In 2022, building an SEO-friendly website should be relatively easy.
The majority of popular website CMS systems are either SEO-friendly off-the-shelf or can be relatively easily configured to be SEO-friendly.
In this article, we look at what you need to know to ensure your next website is an SEO powerhouse.
We feel confident that if you read this article you will have a good idea of how to approach building an SEO-friendly website. However, if you need some help or would rather just talk to a human about your objectives then by all means drop a comment below or get in touch.
An SEO-friendly website is a site that Google can understand.
There are various steps here, but the main ones would be:
Technical SEO plays a part here in that the site has to follow best practices, but in 2022 most common small business website platforms should have reasonable technical SEO off-the-shelf. Typically, you can then improve the technical SEO with plugins for your chosen platform.
For structure, the filing cabinet analogy is useful:
This is a simple way to think about things, but if you can clearly describe your business like this then mapping this out in an SEO-friendly way gets much easier.
If Google then crawls your site and infers meaning from the structure then you are well on your way.
If your site then has the basic SEO elements optimised:
Technical SEO features that are useful include:
If you have all the above then you will have a site that is technically SEO-friendly.
You will, of course, have to then optimise the site to ensure that everything is well-structured and well-optimised, but the foundational pieces should be in place.
In most cases, you will not build your own site.
So, you want to work with a web design company that understands digital marketing and SEO.
You want a partner that understands SEO-friendly web design so they can help structure a site that is optimised around your goals.
Here you are looking for a company that can:
You are looking for a web developer that is not only technically astute with SEO and web design, but one that can develop a clear map of your business and then use this to structure your website.
You will then have a site that clearly maps your business to search and the digital marketing landscape.
This one should be easier to answer.
There is no shortage of compelling SEO statistics out there.
The nutshell here though is this:
If you are not visible on the major search engines, you are missing out on the majority of business opportunities out there.
You are making life easier for your competitors and basically treading water until the time when you are muscled out of business by the companies that took SEO seriously and built an SEO-friendly website.
That may sound a little brutal but tough love is warranted sometimes.
Ignore SEO at your peril.
SEO can be complicated.
Fortunately though, in 2022, many of the most popular website platforms out there are SEO-friendly.
Building your site using an SEO-friendly platform ensures you have a good starting point for your SEO.
Content management systems like WordPress or cloud systems like Shopify are SEO-friendly off-the-shelf.
These platforms, particularly WordPress, are further improved by many free SEO plugins that simplify optimisation.
Even more technical platforms, like Magento 2.0, are supported by SEO plugins to ensure the sites are technically well-optimised.
This is a little tougher to answer and it largely depends upon your unique situation.
It is important to choose a platform that supports your business and for that platform to be SEO-friendly.
To simplify this, I will grade the most popular CMS systems by how SEO-friendly they are.
* bespoke sites can be SEO-friendly, but the potential for problems is way higher and the developer will need to be up to speed with SEO best practices for developers (link below).
Websites are expensive to do well.
They take time, money, and effort, also known as blood, sweat, and tears.
It then never fails to amaze me that after investing all of these resources, businesses scrimp on web hosting.
Your super-optimised site will fall flat if it is running on slow, insecure web hosting.
We covered this in more detail here: How Important Is Web Hosting For SEO?
In a nutshell, though – good hosting can give you an SEO competitive advantage.
Fast, secure sites are a great user experience – this is good SEO.
Building an SEO-friendly website has a few moving parts.
You need to start with a platform that is technically SEO-friendly and able to be well-optimised – WordPress, Shopify, etc.
You then need to create a map of your business and structure the pages on your site in a way that clearly represents your business.
You then need to optimise the basic SEO page elements on the site (page titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags, etc).
You need to ensure your copy is well-written and sensibly optimised so it will convert clicks to customers.
Finally, use high-quality hosting as this can be a competitive difference-maker.
How SEO-friendly is your website?
Unsure how SEO-friendly your website is? Get in touch to get a free SEO audit and learn the top 5 things you can do to improve your website SEO today.
References and further reading
There are three key components to successful banner advertising with the Google Display Network (GDN):
In this article, we will look at how you can effectively target your ads so that they show to the right people at the right time.
Summary of the two levels of targeting:
– Campaign level (location, languages, budget)
– Ad group level (interests, behaviour, demographics)
You can narrow location targeting down to individual towns, cities, and countries. You can also exclude locations, for example, if you don’t want to target a particular city (maybe because of a competitor or you do not deliver to that area) then you can exclude them.
You can tailor your ads towards a language (e.g. if particular geography is diverse and you want to target all demographics).
Once you have determined the campaign settings and your budget, you can then begin to narrow down your reach at the ad group level. This includes breaking down targeting to your audience segments, demographics, search terms your audience may use, the topics they look at, and the websites they may visit.
By targeting audiences from the audience segment, you can narrow down your audience based on:
So, for example, here I am targeting people who have a bachelor’s degree, are business professionals, are looking for people interested in search engine marketing services, and have recently started a business.
Here you can narrow down your audience based on their gender, age, and parental status. For example, you can target mothers aged between 35-44.
You can also target people based on the search terms they use. For example, you can add certain search terms and phrases that they may use when it comes to looking for products and services that you offer. Examples of this can include ‘digital marketing for beginners’, ‘what is SEO?’ and ‘how do you do Google Ads?’.
This then means that your ads can show up on sites that contain these keywords. For example, if I was doing an ad for an SEO agency, my ad could feature on blog posts that talk about SEO.
When you are segmenting based on topics, your ad can show on any site with relevant content on there.
Using the example of SEO, my ad could show on websites that discuss certain topics, such as advertising & marketing, general marketing, etc.
A final way you can target your ad is based on certain websites and videos on YouTube. These websites are all part of the Google Search Network. These websites are Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, and YouTube.
When adding targeting you have the option to narrow your audience or to observe your audience.
For instance, you may show ads to:
This narrows the audience so only those at the intersection of each of those targeting segments will see your advert.
Alternatively, you could show your ads to:
You could then observe those between 18 and 25 and those interested in wedding dresses to see how those segments engage.
Typically, you will want to create a narrow audience to begin with so you are targeting the right people. You may then want to observe segments of that audience:
You will then be able to see how these three geographic observation segments perform.
Content exclusions allow you to prevent your ads from being shown on certain websites, videos, or apps that may not be appropriate for your business.
In Google’s Display Network you may not want to show your ad on certain websites and choose to exclude your ads for the following reasons:
So, for the example of an SEO ad, I may not wish to have the ad shown on websites where the user has to scroll down the webpage to see the ad, so I would apply the ‘content which is below the fold’ exclusion option.
You can now personalise your ads to audiences based on their demographics, interests, and whether they have interacted with your website in the past.
The benefits of this include being able to show content that is more relevant and valuable to your audience, higher engagement with the target audience than non-personalised ads, and increased likelihood of previous customers repeating purchases.
By using targeted ads, your audience will resonate with your ads a lot more than if they were generic ads. This is because targeted ads contain messaging, content, and products that are more valuable and relevant to that specific customer.
By using targeted ads, you are able to maximise each ad’s performance by showing them to relevant audiences. Un-targeted ads could lead to you wasting resources by showing a generic ad to audiences that are not interested in your product.
What’s more, by using targeted ads, you can reduce the amount of effort you need to use when it comes to finding potential audiences and getting them to interact with your brand.
A final benefit of using targeted ads is that you can maximise the data Google provides you with. For example, Google provides you with information about your audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviours.
This means that you can target your audiences in a way that is likely to convert and, therefore, reduces your spending on users that are not going to convert.
If you have read this post and would like to use targeted ads as part of your digital strategy, but are unsure how to get started, contact Bowler Hat today. At Bowler Hat, we are a Google Premier Partner, so you are in trusted hands. We can also create Google Ads that will capture your audience and turn them into loyal customers.
Understanding how well your local business ranks on Google is a crucially important part of your SEO and digital marketing.
However, getting reliable ranking data for local businesses from the majority of tools out there is difficult.
In fact, we would argue that most ranking data may be giving you a misleading and artificially high opinion of your rankings.
In this post, we will show you why most local ranking data is so flawed and how to get better ranking data that you can use to improve your visibility and marketing.
Free Rank Report – looking for an expert view on your rankings? Get in touch for a free rank report for your 5 top keywords from multiple postcodes across the geographic area you serve. Give me my rank report please.
There are many tools out there that will help you check how well your business ranks locally.
Typically, you enter your keywords and your address and the tool searches Google from that location and outputs your rankings.
Most agencies will also offer a similar kind of rank tracking service to let you know how well things are going.
You are ranking in the 3 pack and in the organic results – great.
So what is the problem?
The problem? Rankings change by location
For local businesses, Google will factor in many variables but the official Google documentation focuses on three key areas:
Relevance – easy enough, you have to be relevant for the search query.
Prominence – you need to be popular and have a good reputation.
So far so good. This is all standard SEO stuff.
This is where things get interesting for local businesses looking to check their rankings.
Distance has two key factors:
In a nutshell, the further away from your business a customer is, the less likely they are to see you.
You Google your keywords in your office and it looks great.
Maybe you have a rank report, but this is likely run from your location so again it looks great.
Move a mile down the road and it may be a completely different story.
If you cover a larger area like a city, then by the time you have moved a mile or two you may not be on the page at all.
This is a problem.
You have an artificially high idea of your rankings.
Sure, there are lots of ways to check your rankings, but, unless you factor in distance by checking rankings across the geographic area you target then you don’t really have any idea how well you rank.
The solution to this problem is simple – you check your rankings at various points across your target geography to get a much clearer picture.
SEO – local rankings across Birmingham
One of our biggest keywords is simply “SEO”.
This grid shows how we rank from our location and then in 0.5-mile points across our target geography (central Birmingham, UK).
Central to our location we do well with lots of 1st and 2nd place rankings.
North West of our location in the area known as the Jewellery Quarter we don’t do so well. There is a big office complex here with several other SEO companies that likely has an impact and Google is showing competitors who are closer to the location the search was conducted from.
SEO Agency – local rankings
Now this one is more interesting.
From our location, we are 1st for “SEO Agency” – great.
However, move away from our location just half a mile and we are not in the top 3 so we have a problem in those locations.
We clearly don’t do well for this term on a local basis. Now, we are not too concerned, as we are not a typical local business and the majority of our work comes from outside our location.
However, if you are a traditional local business then this information is hugely valuable.
Once you know your strengths and weaknesses you can refine your SEO strategy.
You can work on building local rankings in the areas where you are not so strong.
You can supplement your local and organic visibility with some Google Ads ensuring you are visible in those locations where your local rankings are not so strong.
Armed with a realistic overview of your rankings you can now ensure your search marketing strategy is on point.
In 2022 Local Search results are highly competitive.
To ensure you maximise your sales and lead generation you need to have a clear view of how you rank over your target area.
Then, you can focus your Local SEO efforts to improve your weaker locations.
You can also supplement any SEO with other tactics like Google Ads.
If you have any questions please drop a comment below or get in touch.
Free Local Ranking Grid
Want to know how your business ranks? Supply us with your location, the area you target and your 5 most important keywords and we will run you a customised rank report today. Knowledge is power! Request your free local rank report.