Search engine optimisation seems to be the talk of the town these days. I hear all internet marketing consultants, website designers and clients talking about SEO and what the best practices are for getting your site a decent ranking in Google. With a global marketing share of 86% Google is really the one to look out for and to optimise your site for, though the others should not be ignored. The Web Taylor has gained some valuable clients from search engines other than Google, so this needs to be kept in mind when optimising your website.

A lot has changed in the SEO world since the days of just needing large amounts of links pointing back to your site, there are many different factors that need to be adhered to and practices that can be followed in order to gain a good spot in search engine results.

Below are our top 10 tips for optimising your website:

  1. Keywords and Content
  2. One of the main factors of search engine’s determining the type, relevance and category of your site will be the content that it contains. The search engine spiders will crawl through your sites text and pick out what it believes to be relevant keywords and keyphrases. It is essential that you research your target audience and what keywords and phrases to use in your site. Once you have chosen the keywords and phrases to target, you then need to ensure that they are included within the content. The text should read naturally, but needs to contain the keywords for search engines to pick out.

    Another thing that is important is the use of <h1> tags within your content. Choose your main header carefully and use the keywords that you would see as being the most important within the <h1> tag as this is what search engines will sway towards when identifying the most relevant keywords.

  3. Domain and Filenames
  4. Another thing that search engines are now picking up on in the use of keywords within the actual domain name of your website and the file/page names. You must carefully choose a domain name for your website to keep your corporate image, but still contain keywords. It is also essential to structure your page names very carefuly and do not overuse keywords.

  5. Page titles & meta tags
  6. From an SEO point of view it is essential that you include keywords within the title of your site. But from a user point of view, in my opinion it is very important that you include your company name within the title of your web pages as well. The page title should be no longer that 64 characters. See the examples below…

    Good: Website design portsmouth – The Web Taylor

    Bad: Home Page – The Web Taylor

    As well as the page titles, meta descriptions are equally as important in telling the search engines what your page is about. A meta description is a short synopsis of what that web page is about and will be the short bit of text people will see under search results (see below). The meta description should be around 200 characters and should contain your most relevant keyword as early as possible

    Search engine optimisation - Meta Descriptions
    Example of meta description

  7. Website structure
  8. Website structure is very important before even building the site and when coming to optimise the website. When doing this, you have to work out the structure in your head. What pages you want linked to what and how you get there in the first place. For this exercise you need to think like a human and not like a search engine spider, you need to think "If i were using this site, what would be the easiest way to get to this page?"

    You should not need to click more than 3 times to get to the page you want, so just bear that in mind – do not bury pages so deep they are hard to come across. Linking relevant pages to each other is a good way of keeping the user on the site and is good for search engine spidering as well (think of related videos on Youtube, that keeps everyone goinig for hours).

  9. Back Linking
  10. Back linking has always been one of the main factors of obtaining a good ranking within the search engines. Back linking is how many external links you have pointing to your website from other websites. In the past people have used websites called link farms that contain 1000’s of links to websites to get them up in the search engines. Search engines cottoned on to this so have started to get a lot more clever about what they classify as a quality back link.

    Directory Sites – Niche online directory sites provide a good medium to get a link back to your site. You must choose a good quality directory that allow you to have a “real” link and not a “no-follow” link, so beware if it is a “no-follow” link it is utterly useless to search engines. You also have to change the information slightly on each directory you submit to otherwise search engines may see these listings as automated which could have negative effects.

    Drectory submissions is a complete pain, and a very long strenuous. But at the end of the day it does help – so get on with it!

    Link exchanges – For a more relevant, better quality link you can approach other website administrators with sites similar to yours and ask if they would like to exchange links. It would be nice if it were a one way link, but I cant see many people willingly doing this, so I suppose an exchange is fair. This provides a link back to your site that is relevant and holds more weight than directory links

  11. Sitemap
  12. Having a sitemap both XML and HTML can be very effective for search engine spiders and have good effects on year search engine rankings. There a re many tools online that can automatically creat an XML sitemap for you, and we currently have one in development. Once the software has created the XML sitemap for you, just download the file to your computer and upload it to the /root/ of where your website is hosted.

    An HTML site is also good for search engines as well as the end user of the site if they are looking for something. This can be done in any HTML editor, or you can just ask us for more information.

  13. Social Media
  14. Social media is still very young and many people are still finding it hard to get to grips with it. Social media includes site such as: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Social media is one of the newest online marketing tools and search engines have picked up on this pretty quickly and have now included it in one of the factors of your website ranking. You need to ensure that you are not a stranger on these sites and try to post as much as you can about you, your company and what is relevant to your business sector. Post, post post! This will soon get loads of relevant content and links back to your website out there. But remember posting would be nothing if there is no one to see it, so remember to add contacts and follow people in order to get a following in return.

  15. Website Speed
  16. Google has recently announced that website speed is now one of the factors in determining a websites ranking, which in my opinion seems a bit silly as internet speeds are ever increasing and are now as quick as they’ve ever been. Anywhoo this is now a factor so must be looked at as part of any SEO campaign.

    If you use Firefox then download an addon called “Firebug” and if you don’t use Firefox then do, becuase it is better. With Firebug you can run a Google Speed Test which will analyse your website and feedback a report of areas that your site needs improving (speed wise).

    When optimising your site for speed, you need to remember to look at: Gzip Compression, image optimisation, combining javascript, compressing CSS code, remove unused CSS and do not use too many images for the layout of your site as they can often increase loading time.

  17. Alt Attributes on Images
  18. Putting alt attributes on your images actually serves two purposes. In terms of SEO, putting a brief yet descriptive alt attribute along with your image, places additional relevant text to your source code that the search engines can see when indexing your site. The more relevant text on your page the better chance you have of achieving higher search engine rankings.

    In addition, including image alt attributes help the visually impaired who access web sites using a screen reader. They can’t see the image, but with a descriptive alt attribute, they will be able to know what your image is.

  19. Fresh Content
  20. Search engines will want a reason to come back and spider your site frequently, but if there is nothing happening and content is rarely added or updated it will have no reason to spider your site frequently.

    The best way to cater for fresh content isn’t to re-write about your products and services, but merely add a blog section to your website. Write articles that are relevant to your business sector, write how-to and advice articles that people will find useful, and also keep people informed of what is going on within your company. Google will then crawl your site more regularly and find all of the fresh content you have been blogging!

    A blog can be added to your site very simply by using software such as WordPress

Well that concludes our top 10 tips for optimising your website. If you follow all of the above steps and make sure you keep on top of it all, you website will start to get some good search results.

If you would like any more information on search engine optimisation or would like a free SEO report then please contact us

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The Web Taylor
1000 Lakeside North Harbour Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 3EN
02392 123358