Search Engine Optimisation Tips

Search engine Optimisation tips

Everything you wanted to know about website project briefs

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a huge industry and a huge part of our work to ensure our client’s websites rank highly and bring in more visitors than their competitors, It is an ongoing process, not just a one off bit work.

The purpose of this page is to cover some of the key aspects of SEO as far as business owners are concerned and particularly how you can improve your website position.

Where we provide your website the “On Page” optimisation is already done for your home page and other internal pages. However, is not just about the optimisation of the page itself but Off-Page optimisation is critical for competitive keywords.

Services Businesses like Electricians, Plumbers and Roofers will usually want to focus on searchers looking for them in their area. It’s going to be simplier and quicker to get higher in the search rankings for search local terms like “Electrician in Essex” than it is to get to the top for someone searching for general terms such as “Electrician” or “rewiring”. It’s also a far more relevant search, your have much more chance of winning this business.

Have a look at the Official Google SEO Starter Guide

The Alternative – Pay Per Click

If you decide you can’t be bothered with the work and effort involved and the inevitable time lag in waiting to move up in the search engines ranking, then Pay Per Click might be just right for you. It provides an excellent opportunity for website owners to promote their site online.

The most popular of the pay per click offerings is Google Adwords – depending on the sector you can spend anything from 4p per click all the way up to £10+ per click, the system is good at estimating your traffic once you give it your advert, keywords and budget, so you will be able to get near the top of the first page if that’s your goal and if the cost is £1 per click even at the rate of one new client for 20 clicks, that’s only £20 for each new client. Even at one client per 100 clicks, you’d still have a good return on your advertising investment if the profit from the new client covers the adverting costs. Just compare that to the cost of buying traditional printed advertising.

How long does it take to get listed on the search engines?

It can take up to 6 to 8 week for a brand new site to be listed by the search engines but we now have methods using existing websites, popular Blogs and Google webmaster tools to get you listed much quicker.

On-Page Optimisation

Most of this we have done for you, but it’s possible that you want to try different key phrases from what we have chosen and for this reason, we point out the main facts…

  1. Avoid Dilution. There is no point in trying to use one page to get to the top of the search engines for all sorts of different search terms, as you will just dilute the effect. Ideally, concentrate on one major keyword or similar keyword phrases per page.
  2. TITLE Tag. The Title of the page (appears in bar or tab at very top of the page) is very important and should include your main page keywords. Search engines also use the title tag as links when they display results so relevant title tags get more clicks. Only the first 70 odd characters are displayed in the Google search results.
  3. Meta Keywords. There are meta keywords which you can view by clicking on VIEW – SOURCE in your browser (Firefox ⁄ Google Chrome ⁄ Internet Explorer) meta keywords are near the top of page, although they are NOT important these days and Google disregard them. Do not have more than 10 keywords on a page (having hundreds of keywords there might trigger Google’s spam “alarm bells”).
  4. Meta Description. Using keywords in your meta description will not help ranking either. Neither Bing nor Google use it as a ranking factor. Emphasis should be put in creating interesting meta description to entice people to click on your listing in the search engines (meta description are often used as snippet ⁄ descriptive narrative below the links on the result pages). A sentence of 15 to 20 words is about right.
  5. H1 Tag. The main heading on the page (known as h1 tag) is somewhat important and should contain similar keywords than the title of the page. Other heading tags are also important and help structure a page.
  6. Keywords at the Start. Keywords placed at the beginning of a document or at the start of a paragraph will carry more weight. Stuffing your page repeatedly with the keyword you want is known as keyword spamming and the search engines pick up on this and mark your page down.
  7. Avoid using “click here” links. As they are meaningless to search engines. So if you have a link to a page about Restaurants in Brentwood, having the link called “Restaurants in Brentwood” will help the search ranking for the Restaurants in Brentwood search results page.
  8. Avoid Immediate Repetition. Avoid repeating the keyword immediately after itself.
  9. Keep Keywords Together. Keywords carry more weight when they are together. For example, if concentrating on “Roofers in Essex”, a title of “Roofers in Essex” would be better than “Roofers in Rayleigh and Southend in Essex”
  10. Duplicate Content. Search engines do not like content that is duplicated on other sites and can rank those particular pages down for that. In extreme cases, the site may even be black-listed from the search engines. For this reason we sometimes invoke the use of a special robots file that stops the search engine spiders from visiting pages on a site if they are text that we don’t want to be indexed.

If you want your home page to have most chance with the search engines, you should strongly consider changing some of the written content on it. This doesn’t have to be a total re-write and could just be re-wording and organising certain parts of it, so that it is clearly not a duplicate of other sites. If your home page is all duplicate content and you have no links to any other pages in your site from external sites, it is unlikely the search engine spiders will follow any of the links from the home page to any of your other search engine friendly pages. You should consider writing some of your own pages on subjects you want to be found on that are specific to you and so are not duplicate content.

The Google Adwords Keyword Tool can be useful for identifying keywords. It’s part of their pay per click system and there is also a tool on the same page that shows you estimated search volume for any keyword you wish to enter. For example, is “Website Designer in Thurrock” a far more popular search than “Website Designer in Essex”?

Off-Page Optimisation

This is the most important area in helping your site do well with the search engines. These are the key factors…

  1. Number of Links to Your Site. Your page ranking will be influenced by the number of links from other sites to that page but quality is far more important than quantity.
  2. Links from Good Page Ranked Sites. Links from other pages that have good PageRank themselves are important. If you have the Google Toolbar installed, the PageRank is shown on that. Any site with a rank of 1 or above is worth linking from, but ideally 3 or above. But don’t focus solely on Google PR. This is also valid for pages that rank in Google for keywords that are relevant to you.
  3. Link from Pages with Few External Links. If there are only a few links on that page and one is to you, that’s good. But if there are lots of links, the effect on your site is watered down.
  4. Relevant Links. The more relevant the linking site is to what you do the better, so a site all about something related to your business or your local area is likely to be more relevant that a link from a client who sells something completely unrelated to your business.
  5. Directory Links. Links from directories are slightly important but normally they are easy to get. One of the more important ones to get into is the DMOZ Directory (used by Google for alternative descriptions also) Another one we always encourage our clients to get in is Freeindex. There is no guarantee of listing in a Directory like DMOZ If paying to go in directories for search engine purposes, a PageRank of 4+ is probably required to make it worthwhile paying. In general we don’t recommend paying for any directory inclusion.
  6. Press Release, Forum & Blog Links. Other useful ways of getting links are to issue press releases with links in and by registering in forums and have the link as forum signature or within your comments left in blogs posts.
  7. Wording of Links. When requesting a link to your site, try using your most important keywords within the link text. Text links are better but if using an image link, ensure the keywords are in the “alt” attribute for the image. Also ensure the link doesn’t have a rel=”nofollow” attribute which tells a search engine not to follow it. If you did a search on “click here” which returns a staggering number of results making it very competitive and yet the number 1 position is held by Adobe which doesn’t even have those words on it’s page! But what they do have is lots of sites linking to the Adobe Acrobat Reader to download and using the words “click here” in the link. This demonstrates just how important the wording of the link, sometimes know as anchor text, is.
  8. Deep Links. Please remember, you can have a link to any page on your site, not just the home page and you should link to the page with the keywords you are focusing on. Unless you get deep links to specific pages you want indexed there is a good chance they may not rank well in the search engines unless you build lots of links to your home page to increase the importance of that page and so make the search engines more likely to follow the links on it.
  9. Ask for Free Links. To get free links you have to ask for them. It’s best to avoid link farms that will be penalised by the search engines. You could get reciprocal links with clients and other local businesses, ideally related businesses. To get a one way link which is more valuable, you have to stress the benefits of linking to your site. You could offer a free service or discount so they can put on their site such which links to your site.
  10. Gradually Increase Your Links. Don’t have them all added in the same week. Spreading the addition of new links over time will appear more genuine to the search engines. We suggest something like 1 link per month.
  11. Who Links to You and Your Competitors Sites Already? If you want to see who links to your site already go to Yahoo Site Explorer and type your website address (and the ones of your competitors) in the search box. Aim to get link from the places your competitors have got links from.
  12. Domain Name. Your domain name with keywords in it has a marginal ranking effect (especially in Yahoo), this is a marginal ranking factor and if you already have a domain name then its not enough of a factor to worry about and change your domain name for.
  13. Hosting. Ensure your host server is based in the UK, especially if your domain name has a .com extension, also don’t forget to update Google Webmaster Tools with your targeted country if you own a .com domain, our hosting is UK based, and we will update your Google Webmaster Tools panel for you.
  14. You Can’t Beat Old Age! The longer your site and specific pages have been in existence the easier it is to get good ranking in the search engines.
  15. Finding out What’s Been Indexed. To see which of your pages have been indexed go to the Google search engine and type ‘site:yoursite.co.uk’ and a list of all those that have been indexed will show up.

Content is King – The most important part of your site

Having said all of the above, never forget content is king. It’s no good having a great search engine page if it doesn’t read well to your visitor to make them take action.

There are also many other ways to promote your website through conventional marketing means that can have far more impact than the search engines can for your business.