Beginner’s guide to SEO

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Beginner’s guide to SEO
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Doing it yourself

Longevity is a “huge” factor in SEO, so it takes time for a site to establish itself,  according to retailer Kick Push founder Darin Gersbach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve the SEO of your web pages, and there are two aspects to this.

First, your website’s code should be optimised, so, for example, certain HTML tags are used for better results, and it’s mobile-friendly (because Google now penalises sites that aren’t).

This starts with selecting a good platform for your website, said Gersbach, whose company uses Neto. Since the rules used to determine search rankings keep changing, you need to know that the operators of your chosen platform are taking care of it, he said.

Alternatively, a good content management system (CMS) such as WordPress offers features, design templates and plug-ins that can help you optimise your site.

Second, your website’s content needs to be optimised. That starts with identifying the phrases – not individual words – that potential customers might use when searching, and then using those phrases in page titles and headings. “It's that basic,” Gersbach said.

You can guess likely phrases (such as “accommodation Bendigo” or “luxury B&B Bendigo”), but he says it can be helpful to ask your customers “what would you type into Google to find us if you didn't know our name?” If they give one-word replies, dig deeper by asking “And if that didn't work?”, he advised.

Once you have a list of phrases, Google's Keyword Planner can indicate how well they are likely to perform.

Is it even worth it?

Do bear in mind that SEO might not be as essential as some people would have you think. “It's not important for everybody,” said Stewart.

If a site is basically “an extension of their business card” it may not greatly matter whether it is highly ranked, so it is unlikely there will be a payback from putting a lot of time and money into SEO – although you’re building a new or revamped site anyway, it could be worthwhile getting the code and content optimised as part of the process.

Of course, if your company gets a lot of business through Google – or if that’s part of your business strategy – it is clearly important to be near the top of relevant search results as the potential gains are so significant.

For more do-it-yourself SEO tips, see our guides, How to win more customers through SEO and Are your SEO efforts being sabotaged? Also see Google's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.

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