Ten Tips on How to Improve your Website SEO
by Sam Davis
Whenever I create a new website for someone, one of the first requests is to “make sure the site is top of Google” for a given search term. Whilst this is often doable, the work that is required to make this happen is more extensive than you may think, and depending on competition, it should be remembered that good ranking results are not always instant.
There are however some essential steps that need to be taken to give your website the best possible chance of reaching the top spot, and I’ve listed ten important must do’s when it comes to search engine domination.
- Pick longer keywords with less competition
Your “keywords” are the search terms that people will type in to Google to find your site. When thinking about the kind of phrases that you’d like to be appearing for, you should initially opt for phrases that will have a reasonable chance of ranking and where the competition is not too fierce. For instance, I certainly didn’t start out looking to appear top of the search engines for ”web design” and instead went for “bournemouth web design” and a number of similar variations. Whilst the competition is still hot for this particular term, it is nowhere near as cut-throat as the former.
- Be strategic with keywords
Depending on the type of website you have, it is crucial that the search terms you are targeting are converting in the way that you wish them to. For instance, if you have an E-Commerce website selling kids toys, you’ll get more sales through people who are searching for “buy children’s scooter” as opposed to “children’s scooter”. If you managed to get decent rankings for the latter, whilst it may garner a good number of visits, the percentage of those visitors likely to purchase will still be fewer than those who are specifically searching to “buy”. It is therefore important to be savvy – as might be more fruitful to concentrate on keywords which can produce better overall sales or leads.
- Title your hyperlinks appropriately
When linking internally to your own website pages, you should always make sure that the pages you are targeting are being linked using words which describe the destination page. So, if you are linking to a page of Children’s Scooters – you should link using the words, you guessed it – “Children’s Scooters” – and not for instance – “click here”. Similarly, if you’ve got a link back to your home-page, whilst it is advised that you should have the word “Home” in your top navigation for user experience – you should also put the link in the footer of your site by using the term that you’d like it to be ranked for. You’ll see I do the same with “Bournemouth Web Design” at the bottom. If you want your website to rank for that particular phrase, having your own home-page being linked using your chosen keyword will only go to strengthen your position in Google.
- Get websites to link back to you
Whilst there are thousands of metrics which Google uses to position your site, a key factor is still the back-links you get from external websites. It used to be a case that more is better, but that’s not necessarily true, because if the website which places your back-link is deemed low quality, this will have no bearing on your ranking, and possibly even could have a negative effect. Therefore it is important to target business directories and classified sites where you can place your company information, contact details, some brief words about your website, as well that all important hyperlink too. I offer a back-link service, which targets FIFTY key online directories. These are not spammy directories with a bad reputation, but they are sites with an excellent status – including Thompson, Yell, Cylex, Web.com and Hotfrog to name but a few.
- Content, content, content.
Whilst having internal and external links back to your website is all well and good, if you do not have the content on your website to validate to Google that your website is a legitimate source of information for that given keyword – it’s not going to like your site. Your site should be packed full of authentic and informative information, which isn’t plagiarised from other sites, and is updated regularly. A blog post is the easiest way to do this as it enables you to produce newsy articles which are topical, and rank very well in the search engines because of their timeliness. If Google sees that your website is constantly updated with unique content which is useful, then it will score your website much better than one that isn’t. Remember also that you should link internally with anchor links within blog posts that specifically use the keywords which describe the target page.
- Create a Social Media presence and keep it updated
If you’ve got a website, it is vital that you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and also a Google “My Business page” – all of which will demonstrate to Google that you’re engaging with your audience. Every blog post that you write should be accompanied by a tweet, a Facebook page post, and a Google Business page blog post. You should also try to get people engaging and liking your posts by creating talking points, making opinion polls, and tagging your friends. Ensure that all possible sections of your pages on each profile are filled with information, including you’re “About Us” section, photographs, and opening times. You may have noticed that for certain companies, when you Google the name of the business, their website not only appears, but you may also get their social media accounts ranking, as well as a detail panel on the right hand side which lists key company information. Whilst your company information cannot appear for a keyword, you can definitely aim to make it show for when people look for your brand. Psst… I have got a Social Media Setup Service which does this for you.
- Encourage Google and Facebook reviews
User reviews and comments form a key part of the algorithm of that Bing and Google use to rank your site, therefore once your social media pages are created, you should try to obtain reviews from satisfied customers or visitors by asking them to submit a review of your business or website to Google. It is key that you do not make them up yourself – they should be authentic and true. Similarly, you should try to “space out” your reviews so that you do not have an unnatural spike in review frequency. One review per week via Google and Facebook would be an ideal level.
- Tag your images, media, posts and pages
As a website owner, you should remember that you will not only gain your visits via Google web searches, but also through images, videos, file uploads too – therefore when you upload any pictures or files via your website, they should always be tagged with a description of the contents. It is all too easy to upload a DSC008.jpg image file and just leave it, however, you should make the effort to name your file correctly – eg: childrens-scooter.jpg – and also make sure your images are titled and captioned with WordPress, which will automatically populate the ALT tags, which Google still uses for classification purposes. Similarly, ensure that all blog posts and pages that you upload contain tags, as grouping your content for specific keywords will only go towards boosting your rankings for them.
- Keep your pages dynamic
You may have noticed that on my website home page, whilst most of the content does not change, I have placed an area at the bottom of the site which shows three of the latest posts from this blog. Therefore, whenever I write something new, the page changes to reflect my most recent article. This happens in numerous areas of the website, which shows Google that the site is constantly evolving. Convincing Google that you have a website that is fresh and not stagnant is import in making sure your site can outperform the competition. Similarly, if you have a page on WordPress which focuses on a particular subject, why not echo some blog posts which use a particular tag or form part of a specific category. This will then demonstrate to Google that not only that your particular page is fresh, but is also being updated with relevant information too.
- Track your ranking for free
There are some great paid for and free services online which will enable you to keep track of your keywords, and the position they currently chart at in Google. One of the free tools you can download is RankAware, which is a download for Windows and Mac, which enables you to enter as many keywords (or search terms) as you like, and will schedule a rank check every day at a specific time. You can then monitor your position in Google and other search engines on a daily basis, and see which terms are doing well and which ones are not.
If you need any assistance with the SEO of your website, I can help your business improve its visibility in Google. Get in touch and I will be pleased to be of assistance. I offer full website analysis, and utilise a mixture of on-site and off-site SEO to place your business or blog ahead of the competition!
I am fanatical about providing useful web experiences, via bespoke websites which engage, inform and entertain. I have been making websites since a young age, and am a keen supporter of AFC Bournemouth.