Search Engine Optimisation
Photo: Teford Hunting & Fishing Ltd
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc) index billions of web pages. When someone types a request into the search bar, Search Engines use an algorithm to display websites in the order they deem most relevant to the person’s request. Among the thousands of pages having keywords used within the request, not all can rank high on search results.
SEO is improving your website rankings – preferably above your competitors – for search queries related to the products, services or information provided on your site. You can also target specialised searches such as Google images or Google shopping.
It’s best to do SEO when planning a site redesign or launching a new site but it is possible to do some optimisation on an existing site.
Above all, focus on creating a website that is informative for your visitors and easy to navigate around. This will also be favoured by search engines.
What can we help with?
- Optimise website page structure, layout, content – We can advise on key phrases potential clients/customers may use to find your site and make sure optimal use of key phrases is used within content. Page headings should be meaningful to help both visitor and search engine know what the page is about.
- Optimisation of HTML – We build with the latest coding technology to help with page load and display as well as communicate to search engines. Meta, title, alt and heading tags can all be an important source of information for both user and search engines.
- Create a sitemap – for both user and search engine to learn about structure of your website and which pages you consider most important.
- Optimise websites performance and page load time – Search engines like to provide the best overall web experience for browsers. They’ll place faster loading websites higher than slow websites.
- Reduce bounce rate – This is the percentage of visitors who press ‘back’ button immediately after they arrive. It indicates to search engines that your website is not what the visitor is after. It could relate to the type or quality of information provided, professionalism of your website and/or placement of ‘action’ buttons such as ‘buy now’.
- Review the website – Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. Although a well designed and built website should be able to keep up, it is important to periodically review the site for changes in ‘best practice’ coding. Webmaster Tools can also provide information on html errors and where the html can be further optimised.
What can you do to help improve the rankings of your website?
- Display meaningful headings and useful content – Create an information-rich site that is useful for your visitors. Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
- Promote website to increase number of inbound links – Links from other high ranking and relevant websites to your website indicate that your website is highly regarded and worth linking to.
- Add new (and relevant) content such as a news or blog page – Users (and therefore search engines) like fresh content to show that your website is kept up-to-date.
- Sign up for free services – such as Google My Business or Google Merchant Centre
- Get your social media cranking – Use social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc) to reference and link back to your website.
You need to be careful when seeking an SEO consultant. As well as potentially ruining the look and usefulness of your website, search engines can reduce rankings or even ban websites if they think deceptive SEO methods are being used. These can include methods such as ‘cloaking’ whereby text containing keywords is hidden within a website (for example, white text on a white background) or by trying to increase inbound links by listing your website on ‘link farm’ (spam) websites.
Be wary of SEO consultants that email you out of the blue. Apparently, even Google gets these emails:
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”
How to measure SEO
It’s important to regularly analyse your website analytics. This will give important information about visitors to your website including how they reached your site.
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