By Toby Mason, Client Services Director, Totally Communications.
It’s all very well being the proud owner of a top quality website, but for it to be a success you not only have to drive traffic to it, but drive the right traffic to it. How will your website be found by the online community? How can you get a competitive edge when so many companies clutter the web?
Here’s a simple guide to help you on the path to SEO in ten easy steps. Follow and enjoy the increase in targeted traffic flow to your website. Do remember that all search engines behave slightly differently and different tactics on different search engines will provide different results.
Seemingly obvious, the content on your website is vital. Not only is this a factor to keep people on the website but - just as importantly - it is what the search engine reads to determine your ranking. For example, Google sends out ‘spiders’ that ‘crawl’ the Internet looking at indexed pages scanning the content of your site. So make sure all of your content is original and relevant to the message you are trying to get across, and that there is a lot of it.
You are looking for every possible word or phrase that could drive the desired traffic to your website. Use a keyword tool such as https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal to look for popular keywords or phrases that you may not have thought of.
Often the shorter key phrases are extremely competitive, so look for ‘long tail’ key phrases relevant to your service or product. For example, whilst it will be hard to rank high for the term “solicitor” it may be less competitive to rank well for “solicitor Goodge Street”.
3. Describe Your Images
Describe your images with the use of the alt tag. This will help search engines that index images to find your pages and will also help readers who use text only web browsers. Although Google is beginning to index images on what they contain as opposed to what text they accompany, this is still a very important aspect. Again, it is all about relevant content.
4. Link Building
It is essential to have relevant inbound links to your website. The search engines see a link as a vote from one website to another and they are extremely important. Having many quality links with relevant anchor text (the text that you click on) will increase the authority that the search engines give your site.
Be warned, however, search engines are extremely clever and can spot irrelevant or ‘spammy’ links such as reciprocal or paid for links and may impose penalties on any sites they feel are abusing their system.
5. Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text in a hyperlink that you actually click on. Using descriptive, keyword-rich link text can help your website rank better for those keywords. This applies both to links from other sites and your own website’s linking structure.
Instead of using ‘click here’ to point someone to another page on your site try to make the anchor text describe the page it is linking to i.e. for more information visit our Criminal Law section.
6. Meta Title
These are descriptive tags in the bar at the top of an internet browser explaining what the web page is about. These are extremely important as not only are they displayed to the user in the search engine results, but they are used to determine the content and relevance of your site in relation to certain keywords. It is really important to make the Meta Titles on your website individual to every single page with user friendly and key word rich text.
7. Meta Descriptions
Although the search engines do not value the Meta Description in terms of search engine placement, this will be valuable to your users’ experience. The Meta Description is displayed as a snippet of text in the search results and will help to determine the website they eventually click on.
8. Update Your Content Regularly
Search engines (and users) love fresh, original content. This does not necessarily mean that you have to add new pages or blog posts to your site every day, but a site that is updated often will be visited more frequently by the search engines.
Why not add an opinion blog to your website to inform prospects of industry news and updates. Not only will this help your search engine ranking, it will also show your website users that you are an authority in your industry.
9. Create a Site Map
To ensure all the pages on your website are indexed by the search engines use a sitemap to link directly to them. If you run a large site some of your pages may be buried many levels deep. Adding an HTML site map to the footer of your site will help the search engines find them.
10. Use the Tools Available
Here is just a small selection:
Google Webmasters – Free web application that will analyse your website for broken links, duplicate content issues, crawl issues and much more.
Yahoo Site Explorer – Similar to Google Webmasters but for the Yahoo index.
Link Diagnosis – Free tool that will analyse the links and anchor text pointing to your website.
SeoMoz – Loads of free and paid for tools here to help even the experienced SEO professional.
For SEO training, contact the experts at The Knowledge Engineers who can help you to achieve SEO success.
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