SEO Advice for First Timers

SEO Advice for First Timers

Karen James -Founder and Director of Lilac James SEO


SEO can be difficult to understand and due to its ever changing nature, it can feel like a chore to keep up. Let’s start however with the basics – What is SEO?

SEO (also referred to as Search Engine Optimisation) is the way in which your business, brand, products and/or services are found on the internet. When someone uses Google to search for a need they have recognised, SEO enables companies to be found in the results that are listed.

Why not try it out for yourself. Search in Google now for something you need or try “SEO Agency Peterborough”. You’ll see that Lilac James are at the top of the organic listing section.

So what should you know? Here are our tips for getting your SEO right!

  1. Keywords

You need to understand what keyword your target market use in order to find you. Have a brainstorm between you and your colleagues and come up with a list. Don’t just stop there though ask you customers, after all they are the ones looking for you!

Once you have a list, use Google’s free Keyword planner tool to identify the search levels and competitiveness of those keywords. Once you understand how competitive your online market is and what keywords are best, you’ll be able to select the keywords you want to appear on your site.

  1. Where do the keywords go?

The keywords that you have chosen now need to be included in the correct sections of your website. You may have heard people talking about Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions and H1 headings. If you have great, as these are the locations where the keywords need to be included.

You must only select one keyword per page on your site. Then your keyword must appear at the beginning of your Meta Title. After this, you can include other related keywords and terms that describes what you are offering. Your Meta Description also needs to include your selected keyword but this can appear anywhere and broken up if necessary. One thing to bear in mind is, do not keyword stuff your Meta Titles or Meta Descriptions. This is a big no no in Googles eyes.

Make sure you get your key points in here about the services/products you provide as these two fields appear in the search results. This is the first impression if you like, it’s the information that is going to make people click through to your website.

  1. What about H1 Headings?

On each page there must be only one H1 heading. This can be a sentence, small paragraph or just a few words but it must contain your keyword.

  1. Page copy. How do I optimise that?

Page copy should be informative and of interest to you readers. Don’t write it just for the robots, write for the humans that will be visiting. Yes you need to include keywords here but only if they make sense. Once again, do not keyword stuff your copy, you’ll only get yourself penalised.

  1. What’s next?

Once all of your on page elements are fully optimised including but not limited to your Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions and H1 Headings, you need to start thinking about link building. You may have heard people dismissing this aspect of SEO. Some people have been penalised for not doing it right, others are paying someone to do it and nothing is happening. If done correctly, it can have an extremely positive effect on your rankings, gaining you the positions that have always seem impossible.

  1. How do I build links?

Link building is all about getting a link from another site back to your own. In order to do this you need to research what is out there. What you are looking for is websites that are relevant to you and your location. This is called “local link building”. You can also look for those that are just relevant to your company.

When you find a website that is relevant and local, you need to carry out a few checks. Is the website fresh, clean and well built? What information is on the site? Do they have a blog? Have they published information that is relevant to your company? Could you provide them with some information that will be of interest to their readers? Then you need to contact them. You can either provide them with an editorial piece or offer them a link back to your site where you talk about something which is similar to what they have already published about. Both of these require you to build a relationship with the website owner, something that is not easily done and requires hard work.

Another option is to find local directories which are relevant to your company. As long as they are of a high standard and quality, a link back from their site will help you. For example, we are members of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, because of this we can regularly publish on their blog about our business news.  We are also a member of the Opportunity Peterborough Bondholder Network. This allows us to post freely on a dedicated members’ portal to showcase our news, events and opinions to other companies, which is then further promoted by the organisation.

  1. Anything else?

Yes! As long as you provide products and/or services at a physical address or to a physical address, and that address is registered, you can set up a Google Places accounts. By telling Google this, you can be listed in the Google Places section of the search results. More and more customers are looking for a local supplier, so getting this right is a must if you want to be successful within your location.

A word of warning however, Google guidelines are very strict and sites operating outside of current recommendations can receive a Google penalty. SEO needs to be done correctly and in competitive arenas it should be considered a long term investment. If anyone contacts you promising page one positions in the short term – they lie!

Bio – SEO Advice for First Timers was written by Karen James, Founder and Director of Lilac James SEO based in St Neots. Lilac James is a member of Opportunity Peterborough’s Bondholder Network and provides free marketing consultations and SEO health checks.