How do we know so much about SEO? We taught ourselves! From the moment we started Common Exception, we knew we wanted to design and build our own website — and part of this was understanding SEO. Then we started being commissioned by our brand strategy and coaching clients to build sites for them too. It’s been a really exciting journey and we’ve learnt a lot along the way.
We’re also keen to simplify the world of SEO. While there’s a lot of mystery around SEO — because search engines, like Google, keep their algorithms private, and keep changing them — it’s also relatively simple. We’ll share more over the next few months but here are our top five golden SEO tactics we regularly use.
What is SEO?
SEO means search engine optimisation. It’s a way of helping search engines rank your website on their results pages. It helps search engines like Google rank your site on their results page. The sites that the search engine thinks are most relevant — the ones that they think have the most authority — appear first. It’s not rocket science, and while no one knows exactly how the algorithm works, it’s about making sure your website has authority. And what does authority mean? It means that the search engine thinks your website is a match for the search. Think of it as a dating app.
It takes time
Be patient with your ranking. It takes time for the search engines to index your site and recognise your authority. Depending on the keywords you’re trying to rank for — this includes the name of your brand — it might take longer.
Tip 1. Have a good structure
This is the first thing we do when creating a website. A website should be easy to use and understand. Firstly, work out what your main pages are and make it easy to get to those pages in one or two clicks.
Tip 2. Good content and design are golden
You’re writing and designing your website for humans, so make sure this is your number one priority. Is it easy to navigate? Does it look good? Is your copy easy to understand? If it’s a yes to all, you’re doing well. We review our website design and content on a regular basis to make sure our onsite SEO is performing.
Tip 3. Use the right keywords
Do you know what your audience is searching for? Like with social media, keywords help the algorithm know where to categorise your content. When you’re first getting started, think about what words your audience will search for you. Make sure to use these in your page titles and content. If you’re serious about improving your ranking, keyword research is a great way of finding other keywords that are easy to rank for.
Tip 4. Building up authority
The best way to build up authority is to have other websites linking to your site — this is called backlinks. The search engines see this as an indication of your authority. The more backlinks you have, the more authority you have. However, the quality of the backlink is important as websites with more authority are more valuable to your ranking. Of all the SEO tactics, this is probably the one that takes the most time but it can also be a lot of fun. Joining or building a community is a good way of building backlinks.
Tip 5. Internal linking
Probably the most underestimated SEO tactic — and the easiest — is internal linking. This works a little like backlinks, but you’re linking to your own content. Alongside making it easier for your audience to navigate your site, internal linking helps the search engine know which pages are the most important, which helps your ranking. So if you’re writing a journal article, make sure you’re also linking to something else on your site!