Google Juice: 16 top tips to improve your website SEO.

How to Guide, SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.

Maybe that explains it all or perhaps you are still scratching your head!

In a nutshell, SEO is just making sure that Google knows about your website, and sends people to it.

SEO and why your website needs it.

Let’s just dial back a moment. So you have built a website. Just about any business or organisation will find having a website incredibly useful. It helps to tell the world WHO you are, WHAT you do, WHERE you are, and HOW people can find you.

But building the website is really just phase one in getting known to the world. It is fairly pointless to build a website and expect to have thousands of visitors.

Sadly, the internet doesn’t work quite like that. Yes, if you have great content and a fab design that can help… But there are some things that you can do to ensure that your SEO is as good as it can be.

The elements of SEO.

There are a couple of elements or factors that make up SEO.


This means that Google can see your site and knows that you exist. It then puts your website in front of people who are searching for you, or what you provide.


This is where you get lots of people actually going to your site after searching for something. It is the number of people who actually make it to your website.


This is where the people who make it to your site find it easy to find what they are looking for, are interested in your website and spend time on it.

Each of these elements is really important to consider when you are looking at your website SEO.

Where should you start?

The best place to start is by doing a little bit of analysis about your website as it stands now. This will give you a starting point for what to approach first.

Thankfully there a heap of free and very useful tools that can audit your site. They will usually give you some instant pointers on what to do to improve SEO.

I recommend starting at www.seoptimer.com for a very quick and easy check of what is going on with your SEO. It includes a helpful overall rating so you can see your progress.

I also offer a FREE website Healthy Check if you would rather interact with a real person.

How to improve website VISIBILITY.

1. Create a Google Account.

The easiest way to do this is to create a GMAIL account. Even if you never use it, it will unlock lots of free resources and tools to help your SEO. For example, you can create a Youtube account, Add Google Analytics to your website, and see how yourn page performs. All these things will help you understand and boost your SEO ranking.

You may want to have the name before the @ sign something connected with your business.

2. Create a “Google Business” Listing.

This is a really great way to become very visible, very fast. Especially if you are a LOCAL business and serve a specific geographical area. You can create a Google Business profile here and use your Gmail address to login.

Alternatively, from your Gmail inbox, click the 9 dots in a grid icon next to your user profile (top right on the page), and select Business from the dropdown.

Note – you need to have a physical location to create this listing. You will be sent a physical postcard to verify the listing. Once verified, you can hide your business address (if it is at your home, for example), and just have a service area.

You cannot have a listing if you are an ONLINE business.

Once you have created your listing, add as much info as you can. Include different services that you offer, and areas that you cover. Add plenty of images, videos and, of course, your website url. You can also make posts (that expire after a month) so you can use this profile as a method of social media posting offers, news and events.

Once you have a listing, Google will show your business on a map right at the top of relevant searches. You couldn’t be MORE visible!

3. Submit your website to Google for indexing.

This is the best way to shove your website right under Google’s nose! Essentially this is telling Google very specifically HERE IS MY WEBSITE AND WHAT’S ON IT!

First, you need to be able to create and/or view your website sitemap. This is basically like a contents page for your website.

On WordPress, you can download the free plugin Yoast SEO which creates one for you. There are other plugins or ways to do this, and if you use a different website platform (e.g. Squarespace or Wix), they may have this functionality built-in. It takes the form of a url. Copy the bit after your domain name. eg. /sitemap_index.xml.

Next, you need to create a Google Search Console account (using your Gmail address). From the dashboard, select SITEMAPS on the left-hand menu bar and paste the sitemap url from the previous step.

Click Submit! That’s it!

4. Make sure other websites point to your website.

Another way to add AUTHORITY to your visibility is to get your website url added to OTHER websites. As Google looks at them, it will notice what links they have. If lots of other websites point to you, Google knows that you are legit and that other websites want to send people to you.

Local business listings are great for this, as are National ones – like Yell (previously Yellow Pages) and a host of others.

Having your website on Social Media also helps. Ensure your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, etc., all point to your website.

If you belong to a particular profession or professional body, it can also help to be listed by them. For example, if you are an Osteopath, make sure your listing is up-to-date, has a good description and also links back to your website.

How to get lots of TRAFFIC to your website.

So now Google knows who you are, you need to attract visitors.

1. Set website Site Title & Meta description

This is the image, title and text that appears on the search listings on Google, or when shared on Social Media. If nothing is specified it will just automatically pull info from your site. This can have unpredictable results and look clunky and unprofessional.

It is usually relatively easy to set this. In WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin (that you downloaded for the sitemap) to set this information. You also need to choose a featured image on the page. (From the logged-in view of a page or post, see right-hand column and set featured image.).

Other platforms usually have a place to edit this info: search for “{your platform, eg Wix} edit meta description“.

It is a good idea to keep the description short (160 characters max) so the text isn’t cut off.

You also might want to add in some of your keywords to this description and title.

I used the plugin Yoast SEO to help me specify the meta title and description for this blog post. It shows me the way this blog will appear on a Google search.

2. Fast page speed.

This is a tricky element to website SEO and can sometimes open a very technical can of worms. Nevertheless, if someone gets to your website and it is mega slow to load, they might leave before they have even read one word. This is known as your BOUNCE RATE. People literally bounce off your site as they are too impatient.

If you have a high bounce rate Google will show your site to fewer people. They may even remove it from their radar completely. Their job is to show people what they want and they will follow the lead of the bounce rate.

The SEO auto tool above (www.seoptimer.com ) is a great place to start. There are plenty of online tools that can analyse this for you. (Like Google Page Speed Insights.)

Things that can slow down your site are:

  • Big images – make sure you don’t waste speed by optimising images before you upload them to your site. See my handy guide to preparing images for the web.
  • Clunky or old theme – make sure your theme stays up-to-date and consider a web design refresh every 4-5 years.
  • Unnecessary code or extra plugins – make sure your site only has what is absolutely necessary to function.
  • Pages not optimised for mobile (see below).

You can also find tools to help you reduce speed by compressing images, saving images onto a super fast server and save snapshots of your pages (caching), and identify other ways to speed it up.

This is a massive area and can be daunting and confusing. Most web developers (including me) can give you a hand if you want to outsource it.

3. Add Google Analytics

Google Analytics is another brilliant Google tool that tracks your website traffic in detail. While it doesn’t necessarily boost your SEO (although will aide in your visibility), it gives you incredibly valuable information about your visitors.

You can see which pages are popular, which keywords they search for and what they do once they are on your site.

SEO is not a one-off project: you need to keep analysing and tweaking over time. Google Analytics helps make it easy to see if what you are doing is working.

Google Analytics itself is a bit unwieldy for novices (even I find it baffling) but it can work brilliantly with other plugins. On WordPress, I like to use Monster Insights. It helps you add the analytics code and also gives you a top-line view of, say, most visited pages, in your wordpress dashboard.

4. Google Ads

Now, this is admittedly a sneaky way of improving SEO, and shouldn’t be done without the other things mentioned!

When you run ads on Google you get lots of fantastic tools at your fingertips. They can help you understand and set keywords – keywords or phrases used on your site that help people know what you do. It gives you an analysis on the number of visitors and what they are doing.

This will give you lots of information about what is working and what is not for your website. You can often find they will give you free credit when you sign up but BEWARE! It is easy to forget you are setup and then login months later to discover you have spent hundreds of pounds!

Setting up one or two Google ads really help your visibility but paid-for traffic is never as good as organic traffic – eg, people who have found your website through search terms.

How to ensure you have brilliant DESIGN & CONTENT

Finally! We get to the actual website itself!

Once you have got a visitor to find you (VISIBILITY) and come to the site (TRAFFIC) you need to keep them as long as possible. Google does log this information. So the longer someone stays on your site, and the more number of pages they visit, buttons they press, etc., the more Google Juice you will get.

So how do you optimise your site?

1. Mobile-friendly site

Most people will visit your website while on their mobile or tablet. Google now indexes the mobile site as your primary site.

This means your design needs to be responsive – that it works on any screen size.

Older themes will often not have this screen flexibilty. Many people have still got websites that think about mobile as an afterthought.

Thankfully, many platforms like Squarespace and Wix do this for you. On WordPress, you need to ensure the theme and design you use looks and works best on a mobile.

I prefer to use Divi theme withwordpress as it makes it easy to specify different requirements for different screen sizes. It is also easy to see at a glance what my page will look like across any device.

2. Clear Navigation

So many websites are confusing. The key tool to navigate the website is the navigation menu at the top of the page.

What words are used in this menu, and how the pages fit together are critical in ensuring your website visitors know:

  • where they have been
  • where they are now
  • where to go next

This is especially important if you have many pages giving lots of information like classes, bookings, portfolio, etc.

Try to imagine you know absolutely NOTHING about your business, to get a sense of what your user journey is like.

I offer a site navigation audit service if you need a bit of help getting some clarity about whw your website should be structured.

3. Clear call-to-action on every page

A call-to-action is really just telling your visitor what to do once they get to the end of the page.

This could be:

  • a link to anther page on the site
  • a link off the site (not great)
  • an option to book a service or buy a product
  • an option to contact you

It can be tempting to add lots of different links all over your site but this can be confusing. Try to have a purpose or aim for each page and encourage your visitor multiple times to do that thing. Like this button.

4. Accessible.

Accessible websites are often not on our rader. But people who have visual, or other impairments are still your customers. Google can tell if it is hard for them to read or use your website.

There are some general guideleines that help such as:

  • ensure text and background colours have enough contrast
  • colours suitable for colour-blindness/sensory issues
  • large enough font size
  • clear navigation and menu
  • using alt tags on images

An easy way to assess your site is to run it through accessibility audit software. This gives you an idea of the kind of work you might want to do to ensure your site is as accessible as possible.

5. Optimise every page for one keyword or phrase

Overall your website should ave a congruence in terms of the words and phrases you use. Google is looking to check that you are talking about what you say you are talking about! If I write a blog on chocolate, then Google will be confused – why is a web developer writing about chocolate? This breaks trust in your content.

However, if I write a blog on SEO, Google knows that people who do websites also do SEO. So it is much more likely to trust that I am going to be an expert on websites.

It is handy to set a particular keyword or phrase that you want to optimise your page for. The free plugin Yoast SEO (the one we used to find the Sitemap) is brilliant for this on WordPress.

At the bottom of every page is a box where you can specify a word or phrase, and it will examine the page to see how you score. It then gives you a traffic light score and some suggestions on how to improve the SEO and also the readability.

When specifying keywords, try to thinkabout how your customer might search Google, rather than describing what you offer. So a website for a yoga instructor might use the phrase “yoga in {location}” as their keyphrase.

6. 300 words per page.

It is also helpful to ensure you simply have ENOUGH text on your website.

Yoast SEO suggests a minimum 300 words on each page, but anything up to 1000 words or more is great. It gives you plenty of opportunitities to include key words and phrases and synonyms.

Try to avoid writing for its own sake. Keep your sentences short, and your paragraphs no more than 2-3 lines.

7. Named images.

Images have an enormous influence on SEO. It starts before you have uploaded them by making sure you have optmised images for the web properly.

As well as ensuring images are nice and small, it makes a huge difference to re-name all your pictures with relevant titles. Try to include keywords if relevant. Also be descriptive about the photo.

So if I was adding the photo below, I might name it: man using computer building websites.

Not only does it make it much easier to search my site for relevant images, but Google will index the image names as well. If you already have lots of images uploaded, you can edit their infomration in the Worpdress Media Library.

Adding descriptive Alt tags (basically a field that helps describe the image to someone who is visually impaired) can also be done here. navigate to your media library, selet an image, then change the image name and alt tags in the right-hand box.

8. Write Relevant Blogs.

Blogs are a brilliant way to get more words on your website. More relevant words. And keywords. and key phrases. And Synonyms. And more detailed descriptions of different elements of your business.

Blogs enable your site to stay up-to-date (Google looks at how frequently you edit it). They give loads more information to your cuctomsers without clogging up your site navigation.

They can also make your life easier by allowing you to write down answers to questions often asked by clients. I have a client who is an antenatal and yoga teacher. One of her mst successful blogs describes how to help your baby fart!

Even if the subject isn’t going to directly bring you customers, the extra traffic will give you Google. It can turn your traffic from 100 a month, to many thousands. You can share blogs on Social Media and drive more trafic to your site. Maybe post it on your Google Business page?

It increases your visibility and authority on the subject. And that extra bit of Google Juice might just win you a few customers as well!

I could go on and on. SEO is very much an art and not a science. Google doesn’t publish the logic of its algorithms so much if this is just trial and error. And a bit of guesswork. It will be different for every business and every website.

SEO – as I said before – should be an ongoing project. In a way it is like tending a garden. You can sow the seeds, but you don’t quite know which ones will sprout. You weed out the weaklings and tend the strong ones. You can plant them out into the garden and sometimes they will thrive and other times just die a death. You never quite know what will bloom.

But you do know that good soil helps. And sunlight and protection. Sometimes a bit of extra nourishment, and removal of bugs and pests. But you need to keep tending it, otherwise weeds will grow and you might come back in 6 months and find the whole lot has been taken over by Ivy!


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