Search Engine Optimisation is a key factor in successful online marketing. While it may not be as glamourous as Facebook apps or as exciting as developing a new website, its return on investment is high and its impact must not be overlooked. After all, what’s the point in having a website if nobody can find you?
Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO) involves a variety of techniques used to improve a website’s ranking in search engine results. This will in turn increase traffic to the website and make sure people that land on a page have searched for a relevant keyword or phrase. Increased traffic equals increased opportunity, so we’ve come up with some tips that will help you improve your website’s SEO.
Great SEO starts at the design stage of your website, and the more prepared it is for SEO, the better off you will be. You’ll want to make sure your website is developed correctly and uses technology that is tailored for search engine spiders. Your developers should include validated code, a 404 error page, a sitemap, and robot instructions within your site, all of which allow spiders to crawl your website easily so everything can be indexed. Making sure your site is properly set up will give you a good foundation from which to move forward.
Some software, like WordPress or Joomla, are great for SEO because spiders can easily crawl their content. Websites built in Flash, however, are not SEO-friendly and often suffer from it. Try to avoid building a site in Flash, but if you need to use it, make sure to include content and links outside the Flash element.
SEO is all about getting your website to appear for relevant searches, and keywords play an important role in this. Keywords are words or phrases associated with your site and what it offers. Search engine spiders scan the content on your page and determine what your website is about, so you need to consciously work on selecting keywords and integrating them into your site. Google Keyword Tool is a free service that is great for generating keywords and showing you how much competition you’ll have from other sites using those words. Additionally, remember to use synonyms that may be associated with your products, services, or industry.
Include a mix of long tail phrases (specific longer phrases that have a low search rate but are also less competitive, for example “Leicester Facebook app specialists”) as well as short tail keywords that are more commonly searched for but have more sites using them. If you’ve got a business that is locally based, including locations in your long tail keywords is a great help to getting onto relevant searches.
Keep in mind that every page of your website should have a different list of keywords that are appropriate for what the page is about. So, for example, if you manufacture writing implements, your keywords for a page about wooden pencils will be different from those about calligraphy pens. This will ensure that relevant pages are brought up in search results and will also allow you to use a larger list of keywords.
While keyword density (how often your keywords appear on a page) does play a role in SEO, it is not the only aspect and should not be overused. At the end of the day you want your site to be understandable to actual visitors as well as spiders, so keep a natural flow to your content and you should be fine. Use several keywords throughout the page and maintain a density of no more than 3-8%, otherwise you run the risk of sounding spammy and may even be penalised by spiders that have picked up on what you are trying to do.
Where your keywords are located is also important for SEO. Make sure to include keywords in your page title, headers, alt tags labelling images, and metadescriptions (the brief synopsis of a page that shows up in a search result). Bolding certain words will signify to spiders that a particular term holds importance in relation to your website. The words you use in a link are also important to SEO, so rather than using a generic “click here” link, incorporate it into a keyword, for example, “Find out more about our SEO services.”
Another important factor to keep in mind is that search engines do not like duplicate content, whether that is from elsewhere on your site or from somewhere else on the Internet. So make sure your content is original and unique.
Search engines want to offer relevant results to their users, so up-to-date content is held in high regard. Make sure to regularly add fresh content to your site through blog posts, RSS feeds, or any other creative avenues you can think of.
Search engines view links as recommendations to a web page, the more quality links you have, the more regard Google has for your page. Over the recent years, search engines have begun to assess link quality, due in large part to link farms that were being used to create spurious links. So, keep in mind that it isn’t the number of links that are important, but that they are from reliable and relevant websites.
You can actively increase the number of inbound links through your own digital PR efforts, social media, guest blogging, participating in forums, and submitting syndicated articles to websites such as Ezine or Dropbox. Linking to relevant pages within your website is also important since it leads people to the right information and shows search engines that your entire website is worth viewing, not just your homepage.
In addition to inbound links, you’ll also want to create a web of internal links that visitors can use to navigate through your website
Other Bits and Bobs
In addition to your website, you should also broaden your online activities to include social media, blogs, microsites, and pay-per-click advertising. This additional activity will help you dominate the search results with multiple entries and ensure that your business can be found online through various platforms. With people regularly using the web for different purposes, the more omnipresent you are, the more likely they’ll be to find you.
In order to successfully achieve good SEO results, you will have to put in time and effort over the long term. Even if you end up on page one, there are websites always vying for your position, so keep a strong strategy in place and continuously monitor analytics to see where you can improve.
While the SEO tips we’ve recommended to you all fall within Google’s best practices guidelines, many organisations use “black hat” techniques to improve their SEO. Google is always coming up with new ways to combat these techniques and penalises those that use them, so we recommend avoiding quick fixes.
If you’ve got any more search engine optimisation tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
For more information on our search engine optimisation services, please contact Cite today.