How to Optimise your Website for Search
SEO is a fundamental part of good web practice and it should be considered before, during and after the website build. SEO is an on going practice that needs to be implemented and monitored regularly. Below are some of our top tips for search engine optimisation for your website.
Tip 1: Unique Quality Content
Unique quality content is the foundation of any good website. If you write quality content that people are interested in your visitors will return and share your content. This will help you become a market leader in your sector and help you gain the upper hand on your competitors; resulting in more traffic and online business. Make sure your content is useful and that you are providing relevant information to your site visitors.
Tip 2: Keyword Research
Keyword research is a vital part of any online business and it is always good practice to do your homework before you dive right into the deep end. When developing your initial website and marketing strategy it is always a good to outline your objectives. It is essential not only to research the search volumes relevant to your industry but to also evaluate how competitive those keywords are before you start optimising. For example if you are competing for ‘insurance’ you might want to choose a long tail key phrase such as 'Low Cost House Insurance Ireland' as the most cost effective approach depending on your budget of course. For information on search volumes and competitiveness for certain keywords see the google keyword tool.
Tip 3: Analyse Your Online Competitors
In any business today it’s always good practice to see what your competitors are up to, this also relates to online business. Your competitors in the ‘real’ world are not necessarily your competitors online. My first call of action would be to check your main competitors web presence, Do they have a website? Do they have good graphic design? Do they have good website structure? Are they being found in Google for key phrases? How old is their site? How many links do they have? Please see this handy free tool for online link analysis www.linkdiagnosis.com you may need Mozilla Fire Fox to run reports.
Tip 4: Improve Your Meta Title and Description Tags
Optimising your title and description tags is a great way of describing to the search engine what your pages are about. Your title tag should be up to 72 characters long and your description tag should be up to 156 characters long. Each page on your site should have a unique meta title and description tag. Title and description tags are not visible on your website, they are visible in the Google search results and on other social media sites such as facebook. Check this handy tool for writing Meta Tags SEOMofo.
Tip 5: Proper Use of Heading Tags
Each page on your site should be structured correctly for search engines and end users. The H1 heading is the main heading on your website. Then H2, H3 and so on up to H6. Please note there should ideally be only 1 H1 heading per page, you can have as many many H2 sub headings as you like. It’s important that you do not over use the Heading tags and confuse them with the actual content of your website as this should be placed into paragraph tags such as <p> content </p>.
Tip 6: Optimise Your Images with ALT tags
Every images on your website should have an alt tag associated with it. ALT tags are a great way of describing to the search engine what your images are about. Instead of adding an alt tag to an image such as ‘picture1’ as the image name you should accurately describe your images to reflect what is actually happening in the image. Please see this video by Matt Cutts discussing the importance of alt tags.
Tip 7: Internally Link Your Pages
Internal linking is implemented through out your actual content. Internal keyword linking helps describe the internal pages on your website that you are linking to. Using keyword link such as click here or read more, don’t have much benefit and tell Google nothing about the page you are linking to. For example you are better off using a sentence such as ‘for more information please see our Online Marketing Solutions’. This way you are telling visitors and search engines that the page is about online marketing solutions.
Tip 8: Blogging and Participating Online
Blog writing and being part of the online community is an excellent way of engaging with your peers and end users. Updating your website regularly with great content has many SEO benefits. Blogging will increase traffic to your website, while also allowing site owners and visitors to interact online via the commenting system. Once you create new articles for your blog you can then publish them straight to your social media stream or use them in your monthly newsletter. Please see this useful video by Matt Cutts on How to Get Better Visibility on Google.
Tip 9: Social Media Inclusion and Distribution
Participating in social media and having social media share buttons is a great way of distributing information on the net. Website owners can create link worthy content on their website and publish this information to their chosen social stream with the click of a button. Having social share buttons also allows for visitors to your site to publish your information on their own social network(s). Check out this handy resource for adding social media share buttons onto your website www.addthis.com.
Tip 10: Submit Your Site Map to Google
Google Webmaster is an excellent tool that every website should have installed. Google Webmaster offers site owners / web masters an abundance of important information. With Google Webmaster you can find out how Google sees your site, analyse search results that your site receives, find out how many links your site has and much more. Within Google Webmaster you can also submit your website sitemap to Google. Submitting your site map to Google will help them discover pages on your site that they may not have otherwise discovered.
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Rob Hough, Digital Marketing Executive for Dara Creative
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