Insights

15th April 2021

The simplicity of smart SEO thinking

This world of search marketing, technical SEO and digital marketing can be one where we often see things made much more complicated than they need to be.

Have you been in meetings with talented and driven digital marketeers, talking the talk, crunching the data and churning out multiple sophisticated reports, yet you didn’t see any of this have a meaningful impact to your website’s performance?


At Varn, we see the challenge of SEO summarised perfectly by Einstein:

 ‘If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you probably don’t understand it yourself.’

In our view, the clever thinking and knowledge we apply to search marketing, must be grounded in simplicity.

Search marketing needs to be focused on carefully listening to a clients search challenges, understanding their users, getting immersed in what the competition is doing and making sure a website’s ‘basics’ are working. The task of getting to the top of a Google search can be made to appear so technically complicated and overwhelming, that clients can be blinded by terminology, tech speak and shiny free SEO tools.

We would like to see more smart thinking by simply trying to keep things straightforward and clear.


So here are our 3 areas to simplify your SEO efforts, so search marketing becomes an activity that delivers results for your website and is not made over-complicated for the sake of making us all look terribly clever.


Content

You can use as many free SEO data tools as you like, but this won’t really help you rank better for the most important keywords for your business. Good content is critical to a website’s SEO performance, so you must make sure you are creating enough quality keyword-rich content regularly.

This means developing a deep understanding of what your customers/users really want, what would help them, what they would love to know and what truly engages them. This will let Google know that you are answering searcher queries.

So get cracking creating user led content, be it regular blogs, podcasts, white papers, research to share, or video content that is designed to provide value to your customers. This takes effort, but stick with it and you will be able to create content that not only improves the website but also generates quality backlinks, which are very important when it comes to SEO. 

For some more tips on content this article is useful: How to create great content that improves your site’s SEO (varn.co.uk)

Competition

Digital marketing teams can spend time, money and effort looking inwardly at the website analytics and data reports, which is important, but don’t forget to look at what everyone else is doing. A quick audit of your competition can provide a valuable insight into what may be working in your industry and highlight some things you need to change.

If your competitors are hot on optimising their website and content for SEO, then you should be too.

It can be very common to protest “Our competitors are not as good as we are, yet they rank better than us?”. That’s because Google will crawl your website, crawl your competitors’ site and will rank them based on how well optimised the pages are for specific keywords. So unfortunately, Google simply doesn’t know if you really are better than your competitors and doesn’t take into account how much better your product may be compared to theirs.

If you want to be seen in a search, above and over your competitors, then make sure you compete with their website too.

SEO is such an important part of this, so make sure you optimise everything from your home page to how you are appearing on Google Maps for location-based searches.

Construction

It’s incredible to think how much effort can be spent talking about SEO, yet the actual construction and hosting of a website can be forgotten. You should always be looking to improve the usability of your website and site speed is such an important part of this.

Ultimately, site speed is a big indicator of whether you are offering a quality user experience. No one wants to be waiting 10 seconds for a webpage to load. 1 in 4 visitors to a website will abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. (Source: LoadStorm, Econsultancy).  Even some of the most popular websites are not immune to expectations of speed, for example The BBC loses an additional 10% of users for every extra second it takes for its site to load. (Source: Website Builder Expert)

So, speed is a vital ranking factor and don’t forget mobile, mobile mobile!

Speed is an even larger ranking factor for mobile so always look to improve site speed on both desktop and mobile and make sure your website is mobile-friendly, so it looks as good on mobile as it does on desktop and that it functions just as well.

Our quick tip for speed is to invest in good hosting, as you really do get what you pay for when it comes to quality and speed. Our other top tips include reducing image file sizes and to look at what order your page loads it’s content. It is well known that Google uses Mobile First Indexing, and so it is imperative that your mobile site is up to scratch.


Website speed and your performance

You can read some more tips about the impact of website speed here: How website speed impacts the performance of your business | Varn

At Varn we think it is so important to be open with our clients about what will actually make a difference when it comes to search marketing and being trusted here is key. This means we take enormous pride in not over complicating an issue, or bombarding a client with technical jargon. If you want some simple and smart thinking do get in touch, we’d love to talk.

Article by: Tom, Managing Director of Varn Digital Marketing More articles by Tom

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