So, you had a business idea and put it into action. You designed a website and now you need to get it indexed on search engines and bring in visitors. This is when the first SEO steps need taking into account. Search engine optimisation is required for any website to become a success.
First SEO steps: Your business and keywords
The very first thing you need to consider is the most important keywords for your business.
When considering your main keywords you need to think about what makes your business stand out in the sector. An example of this could be that you run a small food market in Sheffield. In this case, your main keywords could be “local market Sheffield”, “Sheffield local market”. If you specialise in locally grown vegetables you could have keywords such as “locally grown vegetables Sheffield” or “Sheffield local grown vegetables”.
The more unique your keywords are, the better the chance of your business standing out and ranking for those keywords.
Structure of your website
Website content counts for a lot in regards to the first SEO steps. However, there is more to consider than just the written content. The structure has to be considered too.
Any content on your site should be structured properly. This means the writing must have the main keywords scattered throughout. Keywords should also be in the headings, in the Meta description, the Meta title and sub-headings.
This provides structure to your content and the headings with keywords in them give Google an indication of what the content is about.
The keywords tell Google what search queries they should your content for when someone searches.
Use internal links in your content to connect pages
Google places linking high on their list, so one of the first SEO steps to take is to have strong internal links.
You do this by linking certain words in your content to other content on your site that relates. This helps Google to find out what the content is about and it is also good for those reading your content as it points them to relevant content. This helps people to remain longer on your site.
When linking, always make sure that you are linking to relevant content and avoid useless links that don’t need to be there.
Local first SEO steps to take
There are some local first SEO steps that you need to take for your website if you sell in a brick and mortar store.
You should take advantage of SEO directories along with social media platforms. Social media is a great platform to show off your website and the products offered. You should link your business blog to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Another great tool is Google My Business. This is an essential free tool to use to provide visitors with a map of your business, your address, your phone number and other vital information.
Once you have your information on Google My Business visitors will be able to see your business on Google Maps and leave comments and reviews. Reviews are great for SEO and visitors alike.
Going past those first SEO steps
While the above are some of the most essential first SEO steps there is much more to search engine optimisation. Going past the first steps you also have to consider the following:
- Analytics and reports
- Mobile-friendly SEO
- Sitemaps and Robots txt
- Indexing and crawling
- Technical SEO.
Web analytics and reporting
An essential part of any SEO strategy is accurate reporting. This is essential as analytics tell you how well or poor your website is doing.
Google search console is a great way to start getting your website indexed. You make an account and upload your sitemap.xml to the site. The robots will then crawl your site and the sitemap and find your posts and pages and index them. You can keep a track of what pages and posts have been indexed, what posts and pages are viewed most and which keywords people searched for online.
Is your website mobile friendly?
Google puts a lot of emphasis on mobile-friendly websites and it scans your website mobile-first. This means your website has to look good and read well on mobile devices. The reason for this is that more people are using the internet on mobile devices.
You will get a warning if the text is too small to read on mobile devices or if you have clickable items too close together.
If you use WordPress as the basis for your site you can easily see what your site looks like in the dashboard under customise.
You should also use a theme that adapts to different devices, so it changes the images size and font size based on the device you are using to browse the internet.
Sitemaps and Robots.txt
Your sitemap and robots.txt are valuable parts of your website. The sitemap provides information for search engines making it easier for them to know what your site and content are all about. All of the pages and posts on your website are shown in your sitemap.xml. This can be uploaded to your Google Search console.
The Robots.txt tells search engines what they can and cannot index. For instance, if you run your site on WordPress you won’t want your admin area listed on search engines. You can tell the search engines not to index this.
An easy way to generate a sitemap for your website is the WordPress plugin All in One SEO aka AIOSEO.
Technical SEO is well past the first SEO steps and is perhaps best left in the hands of professionals.
The technical side of search engine optimisation is anything related to the technological aspects of your website. This could be the speed of your website, which is important, the design and anything that is not related to on-page or off-page SEO.
Backlinks are another important aspect of your website. Backlinks are links that appear on other people’s sites that link to content on your site.
Any backlink on other sites must be on a site of high quality and that site should be related to what you offer. For instance, if you offer pet products you should not have backlinks on websites selling flowers.