At Ember, we find that we’re talking to clients more not just about content, but the full digital marketing mix. I think this is reflective not just of how Ember is developing, but an increased awareness among businesses that content is only one piece of the pie, and that there’s a lot more besides that you need to get right to grow your business online. Other key aspects to consider include organic social media, paid advertising, and SEO.
It’s SEO that I want to focus on in this post, because twice in the past week a client has told me that ranking highly on Google is top of their list of priorities. In the coming weeks, I’m going to post a Q & A with an SEO expert, which I hope will prove useful. But in the meantime, I wanted to recommend some reading to explain what you need to do to rank higher in search results.
So, here are some of the different areas of SEO you can look into, with recommended reading:
It’s important you understand what search terms you want to rank highly for, so you can use those on your website, and populate your site with relevant content.
How to do keyword research for SEO: A beginner’s guide - Rachel Leist, for Hubspot
This is work you do in the CMS of your website. Things like using those keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, and of course website copy, as well as alt text for images.
On-page ranking factors - Moz
On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page - Brian Dean, for Backlinko
This is one of the more difficult aspects of SEO; it’s about being recognised as a high quality resource by the search engine. To build authority, the most important thing is to get other popular websites to link to yours. You can do this by writing a guest post on a popular blog, or establishing partnerships with other businesses, charities and community groups.
Inbound link building 101 - Corey Northcutt, for Hubspot
Local SEO is about making sure you rank highly when people are looking for your service in your area. Some good ways of doing this are:
Making sure all your information is complete on Google My Business
Encouraging happy clients to leave a Google review
Here's a good guide:
A comprehensive guide to local SEO in 2019 - Kelsey Smith, for Hubspot
Certain site structures are easier for search engines to read. Also, submitting your sitemap to Google makes it much easier for Google to crawl your site, which should mean you rank higher.
The SEO benefits of developing a solid site structure - Ryan Shelley, for Search Engine Land
Learn about Sitemaps - Google console help
Social media has wide-ranging benefits for businesses, but sometimes people don’t even necessarily connect their social media activity with search ranking performance. However, it does have a bearing. Here are a few points to remember:
Posting frequently on social media, and getting interactions, does improve search rankings
Social media accounts rank on Google
Social media platforms are themselves search engines
A Hootsuite study shows that paid promotion has nearly double the SEO benefit of organic promotion.
Here are a couple of articles I found useful:
Does social media impact SEO? - Hootsuite
5 things you need to know about social media & SEO - Neil Patel
How small businesses can see big results with foundational SEO - Marcus Miller, for Search Engine Land
A basic SEO audit for small businesses - Marcus Miller, for Search Engine Land
The ultimate guide to Google ranking factors in 2019 - Sam Kusinitz, for Hubspot
I hope these resources help. SEO can seem overwhelming, and there’s certainly an awful lot to it, but you’ve got to start somewhere if you want to improve your search rankings.