Nowadays, boosting your site’s ranking through search engine optimisation (SEO) is no longer an afterthought that you consider after you’ve finished building and posting on the website. If you want to have a winning strategy, then you need to optimise for SEO right from the beginning.
This means getting the basics like sitemaps, responsiveness and mobile-first at the forefront of your process. Now, we know that for some people all this sounds unfamiliar, which is why we’ve put together a short but concise guide on how to optimise your site for SEO, even if you’re a beginner!
- Narrow Your Niche
The first thing you need to do is determine who your audience will be. This means getting down to the details of your specific niche to find out exactly what the audience needs. This is important because it allows you to provide an optimal experience for that niche audience while enabling you to stand out from the rest of your competitors who might be keeping more of a broad focus.
It also involves narrowing down your focus to one thing instead of trying to be a “jack of all trades”, so that you can better serve the niche audience that you currently have.
- Prioritise Mobile
Earlier this year, Google announced that it would be prioritising websites that have a quality mobile version. This is known as “mobile-first indexing”, and it became important after the tech giant noticed that over 60% of the searches done on its search engine came from mobile users.
From an SEO perspective, this means making sure that the mobile version of your website is as user-friendly, visually attractive and responsive as the desktop version.
The best part is that incorporating mobile-first principles into the design of your website is really simple and most SEO experts have already started implementing it as part of their overall strategy.
- Make Sure Your Website Loads as Fast as Possible
Along with mobile-first indexing, Google has also introduced a “speed update” ranking algorithm that prioritises mobile website with fast loading speeds. Your mobile website needs to have the same loading speed as the desktop version.
This is important because stats show that if visitors have to wait for your site to load for more than 3 seconds they’ll leave 40% of the time, and 80% of those visitors won’t bother to visit your site again.
The thing is that there are simply too many websites for users to choose from, so there’s no need for them to return to a slow-loading website again.
Not only are people too busy to wait for slow pages to load, but they obviously won’t be engaging with your site if it suffers from this issue.
Meanwhile, websites with fast loading pages tend to offer a better user experience, much higher user engagement and organic traffic to boot.
- Have a Content Plan
Carving time out to plan your content in advance is a great way to ensure consistency between your business’ goals and the content that you put out. Having a plan on hand makes it easier to stick to a content schedule as well so that you’re able to put out those six to eight pieces of content per month that you intend to.
Planning your content ahead of time also means that you won’t have to wreck your brain trying to find new content ideas, as you’ll have everything already mapped out for at least six months in advance.
In fact, websites that are operated through a content plan often provide the best quality content on the web because the teams behind them are able to cultivate that content way ahead of time.
- Optimise On-Page SEO
Right now we’re living in a golden era where anyone can build a personal brand online, and this is an important first step that you must take if you want your website to grow and give positive results.
On-page SEO is a great way to do this because it enables you to attract as much traffic as possible to each and every piece of content that you put out.
If you want to do on-page SEO right, then you have to create a relevant content that’s authentic and beneficial to the audience. At the end of the day, you are writing for the audience so the focus needs to be on solving their needs, while the keywords will make it easier for them to find your content.
Now, the most important thing to keep in mind when searching for relevant keywords to include in your content is how you’re going to incorporate them into the article that you’re putting out.
Ideally, you want your content to make sense and sound human. As much as you’re optimising it for visibility on Google’s algorithms, you also have to make sure that it sounds relatable and readable to human.
- Set-Up Google Analytics
It’s important that you practice the act of analysing your website’s performance on a regular and consistent basis, starting from the beginning of its existence. This will give you a good indication of what’s working and what isn’t, so that you can use only those strategies that yield results and cut down on anything that’s hurting your website’s performance.
The easiest and most popular analytics tool that’s used by most website owners is Google Analytics that you can install as soon as you create your website. That way, you can start collecting useful data as soon as your website goes live.
- Create a Sitemap
The purpose of a sitemap is to inform search engines about pages on your sites that are available for crawling, Google especially. When all of your pages are indexed, this will make it much easier for users to find them when they search using keywords that are relevant to your niche/site.
While there are many different sitemaps available, the most effective ones for SEO purposes are XML sitemaps.
While most website owners tend to focus on SEO long after their platform has gone live, recent stats show that this is a major mistake in the long run. For best results, you should make sure to have an SEO strategy in place before you launch your website so that you can do it right and still have enough time to develop high-quality content that converts.
We’ve created an infographic below to make it easy to see all the points we mentioned above.