When developing your Website, it is always prudent to incorporate web design techniques to help make your Website friendly to Search Engines. In the industry, this is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Not doing so, does not really make much sense and would only have a detrimental effect on your Website. Below, are 9 key factors on how to optimise your web pages for Search Engines to help achieve high rankings.
If you would like to cut down the time it takes to optimise your Website, then please check out our Website Optimisation services. You may wish to, initially, concentrate your energies on achieving high rankings in Google, since they are the most important with the largest audience. By following each of the steps listed, below, you will earn lots of “brownie points” from Search Engines and give them more reasons to rank you highly.
Since optimising your Website is all about impressing Search Engines to, ultimately, attract new visitors to your Website, it makes sense to find out what potential clients are entering into Search Engines to find your products or services.
The most important factor when optimising your Website, is to identify what your key search phrases are. Select the wrong phrases, then all your optimisation efforts will be in vain.
When trying to decide what are your key search phrases, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your Website visitors and try to second guess what they will be entering into Search Engines. Sometimes a little bit of lateral thinking is required to ensure you are not to blinkered about what you believe are the key phrases.
For example, if you were an Accountant based in Birmingham, you would be correct in thinking, “accountants birmingham” or accountants in birmingham” are popular search terms for someone looking for an Accountant in Birmingham. However, if you take a step back and try and imagine what type of visitor they could be, it can give clues to other, potentially, more lucrative search terms.
If the visitor was a start-up business, for example, perhaps they would enter “start-up advice birmingham” as their first search query. Or someone looking for advice on Self Assessment, may enter “help with self assessment in birmingham”.
Even with a vivid imagination, it can still be difficult to find your key search phrases. However, not to worry, there are quite a few tools on the market to help you, removing much of the guesswork and, therefore, giving your Website a greater chance of success!
First up, is Google’s own Keyword Planner tool. Although it is a free tool, you will need a Google AdWords account to use it. One of the benefits of having a Google AdWords account, is that it will give you real time information on the exact number of people searching on your key search phrases. This information can then be used to optimise your web pages, giving peace-of-mind, you have optimised your Website for the right phrases.
Then there is Wordtracker. They have three different plans and the cheapest starts at around £17/month. It also includes a free, 7 day trial. Basically, Wordtracker, polls all the leading Search Engines and accumulates a vast database of the most commonly used search terms, even for your own industry.
If identifying your key search phrases is something you would prefer help with, then you may be interested in our very affordable Meta Tag / Key Search Phrase service.
Only once you have identified your key search phrases, are you ready to optimise your Website. The following are some areas of your web page that will require optimising.
Apart from writing lots and lots of interesting content / copywrite for your Website, your Page Title Meta tag is one of the most important. This Meta Tag is only viewable by Search Engines and, basically, tells the Search Engine what the page is about. You can see it at the top of your Browser Window (usually in the blue bar). Try and restrict your key search phrases to 65 characters (includes spaces). All pages in your Website should have it’s own unique Meta Tag Page Title and be based on phrases found in the body of your page. Where the keywords are placed in the Meta Tile Tag and in relation to each other, is also very important.
When Search Engines show your Website in their results for particular search phrases, they will either, cut text from the body of your web page that includes the key words and show that, or they will display your Meta Description if it includes the phrase. Since Description tags give you more influence over Search Engines, it makes sense to include this tag in your web page. All pages in your Website should have it’s own unique Meta Tag Description and be based on phrases found in the Meta Title Tag and body of your page. Try and keep it to no more than 156 characters.
Every optimisation technique used, is an opportunity to earn “brownie points” from Search Engines and page URLs are no different. Instead of meaningless URLs, such as, /page1.html etc, try and name your pages with meaningful URLs. For example, if you were an Accountant and if you had a page that described your Bookkeeping services, naming it /bookkeeping.html is more preferable to /page1.html. Apart from helping the visitor know what page they are on, it gives, Search Engines, clues regarding page content.
You can save yourself some time by ignoring this Meta Tag. It was highjacked by Spammers many years ago and is one of the main reasons why Search Engines place none or little importance against it.
When linking to other pages within your Website, it is always better, if possible, to create a context based link. For example, if you want to reduce the time it takes to optimise your Website, our Website Ranking Reports may be of interest. Notice how we just included the link to our Website Ranking Report. Oops, went and done it again.
This approach gives our Website Ranking Report page the thumbs up in the eyes of Search Engines, since the link text is the same as the key search phrase used on ranking Report page. This approach is much better than a “Please click here” text link. Be careful not to overdo it on any particular page. It can be viewed as spamming and may get you banned from Search Engines.
It is not a good design idea to make Search Engines browse through lots of default content before reaching the main content in the body of the page. Try and include your written content, specific to the page you are on, towards the start of your website code. If you use sub-menus in your design, try placing them to the right of the page. Make sure your key search phrase is also included in the first paragraph, if possible.
When using images on your Website, you should always include Alt Tags with images to help the visually impaired, who may be using Screen Readers. However, Search Engines also use the Alt Tag to rank your Website when the image has a link to another web page.
Written content / copywrite is King and will remain so as far as Search Engines are concerned. The more written content you have, the more opportunities there will be for Search Engines to index your Website. Where possible, you should try and include your key search phrases for a particular page at least two to three times. For more information on writing good Website copywrite, please follow the link.