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Gaining more visibility on Google, a beginner's guide

Many of us put a lot of time, money and effort into the design and development of a website that is just not getting the traffic we expected.
Building a website for your business in this day and age is a necessary exercise. But many of us put a lot of time, money and effort into the design and development of a website that is just not getting the traffic we expected. What we don't realise, is that just because we have this new, shiny website does not mean that our site will be visible in search results, and ultimately to our potential customers.

There are many factors that can affect the visibility of a website in search results and I will unpack them. But let's get back to basics and start by defining what visibility actually is, versus what is a ranking:

What is a ranking in search results?

A ranking is the position in which your website appears in search results. Ranking between 1 to 10 usually means that your website will appear on page 1 in desktop search results. Anything after 10 will most likely place your website on the second page and thereafter.

What is a website's visibility?

Visibility is a percentage score your website is assigned based on your websites rankings and clickthrough rates. 0% visibility means that none of your website pages rank in the top 50 positions in search engine results. 100% visibility means that you are ranking well (page 1 in search results) for all your keywords sets. You can work out the visibility score for your entire website as a whole but also for specific keywords based on what people search for to find your website pages.

You can pay for your website to appear on page 1 in search results, or you can optimise your website to do so naturally.

The difference between an organic ranking vs paid rankings

An organic search ranking is the natural placement of your website in search results, without paying for the position. This is determined by search engines and a number of factors and algorithms will affect this position (we'll chat about this just now).

A paid ranking means that your website appears in the first 3-4 or so placements by paying for this position. How much you pay depends on how competitive the keywords you are bidding on are or the impression share you would like to attain.

Below is an example:

When I searched for "cheap car insurance" the first four placements are paid search ads and the last is an organic ranking. Ideally, an organic ranking is best as you don't pay for the postition. That is why a sound SEO and content strategy is key to long-term success.

How you can improve your website's visibility

There are various ways to ensure your website pages are indexed by Google, therefore improving visibility and ultimately rankings in search results.

Here are six SEO practices to start implementing today:

1. Tick all the technical boxes.

Your website needs to be crawled and indexed by search engines to be visible in search results. By conducting monthly technical audits and fixing any issues found that hinder your websites performance can assist in improving visibility and rankings.

2. Conduct keyword research.

Keyword research will allow you to identify all possible keywords relating to your offering and the average search volume per month for them. Include those keywords in your website content to gain visibility. Here is a tip: don't only implement a content strategy around keywords and phrases with high search volume. Some keywords have a lower search volume but may be relevant to your offering, and increase your chances of attracting quality traffic.

3. Make sure all your website pages are marked up with optimised meta titles and descriptions.

Use the most relevant keywords in the metadata on each page of your website. Treat meta titles and descriptions as a billboard advertisement for each web page. If a potential website visitor had to see your meta title and description in search results, what would entice them to click through to your website as opposed to a competitor site? Don't know what a meta title and description is? See below - the 'headline' on the top is a meta title, and the bottom is the meta description:

4. Create original and keyword driven website content.

Write good content for every page of your website and optimise this content for better results. Make sure that the content is written for people that visit your site, but also for search engines. Write the keywords being targeted (you will know this if you have done your keyword research) into the content based on the search volume and relevance. Include these keywords naturally and don't overdo them or you could get penalised for 'keyword stuffing'.

5. Build a blog strategy and keep at it.

'Blogging' can be a pain point for some business owners and marketers. But, it need not be painful. Creating a successful blog can not only improve visibility in search results but has the added benefit of being sharable on social media platforms. Keyword research can assist with supplying relevant topics based on long tail keywords and featured snippet questions. Link your blog posts to product and service pages on your website.

6. Make sure your desktop AND mobile site speed is good (and stays that way).

In July 2018, Google announced that mobile site speed was becoming a ranking factor in mobile and desktop search. This means that a website's slowest pages on a mobile phone can affect visibility and ultimately rankings in search results. Ensure that monthly site speed tests are run and work on fixing those pages that have the lowest load time.

When all is said and done, technical SEO and content optimisation will take some effort and time but it is most certainly worth it in the long run.

Contact us today if you're keen to chat about an SEO strategy aimed at improving your website's visibility.

About the Author:

Sarah has 15 years client service experience in a full service agency environment. She believes that client service is not merely email pushing and brief taking, but partnering with clients to build great relationships based on smart, strategic thinking and action - all aimed at client business growth.

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