The foundations of SEO will never change.
Even if you just nail the foundations, you will see huge benefits when it comes to online marketing and Google visibility.
So what are these foundations I’m talking about? lets discuss...
1. Keywords - DIY or hire an SEO specialist to do PROPER keyword research and optimise all your pages
If this is the first time you're learning about 'keywords' here's a super quick explanation of what they are:
In terms of SEO, they're the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines (Google, Bing etc).
Keywords are important because they are the linchpin between what people are searching for and the content you are providing to fill that need.
Your goal in ranking on search engines is to drive organic traffic to your site from the search engine result pages (SERPs), and the keywords you choose to target (meaning, among other things, the ones you choose to include in your content) will determine what kind of traffic you get.
As a website owner and content creator, you want the keywords on your page to be relevant to what people are searching for so they have a better chance of finding your content among the results.
These keywords need to be found in specific places/sections/locations on your website because Google will specifically look for them there. These include:
Image alt titles
Blog SEO settings
Notice I didn’t add Meta descriptions here?
That’s because Google doesn’t actually look for keywords in meta descriptions 😱
This is actually a massive myth, but it is still important that you add keywords naturally to your meta descriptions because PEOPLE will look for them in there - when a person Google’s something, if they see the word or words they just typed into Search and when browsing the list of results to decide which website link to click on, if they see one or all of the words they just typed in the title of the result plus the description underneath, their brain goes “1 + 1 = 2” which usually assures them that that must be the best website to click on because they see a repeat of those search terms
This increases the likelihood that they will click on your website from Google.
So we still want to add the keyword in there (naturally, don’t force it) to get into their brains and entice them to click 😉
Not keen on DIYing your keyword research or worried you won’t select the ‘right’ keywords?
I can help you - check out my Keywords & On-Page SEO Plans here and let’s get your website foundations working harder for you!
Besides keywords, what other SEO foundations does your website need to have?
2. Create high quality, interactive, engaging content
Not only does Google look at the techy stuff in your website, but they also assess the quality of your content to better understand what it is that you do/offer/provide/sell, etc and who you’re trying to reach.
I still see websites that totally ignore this factor on their website, especially e-commerce websites, often seeing people have little to no written content and just plonking their products on there and then wondering why 3, 6, 12 months later they have no website traffic, they’re not coming up in Google, and they’re not getting website conversions
It’s very cold to humans to just have products on your website and no words or no story - it gives off a huge “just buy my products already’ vibe, which doesn’t fly with humans.
I’m not saying you have to give them your life story either - actually, people will also be put off by that! But you do have to give them something to go off - part of your story, what you’re about or not about, what your message is (there is ALWAYS a message), or give them a written solution to their problem/s.
You have to give them some warm and fuzzies, is what I’m saying! Evoke an emotion and watch what happens…
The best way you can do this? Hire a bloody good copywriter!
Let me give you an example of how high-quality, keyword-rich, and humanised website copy can bring you website success…
I recently built a website for Tamara Speedy from Sort My Space and Rachel Green from Shine Copy did the website copy - Tamara had a website before working with Rachel and I, but it wasn’t doing her any favors; it wasn’t getting any Google attention or website traffic, or conversions.
So Rach and I completely overhauled her website copy and website, and within the first month of her new site being launched, here’s how her stats looked:
From Google obscurity to getting 122% more eyeballs on her website in the SERP’s (search engine results pages) and 71 clicks to her website - thanks also to new and better keywords, a way better website and slick new content.
Seriously, copywriters are the bomb DOT COM. They know how to write stories that will evoke the emotion that you want people to feel when they visit your website, they can write product descriptions that will have your customers feeling like it was written for THEM, and they know how to get your website users clicking, engaging, interacting, and adding to cart/subscribing/contacting you.
Check out Rachel’s blog post ‘why work with a copywriter’ for even more awesome reasons why hiring a copywriter will be a total game changer for your website and SEO.
3. Ensure your website has a super simple, easy to use website navigation
Don’t make it hard for people to use your website and find what they’re looking for, put simply.
A large navigation bar makes people think they’ll have to spend more time on your site to find the thing they’re looking for - this can increase your Bounce Rate because they just don’t have the time to search around.
Top page structure/navigation tips:
Condense your page structure where you can
Don’t get fancy with page names
Make sure your navigation is always accessible, including on your mobile site)
Don’t try and make your page navigation fancy or different - burger style menus tend to trip people up when viewing websites on a desktop as it’s not super common, for example
Ensure your logo is linked to your Home page
Make it easy for people to find the contact page or contact info in the header and/or footer of your website
4. Make mobile your priority
Even though you and I have never met, I know that you know how super duper important it is to have a schmick mobile website. You know this because you use websites on your mobile phone almost every day, don’t you?
And you know how freaking annoying it is when mobile sites are hard to use, or when you can’t click off a pop-up
(OMG, can we just divert to popups for a sec - get them off your mobile site pronto! Google says no to mobile popups and so do people, get em’ off!
Or when the text is so damn small that you have to zoom right in and slide left and right to read the text - YUCK!)
It’s so easy though, to forget about your mobile site because when you build your site or make changes, you do it on the desktop version, hit publish and shut your laptop down and say “done!” - yeah nah, it’s not done, you forgot to edit your mobile site, and now people are annoyed that they can’t use it properly…
5. Ensure your website is super speedy
Another no-brainer, but if your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, you’ll see an increase of people exiting your site before they even enter it…
Actually, the ‘limit’ should be 3 seconds according to Google, but I feel humans will wait 5 seconds before they bounce - so what makes a website slow?
9 times out of 10 it’s your image file sizes!
I get it - uploading fun new images to your site including product images, and making your site really pretty to look at with lots of shiny and cool images is the… fun side of websites, but if you’re continuously uploading and uploading and uploading images to your website (and not just photos, but graphics, vector art, GIF’s, branding elements etc) this adds to the ‘load’ - every time a person clicks on your website, the website has to download ALL THE CONTENT, and images are usually the larger files they have to download (as well as apps and plugins and third-party systems like Dubsado or Converkit for example)
So if all those images that you have uploaded to your website, including blogs and image galleries, and all those images have large file sizes? They’re going to blow out the site speed in a big way.
Slow-loading websites are SEO KILLER!
So before you upload images to your site, ensure they’re web-size friendly first, and/or install an image compression tool (if you’re able) in the backend of your site to automatically compress and optimise your images as you upload them.
Some website platforms will have this type of functionality there already, but the best practice is to always do your own compressing first, then upload.
6. Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
A core pillar of your SEO foundation structure is analytics.
Right from day one, you need to get in the habit of continually assessing your website’s performance using an analytics tool. Without incorporating this step into your SEO strategy (as loose as it may be), you’ll have no way of knowing how your website is doing or where your traffic and links are coming from. Reviewing your analytics to see what’s working and what’s not is the only way to improve SEO.
If you’re looking for another platform that gives you even more website and SEO insights as well as a keyword research tool, competitor research tool, content idea finder, on-page SEO checker, and more, I use and LOVE a platform called SE Ranking
I can’t say enough awesome things about this platform - it really does it all.
I use it every single day as I work with a lot of clients for keyword research and competitor analysis, and I’ve found it to be the most user-friendly SEO tool out there, and I have used many of them including SEMrush, AHREFS, Ubersuggest, etc.
I find SE Ranking the easiest platform to see how my keywords are doing, where I’m at in my Google rankings, and so much more. In fact, I exclusively use SE Ranking now, and I’m also an affiliate of them because I just think everyone needs to know how awesome they are.
You can set yourself up on a free 14-day trial of SE Ranking (be sure to connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console to get the best out of the platform) to see how it works, what you can do and then decide if you want to subscribe to it.
There you have it - my top 6 website SEO foundations for greater Google visibility!
Got questions? Send me a message to email@example.com or leave a comment or question below.