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Former Google trainer shares tips for search engine success

There is a misconception that SEO simply means adding keywords into your online content to boost you up the search engine rankings.

Research shows disinformation about climate change is common online
Research shows disinformation about climate change is common online - Copyright AFP ISSOUF SANOGO
Research shows disinformation about climate change is common online - Copyright AFP ISSOUF SANOGO

Too many companies are treating SEO – search engine optimisation – as an optional add-on, when it should be at the heart of their approach to winning business online. This is the opinion of the ROAR Digital Marketing Managing Director, Michael Knowles, a former Google trainer and innovator in the world of online search marketing.

In a statement provided to Digital Journal, Knowles says: “So many companies put huge amounts of time and investment into their websites. But if they lack online visibility, that effort and resource is wasted.”

Knowles adds that a little artistry is required: “There is a misconception that SEO simply means adding keywords into your online content to boost you up the search engine rankings. Although this is a small part of it, SEO is much wider than that and encapsulates a large part of both your online visibility and your user’s experience once on your website too.”

For example, Knowles provides: “Businesses will direct consumers to their website from various marketing channels but, when it takes ages to load or contains a lot of ‘spammy’ content, they bounce off that page and go elsewhere.”

In addition, Knowles also notes the importance of performance: “A slow-loading website or one which is hard for a user to navigate will be penalised by search engines such as Google because the user experience is deemed poor and that can severely affect the business’ ranking on search engine results pages.”

As to how to move forward effectively, Knowles outlines his five main actions a business can take to improve their SEO and win more business online.

Keyword utilisation

To maximise keywords, Knowles recommends “you should include important, relevant keywords within website copy and semantically related topics within your content to help people and search engines clearly understand what services or products you provide.”

Onsite performance

For boosting performance, Knowles advises: “you should ensure that your website and content are optimised for your audience and search engines like Google through the optimisation of content, search intent, meta titles, URLs, visual aids (alt text) and internal linking.”

Speed

For harnessing greater speed, Knowles considers: “if your website takes too long to load, you can guarantee that the now frustrated customer will be heading somewhere else. You can improve website loading speed by optimising images, being conscious of slow-loading assets on your page, fixing technical errors, and optimising your website for mobile.”

Internal linking

Cross-promotion also counts, says Knowles: “Adding clickable links connecting pages on your domain which mention the same topic will help keep the user on your website for longer, improve user experience, share ‘SEO juice’ between pages and help search engines better understand your content.”

Offsite optimisation

As a final tip, Knowles recommends: “you should ensure your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is optimised correctly across third-party websites and directories such as Google Business, Bing Places For Business, or Clutch etc.” Knowles concludes these tips by stating: “Putting all these elements in place will significantly boost your ranking within search engines too and that is crucial in gaining new customers. When you consider a reported 68 percent of Internet users start their online session on a search engine, it is vitally important for brands to be as visible as possible.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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