I recently carried out about 25 website reviews in the space of two weeks and it reminded me just how similar everyone is in where they want to be and where they're going off on tangents - seven things kept popping up (saying 'seven' ALWAYS makes me think of Len Goodman scoring in Strictly Come Dancing - se-VEN) but whilst there's no GIF for that, there is this particularly fantastic moment from Friends....
So, I thought I'd share the 7 ways you can improve your website SEO today (no matter how much of a technophobe you are) so that you can crack on and put them into action yourself, along with the objections I often hear 😉
No matter where on the tech whizz - tech dinosaur scale you are, I know these tips will help you.
1. Is it obvious what you do, where you do it and how you do it?
This is the first question I ask myself whenever I'm looking at a new client's website. Is it 100% obvious what this person is selling? If it isn't clear to me, and I'm really looking, it isn't clear to your readers who are (let's face it) casually scanning your website, wanting to be convinced they're in the right place. First up, are you selling what they're looking for? Look at each page of your website, is it clear? If not, you need to update your wording.
So, for example....
- what do you do - wedding photography
- where do you do it - Bristol
- how you do it - alternative
"Yeah, it's clear from the images, so I'm happy thanks"
I hear this objection a lot. But actually, try to imagine your website without images (no there is no handy one-click tool to do this as far as I know), then go back and answer the first questions again 🙂
2. If you work in more than one area, are you clear about this?
What about if you work in more than one geographical area? You need to be clear about this too. Say you're a Bristol wedding photographer, you need to have one page where you talk about your Bristol wedding photography - this could be your homepage if it's your main focus area, your Portfolio page, a blog category, that's up to you depending on your business goals (I talk a lot more about this in my courses). If you cover surrounding geographical areas you need to have a page for Gloucestershire wedding photography, a page for Bath wedding photography, the list could be endless.
"Isn't that too much content?"
You may be worried that you'll have too many pages but honestly this isn't a concern as long as you have good quality content (images + text) to add to those pages.
3. Are you using headings and subheadings?
Say what now? So many websites I look at rely on big images (lovely) and paragraphs of text but I get it, you want lots of white space, or lots of space for the images to be the focus. But this isn't actually helping you get found on search engines.
"Ohhh but I don't think it looks nice"
This is usually the response I get when I recommend people use headings and subheadings more. But let me ask you this - what's the point in having the most beautiful website in the world if no one is looking at it?
4. Are you telling stories with words (and not just text)?
You need to blog. Yeah, you really do and you need to be blogging consistently. How often is that? More often than you're doing so right now! There are many reasons blogging is a good idea. It shows people (and therefore search engines) you update your website regularly, it shows people your latest work, it gives you an excuse to get more people onto your website (the more of the right people the better as then a higher percentage of them will enquire).
"Do I really need to blog?"
Yep. I've written much more about this my blog post - do I really need to blog? but watch this space for something that is going to be quite exciting and help you much more with knowing exactly what to say in your blogs!
5. Do you get featured on other websites?
How often do you go after getting featured on other websites? In the wedding world it's popular to get your work submitted onto wedding blogs, but regardless of the type of business you have it's actually key to get your work and therefore a link back to your website on other websites that are bigger than yours. You can submit your work or write a guest blog post. In my January challenge, I asked the hundreds of people there to make a dream list and go for it with getting featured. It went down well, so try it out. I've shared top tips on my blog - the ultimate guide to guest blogging.
6. Are you listed on directories?
"Won't this cost a lot of money?"
This is usually the question I get in response to when I check if websites are listed on directories. The thing is there are tonnes of directories out there to suit all budgets. The key is to make sure they're more well known than your website. How do you do know? The simplest way is to check how many of your competitors are already listed on there. If lots of them are, it's a popular site. (There are many many ways to check this, all of which I go through in my courses). There are also a LOT of free directories, so think outside the box here with local business directories, country wide business directories, not just within your niche.
"But I don't get a lot of return on this"
Of course that is a factor, but it's important to get the quality links back to your website so as to improve your SEO along with the other factors I've listed here.
7. How quick are you?
This is a real stumbling block for many as site speed is a thing and lots of people don't know it. Type your website into gtmetrix.com/ and check the score that comes up on the lefthand side under Pagespeed score. If it's in green, no sweat. If it's amber or red, then you need to scroll down to check what errors are being flagged. If it's serve scaled images or optimise images, then you're in luck and it's super easy to resolve.
- Serve scaled images means you're uploading images to your website and then displaying them at a smaller dimensions, so you need to go in and resize those images so they match the same size.
- Optimise images means you're uploading your images at too large a file size so you will need to go through each image and reduce the file size to as small as possible whilst still retaining the image quality. I love using tinyjpg.com for this.
- If you have a WordPress website this is relatively simple as you go to Media Library, click through the images and check each file size and dimension and amend the size directly in there.
There are tonnes of plugins and apps you can use, but like I said at the start, I'm sharing tips that anyone can implement not just the tech savvy. If you come up with any other errors in the site speed test that you're baffled by or you generally want some more 1:1 support, you may want to check out my Speed it Up service where we improve your website speed by doing the techy bits for you.
Let me know which tip you found most helpful, come and tell me on Instagram!
Photography by Verity Westcott Photography