Let’s start by clearing up the elephant in the room, what really is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Essentially, it means making changes to your website to ensure it is found and displayed by search engines, like Google and Bing.
Search engines are looking for clear information on your website, and elsewhere on the internet, about what exactly it is you do. Sounds simple right, but keeping things clean and simple can be surprisingly difficult. What it requires is a solid plan and a great vegan SEO strategy.
So let us walk you through the steps to bossing vegan SEO.
Is Your Website SEO-ready?
You probably won’t want to hear this, but your web design may well be hindering your vegan SEO efforts. Why’s this?
Well, the foundations of your vegan SEO strategy are reliant upon the structure of your website. If your design is messy, the code is clunky, and the navigation is complicated, then search engines are going to have a VERY hard time trying to crawl through your website and understand it. Not only for search engines but also for your users!
So to begin with your vegan SEO journey you may well want to consider a website redesign, or a big spring clean. Make sure you have a well-thought-out sitemap, user journey, navigation, and a clean design (free from clunky code).
SEO-Ready Vegan Web Design
Create a Vegan SEO Strategy
An effective vegan SEO strategy is multifaceted and it will usually take time before you see any results. Nevertheless, it is the next vital part of building sustainable growth as an online business.
Drawing upon our own experience creating and implementing SEO strategies, we’ve put together a list of actionable stages to guide you through creating your own strategy to help your vegan business succeed.
1. Target Keywords
First, research your target keywords.
For example, if you own a business that sells vegan leather wallets then your keywords might include “wallet”, “vegan leather”, “vegan wallet”, and “sustainable wallet”.
In addition, check what your competitors are ranking for so that you can emulate their SEO. You can even use tools such as SEMrush to conduct a keyword gap analysis.
Once you have jotted down lots of keywords related to your business, use SEMrush and/or UberSuggest to check their search volume. Focus on keywords that have a high search volume so you can benefit from the traffic they could bring to your website.
Some keywords are very difficult to rank for on Google. Let’s take the example of “wallet”. As of June 2020, type that word into Google and you get over 1 billion results. What’s more, according to SEMrush, “wallet” has a keyword difficulty of 86%.
It’s not impossible to rank for “wallet” but it will take time and therefore, it’s a good idea to focus on a variety of keywords including a mix with low to high keyword difficulty. Long-tail keywords are usually easier to rank for.
It’s also a good idea to choose opportunity keywords, which are those that don’t bring up lots of distractions (e.g. adverts, news stories, related search images, and product images) on the first page of Google search results. So make sure you test them all out!
Once you have your keywords, use them throughout your site! Blogs are a great way to get these out there, so check out our step-by-step advice on how to create a content strategy.
2. Build Backlinks
Backlinks are where websites link to each other. They are great for SEO because they increase pathways that lead to your vegan business. Plus, they demonstrate that people find your content interesting or valuable enough to share, which helps search engines to trust your website.
Start by finding out why people link to content within your industry – these are known as your hooks.
Here are some examples of great hooks:
- Bitesize statistics – lots of people refer to these and will often link back to the source of their data.
- Case studies – again, people love referring to examples.
- Ultimate guides – become the ultimate guru of your industry and provide a guide for others. You will be seen as the fount of knowledge.
Use these hooks on your website to encourage people to share your content and benefit from the free backlinks!
Another great way of building your backlinks is to write guest posts for other websites, especially those that are also vegan or within your industry.
3. Optimise On-Page SEO
There are plenty of things you can do to optimise on-page SEO (front-end and back-end) but we’ve narrowed it down to a few easy actions that you can take yourself:
- Use short and snappy URLs using your keywords and one or two related words
- Improve internal link navigation by linking to your other content. Add links to any new content within existing webpages and blog posts, especially those that are already high-ranking.
- Use your keywords (lists won’t work here – you have to use them naturally within valuable and informative content).
- Write a good page title that is both informative and uses your target keywords.
- Use headings to guide your website visitors and improve readability.
- For your meta description, write a short summary of your page. Make sure it describes how your page can benefit readers.
- Use alt text to help search engines identify your images – keywords are important here as well.
4. Improve User Experience
SEO is an ongoing balancing act between pleasing the search engine bots and gratifying the real-life users (the customers you want to attract to your vegan business). Optimising your site for the bots is incredibly important to increase the visibility of your website but ultimately, it’s the humans that will draw value from your content, buy your products, and use your services.
Nevertheless, the search engine bots and real-life users are inextricably linked. Search engines will analyse user satisfaction to amend their rankings and continuously improve their search results.
In other words, by improving user experience your rankings will also benefit!
For example, Google uses a machine-learning algorithm (AI) known as RankBrain, which analyses user experience (UX) signals to sort its search results. According to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, RankBrain is their third most important ranking signal. You can watch the whole Q&A session in the YouTube video below:
Here are 3 main examples of UX signals to be aware of:
a) Organic click-through rate (CTR)
b) Bounce rate
c) Dwell time
You can optimise your vegan business for all 3 of these UX signals. We’ve explained how to do so in more detail below:
1. Optimise for Organic CTR
So you want to get people to click through to your site from the search engine results? In that case, you’ll need to sell it to them!
Use emotional titles and meta descriptions
CoSchedule found a correlation between organic CTR and emotional titles. The same thing applies to your meta descriptions, so make sure you draw people in by using words and phrases that evoke positive feelings from your audience. For example, instead of:
Try something that promises simple and easy-to-follow advice, such as this:
The meta description also reveals that the content creator did their research by speaking to industry experts. It’s much more inviting and is, therefore, more likely to attract readers.
Use numbers in your titles
BuzzSumo analysed 100 million article headlines and discovered titles that used numbers had a higher organic CTR. The numbers 10, 5, 15, and 7 performed particularly well.
Don’t forget your target keyword
Remember to include your target keyword in both your title and your meta description.
Take a look at this site offering “vegan dating” as an example:
2) Optimise for Bounce Rate and Dwell Time
Google defines a bounce as a single-page session. In other words, where someone clicks through to your website and then exits without interacting. The more people that bounce, the higher the bounce rate.
Google is also equipped to calculate how long users spend on your content and will also use this to rank you on its search results. This is known as dwell time. The longer someone spends on your site, the higher the probability that you have provided valuable content.
There are many ways in which you can optimise for bounce rate and dwell time. Here are some of our top tips to immediately hook people in and persuade them to stay:
Immediately (and succinctly) tell your reader you are going to answer their question/solve their problem
Don’t faff around and convolute the message of your blog post/content. Satisfy user intent immediately! Tell them what your content can do for them and clearly structure it to help them find the information they need.
Keep the intro short and simple. Too much text will deter users because they want to know if your content will satisfy their intent quickly.
Check out the beginning of this Vegan Sister’s Surreal Cereal review. They haven’t beaten around the bush, they instantly state what the content aims to do. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many websites don’t do this.
Write in-depth and long-form content
The more information you can provide in one place, the longer users will dwell on your site. Simples.
Ensure your content is easy to read
When writing long-form content, it’s easy to overload the page and create large chunks of text.
Not only does this make it more difficult for readers to find the information they are looking for, but it also puts people off just by looking at it! That’s where headings and subheadings come in handy – use these to break up the content and to give your page more structure.
Implement Vegan SEO
It is time to start putting what you have learnt into action!
Don’t forget that your web design may be limiting your Vegan SEO progress so be sure to get in contact with us for a free consultation. We’ll provide free honest advice on your website and how it will perform on search engines.