are your seo efforts helping your marketing campaignThere’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of search engine marketing, with plenty of agencies and gurus out there telling you that their approach to SEO is the only one that is really going to improve your rankings. But the reality is that SEO is a dynamic and uncertain field. The only way you’re going to succeed with your SEO efforts is by performing your due diligence and partnering with a seasoned SEO specialist who knows the ropes.

If you’re currently reviewing your site’s search engine optimisation, here are five key areas to look at:

1. Give Plenty of Attention to On-Page Optimisation

This is the cornerstone of any successful SEO campaign, and it’s easy to write off as obvious or amateurish, but the reality is that far too many website operators come up lacking in terms of their on-site SEO. If you’re taking inventory of your SEO efforts, this is where to begin.

When we talk about on-page SEO services, what we’re really talking about is optimising the content and HTML source code of a page so that it ranks higher for a given keyword or phrase. By doing your research and jumping through the right hoops, you can ensure that users looking for products or services like yours will be able to find them.

This begins with solid keyword research. You need to be confident of two things:

  • What search terms are users likely to enter when searching for products or topics related to your business?
  • Which of these search terms are your competitors not giving much (or enough) attention to?

Well-executed keyword research will reveal which semantic terms you should be targeting in order to increase traffic to your website. A qualified and experienced SEO specialist can help you with this discovery process.

2. See to the Structure of Your Site

Every bit as important as on-page optimisation for each page on your website is the site’s overall structure. The navigation process should be intuitive and as painless as possible. Poor navigation leads to a poor user experience, and the big search engines are aware of this. The last thing they want to do is recommend your site to users with the knowledge that those users are going to be frustrated by the experience and ultimately leave the site.

Good site structure begins with a visual sitemap. You may want to try using cards to organise your site structure. Each card represents a page on the site, and you can organise this into a hierarchy to determine which pages are parents of others and which lead into each other.

And if you didn’t properly organise your website from the outset, it’s even more important to go through and perform an audit now. Navigation should be easy enough that your most important pages are no more than three clicks from the homepage. Beyond this, eliminate orphan pages, broken links and redirectors.

3. Improve Your Website’s Accessibility

Search engines are sensitive to your site’s accessibility. In fact, a site with low accessibility could actually be penalised in the search rankings. Start with your website’s robots.txt, which allows search engine ‘spiders’ to crawl your site and take inventory of what’s on each page.

Next up, you also need to ensure that your site is mobile friendly. Google has made no secret of its mobile-first philosophy. If your site is not easily accessed or navigated on a mobile device, then it’s not going to fare as well in the search listings as it could. But even without Google’s affinity for mobile, the sheer fact that more users access the Internet through a mobile device than through any other platform means your site’s mobile friendliness should take priority.

Finally, you’ll also want to find and fix any 404s (page not founds) on your site. When users encounter dead links like this, they’re much more likely to bounce and look for another site. Making your site more accessible is yet another task that’s best left to the professionals. Find yourself a developer or digital agency that can help you complete this overhaul quickly, efficiently and correctly.

4. Take Care of Site Tags

This is most important for larger sites that, for example, have content posted in multiple languages or divisions in multiple countries. Even so, smaller operations are still wise to take care of their site tags. There are several different types of tags to use with your content.

Let’s start with a specific HTML tag called ‘hreflang’. This tag lets search engine web crawlers know what language your content is published in. Generally speaking, a web crawler can determine this on its own, but it never hurts to tell it explicitly. This can also help when you have content posted in semantically similar (but ultimately different) languages – such as British English and North American English. Getting this right ensures users from the right geographical region are being served the right content.

Secondly, canonical tags tell search engines which version of your content takes precedence (i.e. is canonical). When you have backlinks going to different versions of the same content, the search engines will count all of these links toward the ranking of the single, canonical page.

5. Focus on Local SEO in Australia

Search engine optimisation is an increasingly localised endeavour, due in no small part to Google’s increased focus on serving localised results to users. But this also makes sense from a marketing standpoint – especially if you have a bricks and mortar shop, but even if you are targeting customers in a specific geographic area.

Local SEO in Sydney (and elsewhere in Australia) came to the forefront back in 2014, when Google’s ‘Pigeon’ update went live. Ideally, you want to find an SEO specialist who understands local SEO and has been focusing their techniques on this phenomenon in the years since.

Hiring an SEO company to help you stay on top of these issues is wise. By keeping up with the latest developments in this dynamic industry, you’ll have a better chance of beating out your competitors.