SEO (Search engine optimisation) is just a phrase which is used to describe the mechanism by which your website gets to the front page of Google. Whilst you can hire an SEO expert to help you, the basics of getting to that all important front page is really quite straightforward. It just takes persistence, consistency and know how.
We’ve written our latest blog to talk you through the basics. Even if you don’t want to put the work in yourself, at least you’ll know what your SEO company should be doing for you.
What is SEO?
Google likes to provide the most relevant answers to a person’s search query. When you type in a word or phrase (known as “keywords”) into the Google search box, their system scans all the material available for display on the internet. The websites it shows on the front page are those which are most relevant to the search term, are most popular and provide the reader with the most value.
The Google-bots (as we’ll call them!) can’t see – they can only read words and phrases, so bear that in mind when creating your content.
SEO – the basics
Anyone who adminsters their own website can tackle the basics. You can actually get plugins to help you with the essentials – like Yoast for WordPress. In this blog we’re going to take you through the terminology and how to make the most of your website.
- URL. The page name of your website should remain relevant to the search terms you want to become known for, and ideally contain the keyword. However, it doesn’t just stop at the home page. Each page you have can include more relevant keywords – Google will display those too if it deems it relevant to the search term being used.
- Title Tag. Google typically displays the first 60 to 60 characters. It shows up as the blue, bold title on the search results page. Make sure this title includes your keyword and is relevant to the content.
- Page Meta Description Tag. This does not appear on the web page itself, but is shown below the title on the Google search results. It gives people an insight into what is on the web page itself. Try to accurately describe what they will find when they click to the page. It’s ok to have a call to action (eg Act now) so if it’s suitable to do so, include one. It’s important not to duplicate meta description tags across your website – Google won’t be able to select which one is best to display. Do not include symbols or uppercase words and make the description 160 characters long.
- Header tag. Each webpage you create should have a header tag (HTML code is <h1> for example and represents page headings, <h2> = sub-headings etc). It represents a heading used above content. Ideally the keyword or phrase should be in the header tag, but ultimately should be used to point the reader to the relevant content.
- Main body. In your actual text, you should include the keyword but not too many times. At the end of the day, the narrative should flow and be easy & pleasant to read. Remember, Google want you to provide value to its users, not write for Google! The number of times the keyword is used within a webpage is called “keyword density”. Yoast (SEO plugin) recommends between 0.5% and 2.5%. Remember, though, that its quality content that matters.
- Pictures. Google’s algorithms can’t see pictures. Instead use an <Alt> tag to describe them so that they become visible to Google. Make sure the Alt tag relates to the content on the page and uses the keyword.
- Links. Lots of unnecessary links to your site won’t “cut it” anymore. However, links from high ranking websites (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) back to your site will help, providing content is relevant and useful to the audience. Links between web pages is also useful, as is outbound links to content which fits with your web page. Bear in mind, though, that if you send people to another website, they’ve left yours!
- Speed. Google likes speed. The quicker your website can provide the information the reader is looking for, the better. If you have lots of images, make sure they’re compressed. Here’s a link to Google’s help page on the subject of speed https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Free Health Check
We offer a free SEO healthcheck which might be of interest to you. We’ll put together a comprehensive report for you and talk you through it so that you can discuss the findings directly with our experts. Just click here to send us an email and we’ll get back to you.