No matter how beautiful your website may be, both in terms of content and design, it won’t go very far if it doesn’t have SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) implemented into it. The reality is, the major search engines like Bing, Yahoo and Google don’t discriminate when it comes to things like alt tags, sitemaps and keywords. Understanding all the different terms isn’t nearly as important as knowing how to properly implement SEO into your site.
So what is search engine optimisation (SEO)?
SEO can be seen as a form of etiquette for the major search engines. It’s the implementation of various techniques that are designed to help major search engines properly find and rank your website. Essentially, you want your site ranking as well as possible in the search engines, as better rankings typically means more traffic to your site.
SEO is comprised of many methods that you can implement right now to get the most out of search engines and also to save you on cash that may otherwise be spent paying someone else to do these things on your behalf.
Listed below are 9 tips that you should already be aware.
- Great Structure
You want your content to be properly organised and written in a manner that makes it easy to read. Make sure your content is properly grouped, using subheadings for different sections of your content. When you use the proper heading tags, such as h1, h2, and h3 it helps the search engines better understand what your content is about. The h1 tag for example, will let the search engine know the content heading, whereas the h2 and h3 tags would be used for subtopics.
When it comes to SEO techniques, the placement of keywords, sprinkled throughout your site is amongst the most important things you can do. You need to think about how a web surfer would search for the kind of information you’re trying to market to them. You want the keyword you’re using on your content to be the keyword they use when searching for said content in the search engines. However, be sure to temper things, you don’t want to overdo it with keywords, and you also want to ensure that all keywords used are related to the content. This way, the search engines will not flag your site for spam.
- Analyse the Competition
Once you have gone through the most difficult part of choosing the keywords that you would like to structure your content around, your next step should be to type those keywords into the search engines and look at the various sites ranking at the top for them. This will give you an idea of the kind of content you will need to create if you’d like to rank for those keywords, it will also give you a benchmark, helping you to rank even better, providing you’re able to surpass them, in terms of content quality.
- Mobile Site
Over 60% of all organic traffic now comes from mobile search, as a result, major search engines such as Google decided to structure their engine around mobile search. This in turn has led to a big emphasis on websites that are friendly for mobile viewers.
For this reason, you want to ensure your site works just as well on small mobile devices, as this will lead to better rankings in search engines nowadays.
- URL and Slugs
Another very important area of search engine optimisation is your page URLs.
Your pages URL or Permalink should include in them your main keyword, either nested within words or by itself. Your Permalink can of course, be edited at any time, although that’s typically not recommended:
The final slash is referred to as a slug in your Permalink or URL on your WordPress (or whatever content management system you’re using) website.
Naturally when you change the Permalink your Slug should change and vice versa. Its best practice to ensure that is the case, as you want both to use the same main keyword. To find your Slug options, the webmaster need only click to edit the Page Description or Snippet.
One thing to note is that the individual words that make up your permalink should be separated using dashes or hyphens, rather than actual spaces, however, if you were to put spaces in there, then the hyphens would be added automatically by your content management system.
- Optimise Your Title Tags and META Descriptions
The purpose of your page titles and Meta descriptions is to help the search engines better determine what your content is all about, so you need to ensure your main keyword is included in both. Occasionally, the search engine will choose content somewhere else on the page for your description, but as long as the content on your site is of good quality, then this should not be an issue.
- Write for People
While focusing on the various technical aspects of SEO when copywriting, it can be very easy for you to forget that the content you’re creating needs to be helpful to actual people. You need to emphasize content equality and ensure that you are providing something that is informative and engaging for your readers. Make sure your content matches the keyword you want it to rank on. Remember that the search engines are only interested in ranking the most relevant content for each search query.
A sitemap is basically a specialised page used for listing all your sites pages, creating a link to all of them. This makes it considerably easier for the search engine spiders to locate every page on your site. You want the search engines to do the minimum to be able to locate every page on your site, you also want the engines to be able to quickly locate and index new pages, as and when you create them. To do that, you’ll need a sitemap, which you can then submit to the major search engines.
- Regularly Update Your Content
If you have a site that you’re proud of, and always looking to improve, then this is something that you should already be doing. But despite that, this is a must. The major search engines look at sites that are regularly updated as an indicator of site relevance. You want your site to be fresh too, which means, adding new content and improving old content, as and when needed.