Welcome to the latest in our easy-to-digest guides to using your website to build a better business.
In last month’s blog post we talked about why it’s important for your website to be one of the first ones shown in Google’s search results. To do this you have to let Google know that your website is a great place for people who type in one or more of your list of ‘keywords’.
The three main ways to do that, and get great leads for your business, are on-page SEO, off-page SEO and pay-per-click advertising.
SEO is short for search engine optimisation – tuning your website so that Google shows it to more people who are interested in what you offer.
‘On-page’ SEO is all about using your keywords and keyword phrases on your website to make it clearer to Google what your website is about. So if you’re a plumber operating in the wider Manchester area you’d use words on your website that talk about that – heating engineer in Tameside, fixing leaks in Stalybridge, that sort of thing.
You can also use these words and phrases in the code of your website, hidden to ordinary viewers. This involves changing ‘meta tags’ and is best left to a knowledgeable web designer unless you know what you’re doing.
Beware of going over the top with keywords as Google can and will penalise you – more about that in following articles.
This is work you do away from your website but linking back to it, emphasising to Google that your site is relevant. It also helps you to establish credibility with potential customers, not just Google.
Here are the main activities:
- Create entries for your business on relevant directories – trade and profession based or local and regional ones.
- Ask customers to write testimonials on their site and link to you – you can do the same in return.
- Be active on social media and link to your site when you have new content on your website – a case study, blog post or something about work you’ve just completed for a customer.
- Blog on other people’s sites (as a ‘guest’ blogger) and get involved in the comments on relevant posts as well.
- Create videos and post to YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, flickr etc. You need to respond to comments on these as well for the best effect.
Off-page SEO has to be done with care. You need to choose where and how you are active to avoid giving the wrong impression. Your activity needs to be relevant to your business and professional or it can quickly damage your reputation.
Pay Per Click (Adwords)
You can also pay to advertise using Google’s AdWords programme, often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) because that’s exactly what you do. Google shows your ad when someone searches for your service or product, then you pay Google each time someone clicks through to your website.
People often use PPC more when a site is new, while they wait for on and off page SEO (known together as ‘organic’ SEO) to take effect, because it can take many months.
The cost varies because Google modifies pricing depending on competition. In the UK clicks related to betting can cost well over £100, while you might pay only pennies for something more focussed like mole catchers in Mossley or hair stylists in Denton.
Setting up a PPC campaign is a project in its own right and needs expert, trusted advice.
Putting it all together
Essentially organic SEO is mostly free but takes a fair bit of regular effort on your part to keep going. It also takes a long time to have an effect, but once it’s working it is very cost-effective.
PPC costs money but will be effective immediately as long as have the right product or service and target the correct keywords. Also, unlike organic SEO, PPC can be turned on or off quickly depending on your workload.
The right blend of organic and paid-for search can deliver a steady stream of high quality work. We’ll go into more detail about these three techniques in up-coming articles and if you want to find out how effective SEO can be for you, have a chat with us and the trusted experts we call on.