If you have a business or product that you sell then you probably have a website - but how can you make that website stand out from the thousands of others being created every single day?
With 67,000 Google searches every second you need to be able to boost your own Google Rankings - your SEO (search engine optimisation) is absolutely vital to be able to build trust between Google and your brand, helping to ensure that your website is at the top of the list when someone searches for keywords connected to what it is that you do.
SEO can be a bit of a minefield - and there are a lot of conflicting views on how to do it well, but essentially the best way to rank highly in Google searches (other search engines are available. They suck, but they are available...) is to create great, relevant content which people enjoy.
Sounds easy! So why are so many people getting it so wrong?
Perhaps they aren't - perhaps you're writing fantastic articles, including really superb, relevant images, with video content edited to a fab standard coming out the wazoo - but still, people aren't finding it - so if you know the content you're creating is already top notch (or at least always improving, and ought to be being better received) what more can you do?
One place that most people let themselves down without even realising it's happening is two little behind the scenes areas; Alt text and H1 tags.
What are Alt text and H1 tags!?
Alt text is the little descriptor that you add to any images you input; most people skip this step when they post images to their websites, because there's an image right there so why do you need to describe it?! Well - this is something Google checks for, and not only will it help your website to score more highly for SEO, it will also (and this is the real purpose) add a description when someone loads in text only - which happens when the internet connection isn't great, or deliberately in some cases, so they can 'see' what they're missing - and that description helps when visually impaired people browse websites, because it tells them what that image shows as the website is read aloud through their preferred web browsing technology.
These Alt text descriptors should therefore be descriptive; let's show an example:
This image of a shrugging emoji could just be labelled "shrugging emoji" but that doesn't really tell the full story, does it? I wrote "pale skinned woman with dark hair and brown eyes shrugging to show confusion" and that gives a much better idea, if you can't actually see the image, of what it shows.
I spent a full week recently adding Alt text to every single one (2,250 images, roughly) of the images on a client's website - none of which had been tagged when they were uploaded - to boost their SEO rankings. It took a very long time which is why you should try to do it as and when you add any image to your page - I know, I know, it's a ballache, it takes time - but it doesn't take anywhere near as long as it does to fix the gaps later!
The other really easy fix is H1 tags; these are your headings, incorporated in the body of text on every page. In an ideal world every website page will have a heading and subheadings (H2, H3 etc) and these will be standardised across your website for continuity - so your customers see the same styling on every page. These headings help Google's little digital bots which run around your website to identify what your content is discussing, how relevant it is to the keywords being used, and how well those headings are describing your content. The more accurate this is, the higher you'll score in their searches, and the more likely it is that you'll hit the top of the page when people search for your keywords.
The last tip that I have for you is to use long-tail keywords and headings - so, as with the description for the images, properly explain what you mean. A title which says "SEO tips" - which will be the same as thousands of other articles - won't be as easy to find in a search as one which says "easy SEO boosters for small business promotion" (see what I did there!) which is answering a more specific question - and is more likely to be searched for by your target audience.
My next article will cover some tips for identifying the best keywords to include for your industry, and how to use the right hashtags on social media; let me know if you've found this helpful, and how long it's taken you to add your Alt text!
(If you aren't sure how to do this, click through on your website's dashboard to your media library - switch from image view to list view, and there will be a box there you can input your Alt text into nice and easily, without having to click into each image individually - which would make an already arduous task horribly painful!)
Don't forget to download your April content ideas list - there's still a lot of month to go, and I know how exhausting it can be thinking up new ideas to write about when you're trying to stay on top of everything else!
For the more organised among us, the May content ideas calendar is now ready to download too, so grab your copy and get planning!