Search engine optimisation (SEO) can seem quite mysterious to those who are yet to learn all of the ins and outs, however there is a science to it.
Search engines are very particular. They need to see that your website and its presence on the internet checks a range of boxes before you can begin to rank, or look at getting to that No.1 position. There are a range of free tools available to help you diagnose where you might be going wrong and give you that little boost you need to jump up a few positions.
The following checklist will help you find what you’re doing wrong and right.
1. Get measuring
Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Install and verify them both so that you can measure your current positions and traffic, and start collecting data on user behaviour. This data will be useful later and will give you an indication of what is/isn’t working within your SEO campaign.
Tragically, fewer than 30 per cent of small businesses use website analytics, which means they have no clue which channels are succeeding for them online. Google Search Console can also give you notifications about any Google penalties you may have incurred.
Check you are targeting the right keywords
You aren’t going to be swimming in traffic if the keywords you target have only a couple of searches a month. Use something like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see if your current keywords have enough traffic and also use it to identify more lucrative keyword options.
Check what your top-performing competitors are doing
It can be difficult to outrank your competitors if they have been in market for an extended period and already have an outstanding SEO presence. Use a tool like SEO Spyglass to check what level of backlinks your competitors have, and then compare it to yours. You will likely need to beat the quality and quantity of your competitor’s backlinks in order to get to the top of the search results.
2. Get your website into shape
There are several questions you need to be able to answer in order to have your site perform well on the SEO front. Start by using a free tool like SEO Site Checkup to get an automated audit of your website produced.
Does the content closely relate to the keywords you are targeting?
When targeting specific keywords, make sure you have them included on the page but don’t jam too many of your keywords in. Google’s algorithm is smart enough to detect the topic and purpose of a page without the need for overusing keywords.
Is your website mobile-friendly?
Test your website’s mobile responsiveness using this free Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Having a mobile-friendly website is particularly important when it comes to ranking for mobile searches.
Does your website have a fast page-load speed?
Test your website’s load times using Pingdom Tools. Apart from the increased bounce rate that a slow website experiences, it is also a Google Search ranking factor.
3. Find the missing links
Use a backlink analysis tool like the aforementioned SEO Site Checkup to see how many inbound links there are to your website. Backlinks are still a major component of SEO, but you have to make sure they are of a high quality.
It’s not just about making your link profile look natural, it has to be natural. Also ensure that if you are mainly trying to rank in Australia that the majority of backlinks are built on “.com.au” domains. If you wish to remove poor-quality backlinks, you can use Google’s Disavow Backlinks Tool.
4. Give it time – it’s a long-term game
If you’ve tried all of the above already and you haven’t seen any success, remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and position No.1 doesn’t happen overnight. SEO requires an ongoing commitment to on-site improvements and quality backlinks. However, if you feel as though you’ve done everything you can and you’re not seeing any success, then it’s likely you’re in a competitive industry and it will take the assistance of a seasoned SEO professional to get you to the top spot.