Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about helping search engines, such as Google and Bing, to:

  • find the information you publish on your website (web content)
  • rank your website against similar websites.

Search engines try to find the most relevant web content that matches a user’s search term. You can help your site rank better for search terms by understanding how:

  • customers search for your products and services
  • search engines decide which content is more relevant.

Taking these steps can help improve your website SEO.

1. Understand your online customers

Like traditional marketing, improving your website SEO starts with understanding how your customers behave.  For example, there are different reasons a customer might be searching for a product or service:

  • Awareness: the customer is aware of a problem that needs fixing. They begin searching for potential solutions using broad search terms. For example, 'leaking tap'.
  • Consideration: the customer understands their problem and is now searching for solutions that best meet their needs. They might start using search keywords that include a location, product feature or product type. For example, 'plumber in Townsville'.
  • Purchase: the customer is ready to buy and generally knows who they will buy from. They will often search directly for the service provider. For example, 'ABC Plumbing'.

Understanding your customers’ search behaviour will give you an idea of the keywords to target in your web content.

2. Use keywords on your website

Keywords are the words or phrases a customer uses when they do a search. For example, 'flowers online' and 'where do I buy flowers online' are both keywords.

Matching the keywords on your website with the words customers use when searching for your products or services is an important part of SEO.

Tips for using keywords

  • Add popular keywords or phrases to your website in page titles, page content and metadata.
  • Use keywords that are relevant to your business, services or location. You can use any terms that a customer would search for as a keyword or phrase.
  • Be careful not to overuse keywords – this can have a negative impact on your SEO. Make sure your content still reads naturally.

3. Update your content regularly

Refreshing your website content regularly encourages search engines to scan your website more often. The more often they visit, the faster they will find and index new content on your website. You may also see some ranking benefits.

Examples of new content you can add include:

  • information on new products or services you're selling
  • customer success stories
  • videos or stories about your products or services
  • news related to your business, products or services.

It’s also important to review your existing web content at least every 6 months and remove content that is no longer relevant.

Some search engines also let you submit and update your sitemap to help them find new content on your website.

4. Get linked on other websites

When ranking your web pages, search engines look at which other websites link to or cite your page and website. To search engines, referrals from external websites are a vote of confidence in the accuracy, relevance and usefulness of your content.

However, not all referrals are weighted evenly. Links from highly reputable websites have more weight than less reputable sites. The more reputable websites that link to you, the better your website will rank.

5. Use meta tags in your content

Meta tags are pieces of content in your website code that don't display on the web page. These tags give search engines and browsers extra information about your page and content.

Some examples of meta tags are:

  • meta description – a description of what your page is about. Search engines often display the meta description when your page shows up in search results
  • title – the page title that appears in the browser tab
  • alternative text – text that describes the content of media, usually images. This is important for people who are blind and can't see the image.

6. Stay up to date with the latest SEO techniques

Search engines can change how they use web content (including meta tags) to rank websites and generate search results. To keep your site ranking well:

  • stay up to date on what search engines consider important when ranking web pages
  • look out for new keywords that are relevant to your products and services
  • stay up to date with new search behaviours and technologies (such as voice search, image search or AI-assisted search).

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