Lots of NZ business owners ask me for SEO tips, so I have put together what I feel are the three most useful starting points for someone trying to do their own search engine optimisation. The following tips assume you have little to no prior knowledge of SEO – this is bare basics stuff, but if you implement it you should start to see the beginnings of traffic improvements within a few weeks or months.
1. Understand Keywords
Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO – everything is built off your keywords. In order to really get the most out of keyword research, it’s useful to have some advanced SEO tools and software – but in the beginning, you can get by using the free Google keyword tool which is available through Google Adwords. This tool will give you approximate monthly search volumes for keywords related to any topic you type in.
The key with using this tool is to make use of the Phrase Match and Exact Match options on the left hand side. The default setting is Broad Match – without getting too technical, Broad Match will not give you a very accurate idea of the true number of searches for each keyword phrase. To get more accurate numbers, select Phrase and/or Exact Match.
2. Use Multiple Keywords
Many New Zealand business owners attempt to optimise their sites by picking one keyword (often at random, without doing any keyword research) and building their entire site around it. You will have much better results if you use multiple keywords on each page of your site. This allows you to target a broader range of search terms, rather than focusing all your effort on one big, general term.
You will rank faster and get traffic sooner from less competitive search terms, and these are usually the longer phrases. For example, ‘christmas gift baskets’ will generally speaking be easier to rank for than ‘gifts’. By including lots of longer specific keyword phrases on your website, you will rank for more terms in a shorter time period and see better traffic results.
3. Get Active in Your ‘Online Community’
As you may know, a big part of SEO is getting links from other sites on the web. The simple way to explain it is that Google sees a link as a ‘vote’ for your website’s quality, and ranks you higher as a result of you having lots of quality ‘votes.’
If you’re completely new to SEO, getting these votes can seem very daunting, and going about it systematically can be a tough process to learn (this is where our monthly packages can help you out). However, the simplest way for an SEO newcomer to build a few links is to participate in online discussions.
Usually when you comment on a blog, you are allowed to link back to your website. Likewise, if you participate in online forums, you can put a link in your signature. Participating in these discussions in your market is a good way to build some healthy, natural links and get the ball rolling on higher rankings.
Want some more advanced, in depth SEO tips? Get in touch with us for a personalized analysis of your website.
Tom McSherry is the founder and chief strategist of Premium SEO NZ. Tom has been in the digital marketing industry for 8 years providing digital copywriting and optimisation services to businesses in New Zealand and around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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