For those of you who are unfamiliar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), let me explain briefly what it is.
Websites that are optimised for search engines appear higher in Google when people search the keywords they have optimised for. Each page on your website is generally specific to an audience that will use certain keywords to find you.
For example, when I search for short term loans while located in Christchurch, these are the results I am given:
The first 2 results are paid ads, followed by organic results – these positions are gained through SEO.
There are over 200 signals Google uses to rank your website, these signals are followed up by algorithms which penalise your site for doing the wrong thing.
Here’s a quick video from Matt Cutts explaining in more detail.
Now let’s get started with the strategies!
Use your keywords correctly
(This is assuming you have already created a list of keywords for each page to focus on)
When you’ve got keywords in certain places, they hold more weight when it comes to ranking. Reason being, Google will take more consideration when they are crawling and understand that you want to rank for these keywords.
The core placements for your keywords should be in the URL, page title and meta description. Although the meta description does not directly influence rank, Google will swap the content unless you have used the keyword in here – display the content you decided.
Mark-up of these keywords like this:
Appear like this when people search in Google:
After the core mark-up is done – include your keyword in the heading 1 tag like so <h1>Google AdWords Christchurch</h1>. The page title should be similar to your h1 title – this is the main heading of your page.
If you are using images on the page, make sure they have an alt tag which relates to the image and if relevant, a keyword. When it comes to the body content, make sure you are including synonyms around your core keyword, but be careful not to go overboard as too many keywords will have diminishing returns or may even result in a penalty.
Use Google’s Search Console to improve your website
This free service allows you to control and monitor the connection between your website and Google. As soon as your website is live, visit Search Console and verify your website.
You can then submit your sitemap for crawling, identify any errors like dead links, blocked pages etc and make the appropriate fixes.
Search analytics lets you see the exact search terms people have used to find your website, the position you appear, click through rate and impressions made. This is very useful when it comes to monitoring improvements or problem solving issues.
Quite often Google will have difficulties indexing URL parameters and deciding if the page is for filtering or should be treated as an individual page. Using the Search Console, you can specify which parameters mean what – saving your crawl budget and tidying your index.
Use Google My Business for Christchurch searches
My Business allows you to list your business on Google maps which is crucial for local SEO. Create your page with as much information as possible, for example:
- Phone number
- Business category
- Open hours
When people in Christchurch search for goods or services, more often than not they will see map listings showing the closest businesses to their location.
After you’ve created the listing, you can receive & respond to reviews, post content and make your listing stand out. When people search for your brand, you will also have an improved appearance in Google.
Get links to your website
Getting links is not an easy task, it’s also something which needs to be done correctly. You may have been offered services to buy or pay for links which is a bad idea as it can result in a penalty by Google’s Penguin algorithm.
Basically, there are two types of links you will see. Followed and Nofollow links, followed links are the default type which tell Google you want some sort of association or credit between each website. Nofollow links are used when there is an exchange of money involved or do not want to be associated.
Links on websites such as Yellow are a great start, you can include your address and phone number which is benefical for Christchurch searches. This is because an alternative, trusted website has also contained your address and phone number.
Make sure your website loads fast
Especially important on when users view your website on a mobile device. Not only is page speed a ranking factor, it’s part of the user experience – if your site is slow then people are likely to leave and take their business to your competitors.
Reducing your site speed can be done by:
- Minimising HTTP requests
- Using sprites instead of individual images
- Optimising image size
- Use a CDN for resources
- Minify CSS and JS files
- Reduce redirects
- Optimising image size
- Host your website on a fast server
If you check your page speed using Google’s free tool, you can also see ways to make improvements.
Use Google AdWords’ search terms
Google AdWords is not only a great way to improve your SERPs appearance, it contains the exact search queries users have typed to see your ad.
Create a keyword list around your category, then target Christchurch within the campaign settings.
You will then receive raw data of the language people are using when trying to find you, if a lot of people are using this term you should add it to your keywords for SEO and AdWords.
Show Google your website is active
Blogging is the most common way of creating fresh content, it’s a great way to maintain returning visits to your website and build an audience.
This can help SEO by showing Google your content is constantly updating and your ranking for new keywords. Your blogs can also generate links and shares if they contain useful content.
Youtube for search queries
Competition on Google is fierce, ranking is difficult for new websites and can take months. When searching for adwords christchurch I receive over 45,000 results in Google, yet searching this term in Youtube, there are only 248 results.
Now, not everyone will search in Youtube for AdWords, Google pulls the content from Youtube and will display it in the search results.
Include a link back to your website on the Youtube video for referral traffic, this method is great for Christchurch as there is a small amount of competition on Youtube.
There are plenty more strategies for improving your SEO in Christchurch, these are the main ones I believe are important.
Check out our SEO Services for packages for your business.