A Web Design and Development Blog


SEO Tips and Hints

As far as SEO is concerned, it's worth considering the content and structure of your website early in the design process. Here are our tips...

In our last article we looked at SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and expressed the view that you should 'play fair' with the search engines. This has suddenly become even more important with Google's latest algorithm update - which was codenamed 'Penguin'. Penguin takes a much dimmer view of dubious optimisation techniques, actively punishing sites on which they are found.

So it seems like the ideal time to put forward a list of our top tips. Note that we haven't called them 'tricks' - because they aren't!

Tip 1 - Content Is King

In our view the most important element of your site. Certainly as far as the search engines are concerned. They don't care about the lovely fonts, the stunning photographs or the triumphant colour palette you've chosen. They just like your words. A while ago, some people used to cram as many key words and phrases into their content as possible. 'Keyword Stuffing' is now a big no-no. Write your content naturally, by all means include the key phrases that describe your company and your offering. But make sure it reads naturally. Don't fall into the trap of writing sentences like: 'We offer Milton Keynes websites, to provide Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire with SEO services and Google PPC Adwords for SML enterprises marketing'. It's got a load of key words and phrases, but it's rubbish. It always was rubbish to humans - now it's rubbish to Google as well! 

Tip 2 - Use Google Properly

Google is far more than a search engine if you are a website owner. It offers a wide range of free tools that allow you to see who comes to your website (Google Analytics), how they use and move through the site (Google Webmaster Tools) and programs that allow you to put your business where people can find them (Google Maps and Google Places). And don't forget Google Adwords. If you are in a very crowded market sector, even more so if you have a lot of local competition, you may have to pay for your visibility. Unsurprisingly, Google loves content that has been optimised through their own tools! Using these free tools to review your site periodically is vital, especially since the search engines move the goalposts frequently by tweaking their search algorithms. Don't forget that Google also offers 'Experiments', allowing you to test alternative versions of your pages (with live visitors) and compare the results. Well worth looking at.

Tip 3 - Identify Your Audience

This may fall under the umbrella of 'marketing', but it determines the tone of voice of your site, your text content and quite possibly your keywords. For example, let's say you are a plumber. You could quite justifiably use phrases such as 'bathroom plumbing', 'kitchen plumbing', 'drain clearing' etc as your keywords. But hold on. Much of your profit actually comes from the high value emergency plumbing service you offer. So your most valuable target audience is likely to be searching for 'emergency plumber North London', '24 hour plumber Finchley' or some similar variant. So think about who you are trying to attract. You may even find that it is worthwhile having a separately branded website so it can be optimised - one plumbingservices.co.uk site and one emergencyplumber.co.uk site - with highly relevant content on each.

Tip 4 - Links

If getting a good ranking in search engine results is important to you, then getting links in to your site on other sites is important. And also potentially difficult! The days are gone where you could go to one of the then very numerous link farm sites, pop your URL on and sit back waiting for your site to zoom up the rankings. That particular loophole was plugged long ago. You need links to your site on other highly rated sites. Now, you may belong to a trade association with a directory of members on their site - that would be a good start. How about some of your business customers if you in a B2B environment? Maybe they would add you to their page of links - perhaps in return for having their site on your links page. The best way to get links in to your site is to provide authoritative, interesting or useful content - then people will link to your site without you having to ask them!

Tip 5 - Be Patient

Whatever SEO changes you make, don't log on to Google Analytics the next morning or start counting the phone calls immediately. With very few exceptions, changes will take time to filter through to the actual results you are seeing. So wait a couple of weeks before making another lot of SEO related changes - or you will never know which alterations have actually made any difference!

To read more about our SEO services and to download an extensive SEO checklist, go to our Search Engine Optimisation page.


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