SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of getting your website recognised more frequently when people perform searches in Google. Better SEO rankings mean you get seen by more people…and that’s a free way to increase traffic to your website.

There are 3 easy ways you can increase your SEO rankings: keywords, inbound links and local search listings.

  • Keywords
    The first thing you should do is write down all of the keywords associated with your business. Try to think like someone who needs your product or service, but doesn’t know where to go. What would they type into their search engine? If I was looking for a local plumber, I might type in “plumber Auckland CBD.” If I was searching for a reasonably priced website company, I might search for “cheap websites.” Try to determine all of the possible (intuitive) combinations you might get.
     
  • Inbound Links
    Inbound links build your reputation and credibility among search engines (and potential customers for that matter). These inbound links (often called backlinks) also allow search engines to more easily find you, rank you and get you on the search lists. Not all backlinks are created equal, however.
     
  • Local Search Listings
    If you provide products or services to local customers, a local search listing is a great way to increase your search engine exposure. When someone is looking for a local provider, Google will often send them to their local listings.

Gathering keywords for your website...

Definitely brainstorm all of the keywords associated with your business - make sure you think like a searcher e.g. someone looking for a plumber will search for 'plumber Auckland CBD', not the name of your company.

Once you have a good list, it’s time to put them to work for you. Search engines like to see your keywords in important places – places like the title (the text that appears in the browser tab at the top of your screen), headlines, sub-headlines and in the content, especially towards the top of the page.

The more keywords you use, the more search engines will take notice.

But be sure to integrate your keywords into readable sentences and avoid 'keyword stuffing'.  If you have a sentence of “Dalgety plumber plumbing Auckland toilet repair broken pipes New Zealand,” visitors to your website will not be impressed (and neither will the search engines, by the way).

Another good way to implement keywords into your website is by adding articles or other relevant pieces of content that are keyword rich. Search engines also love updated content, so don’t hesitate to add new articles regularly.

Inbound links build your reputation and credibility...

Inbound links build your reputation and credibility among search engines (and potential customers for that matter). These inbound links (often called backlinks) also allow search engines to find you more easily and rank you. Not all backlinks are created equal, however.

Links that come from legitimate websites are best. If you are linked from a very popular website e.g. NZ Herald - even better. But purchased links from 'link farms' might actually do more harm than good. It may sound daunting, but you can build a solid base of backlinks the right way if you are patient and consistent in your efforts. Just keep at it, always.

The first step is to set-up links from all of your own 'places' online. Your blog, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and any other social media should all include links to your website. When you post entries, include further links to your website e.g. an article you have written. When others 'share' these links by 'retweeting' or 'liking', you get exponential exposure.

You can also ask partners and affiliates to add links to their websites. It’s probably a good idea to return the favour too. Consider a section on your website that highlights the 'services I recommend'. This will not only help your SEO ranking, but it will increase your referrals too.

When possible, try to insert keywords into the anchor text (the text that acts as the link, such as click here or learn more). A keyword rich link might read 'The Auckland Plumber' or ' Web Design Business'. This will greatly increase your keyword credibility and skyrocket your search engine rankings.

A local search listing is a great way to increase your search engine exposure

If you provide products or services to local customers, a local search listing is a great way to increase your search engine exposure. When someone is looking for a localised provider, Google will often send them to their local listings.

To put your business on the map (literally), go to Google My Business. Cick on Start Now to enter your business details. Google will have to confirm your address with a phone call or a postcard sent to your address. Once confirmed, you’ll begin appearing in local searches… and your rankings will improve significantly.

Keywords, inbound links and local search listings are a great way to get your website recognised in organic (not paid or sponsored) searches.

And the best part? It’s totally free!