How to attract genuine traffic that converts.  

SEO is hard to get right, mainly because there are so many factors that influence where your website appears in the rankings at any one time.

That doesn’t mean you need to throw a lot of money at an SEO company though. In fact, that path often ends in frustration and failure.

Artificial intelligence has moved on in leaps and bounds over the past year or two and search engines now behave very much like customers. Rather than totting up keywords, tags and meta descriptions, they look for useful information, written in a clear and intelligent way.

Here are 7 ways to win at SEO and attract genuine traffic to your website.

1. Keep an eye on Google Analytics

Google Analytics can tell you useful information like what your customers are searching for on your website. It might be something you don’t even sell but if people are looking for it, perhaps you should. Where are they landing on your site? And where are they going next? What’s their journey and are they finding what they need? Next time you log into analytics, don’t worry so much about traffic numbers, concentrate on visitor behaviour instead.

2. Write for humans, not search engines

If you read our post about the 6 outdated SEO tactics people still use you'll know that the days of keyword stuffing are over. Websites used to have a page for every service – and every variation of that service. A website specialising in tables might have a page for dining tables, side tables, white tables, extending tables and every other kind of table under the sun. Now they need just one page about tables, with useful information or product data about their range, presented in a way that customers find easy to browse and navigate. The page title of that page may once have read: Dining Tables, Side Tables, Kitchen Tables | The Table Company. Now it’s much more likely to encourage clicks if it says: Hundreds of tables at low prices with free next day delivery and interest free credit. The more people click, the more search engines recognise this as a valuable page and push it up the rankings.

3. Bite size information

Infographics, short explainer videos and text broken down into headings and sub-headings is known as user friendly content. The information is easy to digest and more likely to be shared. Content doesn’t have to be short – in fact, search engines like more in depth articles with lots of information. It does need to be easy to read though, so break it down, separate it into sections and illustrate it with lots of visual content. How long should it be? 1,500 words would be ideal but if you can add some more authoritative white papers that are even longer, that’s even better. As long as it’s well presented, with plenty of headings, it will do wonders for your SEO.

4. Add internal links

Your website is a journey and when people land on your blog, this is an ideal opportunity to encourage them to stay on the site a while longer. If you have written about related topics, insert a link to lead people to that information. Link through to some of your other landing pages too, if appropriate, but as with all your SEO efforts, make sure you’re not being spammy. Never try too hard. Make it natural. The same goes for anchor text. If you want people to find more tables here then say so. Don’t force it by trying to use a keyword like family dining tables as your anchor text.

5. Be careful about keyword planning

When you’re planning your keywords it’s more important than ever to remember that your website is built for humans, not algorithms. If you are using a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find your keywords, you may be encouraged to use words with high search volumes.  Instead, take things back to basics. If your website was on a high street in the centre of town, what would you put in the window? When a customer walked through the door, what would you say to them? You know your customers better than any keyword tool. Think about what they might search for, why they might choose you and how you can help them find what they’re looking for. This exercise will provide you with more practical and powerful keywords than any search tool.

6. User experience

Before you even focus on your content and SEO, look at the way your website is set out. Is it easy for people to find what they want? Can they navigate through the site properly? If you were looking for one of your key services, what journey would you take through the site? Can anything be improved?

7. Load speed

How fast your website loads is a key factor in SEO, mainly because people will give up and go elsewhere if it takes too long to load.  There are a lot of things you can do to optimise load times. One of the main things that slows sites down is images. Optimise them by resizing them before adding them to your site so that you don’t have a gallery full of multi-megabyte image files slowing down your site. Another thing to look at is hosting. It’s worth paying for good hosting, especially if you have a large ecommerce site with peaks of traffic at certain times, such as during sales or following an advertising campaign.