How to improve your search engine rankings
If you want customers to be able to find you easily online, it’s important to look at your search engine ranking (for example in Google). Find out how you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to make your website easy for search engines to find.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about making it easy for search engines, such as Google, Bing, to find your website. It uses techniques that help search engines find the information you publish on your website (web content), then rank it against similar websites.
You need to understand how people use search engines, to make your website appear when they search for your product or service. Search engines apply rankings by matching the relevance of the web page to the search term used. By making your web content more relevant to your customer’s needs compared to other websites, you’ll have a better chance of appearing at the top.
When setting up your website, consider the following points to ensure your website has the best chance of ranking well.
1. Understand your online customers
Like traditional marketing, improving search rankings starts with an understanding of your customer’s behaviour. For example, consider how a person’s search behaviour changes during the buying cycle:
- Awareness: the customer is aware of a problem that needs fixing, and begins searching for potential solutions using broad search terms. For example, ‘leaking tap’.
- Consideration: the customer understands their problem and is now searching for solutions that best meet their needs. They will typically start using search keywords that include a location, product feature or product type. For example, ‘plumber in Townsville’.
- Purchase: the customer is ready to buy, and generally knows who they will buy from. They will often search directly for the service provider. For example, ‘ABC Plumbing’.
2. Use keywords on your website
Keywords are the words or phrases a customer uses when they do a search. For example, ‘flowers online’ and ‘where do I buy flowers online’ are both considered to be keywords.
Matching the keywords used on your website with the words used by customers when they search for you is an important part of SEO. Add popular keywords or phrases to your website. These words can be used in places such as page titles, in content or even as the name of the image file you’re using.
Use keywords that are relevant to your business, services or location. Anything that a customer would use in a search engine can be considered a keyword or phrase.
Tip: Be careful not to overuse keywords. This can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. Make sure your content still reads naturally.
3. Refresh your page content often
Add new content to your website weekly. This could be adding information about a new product or service you’re selling, a customer story or product video. It’s also important to update your web content pages at least every 6 months and remove content that is no longer relevant.
Refreshing your content encourages search engines to visit your website more often. The more frequently they visit, the faster they’re able to discover new content on your website. You may also see some ranking benefits.
4. Gain links from other websites
When applying a ranking to your web page, search engines look at which other websites provide links to your page and your website as a whole. To search engines, links from external websites are considered a vote of confidence in the accuracy, relevance and usefulness of your content.
However, not all links are considered equal. Links from highly reputable websites have more ‘weight’ applied than less reputable sites. Typically, the more links you gain from reputable websites, the better your website will rank.
5. Include the meta description tag
Although not always displayed in search engine results, the meta description tag tells a search engine what your page is about. It’s also a great opportunity to tell customers exactly what’s on your page. The description helps search engines rate how relevant your page is and decide how they’ll rank your page. The more relevant your content is, the higher it will be ranked.
Remember, search engines can change how they use your content (including your descriptions) to generate search results. It’s best to regularly check on search engine websites for guidance to see if you need to update your content.