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Online Business Set-Up: 5 Tips to Help Your Website Rank in the UK
If you’re setting up a new online business, having a user-friendly website and sound SEO strategy that’s tailored to your target market is important. And if you’re targeting British consumers, there are a few SEO boxes you can tick to ensure you rank well on UK-based searches and drive the right traffic back to your website.
Here are our tips to help your website rank well in the UK.
Search engines strive to show users the most relevant results, so website listings from the same location as the user will generally rank higher. One of the ways search engines determine where a website is based is by its IP address which comes from the location of its hosted server. When a person searches from the UK, search engines will display UK-hosted sites higher, so choosing a UK web host is a good way to help boost your ranking.
Having a website that’s hosted within your target market also means it will load faster and provide a better user experience. Load speed is a major ranking factor with faster websites ranking better. And users prefer responsive websites too with as many as 40% of people giving up on a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
If you’re targeting a UK audience choosing a .co.uk TLD (Top-Level Domain) has some advantages. From an SEO perspective, just like search engines look at a website’s IP address, they also look at a site’s domain to determine how relevant it is for searches. So if you have a .co.uk domain, search engines will see your site as more local (and therefore, more relevant) to UK-based searches and rank you higher for it.
In terms of marketing, consumers tend to trust sites more when they know where they are based and particularly if they are local. Consumers in the UK can instantly recognise a .co.uk domain as a local supplier, giving them reassurance. This is especially important for e-commerce sites.
Using the correct language for your target market is paramount. Although UK consumers can understand US English perfectly well, tailoring your marketing messages by using their British language shows you understand and value their needs. This, in turn, builds trust and credibility.
Aside from the linguistic connection with your potential customers, using British English will help with SEO as well. It’s debated whether spelling variations matter in search, but differences in terminology will. For example, if you’re selling running shoes, you want to make sure your website talks about ‘trainers’ and not ‘sneakers’ as this will be what UK users search for.
Backlinks are links that direct back to your site from other websites, and they're an important SEO strategy. The more backlinks you have, the more you're seen as a trusted expert by search engines. So, one way to help boost your SEO on UK searches is to obtain backlinks from other respected UK sites. Guest posts and referrals are just some of the types of backlinks you could acquire. Look for information websites, industry publications or related businesses, and approach them to see if they’re interested in linking to your site.
Setting up UK social media accounts is helpful for marketing and SEO. Social channels allow you to connect, engage and build your audience at a local level. And for SEO, social media platforms generally rank well, so if you have UK accounts, you’re adding to your local relevancy and giving yourself more opportunities to appear in local searches.
The UK is a key market for an online business, but it requires a targeted strategy to compete. Use our tips to make your business as local and as relevant as possible, which will help your website rank well and establish your business presence within the UK market.