Are you looking to enhance your online presence with SEO?

Search engine optimisationSearch Engine Optimisation – SEO – is about how to optimize your webpage to get it listed as high as possible in the search engine results when certain keywords are entered.

In other words, SEO is taking a webpage and making its purpose clear to the search engines. It is about optimising your webpage based on your chosen keywords.

Google is currently the most popular search engine and there are certain things you can do that will give your website an advantage over other businesses competing for the same search terms.

Secure website

Google’s algorithm for ranking websites based on hundreds of factors. Although they don’t explicitly give away all their ranking secrets, they do give some guidance.

secure website urlFor example, it can help to have what is known as a secure certificate on your website. In other words, having a website address which begins with https:// rather than just http. This is displayed in the Chrome browser by a green padlock symbol. What is more, from now on when you upgrade to the latest version of Chrome any website starting with just http:// will be followed by the ‘information symbol’ (the letter i within a circle) and the words ‘not secure’ in grey colours.

Google favours secure websites, and people are more likely to trust and click on them from the search results pages because they know that they are trusted and secure.

Mobile friendly

Mobile friendly website

Click to see if your website is mobile friendly

Another factor to bear in mind is that your website needs to be super easy to use on a mobile device. According to Google, between 50-60 percent of search queries globally now done on a mobile device.

In the past people may have had a separate mobile version of their website. However, Google now prefers websites to be designed as what is known as ‘responsive’ websites which means that they automatically resize depending on the device you are using to view them.

Speed of loading

It is really important for mobile webpages to load quickly. Faster loading pages lead to a better overall website experience, and Google uses mobile page loading speed as a ranking factor. Large images will slow down your site and having a slow loading site won’t help your Google rankings. With Google it’s all about giving users the best experience possible and therefore websites that load quickly are given priority, especially in mobile search results.

Quality of content

Another really important factor is making sure that you publish high quality engaging content. Your pages need to be full of helpful, actionable content for the user. You only have about 2-5 seconds to grab users’ attention and give them a reason to stick around on your site. Providing high-quality content is about creating valuable information in order to increase the amount of time searchers spend on your webpages. The amount of time a user spends on a site before leaving your site is known as ‘dwell time’ and is used as a ranking factor.

In order to make your content as easy to read as possible use plenty of headings, images and white space to break up the page. Short sentences are better than long, difficult to read sentences that can turn people off.

Keywords

There is not much point having a website if no-one know that it exists so it’s important to do what is known as ‘keyword research’ to understand what people will enter into Google to find your website. You can use a free tool called Google Analytics to understand how users end up on your website, as it shows the search queries that they enter. The key is to think – what would people put into Google if they were searching for my site, or a competitor’s site in a similar field or niche.

A useful way to identify key search terms is using the Google Autocomplete tool. If you go to Google and type in a keyword or phrase, the autocomplete will attempt to finish your phrase. This lets you see what is related and what people may be searching for. This gives you some added phrases and words to include in your website content. For example, entering ’10 ways to’ produced these results:

Google autocomplete tool

By scrolling to the bottom of the search results page you can look at Google’s “related searches” – at the bottom of the page, you’ll see it says “Searches related to…” [the term you entered] and this gives you even more information.

Focusing on the right keywords can be the difference between attracting people who are just “window shopping” on your website and buyers who are seriously interested in your product.

Optimising your website

Once you have identified your primary keywords you can use them in strategic places in your website to help Google know what your website is about. Some of these places are Headings, image tags, image names, link text, titles and descriptions. Having your keywords here helps to optimise your website for those search terms. Each individual webpage should ideally be uniquely optimised for a separate topic or sub topic.

The first paragraph of each of your webpages is important to Google, so try to add your keywords within the first paragraph if possible. Google crawls content from top to bottom, and if it finds your keyword near the beginning it helps know that your page is relevant to that keyword.

Keywords should only be added in a natural way – for example, don’t put ‘Buy Buy Buy these shoes shoes shoes’. That will have a negative impact on your website visibility, rather than making your page rank higher. Use keywords where they seem appropriate and where they flow naturally together.

User experience

Think about how you can improve your users’ experience – people will stop engaging with a website if the content and layout is unattractive. Try to avoid eye straining colours like bright green or yellow unless you really need to use them. It’s better if the colours compliment or contrast perfectly like black and white.

Keep your page layout and navigation as simple as possible. It shouldn’t take a user more than three to four clicks to find any page on a website.

Rich Snippets

rich snippetsHave you heard of the term ‘Rich snippets’ – this is where by adding some code to your website extra details such as photos or ratings might be shown in the Google search results. This can increase the amount of people that click on your website because it gives users a more detailed preview of your content before they go there.

Fresh content

Google likes recently updated content. As you can imagine, adding or removing entire sections is considered to be a more significant update than switching around the order of a few words.

Youtube logoPeople like videos, and YouTube is owned by Google so it should come as no surprise to know that YouTube videos are often ranked highly in Google’s results.

If you have a special offer or promotion going on, make it a focal point on your homepage.

Don’t forget to add your contact details in an easy to find place, and social media links if you have them. Google maps makes it fairly easy to embed a map on your Contact page.

www and non-www

One small technical tip – if you can visit your site by going to both the WWW version and the non-WWW version, since there are two ways to access the same content it will be considered as ‘duplicate content’. This is something that Google doesn’t like, but there is a way to tell Google which is the main version, so that both direct will to your preferred place.

Links

Google likes it if other websites that it considers to be ‘good authoritative websites’ link to yours. It’s like a vote in your favour.

Summary

Google is constantly working on updating their ranking algorithm to try and create the best possible user experience. They want to provide users with the most relevant results for a given keyword – if your page provides people with a comprehensive answer to what they are looking for Google will want to rank your page high up on the first page of their search results. Therefore it is important to optimise your website with relevant and targeted keywords, but remember to write with humans in mind first and Google second.

 

What can we do for you?

Before you start doing any SEO you need to establish your goal(s). Why are you doing this? Why do you want people to find your website? Is simply viewing your website enough? What actions do you want people to take? (eg register, sign up, click on a product, buy a product).

We can help with keywords – words that people might type into a search engine to look for your website (eg web design london e4). There are tools available to help with keyword research, which we can discuss with you.

Competitor analysis – we can help create a list of competitors – these websites can be examined to see why they are currently working well for particular keywords and phrases.

On-page SEO – This refers to optimisations made on your website.  This can be changing the HTML code, editing the content, or rearranging the website structure.We can check whether your webpages are working well – eg website structure, navigation menus, good use of title tags, page descriptions, keywords in headings, body text and image tags, and so on. We can check technical matters such as whether you unknowingly have 2 versions of your website, whether your website uses valid code, whether you have a sitemap, and so on.

We can advise on other things that can help, such as having a blog, having a good domain name, using Google Places, Google Analytics, link building, article submission, social media and so on.

Link building – it is important to build the right links, that will benefit and not hinder your positioning on Google.

We look forward to working in partnership with you to achieve your goals.

Price – please contact us for more information about the price of our SEO services.

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