“So what is SEO?” we hear you ask. Well the answer is Search Engine Optimisation, which simply put is how well a company or individual ranks in a search engine such as Google or Bing.
You can find a wealth of information and achieve a competitive advantage by simply researching and analysing your competition. Below are 5 simple tips to help you stay alongside your rivals.
1. Who are your Competitors?
You may know who your competitors are in your local area but what about online? Some companies may not be based in the same location as you but may still cover that area – if they have very good SEO then they’re more than likely get the business over you.
As good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the shoes of a customer/client, what would you type into Google to find your product/service? Note down the, say, 10 most popular within your industry; this can be in terms of page ranking, 5-star reviews or general visibility.
Once you have your list you can start to see how they’re doing things…
2. Check Meta Tags, Keywords and Titles
Behind every good website is even better code. To achieve good SEO then your code needs to be clean, up to date and easy for the search engine robots to read.
How is it done? – via something called Meta Tags. These are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, only in the page’s code
The four types :
Meta Keywords Attribute – A series of keywords you deem relevant to the page in question.
Title Tag – This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page.
Meta Description Attribute – A brief description of the page.
Meta Robots Attribute – An indication to search engine crawlers (robots or “bots”) as to what they should do with the page.
So make sure your tags, titles and keywords are (a) included in your code and (b) relevant to what you do/offer. It does get a little bit more complex than that but we’ll leave that for another day.
3. Social Media Behavior
Having good social media content can help with your SEO. Google, for example, will 9 times out of 10 rank a site who is active in Google+ over somebody who isn’t.
If you’re not on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn then you could be missing out on hundreds if not thousands of potential customers seeing your service/product.
What social media platform(s) do your competitors use? What kind of content do they post? Are there any links to videos, articles, or user guides? What sort of hashtags do they include in their posts? Have a look at the audience they interact with and how they do it.
The best way to do this, is to set up a brand new dummy account and follow them all – observe their behaviour for a while and make notes on what works and what doesn’t.
4. User Experience
In this ever evolving world of technology the mobile phone is slowly taking over from the desktop computer. When we look at our analytics we notice that nearly all of our visitors after 5pm view our website on a mobile device – the handy thing is, our website is easy to view on one. Is yours?
If your website is not mobile-friendly then chances are your SEO will be hit big time. Most of the major search engines these days will rank a mobile-friendly website over one that isn’t. There are tools available online to check how you stand.
5. The Back-end Stuff
If you’ve done all of the above and still you get near your competitors, on the search engine, then it could be down to the way your page is built.
The source code is what drives your website, every website is built in a different way, they may look the same to the end-user but behind the scenes i can guarantee they’re all different.
If you like to use a cheap and cheerful website builder then chances are you’re not going to have very clean code, same goes if you decide to hire a ‘bedroom developer’ offering to do a website for a couple of pints and a pizza. Having code may not seem important but if you’re serious about SEO then it is.
If you know what you’re looking at you can nip SEO problems in the bud. However, if you miss those harmful pieces of code, and leave them unattended, you leave the website in question open to SEO damage. And that’s never a good thing.
Thanks for reading – If you use the above as a starting point, with regards SEO you will be in a much better position to enhance your online presence, and to outshine all your rivals.
Here at Combined Creative we offer a free check on your SEO and website coding, so if you’re unsure, simply get in touch and see how we can help.