Aileen Barron: SEO and setting your agri-business up for online success

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a practice that will help your website rank higher on search engines; ultimately making it easier for farmers to find you online. It’s key to creating a successful online business and is a practice that takes time, patience and strategic thinking.

With digital communications proving extremely useful, and in some cases an essential tool at the moment, now is a perfect time for agri-business digital marketing teams to spend some time improving their search results online.

According to study by Hubspot (2019), the average person conducts between three and four searches each day. According to Moz (2019), the average Google search session is just under one minute and typical searches are approximately three words long.

When you undertake any Google search, 10 results are shown on the first page. According to Internet Marketing Ninjas (2019), the average click-through rate for first position on a Google search query is 19.30%, and the click-through rate for second position is almost half at 10.57%.

Reaching the top of the first page of Google results will not only allow you to reach a larger number of users, but it showcases to people that your business is trustworthy and authentic.

Here are some top tips that will help you optimise your website in 2020

Keywords are key

The very first step in SEO is to determine what terms your target audience are searching for; otherwise known as keyword research. For example, how many people are actually searching for a given keyword, what language they are using etc.

Very often, companies use their own language to describe their business that is not necessarily in keeping with what farmers search for. When determining what your keywords should be, think from the perspective of your customer.

It is also important to keep your keywords relevant so as not to show up for searches that don’t have anything to do with your business.

One simple way to find keywords is typing long tail keywords into the Google search bar. This will present some suggestions of what people are searching for. There are also many paid keyword software tools that will help you analyse what keywords your own site is ranking for and their estimated search volume.

Once you determine your keywords, you can begin implementing them into your site via website URLS, meta descriptions, page headings and on-page content.

Keyword optimise your content

Keywords can be very competitive, however, what will set your business apart from your competitors’ websites is consistent, high-quality content.

Websites that develop the best content are rewarded by Google. For example, publishing regular news items and technical updates is a great way to populate your site with content that will engage your audience and answer the questions to what they are searching for.

Implementing keywords into your content is important, however, be sure not to keyword stuff, i.e. overuse keywords. Write content in a natural way; i.e. if the keyword doesn’t fit into your content naturally, don’t include it.

Content must be easy to read and understand. Be clever and creative in your approach by making use of headings, short paragraphs, visual data, high-quality images and videos to incorporate your keywords where appropriate.

Internal and external links

Offering relevant internal links to other pages on your site will not only inform Google that your page has authority, but it will also entice people to travel further into your site and find out more about your business.

Earning links from external sources such as websites that have authority will also help you rank higher.

Fixing technical issues

Although quality content is key, if your site has structural or other technical issues, it will not have a high ranking. The most common issues that we find include:

Unsecure sites

Site security with HTTPS is more important than ever. If your site is unsecure, this could cause people to immediately turn away from your site.

To check this, simply type your web domain name into Google Chrome and you will either be greeted with a “secure” message or a grey background which signals insecure. To secure your site, you will require an SSL certificate from a Certificate Authority; something that can usually be actioned by your web developer.

Slow loading sites

Search engines are placing an increasing emphasis on fast-loading websites. Not only is it beneficial for SEO ranking, but faster page speed will also encourage users to spend longer on the page and travel to other pages on the site.

Solutions to help with your site speed can include image optimisation and compression, browser caching improvement and server response time improvement. You can test your website using many free tools such as Google Page Insights.

Not optimising for mobile

Not many websites are actually optimised for mobile browsing. Ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly will also influence your SEO ranking, especially as desktop is no longer the primary way of searching the internet.

If your website offers a poor user experience and is slow to load on mobile devices, people will be more likely to turn away from your site. This will ultimately affect your site bounce rate.

Measuring your SEO

Measuring your SEO can be complex and requires a lot of patience. SEO does not lead to fast results; it takes time and requires ongoing evaluation. There are many key performance indicators.

Organic search traffic is one of the most important indicators. When you start to see an increase in visitors coming to your website organically, this is a good measure of success.

Ongoing analysis of keyword rankings will help you analyse how effective your website is at attracting organic web traffic. Engagement is also a good indicator of how well your website is performing. Using Google Analytics, analyse areas such as average time spent on your site, bounce rates, and click through-rates as these will highlight your website quality, which is key for SEO.

To examine your website SEO in greater detail, external help is available. Digital marketing professionals are equipped with the knowledge to interrogate your SEO and make valuable recommendations.

For assistance, contact Green Acre Marketing on: [email protected].