Top tips to improve your websites SEO

Posted on: 4th Apr 2014 by: Lukeymo

It's not about keywords, it's about keyphrases

People constantly use the term "keyword" to describe what people type into search engines. SEO specialists say that you need to optimise your website for the right "keywords". However, if you ask me, the term "keyword" is misleading as it implies that we are talking about single words on their own. Check your search history, when was the last time you ‘Googled’ a single word?

If you need a plumber to fix your boiler, you wouldn't just Google the word "Plumbers" and pick the top one and hope for the best. You’d be more likely to search for something like "Plumbers in Cambridge", or even "Corgi registered plumbers in Cambridge" or "Corgi registered boiler specialists in Cambridge".

So a useful "keyword" is actually more likely to be whole phrase or sentence, rather than a single word. From now on, my vote is that we all use "keyphrase" instead..!

Content is key

There are lots of things you can do to improve the SEO of your website, some of which I'll talk about later on. When it comes to SEO, by far the most important thing to get right is your website’s content.

If you would like a particular page on your website to be optimised for a specific ‘keyphrase’, the text on that page needs to contain that keyphrase at least once. It’s as simple as that - better still if your keyphrase appears in the page heading and is the first text on the page itself…

Be specific and target your customers

There are literally millions of websites on the internet (and counting!) and every single one of these websites wants to be easily found in search engines. So, when you are choosing the keyphrases to optimise your website for, the more specific you are, the less websites you will be competing with for that keyphrase. For example, if you Google the keyphrase "gift shops", there are about 241,000,000 results. So if you want your website to be found for this keyphrase, you are competing against 240,999,999 other websites that also want to be found for this. However, if you Google a more specific and targeted keyphrase, such as "gift shops in Newmarket", there are about 130,000 results - which is a lot fewer websites to compete with. If you can be even more specific, there will be even fewer competitors. For this reason, more specific keyphrases = higher chance of sale conversions based on people finding exactly what they want, where they want it.

Page relevance

Optimise the right pages for the right keyphrases. Yes, it is true that your homepage is the most important page to optimise for search engines. So I would recommend optimising this for your most important and valuable keyphrase. However, the rest of the pages on your website are important too. If there are 20 keyphrases that you would like to optimise your website for, it wouldn't be practical to try and optimise your homepage for all of them. So, spread your keyphrases around your entire website and decide which pages are most relevant for each keyphrase. When a potential customer finds your website in Google, it could be any of your webpages that they find - so you need to consider every single page as a home-page.

Get your META tags right!

As described above, the most important thing when it comes to SEO is your webpages content (ie: the text that everybody can see when viewing that page). However, webpages also have SEO related text that is not viewable on the page, but hidden in the code. These bits of text are called "META tags". Each page should have three META tags; "Title", "Description" and "Keywords". If your website is built around a decent CMS (Content Management System), such as WombatCMS, you will be able to edit these META tags for each page via your admin area, just by literally typing them in and clicking ‘save’. The CMS then does the ‘codey’ bit and puts them in your website’s HTML header.

These days, the ‘Keywords’ META tag is pretty much defunct, so I won't talk about this one too much, if only to say that you really don't need to worry about this one - but it won't hurt to use it to list the keyphrases that page is optimised for (separated by a comma).

When you do a search in Google, each result that comes up looks a bit like this...

Title of web-page (TITLE TAG)

Longer description of web-page. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, etiam ut mauris metus nam eu interdum diam phasellus justo enim. (META DESCRIPTION)

This is why the Title tag and META description are so important. Not only do they need to contain the keyphrase(s) for that web-page, they also need to be enticing enough for people to click on them – Google and other search engines are becoming more human by design, so a few words slapped in for good measure because they’re related doesn’t mean they will help ‘click throughs’.

Every page on your website should have a completely unique Title tag. It is bad practice to have two or more pages with identical Title tags on the same website. The ideal Title tag should be around 65 characters long (including spaces), and should not exceed 70 characters.

The ideal META description should not exceed 140 -160 characters – think of this as your ‘tweet about the page’.

One-way incoming links

It works like this: If lots of other websites are linking to your website, Google will see your website as being important. The more important your website is in Google's eyes, the higher up the search results your listing is likely to be.

You have to remember that we are talking about one-way links here. IE: Other website that link to your website without your website liking back to them. If your website links back (known as a "reciprocal link") this dilutes the SEO effectiveness.

Adding lots of links to your website to other peoples websites is not good for your SEO at all. In fact, all it does is helps all the other websites that you are linking too, so avoid adding a links page unless absolutely necessary.

There are a few ways you can get other websites to link to you. The obvious way is just to ask! Look at the websites of your clients or contractors. If they have a links page - just ask them if they could add a link to your website. Remember, you can't offer to link back, but you could always give them another incentive, like discount on their next order?

If you do any advertising or marketing, always ensure it includes your website link, even if it's a magazine or newspaper article - because magazines and newspapers also have websites!

Look out for blogs and forums that are related to your industry. Contact blog owners and see if they would be interested in reviewing your product/service - ensuring they include a link, of course! On public forums, look for opportunities to talk about your product or service - and always include a link when you do.

It's not just about quantity of in-coming links either; it's about the quality of them. A website that gets lots of visitors is seen as important in Google's eyes. So if a website that gets lots of visitors links to your website, your website will then be seen as important too! So a link such as this will have much more of an impact than a link from a website with few visitors.

Being active on social media will also really help your SEO. Ensure your social media profiles include your web-link and post as often as you can... remembering to always include a link to your website if the post requires it!

Up-to-date content

You need to be constantly updating and adding to your website. Google can see the last time your website content was changed or added to. So if it see's that it hasn't changed at all for a long time, it will assume that your content is out of date, so your listing will start to drop in the search results.

I'm not saying you need to be changing the text on every single page all the time. But just keep adding fresh content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to include a news, blog or gallery section on your website, and make sure that you keep adding to it frequently. Our clients have found having us put their live Twitter feed (styled of course) onto their homepage is a fool proof way to keep something fresh on the site (provided they update that regularly!)

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