[last updated Jan 2017]

Basic SEOI’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve been asked to look at the SEO of a website only to find the same thing, A client who has worked with a web designer to create a lovely looking website only to be disappointed that it isn’t showing in the search results for any search term other than the domain name itself.

The client usually has done a bit of digging around before looking for a local SEO consultant and usually has a basic seo knowledge, grasp of meta tags and such like. At this stage the client often thinks that someone can simply perform SEO as if it’s a procedure and that the website will start to show in the search results. Those of you either in the SEO industry or with some deeper understanding of the complexities of search optimisation will know that it isn’t quite that easy.

Is Your Content Relevant?

Meta tags, page structure, correct use of H1, H2 titles are all parts of the puzzle but the biggest culprit that I see these days is simply lack of relevance and excessive use of trade bullshit. Allow me to explain further.

Relevance is something that i’ve already covered in a previous article so I wont go too much into detail on that here, What I see more and more however is a reluctance for businesses to use the search terms that their potential clients will use to find them.  Let me illustrate this for you and you’ll hopefully see what I mean.

What a normal person would search for

Cheap Cars

Orthopaedic Beds

Acrylic Nail Extensions

Garden Furniture

Trade Bullshit Equivalent

Affordable Vehicles

Adaptive Sleep Systems

Liquid & Powder Enhancements

Outdoor Living Equipment

 

You get the picture? It seems that a great number of businesses are intent on putting a top coat of gloss on everything in an attempt to add perceived value. In taking this approach they are actually reducing the relevance of their content and are failing to attract a large number of visitors to their website. There are ways to increase perceived value with good photography, listing features and benefits, using comparisons and displaying reviews.  Choosing to replace common search terms with glossy sales speak is suicidal, it goes against the most basic SEO principles.  See my article about honesty in marketing.

Keyword and Key Phrase Research Is Crucial To Basic SEO

One of the first things you should do when planning a new website or when embarking on an SEO campaign is to identify common search terms based on research. There are a number of ways I’d recommend to you, from looking at your competitors who are currently ranking, using the free Google keyword tool or if you’re serious then investing a few pounds in something like Market Samurai (click here for a free trial). I’ve tried a few and this is my weapon of choice. Not only will it identify search terms but will also allow you to see the competition for the search terms that are relevant to your particular business but will also allow you to filter out and target the phrases with little competition. Once you’ve established these relevant search terms you can then set about creating relevant and original content with these search terms woven in. In addition, you can plan your page Titles, menu items and your entire website structure with phrase targets in mind. This doesn’t mean you’ll stuff your pages full of the same keywords and phrases but instead will include them once or twice and if you write naturally you’ll also include as a matter of course, synonyms and associations that will both serve to engage your reader and send a clear signal to the search engines of what your website is about.  Use a blog to write additional articles and link internally whenever possible. Basic SEO isn’t that difficult, it’s 10% technical knowledge and 90% common sense.

The golden rule is simple – If it isn’t on the page, You wont rank for it in the search results. Click the button below for a free 30 day trial of the search phrase tool that I use.

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About 

SEO Geek, Web Designer and Online Marketing Advisor. Steve works with businesses of all sizes across the UK and blogs about small business, marketing, web design and SEO at http://stevegrady.org