When was the last time you ‘googled’ something…yesterday? Today? This morning? An hour ago? Just now?
Google is now the way most people search for all sorts of things; what to have for dinner, who played the lead in the movie you just watched, what on earth you’ve seen him in before….the list is endless.
However, as a business owner what you will be interested in is the people that are using Google to search for what you sell and how you can optimise your website so that you come up when they search.
In this blog we’re going to share with you some expert tips to answer the question ‘How do I optimise my website for search engines’.
So, the most important thing to know before you beetle off spending time (or money) on search engine optimisation is what keywords people are actually using to search for your products or services. You also need to find out how many searches there are and what the competition is like. Once you have this information you will know
- What Keywords to Optimise
- Whether it is worth actually bothering
- Whether you can afford (in time or money) to compete
Google keeps records of this information and you can access it by using Google’s ‘Keyword Tool’ (just Google that and login to your Google account to access it).
Every conversation we have with clients about SEO starts with a free keyword report, so we can ensure that it is a conversation worth having.
If people aren’t searching for what you do, in the area you do it, in high enough volume or the competition is so fierce that you won’t be able to compete then pick another marketing strategy – SEO is not for everyone.
Next, is your website responsive? This is where the layout of your website automatically changes when someone views it on a mobile device. Most modern websites are responsive, but if yours is not you need to start here, as responsiveness is very important to Google…why? Because it is very important to users.
Unfortunately, if your website is old and not responsive this may require a complete rebuild, but bear in mind as well as search engines liking this, your prospective customers will too…it is likely that at least 50% of your users are viewing your website on mobile devices, so it’s a win-win.
OK, so you know what keywords you want to optimise…your website is looking and working great on desktop and mobile, next it is time to put some work in on the meta data of your website. Meta data is information contained in the code of your website that search engines read when they are trying to figure out what your website is about.
For each of your chosen keywords you will need a page on your website. This page must have the keyword (exactly as it is searched in Google) in the page content that the real people will see and in the meta data too. It ideally needs to be in;
- Page URL
- Page Title
- First Paragraph of Content
- At least one more time in the page content
- Last Paragraph of Content
- Image Alt Tags
- Meta Description
- Meta Page Keywords
Different website platforms have different ways of adding meta content. We build websites in WordPress and the meta content is usually controlled by a Plugin called Yoast, which also has a handy traffic light system to tell you how you are doing with your content.
Right, so next step is adding content regularly to your website. Google wants to see that you are an active business and experts in your field. This is where your blog comes in. A blog is pretty much essential to success in SEO. You need to be writing regular blogs which include your keywords and ideally answer a question that your audience has…such as ‘How do I optimise my website for search engines’….see what we did there? Your blogs will also need the meta data optimising, just like your page content.
Is that it?
No, it isn’t. There are many other on-page and off-page efforts that will accelerate your search engine ranking position, however after the things we have listed here we get into techy areas that I would not suggest amateurs pursue.
There are many practices which Google does not permit…you may have heard these referred to as ‘Black Hat SEO’ and doing these things by accident or on purpose can get your website banned from Google…forever. Even the methods we have described above can get you into trouble if done incorrectly. For example ‘stuffing keywords’ into your content – too many keywords per page – is a practice which Google prohibits. Other Black Hat practices include; hiding text in your website, duplicate content, link farming and cloaking.
Depending on the complexity of your sector and the competition you may need professional help to achieve a page 1 search engine ranking position.
We hope this blog has helped you to understand some of the things you can do to optimise your website for search engines. As we mentioned in the Keywords section we offer a free Keyword Report, so if you’d like one just get in touch.