Is your company based in the United Kingdom? Does your business target an audience in the UK? If so, there are several SEO strategies you should be adopting so you can rise in the rankings of google.co.uk, and thus, attract more traffic from your audience in the UK. To help you understand the best SEO tips for targeting a UK audience, we've developed a helpful, free tip sheet -- 10 Quick SEO Tips to Target a UK Audience -- that you can download, print, and keep handy.
On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO
Our cheat sheet includes tips specifically for targeting a UK-based audience in respect to two types of SEO strategies:
- On-Page SEO Strategies: This includes optimizing the pages on your website for search, such as adding keywords to your URL structures, your page titles, your header tags, and so on.
- Off-Page SEO Strategies: This primarily involves generating inbound links from other websites into yours -- to signal to search engines that you have an authoritative website.
Keep in mind that on-page elements are much easier to optimize for because you have direct control over your own website. And while these on-page SEO steps are definitely important, they're usually not enough to get to the first page of Google.
Here’s why ...
When you search engine optimize your on-page elements, it helps Google and other search engines understand what your web page is all about. Search engines then index your page by the keywords you used on that page.
But on-page elements aren't the only thing search engines take into consideration. When other websites link to you (AKA inbound links), it helps Google and other search engines understand that your content is remarkable, and that your website is authoritative. And because search engines want to be as helpful as possible to its users, they only want remarkable content on page one of their search engine results. As a result, the more inbound links you have pointing to your site, the more authoritative search engines will think your website is, the better they'll rank your pages, and the more prominently they will display you in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
As you can see, on-page SEO is only part of the equation. It helps you get indexed by Google, but it's not the only thing you need to do to get on page one of google.co.uk. So to make sure you're also strengthening your website's off-page SEO, in this post we'll discuss a few link-building best practices for targeting a UK-based audience.
Focus Your SEO Efforts on Google
Before we get into some specific link-building recommendations, make sure you're considering focusing on Google in your UK SEO targeting strategy. According to Hitwise, Google has a search engine market share of approximately 90% in the UK, with Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com trailing far behind. So it’s worth your time to focus on Google when measuring the results of your SEO efforts.
When measuring your results, you can use a tool like HubSpot's Keyword tool to show you two things: how much traffic you're generating for your target keywords, and your rank in Google for those keywords.
Okay, now let's get into some off-page SEO best practices for targeting a UK-based audience ...
Guest Blog for UK-Based Blogs
Google determines your rank for different search terms based on the number and quality of the inbound links pointing to your website. So if you want your site to rank well on google.co.uk, generating inbound links from sites on a .co.uk domain will help you more than inbound links you might get from another domain extension, such as .ie or .de.
Guest blogging can be a great strategy for generating inbound links, since the sites you blog for will often let you include a few inbound links back to your own website. Just make sure you're optimizing these links with appropriate, keyword-rich anchor text for the maximum SEO benefit.
While there’s nothing wrong with blogging on blogs outside the UK, if you’re targeting an audience in the UK and your goal is to rise in google.co.uk's search rankings, then you should aim to guest blog for blogs that are also on the .co.uk domain.
Identify the Right Blogs to Target
First, make a list of all the top blogs in the UK that are relevant to your industry. To find relevant blogs in your industry that have a .co.uk extension and are actively accepting guest blog submissions, do a Google site search for:
site:.co.uk your keyword "guest post"
site:.co.uk your keyword "guest blog"
Just replace your keyword with a keyword you'd like to blog about. This query will lead you either to a guest blog post submission page or a post written by a guest blogger on websites with the .co.uk domain so you know those websites accept guest blogging submissions.
Participate in Comment Threads and Communities in Your Industry
Before you pitch a guest blog post, it's also a good idea to comment on the blog you're targeting and connect/establish a relationship with the blog's manager on Twitter. This will help you become a familiar name/face, so that when you do pitch the blog manager about your guest post, he or she will already know who you are.
Even if you don't end up getting accepted as a guest blogger, establishing relationships with other UK bloggers will make them aware of your existence -- and your blog. And any inbound links you naturally accrue from these influential bloggers, or any tweets in which they share links to your content, will help to boost your SEO efforts. Remember: Social media now directly impacts your website's SEO, so it's well worth your time to create a Twitter list that includes influential bloggers in your industry, and interact with them regularly.
Pitch Your Guest Post
Before pitching your guest post to a blog manager, familiarize yourself with the content on their blog. What kinds of posts do they typically accept? What topics do they blog about? Is their audience B2B or B2C? This will help you pitch the right type of blog post, which will increase your likelihood of getting accepted. For more information about following guest blogging best practices, including tips on crafting the perfect guest blogging pitch, check out our article, "17 Foolish Mistakes to Avoid as a Guest Blogger."
Tailor Your Content to Appeal to a UK-Based Audience
Make sure you're creating interesting and valuable content that’s particularly relevant to your audience in the UK. Just like any great marketing content, your UK-targeted content needs to address the interests of and provide solutions to the problems your UK audience has. Consider the buyer persona(s) of your target UK audience. How can you help them? What is the latest industry news in the UK, and how does it impact them specifically?
There are several other things to consider to ensure that your content is relevant to a UK audience. These tips may require some additional effort if you don't live in the UK, but they're important considerations to make:
- Spelling Nuances: Favorite is spelled 'favourite,' optimize is spelled 'optimise,' and so forth. Know which words to pay attention to, and edit their spellings accordingly.
- Pop Culture References: If you're making an analogy or providing an example that incorporates a pop culture reference, make sure your audience in the UK will 'get' it.
- Industry News: If you're writing an article about how your industry has been impacted by some recent news in a country outside the UK, make sure it applies to your UK audience as well.
- Events: Furthermore, think twice before covering an event that happens outside the UK. If it was inaccessible to your audience, will they even care about it?
Aim to Create In-Depth, Valuable, and High-Quality Content
No matter which audience you're targeting, it's now more important than ever to focus on creating high-quality content. So rather than pumping out tons of subpar content, spend the time to craft valuable, high-quality pieces of content every single time. Google's Panda update has made content quality an extremely important factor for marketers, as search engines are starting to reward sites with high-quality content with better rankings, and penalize websites with low-quality content. Not only does high-quality, insightful content attract more views, but it is also more likely to naturally to attract inbound links as well as social media shares -- both of which are factors that strongly influence Google’s search ranking algorithm.
- It's helpful or fulfills an interest/need for your target audience. Above all, make sure your content is helpful and valuable to your UK readers. Have you included all of the information they need to be successful at whatever it is you're trying to teach them or inform them about?
- It's interesting. Don't underestimate the value of entertainment. Make sure your content is not only helpful but also interesting to read, rather than sounding like technical documentation. Keep readers engaged and entertained, too.
- It's well-written. High-quality content doesn't just hit on the right ideas and points, but it's also well-written. Don't overlook the importance of great copywriting. In addition, use data to support your points when appropriate, and attribute your sources with the proper citation.
What other link-building tips do you have for getting found in search by a UK audience?