1. Keywords – do your research
Keyword rich content is vital when you are trying to optimise your site. That being said, there is very little point in writing pages of copy filled with ‘key words’ if no one ever uses those words when searching!
Use tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find useful suggestions for your key words. Don’t be overly specific with your own keywords when using the tool…the results will be far better, and may even surprise you a little!
Many SEO tools also show you the competition levels for the keywords, this can help you set up optimised campaigns against effective keywords.
2. Establishing good links
Google loves changing the playing field, we think they like to make SEO experts sweat a little! Unfortunately for site owners, and that probably includes you, we all want a high Google PageRank. Google modifies and changes the algorithm for determining this, but one thing that always seems to feature is the quality of inbound weblinks.
Your best bet here is to get your site onto reputable sites – and it is very important that the sites are reputable – and other niche directories with links back to your own site. When you increase the genuine, relevant links to your site, you will start to see a real increase in your PageRank.
3. Link Deep
Good incoming links are important, as we have said, but it is equally important that these links point to different pages to show search engines that your site has depth – you are more than just a home page!
This also helps improve user experience, and shows search engines that you have lots of valid content worth referencing, thus boosting your PageRank.
Links that only point to your home page make the site look shallow, and if they are generated by an automation tool might actually reduce your PageRank.
Now you wouldn’t try navigating through a new town or city without a map or guide (okay, most of us wouldn’t!) so how do you expect a search engine – and users – to navigate your website quickly and easily?
A Site Map is a vital tool for increasing the ease of use and navigation across your site. It allows the crawlers sent out by search engines to efficiently search each and every page on your site. This makes the content far easier to find, reduces page clicks, and therefore crawlers and users get to what they are looking for faster.
XML sitemaps can also be used. These generally contain a list of all pages and the date on which the page was last modified. They help search engines understand how fresh your content it. With a good (XML) sitemap, search engine crawlers will be all over your website!
How to tie your laces – sorry, Relevant Content
You could say that the most important part of SEO is having content that is actually relevant to your main site topic or page. The page copy should be relevant to any targeted keywords for the page or site, and this concept should extend to the meta tags and alt tags on the page.
The copy should read well, be keyword dense and have no spelling or grammar errors if you want it to be useful to a reader. Information should be explained for the reader where necessary.
Relevant content helps search engines match searches to sites. Don’t go overboard though, else it might look like spam and put users off.
6. Meta Tag Optimisation
You may never see the Meta tags of a site, as they are part of the code. There are a multitude of tags, but the two arguably most important ones are the description and the keywords. Although search engines rely less and less on meta tags, they still have a role to play in search rankings; they also help summarise what a site is about.
The description tag provides that little site summary you see on Google for each search result; as such it can easily make the difference between a user clicking on your link or moving on to the next result. Typically the description should be between 150 and 200 characters. You should include a few key words, but ultimately it should read like a sentence, not a list of buzzwords.
The keyword meta tag is generally viewed with little importance by most search engines after lots of sites tried stuffing theirs with the contents of the Oxford English Dictionary – other dictionaries are available! However, the tag is still recommended in moderation. Use the keyword tools to find a couple of variations on your keywords and put these in. For example its not worth putting Web Design, Web Designers, Bournemouth Web Design, etc. in as your keywords as these are all basically the same thing. Variety is – after all – the spice of life.
Ever been on a website and an image has failed to load so you just get a little description in its place? No? Well we assure you that a good website will have an alt tag for all of its images, and it is this tag that provides the description of an image if it can’t load, or for users with visual impairments who use a screen reader so they don’t miss site content.
Search engines use the brief description in an alt tag to show the additional relevance of your site.
8. Lets get social
Okay, so this isn’t technically SEO, but social media is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing factors when it comes to getting your site noticed.
A variety of web-based services, applications and technologies come under the title of Social Media, but they all provide a common function; they all allow users to interact socially with one another online. Examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on.
To fully engage in the social media storm it is very important to give as much as you take. Help other users out by sharing or re-tweeting their statuses and they might do the same for you. Alternatively, run social media-based competitions, encourage feedback and generally interact with your fans and followers.
A few carefully chosen keywords which highlight the main focus of your site are very useful in a domain name, but don’t put too many in or you’ll look desperate. Try to avoid the overuse of the hyphen as well, they make domain names look rather odd some times.
Be sure to consider how your domain name might read when all put together though, we all remember what happened with the original domain name for Experts Exchange…you don’t remember? Allow us to help
The title of a page, its primary heading, is likely to be the first thing a search engine sees when trying to determine what a page is about. Your visitors are likely to notice it as well, so it is vitally important that it contains a couple of keywords – one or two, no more – and is very relevant to the content of the page.
Headings throughout a page help organise information, and help with the aesthetics of the site in general. Use appropriate header tags to help web crawlers as well as users.
So that’s it, our ten tips to SEO.
If you want more advice tailored to your website, why not Contact Us?