Search Engine Optimisation – or SEO, to use its snappy nickname – is the highly desirable, but widely misunderstood ‘holy grail’ of website development.  Everyone wants it, but most don’t fully know what it is, or how to go about getting it.

Indeed, many small business owners spend months (not to mention a small fortune!) building their dream websites, but somewhere between writing the perfect copy and selecting sensational images, how the site will perform on Google gets forgotten. SEO becomes a mystifying mental block, a task which lurks endlessly at the bottom of the To-Do list… 

However, developing an effective organic SEO strategy for your website could be the best investment you ever make.  For many businesses, it transforms their website from a beautiful online brochure into the hardest working member of their sales team.  In time, an optimised website can generate a steady source of leads and save you a bundle on pricey paid ads.

And, believe it or not, it’s something you can do a lot of yourself.  The easiest time to do this is while you’re building your website in the first place, but anytime is a great time to make Google fall in love with your site!

Here are our Top 5 Tips for DIY SEO:

1. Start with Strategy.

As with any marketing projects, the place to start is with the consumer – your target audience.  There’s no point randomly attempting to optimise web pages for a term you suspect people might be searching – use free online tools like Keyword Planner to determine which phrases are most used and create a plan of attack page-by-page before you begin.2.

2. Edit Your Metadata.

Depending on the platform your website is built in, this varies in difficulty, but by editing the metadata (for example, your image alternative text) which Google can see, but humans don’t, you’ve taken a key step towards Grade A SEO. Wordpress, with its fabulous Yoast plugin, is the best website platform to build in for easy metadata adjustment but most platforms allow for some editing with relative ease.

3. Repeat that Key Phrase.

It can feel a bit ridiculous, repeating the exact same key phrase multiple times on one page, but search engines love it.  There is a knack in writing for SEO, so that it reads well to real people, but also floats Google’s boat, so consider hiring an SEO copywriter to do this if you’re struggling!

4. Add Backlinks.

Links are hugely important – they make your website more visible to Google, which makes it more likely to be ranked highly in search results.  In order of awesomeness, links IN (from other websites to yours) are best, followed by links OUT (from your site to another) and then links WITHIN (i.e. between the pages of your website).

5. Drive Traffic.

Once you’ve done everything you can to optimise your website, including ensuring your site isn’t too big, slow or insecure, it’s time to drive traffic to each page which you’ve worked on.  Traffic draws the attention of search engines, so include links to different pages in your Facebook posts, newsletters and Linked In posts when possible.