5 things I wish I knew about SEO years ago

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

If you’re about to implement SEO for your own website, I’m going to share with you some things I wish I knew from the start, that will help you get the most out of SEO.

My tips will save you a tonne of money, stress and time and you will learn what you should be focusing on with your website and its traffic growth.

5 things I wish I knew about SEO years ago (that will help you right now)

Content is queen

You might be sweating over your branding messaging, colours, images and how your website looks. But by focusing more time, money and effort on these things rather than money on creating content, you’re doing your business a disservice.

A website that lacks content does not rank for keywords.

A website without pages and posts does not attract backlinks.

Low content websites do not nurture the reader and turn them into a buyer.

If you only have a small budget for your website, especially if your business is new and cashflow is limited, you’re going to get more return for your money paying a writer to write your copy and content than paying a graphic designer to create your logo and web graphics.

A plain-looking but clean website design with lots of content is going to perform better than a professional-looking website with nothing to read, simply because content equals keywords equals ranking growth equals traffic.

Need to hire a copywriter? I have a network of copywriting and content writing clients I do SEO work for and can recommend someone who is the perfect fit for your business! Contact me for more details.

Or if you want to write everything yourself but need help knowing which SEO keywords to use, my keyword research services help you with this.

Website design: Less is more

Videos, carousels, large images and graphics all slow down your website which impacts on the user experience.

A poor user experience signals to Google that your website needs a bit of technical work. Did you know that user experience is one of many ranking factors that Google has set? 

That means, if user experience is poor, Google could penalise you for this by decreasing your keyword rankings which means less organic traffic.

Think wisely before using some of these elements that slow down your site, and if you need to use them, find out the best way to do so (for example, instead of embedding videos, link to the video on Youtube or Vimeo).

Your competitors are not really your competitors

You might think Helen down the road is your competitor, but when it comes to your website, those businesses ranking on page 1 in Google for your perfect keyword are your online competitors.

When working on your website and optimising it for SEO, looking at the page 1 results. Check out their websites and use these as a guide so you know exactly what you need to do to improve yours (and eventually outrank them!).

Tap into your network

Attracting links from other websites to your own website (building backlinks) helps you grow your website authority, rankings and organic traffic.

My first experience of SEO was back in 2013 when I was a blogger and had a guest blog post published on a high authority website, with a link back to my own website. This led to 100 subscribers and a few hundred website visits overnight, plus an increase in my website authority and keyword rankings! 

But at the time, I didn’t know what SEO was. I just saw this guest post as a PR opportunity.

While most SEO companies offer link building services to help you get more links, you can start the process yourself by tapping into your own network.

Approach business contacts in your network with relevant, complementary businesses and collaborate for link building strategies and guest posting opportunities. You can even find new marketing and PR opportunities- such as being a podcast guest, being quoted in an article or being a guest expert in an online course or masterclass.

Plugins are a lazy solution

Plugins are awesome because they allow you to do things to your website without needing to know how to code, or having to pay a web developer.

But we’ve realised in recent years that plugins aren’t that great for user experience and SEO.

Many plugins add unnecessary code to your website pages, are not updated often enough (which causes issues when there is a WordPress update) and clash with different themes and other plugins.

More often than not, when there is a website technical issue, it’s usually because of a plugin you’re using.

I recommend going through the plugins you currently have and removing any that are not needed. 

Think twice before adding a new plugin!

And if you need something techy done to your website, pay a developer to do it for you.

One final word

The point of this blog isn’t to overwhelm you or to make you feel bad for making one of the above mistakes.

The truth is, most of us have done one of the 5 things I’ve covered in this blog and if someone tells you they haven’t, they’re probably lying!

Spend some time making changes to your website and focus on the areas mentioned in this blog. 

Focus your time and effort on what’s most important- creating great content and making your website a good user experience for your ideal clients and customers!

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Nat Alleblas- SEO Sleuth: helping copywriters, marketers and web developers with their SEO needs. When she's not slaying SEO, Nat can be found with her head buried in a book or is smashing out a spin class. But not at the same time. Loves eggplant lasagna.