its position and continuing to follow SEO best practices. We recommend allocating a small amount of time in your daily schedule to make sure that you are always on top of your SEO.

Image Credits: SEO Flow Chart