We've been building websites and getting them on search engines for almost 10 years, and we've boiled all that experience down to five simple steps that don't require any technical knowledge.
1. Research your keywords
Don't make assumptions about what search terms people will use to find your website. For a small investment of time and as little as £10, you can find out which are the most popular terms for you to target.
Set up an account with Google Adwords, create a simple ad and add your keywords. You want to be a big fish in a small pond so choose specific keywords that will get you the most relevant customers. Create lots of variations by looking at competitor's websites, thinking of your own list, and using the "Keyword Tool" in your Google Adwords account. Examples for our website would be "web design cheltenham", "website design cheltenham", "web designers cheltenham".
Once your account has been running for a few days, look at the results and see how many "impressions" each keyword has generated. That's the number of times your advert has appeared, which is also the number of times someone has searched for that phrase. Use these results to create a top 5 or top 10 of your best search terms.
2. Write your content
You should be able to write a separate title, description and keywords for every page on your website (if you can't, ask your web developer why not). Don't just fill each page with keywords, but target a specific and different search term with each page. Use variations of this term in your search engine content and the body of the page itself. For example:
Title: Web design Cheltenham
Description: Web design company based in Cheltenham
Keywords: Web design services Cheltenham
Page heading: Web design Cheltenham
3. Submit to the search engines and free directories
Google should find your site if it's linked from elsewhere, or you can register with Google Search Console. Free directories include Scoot, Hotfrog, Central Index and Thomson Local (just make sure you get a website link as part of the free service). And you can register with social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to include a website link in your profile.
4. Submit to Google maps
When you use Google to find businesses in a specific location (like "web design in Cheltenham"), you may notice a small map with a list of seven results at the top of the page. If you're wondering how to get your own business on there, the good news is that it's easy and free.
Just search for Google Business and register - make sure you include your website address in the profile, and try to get customers to provide reviews.
5. Test the results
Make sure your work has paid off by carrying out a quick "before and after" review of your search engine ranking. Take your top 5 or top 10 list from step 1 and see where your website currently appears in Google (and other search engines if you want). Wait at least two months for your changes to take effect, and then run the same searches.
You can also use your hosting statistics package to see what search terms visitors to your site are using. And when you ask new customers how they found you, ask them what search term they used.
While these steps will help you get started, there are lots of other ways to improve your search engine ranking by hiring a professional agency to take your site to the next level. Other factors in your search engine presence include writing better code, improving the content of your pages, and getting links from other sites. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help.