SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should be an integral part of the planning, designing and development process for all new websites. Similarly, if you have a website and it hasn’t been SEOed then you should think about starting.
Search engine traffic should be the number one driver of traffic to your website. The percentage of new visits from search engine traffic is higher than direct traffic and should be considered more valuable – new visits mean potential new customers! Being found in search engines isn’t the be all and end all though – being number 1 in search results should be your main goal. Being number one means you will get the lion’s share of search engine traffic for that search.
The first thing you need to do is identify the keywords you want to rank well for, the level of traffic for those keywords and how hard it will be to rank well for that keyword. These two factors shouldn’t be ignored. It’s all well and good trying to rank for ‘cars’ but the likelihood off your website ranking first is nigh on impossible. Instead, focus on the long tail – keywords which are more defined. They’ll be less relative traffic but you’ll have a better chance of ranking for them. Potential keywords should be analysed for both search volumes and opportunity.
Once you have identified the best keywords to target (and this can be a large piece of work), the next step is to do some on page SEO. Optimising your website and web pages will greatly benefit your SEO campaign. On page SEO has many different elements. The most important are:
Having good, keyword relevant content on your web pages will greatly help them to get indexed by search engines for keywords. Broadly speaking, you should aim for at least 300 words of content. Not only is content beneficial for user experience but it is by far the most natural way of increasing your visitor numbers. However it is possibly also the element which takes the longest time to see results. It is important to make sure your content is keyword rich but not keyword saturated. Search engines use highly intelligent mathematical equations and algorithms to determine what your page is about, how good it is and what search terms it should rank it for. But, they are only algorithms – they are not human monitored. You need to help the search engines understand what your page is about. Writing about cupcakes, televisions and the United Kingdom will only confuse the search engine. They like to pigeonhole pages and sites into neat little categories. Make sure you can do that with your pages.
2. Meta data
The role of Meta data has become controversial in the world of SEO but it is still important. Meta data is behind the scenes information that search engines and other websites use to gather information about your site. The two most important Meta data elements for SEO are keywords and the description.
The description, as you can imagine, is a description of your site. This is the paragraph that gets shown under your website title in search results. It is important to note that Google doesn’t use these to judge the quality or relevancy of your website. Instead you should utilise these as prime advertising spots. Sell your company or business here!
Here are examples of bad and good Meta descriptions:
Bad Meta Description:
Good Meta Description:
It’s also important to note that you only have 150 characters to write your Meta description. If you write too many then they won’t get shown. Make sure you utilise this search engine real estate well.
Additionally you have the meta tag for keywords. Here you should add your selected keywords for your web pages. However, it’s also important that each page has a unique set of keywords for their meta tag to get the most benefit from them.
The title of your pages is something that search engines take into consideration. Having a keyword driven title will definitely help your SEO efforts. The most important thing to consider is search engines rate the relevancy of your title and links based on their syntax – going left to right. That is to say, keywords in your title found at the beginning (to the left) will be given more weight than those at the end (towards the end).
Using MintTwist as an example, here are two titles:
- ‘MintTwist – Web Design London’
- ‘Web Design London – MintTwist’
In the first title, ‘MintTwist’ will be the most important keyword, whereas in the second title ‘Web Design London’ will be more important. It is up to you whether you want to put more focus on your brand name or your services although from a search traffic perspective, targeting services and associated keywords will be more beneficial.
Lastly, something that is very important to consider is URLs and URL structure. All URLs need to be friendly – that is to say, reflective of the content. Having a URL like http://www.minttwist.com/web-design-london is much better than http://www.minttwist.com/services/web/service-area:12a/service-type:1. Search engines will markdown the second URL but like the first URL – hopefully for obvious reasons!
One important thing to stress is that everything should be relevant and related. For any individual page, URLs, titles, headers, on page content and keywords all need to be the same. Having a URL that ends in ‘web-design-london’ but keywords that are about ‘web marketing in Spain’ will get you marked down for irrelevancy in search engine algorithms. More specifically, they won’t understand what your page is about and are more likely to not rank it for anything.
Once your website has been fully optimised, the next step is to build links. You can do this in numerous ways and it will hopefully happen naturally over time as people link to your website for X number of reasons. However you can also build links manually. Ways to do this include article writing, guest blogging and social media networking. However, this takes up the most amount of time and you may want to outsource it to a web marketing agency.
MintTwist is one of London’s leading web design and web marketing agencies. Please contact us if you would like a quote on any SEO campaigns and we would be happy to answer any questions.
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