Search engines and social media platforms have become the curator for the majority of the content we see online. After all, Google has become so ingrained within our culture that it’s replaced the term ‘search’ in general, just like Hoover did for the vacuum cleaner or iPod for the personal MP3 player.
Therefore, search engine optimisation – otherwise known as SEO – has a major role to play in ensuring your website is the top search result when your prospects Google the products and services you provide.
By following our Top 10 Tips, you can give your page the best chance to rise above the competition and become the first choice for your potential customers.
1. If you haven’t already, build a buyer persona(s)
Detailed buyer personas are essential in your marketing strategy and help you identify your key customer ‘stereotypes’ so that you can better target the customers that are looking for your products or services.
By identifying the typical pain points your potential buyer has, you can more easily narrow-down and isolate the search terms they’re more likely to search for, creating a better alignment in your lead generation strategy.
This means your business is in a better position to solve the searcher’s particular problem, whether they’re just browsing, researching or in the need for a legitimate solution that you can provide.
2. Your content has to be sooooo fresh!
You need to be constantly reminding Google – and your readers – of the knowledge and expertise you have in your industry and the best way to accomplish that is by creating content.
Fresh copy shows you’re always thinking and making those insights available for others to take in – plus, it means you don’t become a bore, or worse, seen to be stagnant or mute in your industry.
Without new content, your pages are going to drop further and further down Google’s rankings, as it would with all other search engines, while your competition rise up the list as they post newer, more relevant information and blog posts.
We regularly run brand workshops for our clients and a stout buyer persona affects content strategy. Check our website for more info on our branding services.
3. Be active and readable
Of course, your copy is readable to your visitors, but you also need to consider how search engines scan your copy to grade your site and decide where it should place in the list of sites all using those same keywords. Otherwise, your site will start to drop down the list and you’ll get lost on page 2, then 3, then 4…
3a. Five key readability tips to enable stronger SEO for IT companies
While these are not set in stone, as much as possible, try to:
- Use an active voice
- Keep sentences under 20 words
- Keep the paragraphs to 4 sentences tops
- Break up your copy with visuals
- Use bullets and numbered lists
4. Research the keywords that actually work for what you do
Effective SEO profiles need to reflect what you’re good at, or if you have a specific speciality within your industry. They also need to reflect what those new to your industry may search for.
For example, if you’re a cloud-hosting tech company, it’s all well and good using terms like colocation, failover, and other specific industry terminology. But you also need to cater to the other side of the coin too by including terms like ‘online backup’ or ‘save to cloud’.
So, find out what those keywords are and adjust your copy to ensure they are included within the body and used in the meta description to give yourself the best chance of getting noticed.
If you’re looking for the tools that will help you get an idea of the key search terms you need to include, why not read our latest SEO blog, where we detail the tools we use?
5. Research the tactics that help brands rank better
Look into what your keyword term’s expectations are. What’s going on with the top 10 for that term? Do certain words keep appearing in the copy? Does the copy have a video in it?
Emulation is the sincerest form of rankability. Whether it’s someone in-house or a marketing partner, it’s critical to have someone on your side that knows what to look for.
Google search reveals the clues of what gets you on to page 1, so take advantage of them.
6. With SEO for IT Companies: Always investigate your competitors
Too often, SEO reveals competitors you didn’t even know you had and without knowing what the competition is doing, how do you know how well you compare?
By researching the keywords that your buyer personas look for, and the ones your competitors are using to attract those same prospects, you may uncover new strategies and keywords that would help you to better meet the expectations of that audience.
7. Build your brand’s PR presence online
Other elements of SEO include the reach of your brand. While backlinks are a significant part of that, another key aspect is your performance in common online directories that list your business details.
Key online directories include:
- Google Maps
- Bing & Bing Places
While it is worth ensuring all these are regularly updated, the most important and popular online directory is Google My Business, and this is a great place to drive traffic and start building that presence.
We leverage keyword research tools that monitor every common online directory our clients’ brands are listed in and ensure their details are up to date. If you don’t have the time to trawl through online directories, why not let us look after your SEO for you?
8. The Dolly the Sheep Issue: Duplication
We can’t create completely unique copy every time we create a webpage or write a blog, terms and phrases, even subjects are going to be repeated.
Nevertheless, Google doesn’t like duplication because it doesn’t know which of the two pieces of content to rank above the other, so essentially both sites ‘drop’ because neither are being utilised to their potential.
Whether it’s the duplication of meta descriptions, body copy itself, titles, search engines call you out. Therefore, meta titles and H1s should always be unique, and not duplicated from previous copy and always check that you’re not linking to two versions of the same page if one has recently been updated.
9. Avoid the ‘publish and forget it’ mentality
Don’t just publish your articles and think that’s it – job done.
Refer back to them in new content to keep your target audience on the buying journey, then as you build links from one to another, to another, you create a web of content that develops into a library of educational material for your readers.
Not only is this great for your credibility and ability to educate prospects, convincing them of your prowess and expertise. But it also gives your sales teams a massive bank of content to refer their prospects back to as they are guided through your sales cycle.
There’s one more crucial element to ‘publish and forget it’ pitfalls. That element is, effectively, due diligence around your SEO strategy. Too often, pages are published with no thought given to how Google will receive it organically. So, remember to optimise it before you hit Publish – and when you do, due diligence doesn’t end there, either.
To learn more about what to do after you’ve published an optimised page, get in touch. We’ll consult with you about crawling and other SEO postscript matters that ensure your posts and pages get in front of the traffic that’s dying to read them.
10. Think about search in terms of a question
Put your customer’s shoes on, and think about the problem they want to solve, and how you fit in as the answer. One thing to consider is the increasing popularity of long-tail search. Often in the form of a question. Why the surge in such queries in recent years? Well, in a nutshell – virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri.
Google reports that more than a quarter (27%) of all searches in 2018 were voice searches. The availability of click to call functionality is driving three out of every five searches that seek a direct answer to a query from a business. Moreover, signs show that an actual visual screen is going to become less likely to matter for a searcher.
By knowing what that question is, and having the right keywords and phrases in place that are best equipped to answer it, you gain perception as a thought leader and position yourself as a reliable place to turn to for your next customer.