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 to match with a user’s search term. You can help your site to rank better against 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 to 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, consider how a person might begin searching for a product or service.

  • Awareness: the customer is aware of a problem that needs fixing, and begins 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 help you have an idea of which keywords to target on 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 considered to be keywords.

Matching the keywords used on your website with the words used by customers when they search for you is an important part of SEO.

Tips to include keywords

  • Add popular keywords or phrases to your website. Use these words in your page titles, page content, metadata or even as the name of the image files on your page.
  • Use popular 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 efforts. Make sure your content still reads naturally.

3. Update your content regularly

Refreshing your website content regularly encourages search engines to visit your website more often. The more frequently they visit, the faster they're able to discover 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 pages at least every 6 months and remove content that is no longer relevant.

Some search engines will also allow you to submit and update your sitemap to help them find the new content in your website.

4. Gain referrals from other websites

When ranking your web pages, search engines look at which other websites link to or cite your page and your website as a whole. 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. Referrals from highly reputable websites have more weight than less reputable sites. The more referrals you have from reputable websites, the better your website will rank.

5. Use meta tags in your content

Meta tags are pieces of content in your website coding that doesn’t display on your web page. These tags tell search engines and browsers extra information on what your page and content is about. Examples of meta tags include:

  • meta description – a description of what your page is about
  • title – your page title which displays in the browser tab
  • alternative text – tagged on media such as images as a text alternative of the media.

Search engines will sometimes also use your meta description in the search results they display.

6. Stay up to date on 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, make sure you:

  • stay up-to-date on what search engines are placing importance on when ranking web pages
  • lookout for new keywords that are relevant to your products and services
  • stay-up-to date on new search behaviours and technologies (such as use of voice search or image search).

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