Did you notice the counter above?
Okay, I’ll admit, it’s a hard number to miss.
On any given day, this is the running total of searches being performed with Google.
Every one of those digits is a potential customer actively looking for information, products or services online.
In this guide I’m going to show you exactly how you can use your website to scoop up this traffic and convert them into leads and sales that drive profitability for your business.
Are people finding your website when they search? If the answer is no, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to:
It gets worse…
If you’re not, then there’s always another business out there who is talking to them instead.
A business that is maximising the potential of their website as a sales tool, increasing lead generation in the process, and spending less to do so.
By optimising your website for search, you too can quit throwing money at standard advertising channels that shout your message to a disinterested audience.
Instead, you’ll be appearing in searches, discussions and conversations that active and interested customers are taking part in right now.
So what are you waiting for?
Time, and those searches, are ticking!
So how does your business do this? How do you tap into these searchers?
With this guide, I’m about to tell you how.
So forget the technical jargon.
Skip the boring theory.
From here on down you’ll only find actionable, effective steps specifically tailored to increasing the visibility and effectiveness of your business website.
By the time you’ve reached the end, you’ll start to:
Your journey to optimising your website for search starts now!
Search Engine Optimisation is known for being full of technical jargon.
Today? I’m changing all of that…
I’m here to tell you that SEO doesn’t have to be difficult.
Unlike Google AdWords, Search Engine Optimisation increases your natural, organic visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing for targeted industry search terms and phrases (Keywords). Each step in this optimisation process is executed with the goal of naturally increasing your business’s visibility within search results.
By doing this effectively, Search Engine Optimisation can boost traffic, lead generation and sales for your business better than any other form of marketing, and transform your website from an un-optimised state, into one that sends the right signals to search engines about what your website is about.
This makes SEO a vital tool for any business with an online presence.
In fact, this makes SEO the most important tool for any business operating today.
Keep reading to kickstart your SEO journey.
It’s Google’s very own search result pages.
By examining the components of a search result in Google, you can learn how the effective use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques can help your business increase its search rankings.
Whenever the words or phrases you use in your search appear in any of these three components, they are bolded. Google does this to draw your eye to the most relevant search engine results.
You can also use this to your advantage.
Check out the steps below to find out how.
The META Description is displayed in grey, and is usually between 150-160 characters long.
By adding the phrases and keywords users search for (more on this later!) to these areas of your own website, you can quickly and easily increase your rankings within Google.
Because Google will deem your page as relevant to these searches.
Thanks to Google’s bolding of keywords, users will also see that your website contains the information they’re looking for. Which makes them far more likely to click on your result.
Chances are you’ve searched for that exact term in Google more than once.
If you did, you’d see that this search includes literally hundreds of articles all looking to answer this exact question.
The truth of the matter? It’s complicated!
Like the Colonel’s eleven secret herbs and spices, Google are highly secretive as to how they decide on page rankings. But through the power of deduction, we now have a better understanding of just how this works.
Let me explain:
Google uses a bot called Googlebot to crawl the internet.
As it does this, it follows every link it finds through to every web page, which creates an index of this content as it goes. This index is then run through a secret algorithm that scores every web page it finds.
Yes, every one!
It then rates these pages on their relevancy to every possible search phrase. When doing so, it looks at the following elements of a page:
Is there content on the page, within the headings, and other elements that is relevant to the search being carried out?
Is the site fast, snappy, and working properly for the device that the search was performed on. (Note the differences between desktop vs. mobile experience)
Does the website feature helpful, worthwhile, respected content that other authority sites link to and share as a invaluable source of information on the topic?
Is the site easy to navigate? Does it retain a searcher’s attention? Does it draw users into other pages, or do they bounce off of it and back into search results?
The most relevant website for a specific search phrase is then given the top spot.
Pages that implement Search Engine Optimisation techniques like those I’m about to outline are able to send the clearest signals to the Googlebot that yes, this site is the one searchers are looking for. In turn boosting its rating and increasing its position in search.
Choosing the right keywords is the most important decision your business will make.
No pressure, right?
Don’t worry, this process doesn’t have to be difficult.
I’m about to show you a quick and easy 3 step process that will have you researching, finding and deciding on your keywords in next to no time!
Dive deeper on Keywords & Keyword Research by reading our complete guide to keyword research.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
When it comes to deciding on your keywords? This couldn’t be more accurate.
Let’s be real here: you competitors are ranking highly for a reason.
On of those reason? You guessed it! They’re using the right keywords in all the right places. So you should use this to your advantage. Here’s how:
Search Google for a phrase related to your business.
Make a note of the top results that appear in search.
Competitor’s On-page Optimisation
Look over each page, and make note of the keywords and phrases being used throughout the page’s:
Bonus Tip! Right-click on the page and select ‘View Source’. Now look for any keywords the site is using within their
Titles and Meta Descriptions.
No one knows what’s going on inside a searcher’s head better than the searchers themselves.
But by browsing user forums and social networks, you can get a pretty good idea.
You’ll also find the exact words they’re using in conversations that relate to your industry, your business, and the products or services you offer.
It’s super simple, too. You just:
Enter in any of the following search terms:
Click through to any forums dedicated to topics relevant to your business.
Make a note of the words customers use when talking about you.
It’s that easy!
Are you still struggling for keyword ideas?
Then consider giving Keywordtool.io a go.
This is a great online tool that will help you to find variations on your keywords. It does this by combining a keyword that you give it with an array of other terms, which provides a wealth of new keywords that you may not have thought of.
Using it? It’s as simple as:
Enter a keyword into the search bar
Select which country’s search engine you’d like to get results from, and click the ‘Search’ icon.
You’ll be presented with a huge list of related keyword combinations that could be your key to unlocking search success.
Tip! Different locations will return different keywords, so it’s worthwhile repeating your search using a variety of locations.
What Is It?
The Title Tag is the text displayed along the top of the browser window or tab. It’s also displayed within Google search results, and is the first thing users see when searching.
In HTML, the title tag looks like:
<title>This is the text that appears in the top of the window</title>
While this is what a title tag looks like in Google search:
Improving your title tags isn’t just the easiest change you can make to your website, it’s also one of the most important. An SEO Title Tag will make it easier for both Google and searchers alike to identify whether your page is relevant to what they’re looking for.
Limit Titles To 59 Characters
Google only displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, so it’s important to make the most of the room you have.
Include keywords in your titles that relate to your industry as well as the contents of the page itself.
Make Your Titles Enticing
A Title Tag stuffed full of keywords does not guarantee success. Instead, focus on making your Title Tags enticing for users as well as Google. Instead of ‘How To Market Your Business’, try ‘5 PROVEN Ways To Market Your Business Online’. I know which one I’d click on!
Make Each Title Unique
When writing your title, aim to be brief yet descriptive, with a unique Title Tag for each page on your website. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can use one of the templates I’ve outlined below.
Mention Your Location
If your business operates within a given country, city or region, tell search engines and users about this!
As our Step-By-Step Guide To Local NZ SEO shows, by utilising this technique you can boost your visibility within local search engine results. Search engine results that are among the most lucrative sources of traffic available for your business.
Business Name | Keyword Phrase | Keyword Phrase
Number Crunchers | Auckland Accounting Service Specialists
Fresh Flowers, Roses & Bouquets at Sunshine Petals NZ
Keyword Phrase, Location | Business Name or Keyword Phrase | Keyword Phrase | Business Name
#1 Xero Accounting Services, Auckland | Number Crunchers
Buy Gorgeous Roses Online | Bouquets | Sunshine Petals NZ
What is it?
The meta description is the text displayed in search engine results below the Title and URL of a page, and is generally capped at around 156 characters.
In HTML, a meta description looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”This is where the META description text goes”>
While this is what a meta description looks like in Google search:
META descriptions are your opportunity to convince people to click on your link over competing websites. That is, it’s your chance to advertise your page to search engines and users alike, so make the most of it!
Pick Your Top Pages
You probably won’t have the time to write unique META Descriptions for every page. Instead, pick out your most important pages, which should include:
As for the rest? Leave the Googlebot to grab relevant snippets from the text on these pages.
Tip: Don’t copy and paste a generic META description across your pages. This duplicate content can do more harm than good.
Write A Unique Meta Description
Write a concise, unique META description that summarises the contents of the page, covering:
Limit Titles To 156 Characters
Google only displays the first 156 characters of a Meta Description, so it’s important to make the most of the room you have.
Include Keywords & Locations
Include keywords and locations that are relevant to a given page.
Invite People To Click!
Just like your Title Tags, a Meta Description is your chance to sell your page to users browsing through search engine results, so make it enticing! You could do this by promising to answer a question, solve a problem or appeal to their curiosity.
Number Crunchers NZ is a chartered accountancy firm providing Auckland small businesses with leading financial services. Call us today at 0800 111 222!.
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What Is It?
Pinch me if you’ve heard this phrase before:
‘Content is king!’
The thing is, it’s true!
Creating content is one of the most effective ways to cut through the static and market your business, products and services directly to your target audience.
The easiest way to do this is by writing content for your website’s blog.
But how does this increase your search rankings, exactly?
Oh, let me tell you the ways:
Avoid Duplicate Content
If there’s one thing Google hates, it’s duplicate content. This is content that appears on your site that is also posted elsewhere on the web. You see, Google penalises sites that feature too much duplicate content, which can harm your chances of ranking.
The message? It’s simple: don’t copy content. If you site does feature duplicate content, it’s best to remove it.
Remove Thin Content
The lengthier the content, the higher its rankings will be in Google. That’s a fact!
This also works the other way, too: if your pages feature thin or very little content, then they’ll suffer because of it. To fix this, start writing more content for your site. Your rankings will thank you for it.
Create Epic Content
Epic content is supercharged versions of the content you already create, which can help to position your business as the go-to expert in your industry or niche. In fact, this very page itself could be considered an epic piece of content.
This epic content provides a one-stop-shop resource on everything a user would want to know on a given subject, written around your keywords. This provides your business with potentially viral content that offers even greater link building opportunities!
Start creating epic content with our guide to Content Marketing
Start A Blog
Epic content is great, but it can take time to write.
That, and there’s always going to be smaller or shorter topics that your audience are interested in that don’t warrant an epic piece of content.
Instead? You should start a blog! Blogging is one of the best tactics for business. By setting up a content calendar and blogging about topics relevant to your users and keywords, you’ll continue to build relevancy. By linking these back to your important pages and epic content, you’ll also strengthen not just your blog but your entire site, and ensure your results are long-lasting.
Expand your business’s horizons with our guide to Blogging For Businesses
See the navigation bar or menu on your website? This is just one example. But of course, everybody has a boring old menu bar!
The trick with internal links is to include these within the content of your pages wherever a relevant keyword or phrase is found that you have more information on.
By adding these links, visitors are able to jump directly to pages on your website that explore a topic in more detail.
Internal links are great, but they can always be better…
To get the best mileage, it’s important that you use relevant keywords.
A common mistake is to use text like ‘Read More’ or ‘Find Out More Here’ as the anchor text for internal links.
Instead? Use keywords and phrases in your internal links. Your website’s rankings will thank you for it!
Add Internal Links To Your Most Important Pages
When you’re adding internal links, it’s best to focus on building links to your most important pages. That is, any product or service page that you might have.
In doing so, you’ll ensure you’re guiding users who arrive at your site to the pages that matter the most.
What Is It?
Inbound links are links on other websites across the internet that point to yours.
When it comes to your ranking in searches, these inbound links make all the difference.
In fact, Inbound Links are what the internet is built on.
These links aren’t just a great source of traffic for your site. They’re also an indicator to Google that your website is worthwhile and worth being excited about.
The logic here is pretty clear: if people are linking to it, it must be worth looking at. And so your search engine rankings will rise.
Establishing inbound links is an ongoing task for any website owner. But by following these steps you too can start to build relevant, quality links to your site.
List Your Site With Business Directories
Business directories are free, easy to list with, and provide a great way to boost your local rankings.
Kick-start local link building with our list of 65 business directories for New Zealand businesses.
Write For Blogs & Sites Within Your Industry
Also known as Guest Posting, writing for other blogs and sites within your industry is an excellent method of promoting your business online.
By sharing your knowledge, you’ll build your personal brand and increase your standing as a thought leader within your industry. You’ll do so in front of an established audience of potential customers. And better still? These sites will provide you with a link back to your website via your author bio!
Create a Free Google My Business Account
A Google My Business account is a crucial ingredient in Local SEO, and can give you the boost within local search results that your business needs to succeed.
What Is It?
Heading tags tell GoogleBot that the text within these tags is particularly important, and that the paragraphs that follow contain additional details.
Heading tags look like this in HTML:
<h1>This is a primary heading tag</h1>
<h2>This is a secondary heading tag</h2>
<h3>This is a tertiary heading tag</h3>
Despite their usefulness, it’s common to find pages that don’t use heading tags at all.
Because without styling, they’re often big and ugly.
This lead many sites just like yours to use a regular paragraph instead, and simply force a large font size or colour. So the tag looks something like this:
<p class="bodyText" style="font-size: 18px; color: #0066ff;" align="center">This is my primary heading</p>
But doing this can have a number of nasty consequences:
Googlebot doesn’t get excited about a <p> tag in the same way it does an <h1> tag. It interprets this tag as a normal, slightly larger paragraph that’s blue in colour. But when it comes to heading tags? Googlebot interprets this as ‘This is a major heading. It summarises the content on this page. It’s super exciting and very important’
When it comes to SEO? You want Googlebot to be excited!
To do so? You’ll want to:
The second consequence? This extra formatting bloats your HTML code. This can leave the page cumbersome and increase load times for Googlebot and users alike.
The solution to this formatting problem is simple. Utilise Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the appearance of your heading tags. This way you’ll have clean code as well as good looking headings that Googlebot will be excited about.
What Is It?
In your time spent online, you’ve probably seen a URL or two that looks something like this:
Crazy numbers? Odd characters? It’s a mess.
URLs like this are automatically generated by website software such as WordPress, where mathematical algorithms and categorisation are put ahead of readability and usability.
These URLs not only negatively affect SEO, but they’re a deterrent for users finding these pages in search engine results.
But there is a better way!
Using clean URLs ensures these are readable and descriptive, and utilise keywords wherever possible.
The reasons for doing this? They’re threefold:
When writing these URLs, keep them short and descriptive. And don’t forget to use a hyphen ‘-’ to separate each word, as this is the most readable format for search engines like Google.
Whenever you change your current URLs, you also need to set up a 301 redirection of the old URL to the new one.
If you don’t? Users visiting the old URL will be presented with a 404 Error page. Search engines will also mark these broken links against you.
What Is It?
As we explore later in this guide, Google doesn’t see an image or a file when you place it on your website.
Instead? It just sees information such as the file name and the image’s ALT Tag.
As a result, you need to five Google as much help identifying these files and images as you can, by giving them descriptive names that utilise keywords wherever possible.
Not only will this help Google to decide what your image or file is about, it will also ensure these are found when users search using Google’s File or Image Search functions.
Consider the following example:
Say you have a diagram on your site that compares the differences in Accounting Software Packages. Instead of keeping the generic filename of ‘diagram.jpg‘, change this to something like ‘AccountingSoftware.jpg‘.
That way, when a user searches Google Images for Accounting Software Packages, they’re more likely to find your image and your page.
Include Keywords Within File Names
When you go to upload a file or image to your website, make a habit of checking the filename. If it doesn’t already include a descriptive phrase or keyword, then add one! This takes a matter of seconds to do, and will ensure your files are optimised before they go live.
What Is It?
There’s one important thing to remember where your website and Googlebot are concerned.
Google and it’s crawling bots don’t see your website in the same way humans do.
Instead? They only see the HTML code.
Take Wikipedia as an example!
You and I will see it like this:
But Googlebot? It sees the code displayed below.
Unoptimised, messy or improper HTML can bloat your code.
This pushes your actual page text – which is full of those all important keywords – hundreds of lines into the code.
As Googlebot will have to work harder to find this text, your rankings may suffer as a result.
Fixing this can be simple.
You just need to follow a familiar philosophy: When it comes to websites?
Less is more!
Avoid Bloated Navigation & Menu Options
Remove Unnecessary WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins make it easy for anyone to set up a website. Without having to know complicated code, you can add cool extras like sliders, pop-ups and design features. Too many of these, however, can leave your site working overtime, so make a habit of removing any unnecessary plugins or extras that you no longer use.
Say No To Image-Heavy Website Design
Visual elements are important. They break up the dreaded wall of text, and provide visual interest for your users. But only to a point. Too many images on the one page can make your page slow and unresponsive, and – when images are used in place of text – can hinder your chances of ranking higher in search.
To see if your website passes muster, enter your web address at W3C Markup Validation Service
What Is It?
Google’s search algorithms are constantly updated to ensure it returns the most relevant results in the shortest time possible.
This is just one reason why page speed is increasingly important.
If your page is slowed down by cumbersome plugins or large images? Your rankings will suffer.
Analyse Your Page Speed
Load Google’s PageSpeed Tool and select ‘Run Insights’ to run Google’s PageSpeed test on your site. This will provide you with an easy-to-read report of your results.
Whether you created your website yourself, or had a professional do this for you, there are usually unnecessary added extras left around long after the web gurus have packed their tools away.
Optimise Image File Sizes
Large, high-quality images increase your page loading times. But this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality for speed.
What Is It?
Image ALT tags are used to describe the contents of an image, and are generally displayed when you hover over an image or if the image fails to load.
These Image ALT tags are also used heavily by Google.
Because Google can’t actually see an image.
Instead, Google relies on the filename and ALT tag to determine what an image contains.
Add An ALT Tag To Your Images
By adding keyword-rich ALT tags to your images, you won’t just be increasing usability. You’ll also further boost the signals your page sends to the Googlebot.
Further still? You’ll increase the likelihood of these images showing up within Google Image Searches, which is an underappreciated but still worthwhile source of traffic for your site.
What Is It?
XML Sitemaps are used exclusively by search engines to speed up the process of indexing pages. This is because search engines tend to follow and index links within a website quicker when an XML sitemap is present.
Add An XML Sitemap To Your Site
Head to XML Sitemaps to generate an XML sitemap for your site.
Once you have this? Submit it to:
What Is It?
HTML Sitemaps primarily serve users, and provides them with a quick and easy method of navigating around your site.
That said, search engines like Google can detect HTML Sitemaps. They recognise them as a sign of increased usability, which is a metric search engines are placing an increasing emphasis on.
Add An HTML Sitemap To Your Site
Head back to XML Sitemaps, and generate an HTML Sitemap. From here, add this as a new page on your site, and then link through to it from your 404 Error Page.
What Is It?
A 404 Error Page is the page that a visitor sees when a URL can not be reached. Either because the page has been removed, or has an invalid dynamic URL
The 404 page is very important to the usability of your website. Rather than presenting users with a dead-end, it should act as a starting point for users to find their way again.
This is your opportunity to guide visitors back onto the website-browsing track.
While 404 pages are primarily for users, these once again send usability signals back to Google which can only serve to help your SEO overall.
When it comes to your 404 page? You should:
Maintain A Consistent Design
404 Error Pages can be confusing enough: a user who sees one was expecting the page they clicked on, not an error page. Having a 404 Error Page that looks different to your regular site only makes this feeling of being lost that much worse.
Include Navigation Options
When a user stumbles onto a 404 Error Page, they’re going to do one of two things. One, they’ll leave the page immediately. Two, they’ll try and find the page they were looking for, or one like it. By adding a list of quick links to your 404 Error Page, you make it easier for users to find their way and ensure they stick around.
What Is It?
Much like their appearance in the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbs are used on websites to provide users with a visual representation of where they’ve come from, where they are, and how they got there.
These are displayed as a set of links at the top of the page, providing your website with extra internal links, as well as a general boost to usability too.
Add Breadcrumbs To Your Website
Check out some of these WordPress plugins that will add breadcrumbs to your website:
What Is It?
More than a desktop or laptop, where do you do most of your web browsing?
If you said ‘my mobile’ then you’re not alone!
In fact, an average of 40% of web visitors are using mobile devices. With up to 30% using tablets!
Given this, Google now penalises websites that lack a responsive, mobile-friendly version. This makes the inclusion of a mobile-friendly version of your website a critical component of your SEO.
Every other step may prove ineffective.
There’s no need to panic yet! There is a solution to this problem. Its name? Responsive Web Design.
Responsive Web Design ensures your website is viewable in browsers of all widths, shapes and sizes. From the largest of desktops to the smallest of smartphones.
You can easily check the responsiveness of your websites with the Google Webmaster Tools.
If your website isn’t mobile ready, then you have a number of options at your disposal. These include:
Talk To Your Developer Or Tech Specialist
Get in touch with your developer or tech guru and ask them about making your website mobile friendly.
Use One Of These WordPress Plugins
If your website runs on WordPress? There are a number of both free and paid plugins available that will do this for you!
Use A Responsive WordPress Theme
Use a WordPress theme that includes a responsive version designed specifically for mobile devices.
What Is It?
Domain names that include relevant keywords can have an easier time ranking for these phrases within search engine results.
Woah there! Before you go registering keyword-rich domain names, keep this in mind:
While keywords within domain names play their part, there should be a balance between SEO and overall branding for your business.
So, don’t worry if your domain name isn’t ‘www.AucklandAccounting.com‘? This doesn’t mean your days of SEO are over.
Far from it in fact..
A recognisable name and cohesive branding are far more important for your business in the long run.
Tip: Don’t go buying up a bunch of domain names full of keywords and redirecting these to your site! A common mistake, this actually does more harm than good.
Include Keywords Within Your Domain Name
While not crucial to your long-term success, adding keywords to your domain name can make it easier for you to rank in search quicker than sites that don’t.
When registering your domain name, think of any logical ways you could include keywords, but don’t go overboard. A domain name stuffed with keywords may sound like a good thing, but it will both confuse users and tip Google off to your overzealous SEO strategy.
“Found has been fantastic at developing our SEO and providing us with sustained growth in a very competitive market, managing to get us into the top 3 Google positions for our industry”.
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- Conrad Cranfield, Director - Nature Shop