To help drive more customers to your website, it is key to maximise the impact from search through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Improved SEO enables your website to be discovered and to rank with relevance, so that it appears at the top of the search engine results. The process of optimisation is not a one-time process – but rather one that requires maintenance, tuning, and continuous testing and monitoring.

The following guide is a three-step strategy to help you achieve this.

Step 1: Target Market Business Analysis

Setting Goals and Objectives

Before you get started, ensure that you can measure the ROI (return on investment) from any changes you implement, deciding what is the expected number of visitors you will need to your site vs the baseline today. This is the measure that you can then track from.

Get specific on the goals to determine and set measures for specific pages visited and product / services reviewed.

Keywords

Keywords are absolutely critical for getting located. These work through setting your “meta sets”, visible text and code.

It is important to examine the content keywords and search engine ranking of competitive websites to assess the impact. There are tools to help such as Semrush.com and Keywordspy.com.

Once you have the list, then look to prioritise the targeted search term related to what you expect your customers to look for. Keep this more in the framing of natural language rather than specific products you have – i.e. “looking for a parasol” rather than “name of brand parasol”. Think what you would type into a search engine. People rarely search to find a specific business – so you need to think of solving a customer problem or meeting a customer need. Test this with your customers and amend accordingly.

Keyword Analysis

Keyword analysis follows, and this helps to further identify a targeted list of key words and phrases. Review competitive lists and other industry sources as well as prioritising keywords and phrases, plurals, singulars, and misspellings.

Step 2: Content Optimisation and Submission

Create page titles

Keyword-based titles help to establish page theme and direction for your keywords.

Create meta tags

Meta description tags can influence click-throughs but aren’t directly used for rankings. (Google doesn’t use the keywords tag anymore.)

Place strategic search phrases on pages

Integrate selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on designated pages. Make sure to apply a suggested guideline of one to three keywords/phrases per content page and add more pages to complete the list. Ensure that related words are used as a natural inclusion of your keywords. It helps the search engines quickly determine what the page is about. A natural approach to this works best.

the past, 100 to 300 words on a page was recommended. Many tests show that pages with 800 to 2,000 words can outperform shorter ones. In the end, the users, the marketplace, content and links will determine the popularity and ranking numbers.

Develop new sitemaps for Google and Bing

Make it easier for search engines to index your website. Create both XML and HTML versions. An HTML version is the first step. XML sitemaps can easily be submitted via Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Submit website to directories (limited use)

Professional search marketers don’t submit the URL to the major search engines, but it’s possible to do so. A better and faster way is to get links back to your site naturally. Links get your site indexed by the search engines.

However, you should submit your URL to directories such as Yahoo! (paid), Business.com (paid), and DMOZ (free). Some may choose to include AdSense (google.com/AdSense) scripts on a new site to get their Google Media bot to visit. It will likely get your pages indexed quickly.

Step 3: Continuous Testing and Measuring

Test and measure.

Analyse search engine rankings and web traffic to determine the effectiveness of the programmes you’ve implemented, including an assessment of individual keyword performance. Test the results of changes, and keep changes tracked in an Excel spreadsheet, or whatever you’re comfortable with.

Maintenance.

Ongoing addition and modification of keywords and website content is necessary to continually improve search engine rankings, so growth doesn’t stall or decline from neglect. You also want to review your link strategy and ensure that your inbound and outbound links are relevant to your business.

A blog can provide you with the necessary structure and ease of content addition that you need. Your hosting company can typically help you with the setup/installation of a blog.