When it comes to your website’s online success, search engine optimisation is essential.
Optimising your website for the search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, will help you reach the position you want, and let’s face it, how many people search past the first page of Google?
If you are not in the top 10 search results then you dramatically decrease your web traffic from organic search engine results.
And you might be thinking it’s not an easy task to get on the first page with so many competitors, but in fact with a few simple tweaks to your site’s optimisation, and firstly understanding how SEO works, it’s not hard to possibly get that number 1 spot on Google.
What is SEO?
Basically, SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the way your website communicates with the search engines. It tells them what your website is about, who your target audience is, what you do, where you are located, if your website is relevant to mobile search results or desktop results, and more.
Back in the old days, SEO was all about filling the site with the right keywords, and that was about it.
These days, SEO is a lot more sophisticated, but with a basic understanding, it’s not hard to figure out and actually easier to achieve a great result.
Now SEO is more about relevance of the content as well as quality of the content, ensuring all content is unique and fresh, and your general authority in your niche.
What the Search Engines Like:
Ensuring your website is easy to navigate is very important. Always ensure everything is only one click away from any other page where possible, ensure no broken links, the navigation is ‘tagged’ with a title so that the search engines can easily recognise the relevance of the navigation to the page it points to.
Quality of Content:
Quality of content need to be up to date, titles on each page should be clearly defined in H1 (Header 1) size, and ensure the primary message is at the top of the body text on each page. If you have images on your website, try and get unique images that have not been used before as these rank on Google images, and provide a direct link back to your site.
Ensure details, such as phone number, address, etc are on the website, preferably in the footer, as this gives your site more credibility and helps with your local search rankings.
‘Authority’ is the new buzzword, but also very relevant for a great listing. Buy adding posts or blog articles to your website regularly filled with interesting tips to help your target audience, will help your rankings. further increase this by then posting a link to this article on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will get more people reading and sharing your information. Google knows if people are sharing your content and will rank you better if they see that people are finding your content of value enough to share. This promotes you as an ‘authority’ in your niche, and can directly improve your rankings.
What the Search Engines DON’T Like:
Backlinks are great, but they must be quality links. A backlink is when you have a reciprocal link back from another quality site. It’s a bit like when you were at school and if you were seen as hanging around the popular kids, you must be popular too. IF Google sees you hanging around with the popular sites with a high quality score, then it will rub off to your site. when you buy backlinks you’ll find most are poor quality sites, and by bulk buying them means that you get a pile of backlinks all at once, which looks un-natural, so Google knows something is fishy.
Too many keywords on your website will just make for terrible reading, and will also get your site banished.
Stick to good quality content with a sprinkle of keywords.
Poor User Experience:
Your user experience is determines by a number of things, usually loading time, whether the content was good or not, ease of navigation. Best way to know if your user experience is good or not is to check the Bounce Rate on your Google Analytics. If you have a low bounce rate it means the experience is good.
Create a Keyword Strategy
While keywords are important on your own site, you will also get great benefit if you ensure your other channels are also optimised, such as keywording your social media profiles, ensuring your weblink is always on your emails, letterheads, even PDF documents. the more click throughs you can get directly, the better your ranking.
Keyword rich domains:
SEO specialists are divided over this one, but I tend to agree that in many cases, having a domain name with your keyword in the domain usually helps (eg, bobshardware.com
Age of the domain name:
Older domains still tend to rank better than freshly purchased domain names, so if you have an aged domain sitting around then give this a go first.
Optimising your site for different platforms
This is often overlooked by many web developers, but these days Google is more clever when it coms to your rankings, and if your site is ‘mobile-responsive’ then you’ll find it will rank better on mobile search engines than sites that aren’t mobile responsive. A mobile responsive site is a website that has been created to reformat itself into a mobile design when viewed on tablets and smartphones. ensuring your site is now mobile responsive is critical as almost 60% of all sites are now searched from a mobile device.
Clean up your Title and meta tags
Ok, for those not familiar to the tech-language of meta description and title tag, these refer to the listings results you see when you do a search on Google for anything. You’ll often notice the listings that come up first have a couple of main elements that get them to the top position.
These are: Clean title with the right length that fits into the correct amount of characters, and a description that does the same. Then also ensure these both have at least one of the primary keywords in them that you wish to be ranking for.
Ensure it is also unique on every page of your website. Duplicate content, even on your own site, is one of the quickest ways to drop in rankings.
Overall, SEO is a pretty simple task if you keep it in mind prior to your website content being added. If your website is built in WordPress, then there are plenty of great free SEO plugins which can help make the task of search engine optimisation very simple, even for a novice.
Follow our steps above and ensure your site is optimised well, and watch your rankings increase!