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10 Basic SEO Tips to Improve Website Traffic

Key Takeaways

  • SEO aims to improve your ranking on search engine results pages. This increases online visibility for your business and makes it more discoverable.
  • While search engines may tweak their algorithms to rank sites over time, the SEO fundamentals you need to cover don’t change.
  • The audience should be at the heart of your SEO strategy. Focus on creating unique, helpful content for your audience first, then fine-tune for SEO after.
  • Comprehensive keyword research should inform your SEO strategy. You’ll use keywords in content, meta descriptions, and page titles.
  • Link-building remains a significant ranking factor. Use internal links and attract valuable backlinks to signpost your authority to Google.

Get the basics covered with a fast-loading, high-performance site. The world of search engine optimisation is ever-evolving.

With so many SEO tips to sift through, it’s easy to get lost in all the possible SEO tactics you can employ to improve your organic traffic.

From on-page SEO to a link-building strategy, from meta descriptions to long tail keywords, it’s challenging to make sense of the most important SEO tips.

Despite search engines tinkering with their algorithms, the fundamentals of your SEO efforts remain a constant.

Let’s run through the basics of any SEO strategy.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

First, let’s give a brief reminder of SEO principles.

Digital marketers use on-page and technical SEO strategies to make their websites appeal to Google, Bing, and other search engines.

By optimising your site for search engines, you help it appear higher on search results pages for various search queries. The organic search rankings appear below the Google ads. As such, SEO represents a free alternative to paying for Google ads to improve reach.

By appearing higher in the organic search rankings, businesses benefit from increased visibility as users are likelier to click on sites that are higher in the results.

But how do websites ‘appeal’ to search engines? How do search engines understand what makes a good website?

Google and Bing use bots that work as search engine crawlers, going from site to site and collecting information on each page of your website. They collect all this information into an index.

Next, complex algorithms analyse the quality of your pages, measuring your site’s pages for various ranking factors and comparing them with your competitors. This analysis determines the order pages should appear in the search results for any given query.

Experts disagree in their assessment of which ranking factors to prioritise as they look to second-guess the closely guarded intricacies of these algorithms.

However, there is a consensus that following these basic SEO tips will give you a great chance of climbing those search rankings and attracting more traffic.

1. Keyword research

Keyword research should take up a significant chunk of any SEO strategy.

This research involves finding the target keywords you want to rank for.

So, for example, a tour operator may want to rank for terms like “travel restrictions”, “travel consultants”, or “adventure travel”.

Your business goals should determine these keyword suggestions. You’ll want to create a list of primary keywords and secondary keywords for each page of your site.

Each page should have one primary keyword that you need to build relevant content around. This targeted keyword should relate to a topic that speaks to your audience and fits with your brand’s identity, products, and services.

The secondary keywords will then support this main topic in a way that supports the natural flow of the piece.

Various keyword research tools can help build and implement your keyword strategy for you.

Once you have your primary keyword, you’ll want to use it effectively to get the highest rating for your web page. Use your primary keyword:

  • in the page’s title tag
  • in supplementary heading tags
  • in the meta description
  • in the first 100 words of the content

Ensuring your primary keyword appears in these places tells search engines the focus of your content. However, it’s essential to realise that keyword stuffing, using the same keyword repeatedly in content, no longer works as it turns off both users and search engines.

2. Write original, high-quality content

As simple as that, right?

Before we delve into more technical SEO tips, don’t forget that any SEO strategy needs to place great content front and centre.

Write content that reflects the expertise you have in your niche.

Ideally, you want to create valuable, comprehensive content that provides solutions to readers, keeping them reading and preventing them from heading elsewhere to find answers.

These comprehensive pages on your site show search engines that you are an authority on the chosen topic.

Google also prioritises unique content and is increasingly adept at sniffing out content lifted from other sites. That’s why it helps your search rankings to focus on writing new, unique content that’s written in your voice.

Finally, where possible, attempt to write evergreen content – A blog post or landing page that isn’t time-sensitive and won’t need to be updated regularly.

Evergreen content gives you long-term value as relevant pages stay relevant, allowing you to reap long-term benefits from your inbound marketing efforts.

3. Improve site speed

Page speed is one of the most significant ranking factors for your site.

Slow loading speeds frustrate users who will simply head to another site with a better user experience, increasing your bounce rate (when a user quickly clicks away from your site.)

Not only that, but search engines also note your site’s functionality. You could have amazing content with professional, striking web design, but if your web pages take too long to load, Google will penalise you.

In that case, you need to perform a site audit to find out what’s slowing you down.

Google PageSpeed Insights is a free SEO tool that ranks your desktop and mobile site speed from 0-100, with 100 being the fastest. Anything below 90 could do with improvement.

Remove non-essential plug-ins and widgets to try and speed up your page loading times and make your web pages more user and search engine friendly.

4. Target featured snippets

We’ve already mentioned that your content should look to provide your audience with answers.

One way to ensure you match the audience’s search intent is to target featured snippets within your content.

A featured snippet is a highlighted excerpt of text that appears above the organic Google search results in “position 0”. They are intended to answer a user’s question without having to leave the page.

Since they are above the organic results, they represent a fantastic opportunity for you to get your content seen. As such, featured snippets are highly sought after.

Fortunately, there’s a crossover between the methods you apply for SEO and the tactics you use to target a snippet.

First, choose a question, based on a primary keyword selected, that your audience needs to answer.

Next, create content, or edit a piece of existing content, to ensure you answer the question as concisely as possible.

There are different types of featured snippets – bulleted lists, tables, and simple paragraphs – each with an ideal format to frame your content around.

Formatting your content to target a snippet will make your content more accessible and should therefore boost your site performance. If you manage to get a snippet, it’s an added bonus!

5. Write a unique meta description for every page

A meta description appears underneath your page title in the Google search results. It summarises the page content and can entice a searcher to click through to your site.

As such, it pays to spend time crafting your meta description.

All the major content management systems offer a basic editing function to change your page titles and meta descriptions.

By doing this, you can write well-crafted enticing meta descriptions and page titles that are also SEO-friendly. Google will penalise duplicate meta descriptions while rewarding those written to specific parameters.

Here are a few tips to remember for writing meta descriptions:

  • Keep your meta description between 140 and 160 characters.
  • Include your primary keyword
  • Write a unique meta description for each page
  • Concisely display the value of the content to the reader

6. Use simple URLs

This step is another case of simple editing within your content management system.

Search engine crawlers don’t like to see messy URLs.

A cleaner, structured URL clearly signposts what your content is about for search engines and users alike.

What do we mean by a clean URL?

A clean URL should:

  • be readable
  • be concise (less than 60 characters)
  • use a keyword if possible
  • Avoid ‘stop’ words like a, an, the, but, or in
  • Avoid long number sequences (www.blog.com/article/3456382)
  • be lower case

Like other SEO tips on this list, the benefits of those clean URLs are twofold. They present nice-looking URLs to users while making them easy for search bots to read and analyse, all with very little work in your content management system.

7. Make the most of Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Any strategy is only as good as the metrics you use to measure success.

What are your SEO goals? What would constitute success for you in the short and long term? What metrics are the most important for you to track?

You should have answers to these questions before you embark upon an SEO journey.

You’ll then need the right tools in place to help you measure those metrics.

That means getting involved with Google products like Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Both of these tools provide valuable insights into your website performance, with a range of capabilities that both SEO beginners and industry experts can utilise.

By measuring your website traffic, you can see what’s working and what isn’t in drawing visitors to your site.

From there, it’s a simple case of doing more of what’s working to get you up those SERPs.

8. Get valuable backlinks

Link-building is a delicate dance.

When the search engine algorithms assess what to place in the search rankings, they are essentially trying to separate the quality content from the nonsense.

So, it makes sense that one way to prove to Google your content is relevant is for other, high-authority sites to link to it.

If many other sites include links to this blog post, then Google views that as a seal of approval, taking it for granted that this is an authoritative guide providing helpful basic SEO tips.

Over time, gaining those links improves your site’s authority, pushing you higher up search engine results pages.

So, how do you get those valuable external links to your site?

  • Ensure you’re listed in relevant online business directories
  • Reach out and offer to write a guest post for another site to get a valuable backlink in return.
  • Use a backlink gap tool
  • Write excellent, comprehensive content! If you write content that complies with all the other tips on this list, you’ll find your content ranks higher. This should lead you to accumulate backlinks naturally.

9. Use internal links

Use internal links within your content to direct users to other pages within your site.

This internal linking strategy should guide readers to other related and valuable content or, alternatively, guide them along the buyer’s journey to a converting page.

Well-crafted internal links will keep users engaged with your site, leading them to spend more time before leaving.

Internal linking benefits your site’s ranking because the strategy helps build a picture of your sitemap for Google.

If you repeatedly link to a specific page, Google then understands that this is an essential page on your site. You’re signposting to Google that it’s an authoritative page, and Google will rank it higher accordingly.

You can support your internal linking with some outbound links to other authoritative sites. However, bear in mind that these send users away from the site. As such, you may want to use them sparingly, maintaining an 80/20 split in favour of internal links over external links.

10. Optimize for mobile pages

Mobile search is increasingly becoming the norm as people change their search behaviour.

Google, consistently with its finger on the pulse of the latest trends, wants to offer mobile users a great experience.

Therefore, it now ranks all sites for their mobile user experience as standard.

The long and short of this is that if your site offers a poor mobile user experience, you will be penalised. You must pay attention to how your site performs for mobile users to give your business the best chance of claiming the top spot.

SEO Campaigns

At Bough Digital, we can help create tailored SEO campaigns that drive long-term traffic and business growth. We implement the SEO basics and advise on the more technical intricacies of SEO best practices.

We work with you to create customised plans, considering your brand goals and brand positioning within your industry.

Reach out to hear more about how we can help with your content-led SEO strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I generate website traffic?

A comprehensive SEO strategy is one way to increase your traffic organically. If executed well, SEO will improve your rankings in search results pages, increasing your online visibility. Alternatively, you can invest in paid advertising to get your business seen and hope to generate traffic that way.

What are keywords for SEO?

SEO keywords are terms or phrases that you purposefully add to content to try and rank in search queries for those terms or phrases. After research, the SEO keywords you choose to target are based on a combination of search volume, competition and commercial intent.

How quickly does SEO work?

Generally speaking, it takes 4 to 6 months to start seeing some results for your SEO efforts. However, bear in mind that the effects of implemented SEO practices grow exponentially over time.

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