Search Engine Optimisation Tips
SEO is the key to increasing website traffic. Yes, PPC (pay per click) is a more immediate method for generating traffic but it costs money and as soon as your budget runs out, the traffic stops. Optimising your website for the search engines is an effective way to generate more traffic by positioning your website URL higher in the organic listings, which in turn will generate far more click throughs.
We provide basic SEO tools with every website that we build. This allows our clients to perform basic SEO optimisation. Here are some top tips to ensure your website is ranked effectively in the search engines
1. Use keywords in the TITLE tag
Choosing a good page title is paramount for a good listing in the search engines. It must be clear and concise, spelt correctly and include your chosen keyword for which you require a good ranking. Do NOT cram keywords into the title and try and keep it to 6 words. Use a separator between the words so for example, if you are selling Hotpoint washing machines, try using a title like this: Hotpoint Washing Machines – Northampton White Goods
2. Use robots.txt
You may or may not have heard of the robots.txt file, but it’s an important little file which tells the search engine spiders which pages to index/follow and which ones not to. Speak to us if unsure, but to check if you have one, simply go to your website address and put /robots.txt after it. If nothing displays, you don’t have one! If this is the case, get one!
3. Use ALT text for your images
Inserting an image into a webpage is a standard function and everyone does it, but not everyone adds in the ALT text which describes what the image is. It is worth naming your images well e.g hotpoint_washingmachine.jpg and utilising the ALT text to describe it e.g <img src=”hotpoint_washingmachine.jpg” alt=”We sell Hotpoint washing machines” />. If you are using a CMS (Content Management Systems) e.g WordPress, Joomla etc, it’s easy to do using the editor tools.
4. Anchor Text Links
The anchor text is the text inside your <a> tags that links to other pages. Whether they’re incoming or outgoing links, it’s important for the anchor text to contain helpful information about where the link is taking the user. This not only makes it more user-friendly, but helps search engines rank your website links more effectively.
5. Internal Links and External Links
The links from your website to other people’s websites are valuable. It is equally important to get quality links pointing to your website from other people’s websites. In some situations, you can ask for a reciprocal link, or post your website to a forum, directory or index. It is important to choose prominent websites in their sector and avoid low quality ones. The higher the page rank, the more benefit you will see.
6. Proper use of Heading Tags
Heading tags are H1, H2, H3 etc and are the headings for paragraphs within your content. Generally, you should only use one H1 tag for the main page heading and this should always include your keyword. Following on and throughout the page, you should use H2, H3 and H4, H5 & H6 where necessary.
There are indications in HTML5 that H1 can now be used more frequently in a page, but our general advise is to stick to one per page only.
- Only use one <h1> tag per page
- Use as many <h2> – <h6> tags as you like in your pages
- Always close tags properly e.g <h1>Title</h1>
7. Prioritise keywords within your first paragraph
Your first paragraph is the most important paragraph in your page because it’s the first text scanned by search engines and can reflect what the content is likely to be about. It’s essential to have the most important keywords of your page in the first sentence or two.
8. Check and ensure your site is error free
You should check your HTML code and ensure it’s free of errors and optimised properly. Check W3C validation and if you haven’t already, request a FREE basic audit from us here.
9. SEO Friendly URLs
If you have a URL like this: http://www.yoursite.com/p=981489894, it isn’t URL friendly and it isn’t going to help you much. If you are using WordPress check your permalinks and set it to a friendly format. Instead of a numerical ID, the URL should be friendly e.g http://www.yoursite.com/hotpoint-washing-machines for example. This is considered a friendly URL because it’s easy to read, each keyword is separated with an – and it looks better.
*IMPORTANT: Never change an existing website permalink structure UNLESS you know what you are doing and you redirect the posts properly. If in doubt, get in touch to ask for help.
10. Site Usability / UX
UX is a modern term associated with the Users Experience while using your website. It’s vital to make sure your website loads fast, is easy to navigate, offers clear and concise information which matches the page title and allows a user to interact where relevant e.g submit form, place order, watch video etc.
Do not underestimate the importance of this and if you need help, contact us for advise.
This page outlines some of the basics of SEO which any site owner with intermediate knowledge of using a computer can follow. However, in our experience, most customers are busy with their day to day business and don’t have the time to do it themselves.
If you plan to take on this task yourself, hopefully this post has given you some ideas. If your time is precious and you need help in this area, call us on 0800 756 9975 to have a chat. It may be that we can do some of it for you and leave you to do the basics. It may be, that you want someone to handle it all. Either way, call us for a friendly informal chat (with NO hard sell).
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