Whilst looking through a number of websites and peeking at other web designers websites it came to my attention how many people are not even doing the very basics of onsite SEO.
I am great believer that if your onsite SEO is upto scratch your well on the way to the battle that is search engine rankings.
There are thousands of web designers some are very good with knowledge in most areas of website design, some are very good at the design but know little about the correct way to structure a website and simple ways to promote it, I was quite surprised how many website owners were never informed of little simple things they could do them self to improve their website rankings.
This is what triggered the idea to write this simple blog that hopefully will help others increase their website ranking and move a bit further up the search engine ladder.
If you are a web designer this will also help you if you have limited knowledge of onsite SEO.
Point 1 – Choosing your keywords
Ok so you have a new website and want to quickly start getting traffic and making money from your new site, will this happen, well it’s quite unlikely without the correct promotion, the best way to get straight to the top of google is Adwords but without advanced knowledge of Adwords this can be very very expensive with less income that your profit margin.
One simple way to gain higher results is by choosing your keywords cleverly.
Think of your website like this, imagine the largest forest in the world, now double it, yes its pretty big, possibly 25 million trees or more some very mature and towering above the rest, now imagine your website in the middle of all this forest, and ask someone to go and find it, unless they know exactly where it is (Domain Name) its not likely they are going to find it.
There’s a simple way to reduce the size of this, many people aim for the big keywords straight away, lets use Kitchens as an example, 27,700,000 results highly unlikely your going to get up to the top of Google quickly, so the first tip is to reduce this and aim for a less competitive keyword or more importantly key phrase, you can instantly cut the amount of results down to under 1.8million results by targeting affordable kitchens, you can also use Google keyword tool to get keyword ideas and see how many searches each month and also the competition on the keyword, I personally look at the number of results returned for a keyword search in Google.
Ok so you now found your key phrase your going to start with, the reason I say aim for a less competitive key phrase is to try to gain higher results quicker and start progressing with a few orders, really impress with them and before you know it people will start to recommend you, maybe link to your website, write reviews, (Ask happy customers to do this for you) before you know it your website will start to gain credibility in the search engines in preparation of moving onto more competitive keywords.
Point 2 – Correct Meta Tags the Basics
Its amazing how many people fail on this simple point, meta tags are important, the Meta Title is one of the first thing search engines look at, but don’t make the mistake of trying to cram lots of keywords into it. Using our Example of Kitchens see the 2 samples below.
WRONG – Company Name, kitchens, modern kitchens, white kitchens, pine kitchens, usa kitchens, quality kitchens
There are 3 main issues with a title like this, one is over usage of one keyword and the other is its far too long and messy
CORRECT EXAMPLE – Affordable Kitchens | Quality UK Kitchen Supplier | Company Name
Many people make the mistake of adding the company name first, unless people will be searching for it there is not much point of making it the start of your meta title short simple meta titles will be much more effective.
Meta descriptions are what display in the search results, don’t make the common mistake of writing just for keywords, and remember this is what people will read in the search engine so at the same time as getting your keyword in there make sure it will attract clicks.
Example: Affordable kitchens from Quality USA Supplier, Company Name supply quality affordable kitchens to the public and trade with exceptional customer service.
Remember don’t over do it with the keywords.
Meta Keywords – Not really too important as Google stopped taking them into account a while ago however some search engines still use them so add a few but again don’t repeat to many times something short simple will do. EXAMPLE; affordable kitchens, kitchens, UK Supplier, White, Pine, Gloss try to use keywords that are also featured in the page or they will have no effect.
TIP: Make sure all the meta descriptions are unique to the page across your website, search engines wont rank a page if it has duplicate meta tags.
Point 3 – The Code
There are many coding techniques that help the ranking of a website, correct usage of Header tags are one of them.
The H1 tag is the next big place to get your keywords, I recommend getting the H1 tag as close to the start of your website code as possible, again don’t cram it with keywords or waste it on something like Welcome to my website.
Sample H1 Tag might be: Affordable Kitchens from Company Name.
You can also use other tags further down your page for titles of various sections these are H2, H3 tags again you can use these wisely with your keywords.
Ok so you got meta covered and header tags, another very obvious one but so many people miss it is correct alt tags on images, search engines can’t read the content of an image so you need to give it an alt tag, again you will need a bit of HTML knowledge to do this but make sure each image on your website has a ALT tag, use the keywords but don’t use the same one over and over, use variations, search engines are very clever now and understand different variation and meanings to the keywords so use them wisely.
Link Titles: I’m sure you have seen before when you hover over a link in a web page it comes up with a little description of the landing page, this is called a title tag, again very simple to add with html knowledge, this will increase the credibility of the link whilst also adding strength to the keywords of your website. Remember use short descriptions, for example the Home Page link, don’t just title it ‘Home’ use ‘Affordable Kitchens Home Page’.
These are a few basic techniques to better coding for on-site SEO, now we will look at page content.
Point 4 – the Content
By far the best way to have quality content is to get a professional to write it, but we all know sometimes budgets don’t stretch to this so when writing your content think about it for a while and come up with some drafts, take into consideration the following.
You want to get your keywords in but not too often it starts to read wrong, remember your not just writing for search engines you also need to impress your website visitors.
A web page with 2 images and one paragraph of content won’t have great effect, the more content you have the better try to add as many good content rich sections as possible, don’t just write for search engines write to attract your visitors too.
Highlighting keywords and linking, this is another good technique but again don’t over do it, if you have a paragraph which has the words affordable kitchens then make it bold text and link it to the page in your website that has more information remembering to add your link title.
Finishing the web page with your keywords, this is something I have always considered important, you started your web page with the keyword in the meta title, you added it in the H1 Tag, now the search engine spider has reached the bottom of the web page so make it the last thing it sees too. At the end of the website footer, add the key phrase again – example footer might be. Copyright: Company Name, Affordable Kitchens UK link the words affordable kitchens uk back to the domain name of your website.
Point 5 – Using Google and Sitemaps
Depending on your website you can use free tools from Google for monitoring and promoting your website and products, the first step is to setup a Google webmaster account you will need to add your website and add a bit of HTML code to your web page or load a html file to your server to verify the site. From here once your website is indexed you can monitor a number of things, from sitemaps to errors found by the search engine spider when processing your website, once you have setup your webmaster account create an XML Sitemap, there are a number of free websites that will do this for you I recommend this one xml-sitemaps.com. Copy the code and save it as an xml file and load to your server, follow the instructions in Google webmasters to verify the sitemap, this will not only tell Google about your website but it will tell them about all the pages in your site.
Google Analytics – This is a great tool to monitor the website traffic, conversions if you are using adwords for ecommerce websites, keywords people used to find your website plus many more great monitoring features, signup and follow the instructions, make sure you add the analytics code to all the pages you want to track.
Google Base – If you have an ecommerce website Google base (or Shopping) is a free service, more on this topic can be found in this Blog, this is a great way to quickly get traffic if your products are competitive prices.
Ok so you have now followed the basics of onsite SEO, the next step is to start getting your links out there, a number of great social websites are now available that cost nothing to use so make the most of them, forums, social networks are all free great ways to get your website out there, more on this will come in another blog for off site Search Engine Optimisation but here are a few sites that will get your started. Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, MySpace, UK Business Forums, A1 Business Forums.
Good luck with your website design and search engine optimisation and I hope you found this blog helpful, if you would like any help or advice on web design or search engine optimisation feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org