So, you’ve got a great website with carefully crafted content and a pretty design…now all you need to do is sit back with a coffee and wait for visitors, right? Unfortunately, not. But don’t cancel that coffee, because the good news is that search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t rocket science.
Grab your Americano and take a look at our top ten tips on search engine optimisation.
1. Check yourself out
…And I don’t mean stand in front of the mirror. Find out how the land lies at the moment for your site. Where do you appear in search engine results when you enter logical key words? Use Google and a couple of other search engines to see how you perform. There’s also a great free tool on www.alexa.com that dashboards your search engine performance. Check it out.
2. Keywords are…well, key
Keywords are the words people will use when looking for your website, so think long and hard. What words and phrases will target your audience?
When you’ve decided on your keywords, make sure you have a generous sprinkling of appropriate words and phrases throughout your site. But be careful! Make sure keywords flow naturally with the rest of the content – don’t forget that the site’s function isn’t purely to attract visitors – your copy needs to be easy to read and functional.
You should think about making sure your keywords can be found within titles, content, URLs and image captions. Oh, and don’t forget your head (title tag and page header are crucial hangouts for your keywords).
3. Don’t look back in anger!
…Link back with joy. Make sure visitors can find everything they need on your website. Do this by thinking about typical user journeys – link as many pages as possible to other relevant pages on your site. But remember to be logical and don’t bombard your visitors with too many links – they may get dizzy and leave.
Search engine optimisation isn’t just about building new links. It’s important to look after the elderly content on your website too. Where appropriate, link your new stuff to relevant archive content which can add a bit of hit power with little effort.
Remember to give your links appropriate anchor words, which increases the ranking of the link….let’s say goodbye to “click here”.
4. Tag! You’re it!
It’s essential to have “ALT” tags on all of your images. Spiders are blind to images, even if you have text embedded within them, so help the spiders out and jam a few great keywords into your ALT tags.
You can even double up your efforts by adding visible captions around images.
5. Treasure the map
Adding a site map with links to all major sections and pages on your site can help spiders to search your site. It also gives visitors and at-a-glance view of your whole site and helps them to reach your content in fewer clicks.
6. Friendly URLs
They don’t have to smile and hold doors open, but your URLs should be friendly to search engines. Make sure you cram in a couple of keywords and don’t worry too much about them being too long (size isn’t everything). You can make it easier for search engines to understand your URLs by adding dashes between words (something-like-this).
7. It’s good to share
Not only will it make you feel warm inside, but sharing links will also increase the value search engines put on your pages. Find a few non-competitor websites and ask if they would be interested in linking to your site if you do the same for them.
A word of warning though, make sure any sites you link to are reputable. By linking to another website you’re endorsing their content.
8. Content is king!
Fresh content is still king when it comes to search engine optimisation. If you’re expecting visitors to return to your site (repeat visits boost your ranking!), you need to give them an incentive. Keep your content interesting and update it as frequently as possible.
Don’t forget those keywords, now!
9. Not so Flash!
Where possible, avoid using Flash! Pretty it might be, but it doesn’t allow you to link to single pages or break it down into keyword-friendly segments.
If I can’t talk you out of using a Flash-dominated homepage, you can claw something back for your SEO by adding links, captions and any other appropriate copy elsewhere on the page.
10. Going social
Drive traffic to your site and get links out there using social media. Use the most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linked in, to distribute links outside of your site. Let’s not forget that the world’s second largest search engine is YouTube!
Blogging is also a great way to establish links out there that will drive traffic back to your site, after all you’re reading our blog right now!
Simple eh? Well, there is a little bit more to it than that, but I reckon you’ve probably finished your coffee. If you’d like to find out more about search engine optimisation, visit Group Dane.