Search engine optimisation can be a challenge to get right especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are a collection of elements that need to be in place to achieve some success and with Google often changing its priorities, it’s easy to get left behind.
And in 2018, you also need to juggle onsite factors (things actually in your website) vs offsite factors such as links to a website as well. This post will just focus on the onsite approach. Another post will focus on the other elements…..coming soon!
So here are my top 5 tips for onsite seo to ensure you have in place for your website. However you also need to bear in mind that it will be a challenge for any website less than 3 years old, to appear very highly in the listings as website age also carries weight and is part of how Google decides to rank websites in general.
1. Research....no good SEO ever began with guesswork. You need to research the keywords that people will use to try and find your products and services, which is easier said than done done if you don’t know how or where to look. There are various tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner https://adwords.google.com/intl/en_uk/home/tools/keyword-planner/ – you don’t need to use paid for advertising here but it helps you conduct the research. Or Moz planner : https://moz.com/explorer And you need to check out the competition as well. There’s no point chasing down a search term if there is no hope of appearing anywhere in the listings because everyone got there first. Using localised searches reduces the competition but it still can be tricky to target.
2. Page titles and urls – these need to be relevant to the content on each page and set up correctly so that Google’s little bots can crawl the website and reference the page links. You should also ensure that you are using “pretty urls” which is easy to turn on in WordPress. Your keywords that you’ve researched already will play a part in being used here.
3. Meta descriptions – this refers to the short summary of text that appears under each listing in Google. There’s a handy plugin for WordPress called Yoast SEO that allows editing and warns you if it’s too long or not long enough. The text in here isn’t used by Google to decide to rank the page, but it does help encourage users to click on the link on Google, to go to your website.
4. Images alt tags & file names – Google can’t see any images so it can only read the text attached to an image. So it’s a good idea to call an image something useful to your website and keywords rather than ‘image1.jpg’ for example. You should also use the alternative text in the code (or “alt tags”) to include some of those all important keywords too. Alt tags are also used by visually impaired users and so they should be relevant to what the image is of as well. You need to try and get a good balance here.
5. Content – websites that are regularly updated with relevant helpful content are more likely to be noticed by Google. This is the reason for having blogs, changing images and adding testimonials etc as it shows to Google that the business is current and active. Blog posts can also help in driving traffic via useful titles but don’t forget to write for people and not just for search engines. It is has a purpose in demonstrating to website visitors that the company is developing and growing too and shows a business’ knowledge and skills to entice customers.
So as you can see there is quite a lot to take on board and not all of it is covered here. If you have a new website, SEO is a must to stand a fighting chance of being found amongst all the competition.
My next blog post will deal with more steps to consider…..