SEO – search engine optimisation – is the art of optimising your website (and online content) to meet the necessary search engine ranking factors. Why? Because the more your website ticks these ranking factors, the higher you will appear in search engine results. 
Sounds simple, doesn’t it; but putting SEO into action is enough to send most people running for the hills. The problem is that if your website and content aren’t optimised in today's online digital world, your online presence will be severely impacted. So, what can you do to ensure you are an SEO winner this Easter? 

Why is SEO important?  

Let’s clarify why SEO is so important for companies and organisations, particularly small businesses. Anybody that wants information of any sort or is asking a question will head to a search engine first, such as Google. 
That search engine uses algorithm bots to search the entire internet for the pages – including your website – that best match the search query. It calculates the best match based on a series of ranking factors, of which Google has over 200. The bots will then categorise all the pages that match their ranking criteria according to the most qualified; they appear on page one of the search engine results. 
Now, bearing in mind that 68% of users’ online experiences start with a search engine, you get a good idea of why SEO is so important. Here are our SEO recommendations that you should focus on in 2023. 

Internal linking 

Adding hyperlinks to other pages on your website is a bit like upselling; it is a powerful way to boost SEO performance. Google’s bots look for hyperlinks, and they are considered to add value to a page. It also informs Google on the site structure, i.e. pointing out pages on your website that are relevant to each other. Another benefit is that hyperlinks guide users to pages relevant to their search query, and they’ll stay on your website longer. 
However, there are some do’s and don'ts for hyperlinks: 
● Only link to relevant pages because if you don’t, not only do you lose a visitor quickly, you’ll also confuse Google. 
● Don’t add too many hyperlinks, or it may disrupt the flow of your website and put off users. 
● Use anchors that are keyword rich as it adds details for Google and verifies the link between the two pages. 
● Avoid using internal redirects, as this will slow down the loading speed of your website. 

Do your market research 

An important step is ensuring you’ve been thorough in your market research. For example, who are your main competitors? Who is your target audience, and what are they looking for from your product/service? What is the average pricing in the marketplace? Compare your products/services to your competitors and determine where and how yours differ. Look at how your competitors market their products/services. Consider their branding and get insights into product/service features. 

Metadata and page titles are crucial 

Of all the top rankings pages, 25% don’t have meta descriptions. When search engine bots crawl the internet, one of the first things they will see is the page titles and the meta description. You could have the most relevant website to a search query, but if you don’t add meta/page titles and meta descriptions, Google will pass you by for a company that does. 
Make sure your meta information is: 
● Descriptive, so users and bots know what that page is about and that it matches what they’re looking for. 
● Use words that engage and connect with users and bots, encouraging them to take action. 
● Add your main keyword(s), particularly if they are likely to be used in a search query. 
● Don’t forget to optimise your URLs and ensure they aren’t too long. 

Refresh existing content 

Google aims to “deliver the most relevant and reliable information available” to its users. The more up-to-date your content is, the more likely Google will continue to rank your pages. 
After six months or so, your content will have been trawled and viewed so often that it will lose relevance. This means your pages reach a point where they are no longer ranking in search queries. In many cases, all it needs is a refresh, so: 
● Focus on the pages that are losing traffic first and (a) check if all the content is still accurate and relevant and (b) incorporates the correct keywords and phrases. 
● Identify any gaps in your content. Look at your competitor’s sites and see what they’ve included that you may not have done, such as imagery or topics you’ve not talked about. 
● Add hyperlinks to relevant pages. 
● Add a modified date so that Google and users know when you updated the content, then share the new content on social media and directory profiles. 

Check your backlinks  

External links are an important ranking factor, but if you are linking outside your website to other authoritative sites, it’s important to check that all your backlinks are working as they should be. The other site won’t tell you if they take down a page you are linking to; that’s down to you to find out. 
This means a user may well click a link and be presented with a 404 error page – that’s a lost potential customer and an unhappy Google. So, identify any broken backlinks and either replace them with another page, implement a 301 redirect to a different page or delete the backlink completely. You can use various online tools to find broken links, like SEMrush, Click Intelligence and Moz. 

Optimise featured snippets  

Featured snippets are those bits of information that Google displays at the top of the search results page. The snippet aims to give the user sufficient information about their query without the user having to click through to the website. 
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Google will choose your snippet to feature at the top of the page, but if you haven’t got a snippet ready and waiting, your company certainly won’t be featured. Ensure you include the relevant keywords and phrases, particularly those that are part of a question, and give short, precise, clear answers – about 50-75 words is best. 
Now’s the time to prepare for the Easter rush by optimising your website for SEO purposes and stand out from the crowd. 
At It’seeze Twickenham, we specialise in designing and creating fully SEO-optimised professional websites. Our affordable website packages include ongoing expert support, making an It’seeze website the ideal choice for start-ups and small businesses in the Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston areas. Call us today to create a website that turns your business into an online success. 
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