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SEO: What you Can Do Today To Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

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Mark Flavin: (00:00)
This week on the digital marketing scoop. We discuss what you can do right now to improve your search engine rankings.

Intro: (00:07)
[Intro Music]

Mark Flavin: (00:15)
Hey everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of the digital marketing scoop. This week we’re going to be going through a couple of things that you can start doing basically today to start improving your, your rankings within Google. So obviously look, SEO is a huge area, there’s a lot of bull for want of a better term, around the area but what we just wanted to do today is to go through kind of five or six things that you can start implementing on your website that are going to have a positive effect on your rankings. So Jen, what in terms of of starting off someone’s Seo Journey, what do you think is the best way to start off on this journey?

Jen Bryan: (01:02)
I think the best thing to do when you’re starting is to actually look at the structure of what your site looks like now. What’s your homepage? What are your next line menu and what is feeding in underneath it. What is your, you’re kind of, you always see those graphs of like the CEO and the next people underneath and the manager. How was your website structured like that? And Can Google easily flow though navigate through those? Is this clear? I think it’s beneficial in two ways. Obviously Google is going to have to crawl your site and figure that out for itself anyway. So your site structure is extremely important, but secondly, it will also help you identify areas where users may have an issue with the flow of your website is audience for user experience.

Mark Flavin: (01:45)
Absolutely. And user experience is getting more and more and more important. I especially know on, you know, maybe 60% of your traffic is going to be on mobile. Yeah. So you’ve a lot less screen real estate to, to be playing around with than what you did on the desktop and for, for me as well, as part of a of an SEO plan, you know, know where you stand right now. So use a tool such as Moz, put all your keywords into Moz, find out where you rank for all the keywords that are important to your business. Aand if you’ve been running Google ads, a thing we love to do is to pull out the search terms report and actually find, you know, the key words that have been turning into leads and sales for you take those keywords, put them into a rank tracking tool such as we use Moz here.

Mark Flavin: (02:33)
But there’s, there’s lots of different rank tracking tools and find out where you are for your keywords at the moment because you may find, oh, if from your Google ad campaign, okay, I’m in position or page 2 for a particular key word that’s actually converting really well on Google ads. So if you start putting in some effort around that keywords to get you onto page one, you can have a dramatic impact potentially your on your leads and sales. So you’ll start producing content around that keyword and distributing that content through social media. One thing we started doing here is doing infographics around certain key words. So there’s ways to rather than kind of going for like a really broad keyword that you think, okay, I need to be on the top for this is to actually try and use existing data that you for keywords that you actually know produce results because we all have ideas in our head of what the best keywords are to rank for. But until you actually know and have data that shows, okay, this keyword which I’ve been using on Google ads is converting at 4% or this keyword is converting at 10%. So obviously is more beneficial to put your focus on the the one that’s converting at 10% given everything else being equal. So I think if you are running Google ads, pull out your search terms report, find where you are ranking for those keywords organically and then start developing content around a specific key words that you know produce results for your business.

Jen Bryan: (04:07)
Yeah, A great thing to do there as well as, I mean, if you’re not running Google ads then you don’t have kind of a little bit of a data bank to hand. But I mean there’s loads of tools. Like the one I use a lot is just serp robot and it’s, there’s so many of them either, but you can just pop in keywords, you can pop in your competitor’s website along with it and it will tell you where you’re ranking in comparison to them on the top 10 ahead of you if, if those 10 have ahead of you of course. Yeah. So yes.

Mark Flavin: (04:34)
What I think is great as well is to actually go to Google, put your keywords to Google and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and Google will actually tell you all the relevant terms that people are searching around that keyword. So if you don’t have, Jen said, if you don’t have ads data, Google will give you some really solid good information around the terms people are searching.

Jen Bryan: (04:56)
And that also is actually getting to the point where it’s a, it’s a little bit more valid and better to use than than what it feeds you in the keyword planner sometimes in Adwords. Yeah.

Mark Flavin: (05:09)
So I suppose look once you kind of know what the keywords you want to rank for, then obviously it’s hugely important that your site has content around those key words. For me it’s about being as specific as possible. So if you want to rank for, I’m going to use very broad terms here, like red car. Ideally the keyword you want to be going far is red car with four wheels, from Cork. Yeah. You want, you want to be creating content as specific as possible to the search terms because there’s obviously gonna be a huge amounts of competition around red car, but if you’re producing content that’s very specific and very niche, you’re going to rank higher and much faster far that keyword.

Jen Bryan: (05:56)
Yeah. I mean the long tail keywords are already coming into play now. I mean, the early days of Seo, your keywords were your keywords and it wasn’t a big push. Well it was a big push but it wasn’t as big a push as it is now to rank for especially kind of the broader kind of terms like imagine trying to rank number one for t shirts you know. It would just be crazy. Totally. Imagine how low your conversion rate would be because the keyword is so broad. It exactly. So I, yeah, it’s great to kind of really, really nail down and I’m talking about even nailing down like sentences that people search, like just, just kind of following that kind of trend. And Google will give you those, the longer version of things as well, so down at the bottom of the results. If you type in your main keyword into Google and then scroll down to the bottom and look at the related search terms that they give you.

Mark Flavin: (06:46)
Some of those could be a gold mine, especially, you know, in terms of, of local businesses because you’re going to have a lot less competition around your local terms versus, you know, if you’re competing for much bigger national terms we’ll say. Yeah. So another thing to do kind of straight away is once you have those key words and you’ve been producing content for them, look at the way you’re structuring those on the site. So if you’re producing content still, Google looks at what’s called the h1 tag, the title tag of your content is still hugely, hugely important. So it’s very important. Now you don’t, you’re not going to write your content for Google at the end of the day, you’re writing your content for the user to be as helpful to the user as possible. But within your, your title, you should have your, your main keywords in that title and the title is still something that Google looks at as a huge weighting factor in terms of what they’re looking at on the page. Yeah. So like for example, again, we, if we look at our red car, you know, your title of your article about your red car isn’t just going to be red car. It’s going to be the red car with four wheels in Cork or how to buy a red car with four wheels in Cork.

Jen Bryan: (08:02)
You always need all four. Yeah, it’s a great thing to do with the keywords in the headers.I did some nosing about h1 cause I was curious about them. But so I mean best practices always to have one but Google, the official statement on how they work those into the algorithm is that you can use more than one now it’s not best practice, but Google isn’t going to penalize you, but I can’t imagine them doing too much. It’s not gonna make things worse anyway. A great thing for the headers is that if you include the questions, so using them as questions and answering them underneath. I mean a huge thing at the moment is Google’s featured snippets and to appear though, and there is a great way to rank highly organically as well as I voiced search will pick those snippets up now. Yeah. So if someone asks a question into Google home or anywhere, then thats what is the answer is being fed from and that’s a great way to boost your rankings organically as well.

Mark Flavin: (09:03)
Cool. So let’s say you’ve got your structure of the site right, you feel it’s easy for the user to use, you’ve gone through, you looked at the keywords, people are searching around your product and services. So the other thing and we’ll say you’ve produced content around it. So the other thing to do is to set up what’s called search console, Google search console. Yeah. And basically, there’s, if you’re on a WordPress site, there is a Plugin called Yoast it’s a very, very, very popular Seo Plugin. And that will produce what’s called a site map of your website, which is basically an XML file with the location of every page on your website. And you can submit that to Google. So if for some reason Google hasn’t has missed out on some pages of your site or wasn’t able to index them because you didn’t have it structured properly on the site. Once you submit that sitemap to Google you’re basically telling Google, here are all the pages of my website. Go look at them. Yeah.

Jen Bryan: (10:01)
Yeah. I mean it’s hugely important. If it’s overlooked you could be missing out without actually having done anything wrong, you know, as such which is horrible for businesses in so many ways, if you’ve done everything right but just not submitted your sitemap. Yup.

Mark Flavin: (10:18)
It can, it can make a difference. I mean, it’s, I mean, in theory if you’ve got, you know, a good website, you links coming into it, Google is going to index that anyway. Yeah. But I mean, if you see where you have thousands of pages with loads of products and stuff like that, it’s, it’s very good practice. Do your site map, uh, submit to Google and they all still come back to you in search console. Then if there’s any particular issues on your site, like we’ve seen cases where a client has come to us and within wordpress they had left ticked the do not index basically. So they had all this content on their site. They were like, they go to Google and they’re not even showing up in the results. And they’re wondering why if they had search console in this starts console would have told them that they’re in there, they disallowed robots from index and their website. And so it would literally email you saying, oh, okay, this is a big mistake you’ve made here. You need to go fix that. Yeah.

Jen Bryan: (11:14)
And for new businesses, obviously if it’s a new website.

Mark Flavin: (11:18)
Yeah, yeah, 100%. So another thing as well as I think is important is, you know, keeping the valuable information above the fold. So again, giving the user exactly what they want as quickly as possible. So again, as you say with the title, you want that definitely. And you want your keywords, you want that to be as related to the search term that the person starts to as possible. But then in that first paragraph, giving them as much, um, information related to what you said you were going to give them basically to.

Jen Bryan: (11:54)
To give them a reason to scroll down. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. I think of it that way. I mean like Google, it’s one of its most important rankers, I think it’s number 3 rank brain and that is purely based around user experience. And I mean it’s the same thing that we were talking about with the Google ads and in a previous episode where you want the message to match from the search term. Right? True. Yeah. But that the same applies for it organically. You want Google wants to see the top person is spending a little bit of time on the page because without it if loads of users are clicking through to your website, not finding what they’re looking for bouncing back, Google is going to recognize that and it’s going to indicate to Google that you need to be ranked a little bit lower because people aren’t finding what they’re looking for from you.

Mark Flavin: (12:35)
Another thing actually I suppose that gets overlooked on the search results page as well is the description. So Google have said that the Meta description doesn’t really play a role in terms of the actual keywords in it or the ranking of the site but where it does have a big impact on is the click through rate from the search results onto your website. So if you’re writing really good descriptions if you’re, let’s say a position 3 and more people are clicking your results on position 3 than they are the position 2 results and they’re getting good experience, then Google, they’re going to potentially move you up the rankings because that user is having a better experience. You’ve written a much better description than they have done is answering that person’s search query better. So there again, they’re just going to move you up because at the end of the day all Google wants to do is give the best results. Yep. Um, so if you’re providing the best content around that particular search term and you’re, once they land on your website, you’re providing the easiest, fastest, best solution for that search term. Over time, your rankings are going to to improve around that. Yeah.

Jen Bryan: (13:41)
And like these are things that, I mean like if you’re fixing all of your descriptions tonight and you’ve done a great job, you’re in it for the long haul a small bit.. You know, you’re going to have to wait and wait to see those rankings go up. I again, like that improving your click through rate directly correlates with what Google wants to see to boost you up and to this is the same as Google ads. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Mark Flavin: (14:07)
So we’ve gone through the headings, the meta descriptions, your content. So one thing that’s overlooked and it is more of a technical aspect is the site speed. Yeah. So if, someone is hitting your website and they’re waiting and waiting for it to load, that is about as bad as you user experience as you can get. And we’re talking about seconds. You want your site loading as quickly as possible. So I suppose that does come down more to a technical aspect, but there are some simple things, simple mistakes that people make, uploading imagery, whatever, and not optimizing it for the web. Yeah. So I mean, someone puts up a photo and it’s like, it’s tiny, but it’s 3 megabytes and actual size that’s going to dramatically slow down your site.

Jen Bryan: (14:54)
And there’s so many tools out there for images in particular. I mean, I wouldn’t usually be recommending adding too many plugins into a website either, but I mean if you want to quick and easy solution, there are plugins that you can get, you can click a button, you probably might have paid a tenner or something, you know, and just do the website in one sweep. Just reducing all of them.

Mark Flavin: (15:16)
Yeah, yeah. So it does, it does play a huge role because if someone, if you’re, let’s say you’re well up in the results and people go to your website and they click it, but then they’re backing through results the whole time, you know, Google is going to see that you’re, you’re providing a bad experience for the user on that particular search term. Over time your rankings are going to fall. So it is very important to minimize the, as I said, there’s a lot you can do on the technical side to decrease your site speed. But something simple that you can do is starting reducing the size of your images on the site.

Jen Bryan: (15:53)
Just go to page speed insights. Google’s tool and just put in your URL and it will give you a list of things that are slowing your website down. Some of them you might be able to do, some of them you might be able to hand over to a developer. A lot of them, the big ones will probably be images. Usually those are what will come up first. I mean, there’s going to be a lot of things like caching and just, you know, your Java script and all this kind of stuff. It’s a little bit harder and you can’t, nobody can do everything for the website to, you’re never going to have the perfect 100 score. I mean, you’re always going to have something on your website that has to load, I always go, you know, if you put in like Amazon into the Google score, I think it’s like 60 something.

Mark Flavin: (16:33)
And you’re never going to have the perfect score, but the most important thing you want is in your, in the real world when somebody visits your website, are they waiting? Because if they are, then that’s, that’s going to massively effect your rankings. Yes, exactly. So overall, I suppose, look, what I will take away from this is one, establish where you are in Google’s rankings. Because you need, you need that baseline to measure where you’re starting off to find the keywords you want to rank for. Start producing really good content around those and distributing that content. Make sure you are optimizing your pages so your heading tags, your descriptions. Making sure your keywords are in that. Again, don’t write for Google. You need to write really good content for your users, make sure your site is working fast. So either from a technical point of view, you know, gone to your web developer, whoever you need to get onto. Look at that and obviously from your point of view, your imagery. Anything else I’m missing there Jen?

Jen Bryan: (17:36)
I just think that everything you’re doing, whether it’s from site structure, just to add on what you were saying is from site structure to content, you’re writing, to keyword, research, everything. Even though you’re doing it for Google, ignore Google while you’re doing it, if that makes sense. Because you’re writing for your user, you want the user experience to be good hroughout. And these are the things that I know that Google are already kind of taking into consideration through like their rank brain stuff and all of that kind of encapsulates that. But at the same time, Google is definitely going to be moving more and more into that kind of user experience space of rankings. So I mean, making sure everything is mobile friendly, loading fast, those are all things that create good user experience is just, it’s great that Google likes them as well.

Mark Flavin: (18:21)
Yeah, absolutely. And of course doing, having a great user experience is going to increase that conversion rate as well.

Jen Bryan: (18:26)
Exactly. People are going to stay on the website longer and that’s what Google wants to see too.

Mark Flavin: (18:31)
Brilliant. Yeah. So obviously look, SEO is a huge area and there’s a lot of technical stuff. There’s an awful lot you can get into it, but if you, if you just start doing the simple stuff, right like making sure the h1 tags are optimized, making sure your site’s fast, you’re going to see improvements,, have that base, have that measurement so that you know what you’re doing is working. Yeah and where you need to go next into the more technical side. Yeah. Brilliant. That has been this week’s episode of the Digital Marketing Scoop.


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