Business Technology

Four smart ways to improve organic SEO rankings

4 min read

05 April 2016

There are two main digital marketing approaches that an SEO agency will use to help you to increase your page rankings, reach your audience and grow your business online – pay-per-click (PPC) and organic search engine optimisation (SEO), the latter of which we’re going to guide you through.

Both approaches have their rewards but the distinct advantage organic SEO has over PPC, aside from the fact that it’s free, is that optimised, editorial content is more trusted by consumers than paid ads.

Research shows that the “average SEO-engaged brand” enjoyed a 19.8 per cent uplift in year-on-year site traffic in 2014 compared with just nine per cent for PPC, which increased conversions by 27 per cent to 40 per cent.

Every business should be incorporating an organic SEO strategy into their online marketing mix and if you choose to handle your online marketing yourself, here are four smart ways you can improve your page rankings:

(1) Keywords

Keywords are simply the search terms that consumers use to find you online, but developing a list of the most popular terms is only the beginning. Those keywords need to be embedded throughout your site including the domain name, page URLs and titles, meta-descriptions and content.

However, be aware that keywords should be deployed carefully. Google is incredibly sophisticated and able to recognise when keywords are being manipulated to increase rankings and will penalise sites for using “keyword stuffing” or “black hat” tactics.

Tip: Identify the best keywords for your business with Google’s free Adwords Keyword Planner.

Debunking five common SEO myths small businesses may be following

(2) Content

Search engines want to keep their users happy and that means providing them with search results that are relevant and lead to reputable companies; preparing content for your audience comes first, fine-tuning it with SEO keywords comes second.

To secure high rankings, every piece of content on your site from blogs to infographics should be informative, relevant, interesting and updated regularly.

This applies to every post associated with your business and that includes social media. By utilising social media platforms, you can extend reach, establish your market authority and increase rankings.

Tip: Google recognises identikit pieces of content and penalises sites for using them by reducing their rankings. Never duplicate your content or plagiarise anyone else’s.

Continue reading on the next page for understanding where responsive design and monitoring fit into your organic SEO agenda.

Image: Shutterstock

(3) Responsive design

The number of web users who rely on smartphones to access the internet has grown so rapidly that they are now the number one device for shopping online and Google reward mobile-friendly sites with positive search result rankings.

Tip: Mobile-friendly sites have been responsively designed to adapt to the screen size of individual users so if yours is not responsive, it’s time to upgrade.

The five-step beginner’s guide for SMEs to start mastering SEO

(4) Monitoring

The right SEO strategy can take a lot of refining to get right, so monitoring the impact of any changes you make is vital. With a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t, you’re in a strong position to fine tune your SEO strategy for success.

Tip: Make use of a variety of analytics programmes to monitor the impact of your SEO.

Any business owner can take steps to improve their organic rankings with SEO, but search engines like Google regularly change their algorithms and extensive page ranking criteria which will impact on any strategy you put in place.

The Apprentice winner Mark Wright, founder of digital marketing agency Climb Online,  provided Real Business his thoughts on Google’s AdWords update in March – here’s what you need to know.

Sophie Elsender is a digital marketing & PR executive at digital marketing agency Yoma