15 May Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Clients often ask me about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and what they can do to achieve a higher site ranking on Google.
Google’s search algorithm is a complex beast and constantly updated to generate better search results – meaning what worked the best yesterday may not necessarily be what works the best today. So, what matters most in contemporary SEO? I’ve compiled a list of the current essentials in achieving a good ranking. But ultimately, the premise is pretty simple: to achieve the number 1 spot, you should have the best site.
1. Content is king
It’s worth spending the time and effort on making a great site, rather than trying to arbitrarily lift your ranking if your site’s content is still mediocre. Having solid content is how you will maintain a high ranking. Pages with great content are also more likely to win over new potential customers. Not to mention if your site is useful, others are far more likely to link to your site.
- Keyword dense pages
- Adding useful & unique content that people might link to. This could be things such as a demonstration video or an online calculator.
- Making sure the content hierarchy is structured correctly using appropriate heading tags.
2. Inbound links
Think of inbound links as referrals – the more sites that link to your site the better, as this suggests to Google that your site is worth visiting. The ranking of the site which links to you also plays a factor. A link from a low ranked site will have very little weighting compared to a link from a high ranked site. The number of other outbound links on the page also plays a role. Eg, if its a directory type page, which links 100s of sites—its not going to give you as much effect as a page that links to only a few.
3. Titles & Meta Tags
Each page needs its own unique title. It needs to be what your page is about (seems fairly obvious doesn’t it?!). It’s a great spot for adding keywords, (assuming they are a true representation of what the page is about).
- Keep titles to 70 characters including spaces – any longer and it will just be truncated.
- Words that are at the start of the title are given more weighting than words at the end. For this reason I tend to suggest putting the business name at the end.
- If your title and your page content don’t match up, you’re more likely to hinder your page position.
Similarly, each page needs its own unique description, placed in a Meta Tag. This is the text that is displayed below the link in the Google search results. Like the titles it needs to accurately reflect the content of the page.
4. If it sounds too good to be true…
I often think SEO is a bit like dieting – there’s no real shortcuts if you want long term results. If you put in the hard work, it will pay off.
Sadly, clients who have come to us having hired ‘SEO specialists’ were promised a number 1 ranking. They were told by the SEO specialists that they’d use every trick in the book to get them high in the search rankings. In some cases, it did actually work… momentarily, only for their ranking to fall right back down (long after the SEO specialist had their money!). They would have been far better off spending the money on a copy writer to improve their site’s content.
If anyone guarantees a number 1 spot, my advice is to run the other way.