SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is your most important driver of traffic to your website. During all stages of the buyer’s journey prospects search. Think back to the last few items you bought: Did you research on Google? Did you go back to search to verify assumptions during your buying decision? The answer is yes, and this means we have to get SEO right to reach growth goals.
SEO - Mountain to climb
We hear often that SEO is such a big mountain to climb. You have to create content and then it’s not an instant result. SEO grows over time. Nonetheless, you need to climb that mountain because the success at the top is undisputable. So let’s break the mountain down:
Yes, you need to create content for SEO. But remember, your prospects are looking for helpful content also to assist them in making the all important buying decision. There is no way that you can have SEO success with just a homepage. You need to talk about you, your services, products and value proposition. Ideally, you’ll want to blog as well. Have a look at these statistics, even blogging monthly will start to drive traffic. Content is not just blog posts, it’s what you place on your site pages, your social messages...anything you produce.
The second big blocker we hear when it comes to finding excuses not to focus on SEO is time. It takes time for SEO to build. True, you will not see instant results. However, once you start to rank you will build velocity. So even if you stop creating content for a while (everyone needs a holiday, right?), your SEO will not immediately drop. Compare this to paid campaigns: you put budget behind an ad and while it’s running you get traffic. You stop and the tap is closed, no more visits flow. SEO keeps that tap running.
Thomas Witt Consulting is a consultancy in Germany. Thomas tackles his marketing while delivering his services to clients and of course, managing sales. He certainly feels the pain of content creation and time. He had put in a lot of work in previous years and while velocity slowed down, we decided to review his SEO with some of the tools mentioned below. The results: visits up by 42.83% over last year and new contacts up by 25%.
7 SEO tools you need to get started
SEO is not something you can afford to ignore if you want your business to grow. The good thing, there are a lot of tools you can utilise to make your life easier. Here are our favourites:
1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog is often our starting point. You can add your URL and get an overview of all your pages. In addition, it tells you:
- Errors - which of your pages are resolving
- Page Titles - do you have them
- H1 - do you have them (do you have more than one on a page)
- Meta descriptions (not a ranking factor, but will entice searchers to choose your result)
Seeing all your URLs in one handy spreadsheet also allows you to understand whether your URLs are nicely structured. You need to stick to the same formatting. For example, if you use businessbrew.io/name-of-page don’t save your next page as businessbrew.io/name_of_page.
It’s free :-)
2. Google PageSpeed Tools
Another free tool that you should check out is Google’s PageSpeed Tools. If your page doesn’t load fast people will click away, especially on mobile.
Not only will it give you an overall score, it will also tell you where issues lie. It often points out images that need to be compressed (an easy fix) as well as code issues that you might need to run past your developer.
3. Ubersuggest - Keyword Tool
You know the importance of personas and how they influence your keywords (check this blog post if you need a refresher). It can be hard to figure out alternatives to keywords, suitable longtail terms and let’s be honest keyword block (just like writers block) is a real thing.
Pop a keyword into Ubersuggest and get a multitude of alternative keywords.
4. Google - Keyword Tool
Add your Ubersuggest findings into the Google Keyword Tool (you will need to set up an Adwords account, but don’t worry, you don’t need to purchase ads). Here’s you’ll get results on search volume by your location and difficulty. We all want high volume, low difficulty. But remember, quality visits outweigh everything. Go with a less high volume for specific terms to get that quality visit.
5. Siteliner - Duplicate Content
Siteliner is a great little tool to show you your duplicate content. One of the things we found with our client Thomas was that because he merged two blogs into one, he had quite a bit of duplicate content. Google will penalise you for this - hard.
Siteliner checks your site for duplicate and common content. Eliminate duplicate content by adding canonical tags, robots.txt files or better by changing content around. Common content gives you a warning. This content could be seen as common and you should get to work on changing copy.
How are you meant to do this when your keywords are set and you use them faithfully across your site? Go back to Ubersuggest and Google’s Keyword Tool to get alternatives and work these into your copy.
An XML sitemap is a map for Google where it can see exactly what’s on your site and how pages connect. This shows relevancy, volume of pages, keywords etc. A great tool to create your map is XML-Sitemaps.com.
You still need to attach the map to your site and ensure you refresh it regularly. It’s a nice fix to ensure Google doesn’t miss you.
7. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is the tool that will bring things together for you. You might have heard it referred to as Webmaster Tools. This tool is not just for your website developer, it’s for you, the marketer. Make sure all variations of your site are listed (http and https, www and non-www). Submit your XML sitemap and index your page.
Check back in after your submission to see your HTML improvements (under Search Appearance) and crawl errors (under Crawl). Any issues that come up, you can easily fix on your site and could include duplicate page titles, missing metas etc. The stuff that would take you ages to find manually.
In BusinessBrew we use these 7 tools amongst others when developing your SEO strategy. And, you can do the same. All tools we mentioned here are free and incredibly valuable in getting your SEO buzzing.