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Website visibility: Understanding SEO and why it matters

Attend to three main areas of SEO to boost the visibility of your website, encourage additional traffic & then convert to sales

It’s second nature for most of us to use Google searches to access information, whether purchasing, searching suppliers or staying up to date with the latest events.

We’ve become so adept at Googling, and Google so clever at responding, that we now ask specific questions to narrow down the results.  We’re less likely to Google “accommodation Gold Coast” and more likely to ask for “budget family accommodation on the beach at Burleigh”

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The flipside of this of course, is that you need to ensure that Google understands the audience that your website is trying to capture.

Search results generally present a plethora of choices.  Generally, paid results appear first, but savvy searchers tend to look past those to organic results. Analytics show that the first five organic search results on Google generate more than 67% of the clicks, so your aim is to appear on the first page in the organic results.

Search engines use bots to crawl selected pages on the web and index them according to their content.  They then assess the page according to complex algorithms that consider a multitude of ranking factors, and index it. 

Think of it as Google creating a giant library. 

Crawling the pages adds them to the library.  Indexing them helps Google understand the subject matter and decide where they should be filed within the library.

The visibility of your website really amounts to how easy it is to find that particular “book” amongst the bazillions that Google has indexed, so that it is offered up in the relevant search results.  Your success in a search depends on whether Google deems that your “book” matches the searcher’s intent.  If it believes it is relevant it will be served up in the results. The more it is seen, the more potential visitors you have and the more opportunities to secure a sale.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) simply put, is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility in search results so that you have a better chance of attracting more visitors to your website.

1. Focus on on-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the practice of optimizing elements within your website to rank higher and gain more traffic from Search Engines.

Create quality content, including blogs, descriptions, images and explanations, that relate to your property or the experience your guest can expect. Content should always be high quality and should be created with a focus on providing true value to your clients. It should be relevant, accurate and unique. 

Research your Keywords and create a list of the relevant topics and terms that you want to rank for.  Use your keywords in this content a maximum of 2 or 3 times per page and only where they make sense. “Keyword stuffing” for the sake of it has a negative impact on your ranking. 

It is important that you think about how your target market will search for you.  Understand the specifics that they might be looking for.  The terms and language that your target market uses when searching may be some of the keywords you should try to rank for.  Don’t forget to target those long-tailed keywords that may be easier to rank for, like “accommodation on the beach at Burleigh”. 

Help Google understand and classify your content by ensuring it’s accessible and easy for the bots to crawl. Optimize all the elements that appear on a page and make their relationship clear, including headlines, page titles and images. Your H1 (main heading), first paragraph and subheadings should reference keywords. Make sure images also have alt-tags to describe them so that search engines can understand the content of your images.  Include effective meta-descriptions that describe your page’s content, relevant URLs to the topic and add a title tag. Have internal links to other appropriate pages on your website when they are relevant.

All of this may sound complex, however, using an on-page SEO checker will scan the pages you create, check the SEO requirements and highlight any issues that need to be attended to.

2. Off-page SEO matters too

Off-page SEO relates to actions taken off your website to increase your visibility. 

Creating a Google My Business listing and keeping it updated provides Google with another source of information about your business and creates a separate online identity for your business.  As a verified listing, the details provided are authenticated and given credence.

If you create quality content, people will want to share it.  The links to your content that are created from other sites (called backlinks) are very highly regarded by Google.  If others recognize you as an authority in your field, chances are that Google will see you that way too.  Backlinks from reputable sites are very effective in increasing your ranking.

Google E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.  When demonstrated in your content and in the recognition given to that content by others, these qualities add credibility to your site and Google subsequently ranks it higher.

Likewise, your own social media accounts, whilst not impacting your ranking on their own, provide opportunities to share content that may then be on-shared, and increase your reach.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to making sure your website is easy to crawl and index.  It doesn’t matter how good your content is if your Google can’t find and index your pages because your website isn’t up to the task.

It is imperative that your website is fast to load, is optimized for mobile devices and is structured in a way that is easy to navigate. Links on your site need to work effectively. You also need to make sure that you don’t have duplicate or plagiarized content.

Ideally, use structured data on your site. 

This means data is displayed in a fixed format that is easy for search engines to find and understand.

Last, and by no means least, it is vital that your site is secure.  Implement HTTPS on your site to ensure that no one can intercept data sent between the browser and the site and hold a current SSL certificate.  Secure websites rank much better than those without security precautions.

Attending to these three main areas of SEO will boost the visibility of your website and encourage additional traffic which you can then convert to sales.

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