SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the practice of modifying a website to improve its visibility and organic positioning in a search engine results page. When creating a website, there are many factors that will influence your website’s ranking, some of them are more immediately apparent than others. Consequently, Relevance has created a ‘checklist’ of key SEO strategies to increase traffic to your website.
It is important to understand that Google takes into account over 200 different factors when calculating a website’s ranking. Bearing this in mind, it is almost impossible to adhere to all of them simultaneously. However, the more you can accumulate, the higher your overall score will be.
First and foremost, we recommend installing a few programs that will greatly assist in your SEO efforts: Google Analytics, plus Google and Bing Webmaster Tools are essentials. Furthermore, if you intend to use WordPress, install Google Analytics for WordPress and SEO for WordPress. Finally, a comparative analysis of your key competitors’ online presence is advised.
- The content of your website must be original, informative and of high-quality. This refers to text, images and multimedia.
- Naturally, it is therefore important to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. While these are fairly common errors to make, Google will nonetheless penalise you for this.
- Make sure that you have a minimum of 300 words per landing page.
- We also recommend using Google Webmaster Tools to check for duplicate content and any 404 or 500 errors, which are duly penalised by Google’s Panda algorithm.
2) Keywords and Meta Tags
- The meta-title and meta-description play an essential role in influencing a website’s ranking. While they adhere to different recommended word limits (70 and 156 respectively), both follow the same rules: create original and interesting content with primary and secondary keywords integrated into the text where possible.
- It is also important to include your primary keyword in your web page URL.
- Ensure your keywords feature in both the heading and the content of the page for optimum results. It is important to regulate the frequency and quantity of keywords in your text however as your page could otherwise be interpreted by Google as spam.
- Try also to incorporate synonyms of your keyword to make the language more natural and flowing, and hence more user-friendly.
- Make sure that all your images have ALT tags and filenames so that the HTML can be approved by search engines. If possible, attempt to include your keywords in the captions.
3) Internal Linking
- You need to create an HTML Sitemap which links to all pages on your website. In addition, you need an XML Sitemap which should be submitted to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Likewise, a Robots.txt file should also be submitted to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools (a file to give instructions to web crawlers so they are able to efficiently navigate around your site).
- Add Breadcrumbs to allow users to easily navigate back to previous pages of your website. This will also create additional content, keywords on a page and add internal links.
- Check for any broken links or crawl issues on your website.
- Use relevant anchor texts or keywords when creating hyperlinks as opposed to simply writing ‘click here’. Again, this is to be applied in moderation.
- It is also important to verify your site speed – a quick response time means a better user experience.
- Add Google Authorship Markup to your site to associate yourself with your content.
4) Multi-Device Friendly
- Ensure that your website is optimised for all common browsers.
- In February of this year, Google announced that they would be placing a greater emphasis on “mobile-friendliness”: ‘Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal’. Attempts to adhere to this latest Google update are strongly advised.
- Do not use Adobe Flash as it is often not available to mobile devices.
5) Social Media
- Create social media accounts with a consistent username where possible and include your brand in each of the URL’s. For example, http://www.twitter.com/brand-name.
- Once you have set these up, include links to social media on your website and provide your visitors with the option to share the content. For example, add a ‘share with a friend’ button and a ‘Pin It’ button to images to increase the number of shares and website visitors.
- Regularly keep in contact with customers and potential clients by promoting your latest updates on social media and encourage them to like and share your posts.
6) Link Building and Blogging
- Write original and interesting articles with unique content, adding in relevant links to your website, and publish your articles on external and internal blogs.
- Try and exchange high-quality links with other relevant websites. Generally speaking, the more high-quality and relevant inbound links that your website has, the higher it will rank in a search engine results page.
- Mentions have become very important these days so get as much PR for your brand name as possible.