Date added: 19 June 2012

Self Help SEO - things you can do to improve your ranking

How important is SEO for businesses and especially retailers?

Retailers are constantly battling it out in order to be the main contender in their sector and reaching number 1 in the search engine rankings is the latest round in that battle. Getting a high page ranking for any chosen keyword is not an easy task, especially as the more simple keywords like “clothing” or “fashion” will either be taken or extremely expensive to secure. It’s more important to focus on niche keywords or phrases such as “summer blouses” or “linen trousers for women” as this way you’ll have a much better chance of appearing on the first page of any search engine results.

You’d probably rather appeal to more people than just a small section of potential customers, but targeted keywords usually generate much more engaged visitors and often result in greater conversions.

Click through rate

It’s very important for websites to appear on the first page of Google (and increasingly BING), especially if it’s within the organic search results. Studies on Click Through Rates (CTR), show that on average 42% of search users click the first result offered to them, with a further 8% clicking the second link in the list. Furthermore, a whopping 62% of users will only ever link from the first search results page and just a mere 23% will continue their search to the second page of results.

Users assume that the number 1 search result will be the best for their needs, but they could be skipping much more relevant businesses or information if pages lower down the list aren’t being optimised correctly.

What can you do to increase your search rankings and CTR?

While it’s worth investing in someone who knows what they are doing there are always some basic things you can do yourself:

  1. Regularly add new and unique content Blogs, Videos, Articles, News items, PR releases – When you search for a something in Google it will always look for the most recent article so it’s important to produce at least 2 articles per month if you want to attract new users.

  2. Take advantage of the free Social Media Regular posts to Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can all benefit search results if you include links back to your main website. Google+ in particular can have a huge effect as the Google search engine adds additional weight to pages it finds within it's own social network. (although this may change soon if other search companies have their objections upheld)

  3. Utilise all the options available to you If you’re using a CMS to maintain your website make sure you add all Meta Titles, Descriptions and Keywords.

  4. Use relevant names and titles Make sure any images are saved using names relevant to their visual content as well as adding searchable keywords to alt & title tags.

  5. Emphasise key content and structure your page logically Heading tags start from H1 and end at H6 so you should add your most important keywords to H1 (try not to have more than one H1 tag per page -  although this is becoming less important with recent changes to Google’s algorithms )

Useful links: What are organic search results? Semantic markup – how to structure your page This blog post was written by Sparkstone Technology's resident SEO specialist Dan Humphrey.  Why not get in touch to find out how Sparkstone can transform your page rankings with semantically structured (and great looking) websites, well written content and coordinated social media campaigns.

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