AUTHOR: Scott McCarthy

If you aren't on page one of a search engine, then in the world of the internet you may as well not bother existing. In other words, the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of google.

Why? Because research suggests that 91% of people don't bother venturing into the wastelands of page two or beyond, while nearly 50% never venture beyond the top five results.

Call it the men's tennis effect – we can all name the big four, but how many of us know anyone outside of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray?

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Take keywords from your internal search data

You've probably got a good idea of what people who come to your site are looking for, but there is an extremely simple hack to get an even better grasp of what your visitors want – take a look at your internal search data. That will tell you what people are searching for once they land on your website, and from there you have a whole batch of new keywords that you already know visitors are interested in and which you can build content around to increase your visibility, helping to drive them to your site.

Use location-based keywords

Once upon a time it didn't matter if you were making marmalade in Maidenhead or sinking Smirnoff Ice in Swansea, what was top of a search engine at one end of the country would be top at the other. But now that Google has ever increasing access to a devices current location, it will throw up results relevant to where the search is coming from. That's particularly helpful for a small business, as location-based keywords will help that florist in Nottingham show up when somebody searches for a florist in Nottingham.

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Know where to put your keywords

You've got your keywords, but you also need to know where to put them. The body of your site is but one small place where they need to go, with the rest being places largely hidden out of site. Make sure you include them in the title tag, meta description, page URL, headings, subheadings and image alt tags.

Optimise your title tags

Speaking of title tags, your title tag isn't just the title of your page but it's also the name of the page that the search engine will display in its results. For this reason, you want your keywords highly visible in the page title to help Google index it properly. It will also help potential visitors have a clear idea of what they are going to find when they visit your site and the clearer and more precise you are in imparting that information, the better. 'Dogs photographed driving cars' is much better than 'Photos of Dogs' for example when it comes to finding those cracking images that make it look like our canine friends have taken over and are behind the wheel of a truck on Route 66.

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Link your most important pages to your home page

You've already ensured that your most important pages are linked from the homepage via the top navigation bar. But what about your best content, like that blog post about 14 things every school kid of the 90s will remember?

They can easily get lost in amongst everything else and when that happens, they won't be as visible to search engines. By including links to your top content or products within the body of your homepage, those links will pass more link authority than navigation or footer links and it will also help those who land on your homepage find your best stuff quickly and easily.

Avoid using huge images

A slow page loading time can adversely affect your pages search ranking and that is where your choice of images comes in. Huge images are the number one cause of slow loading pages while lazily adjusting the width and height attributes in an IMG tag rather than optimising the image to be a more reasonable size and re-uploading it are the easiest hacks when it comes to improving site speed – making them the easiest hacks when it comes to SEO as well.

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Check that external links aren't landing on a 404

Any pages on your site that return a 404 are bad news, and it is even worse news if they are linked to by an external site. A programme like Google Search Console allows you to not only see which pages on your site are 404, but it also lists other sites that are linking to those pages. If you've got a 404 that is being linked to by an external page, you need to be looking to fix it as it is squandering much valued link authority all the time it remains broken.

It's no wonder then that SEO is big business. The good news is that we aren't quite in the realms of the Terminator movies where computers have taken over yet and as a result, basic SEO doesn't have to be difficult. If you want to find out more about what courses can land you a role in SEO then check out our DM courses.

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