Search engine optimisation is a way of improving your brand visibility in the search engine’s organic listings. As opposed to paid activity, SEO will only cost you knowledge and time, and when done correctly this work can bring quality traffic to your site month after month.
Most Studies show you should be aiming for 50% plus of your traffic coming from organic search. That's half your traffic should be coming from this one source, but few companies put half their resources into this channel as standard. SEO is important to any business, but only if you make it. Google would prefer you to buy the traffic via paid channels and so would most media agencies. SEO can be a cost-effective and long term source of quality customers to your business if you make it a priority.
If you are unsure where to start I have compiled some steps to work through that will help you on your way to mastering your brand in organic search and levelling up your marketing activity overall!
One of the first aspects of elevating your SEO activity is making sure your site isn’t suffering from any technical issues and is indexed correctly. One of the easiest ways to ensure this is to check into your Google Search Console account. Here you will see how your site is performing, what technical issues Google is having and even some suggestions on how to fix these issues. For example, if your site isn’t being indexed correctly, due to missing header information or a wrongly configured robots.txt file, there is no point in developing content if it won’t even be found due to these issues. Fix technical issues first.
Let’s talk about local SEO - Grab your mobile device and search for your brand, what comes up on the search engine results page?
We’re using ‘Flooring near me’ as an example:
Can you see how Google is displaying the results for a local search? The elements that make this possible are referred to as NAP information (Name Address and Phone number). If you want to make the most of local SEO, you need to make sure these are up to date and consistent across all your sites and social media listings, ensuring you use the same format in all instances as Google is cross-referencing how they appear to ensure you are correctly listed.
‘Schema review ratings’ is a snippet of code on your site that helps searches see the star review of your business, this is an important step to ensure your reviews are being displayed correctly.
It is crucial that you have a thorough understanding of how people are accessing your site, whether it’s through desktop, mobile or even voice command.
Head to Google Analytics: Audience > Mobile. In this section, you can see the percentages of users that are accessing your site via Mobile, Desktop and Tablet.
Depending on your vertical you can see well over 60% accessing your site via mobile, if this is the case then you will want to optimise towards these users who will be on their mobile and using voice search to find your products and services.
Are your current pages mobile friendly? Check on Google to see if you need to build better pages to rank well for mobile searches, or whether you’re already ruling the world of mobile!
Once you’ve understood how people access your website, you can adjust your content accordingly. At Reflect Digital, we champion human behaviour and have a human-led approach to SEO which is why we believe you need to understand how people search. Ask yourself what frame of mind are they in when they are looking at home improvement? Are they doing it themselves or are they looking for a tradesperson to do the work, answer these questions in your content, think about the types and ages of your audience? Are they homeowners or do you sell products for renters?
Once you’ve got your answers to these questions, you can adjust your keywords to be more conversational, using words like ‘Best, Good, How, Where, What, Easy, Which’. By adding these types of phrases to your content you can help consumers who are searching via mobile and voice search because people use more conversational terminology when using voice assistance search.
Examples can include but are not limited to: ‘Which flooring is best for bathrooms?’ ‘What's the best floor for a kitchen?’ ‘How easy is it to lay carpet flooring?’
Build pages that answer Frequently Asked Questions, we are all searching for answers so build this type of content on your site. People search for products AND aftercare questions. How long will this type of product last? How do I wash this product? How do you maintain the look and finish of this product? As the expert in the room, you will know what people ask you about the products you sell, it’s your job to answer all of these questions on your site, or the customer will go elsewhere for answers and that can be a lost sale.
Identifying user intent is easier said than done but we must understand what users are searching for so we can understand what there are expectations when they come to a webpage.
An example of user intent is to look at what is ranking at the top of the search results page for a certain keyword or phrase. For example when you search for “compare wallpaper” you will see results of comparisons of wallpaper as well as image results with wallpaper comparisons. The intent and expectation match.
By researching what people are looking for you can build your content accordingly.
Choosing the right format for your content can be a difficult task, one way to help you decide is to look up what's ranking well currently for your chosen subject. Take some of the top phrases that you want to rank for and type them into Google and look at the results page that comes back, look at the types of content that a ranking not just at what's ranking top, there will be several different formats within the results page there might be video images lists and tools. This kind of research can be really invaluable because it helps you decide what formats are performing well and so you can use the same format to ensure your content is found for similar phrases. Matching the user intent with what is expected in terms of content format can elevate your content and help it to rank highly.
We have spoken about your audience, but what does that really mean? Who are your main groups of people that come to use your site? Are they mostly homeowners who are 30-75 years old? Can you break it down even more? Do you have any customer data sets you can look at, either from previous customers or from your customer service history?
It may sound like a lot of questions but this is exactly what will help you to understand your customers and improve your organic performance. All of this information will give you insights into the types of keywords and phrases that people will use to find your products and services.
You might be thinking, how exactly do I find this information easily and quickly? We’re one step ahead of you! Here are some fantastic free tools to get you going:
Google’s elastic search
Just Google your phrase, add a modifier like ‘What’ or ‘Best’ and see what key phrases come up. This is Google data so you know people are searching for this.
Google Trends gives you trend data and breakout phrases you should be aware of. In this example, ‘flooring’ is our seed phrase, but if you scroll down the page you will find the related and breakout phrases:
These phrases can help you build content on subjects that are trending now. You can even filter by date range, from hourly to yearly which can give you a sense of how much these search terms have changed in a specific amount of time.
Get all the questions in one hit! Answer the Public will take the modifiers and look for the questions people are asking. It’s a lot of data but it can really inspire you to be the font of all knowledge on a particular subject.
This is a Chrome extension that gives you insights into each and everything you search, it can be very useful while you are looking for how many searches people are making each month for particular keywords. Just disable it when you are done.
Once you have a list of keywords and phrases related to your home improvement products and services, you need to think about where to surface them on your site. Think about how people are using the products and the life cycle of your users; are they making a long term purchase, like flooring, will they want to know about guarantees, reviews and aftercare? Make sure that aftercare and any product guarantees are accessible from the research type content you have. Your product pages need to be clean and simple, people are there to make a purchase, you don’t want to distract people away from making the purchase so it might be worth having an aftercare section or FAQ page for certain products.
Home Improvement can be split into different phases of a user journey: Awareness (Inspiration), Consideration (comparing) and Purchase. By thinking in this manner you can really focus on what each piece of content is answering. Many home improvement sites focus on the purchase end of the journey, but doing what everyone else does will just lead you to a very competitive space, think about what your competitors are not doing and fill that gap!
There is a lot to take in here but don’t despair because we can support you through SEO strategy, market research, local SEO and content production.