Climbing the search engine rankings

Written by Adam


Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a bit of a black art. The major search engines change their algorithms weekly, sometimes daily, so it’s hard to keep up. Here are a few basics to ensure you get your website as far up the ranking as possible without investing the national debt to do so!

Let’s blow some of the jargon out of the water for a start.

Search engine optimisation = making your website attractive to the search engine so that it gets lots of points in their ranking system against the key words and phrases that people search on when they’re looking for what you offer.

Algorithm = the formula the search engines use to rank your site. This can include the page title, the meta tags, your headline, the words you use on the page, the title of any visuals on the page and so much more.

Spider = this is the system search engines use to scan websites, named because it ‘crawls’ over the world wide web, examining everything systematically as it goes.

The basics

  1. Know what people are searching for. It probably isn’t your industry jargon, so, for instance it won’t be ‘SEO’, but might be ‘keep people on your website’.
    TIP: Ask a few typical customers what they would search for if they were looking for someone who does what you do.
  2. If your web designer knows what they’re doing they should do the following as a minimum:
    • Optimise the page title – that’s the bit that appears in the blue bar right at the top of the page when you’re on your website. It should not say ‘home’ or even your company name (unless that’s got a key word or two in it, but should have one or two key words for the page currently being viewed.
    • Ensure that the page description includes as many of your core key words as possible. This isn’t visible to the reader, only to the search engines.
    • Complete the Meta tags for each key word so that these are visible to the search engine.
    • Any visual images have appropriate descriptions tagged that include relevant key words for the page (as well as telling people what the image is about for those people who are using a screen reader).
  3. The copy is the next stage and the person writing this needs to take into account these issues:
    • If you can incorporate a keyword into your headline, that’s a good start, but write the copy for your reader first and the search engine second. It’s no good getting lots of traffic – and then finding people bounce off your page, because they don’t ‘get’ it.
    • The copy on each page should be focused on one or two keywords or phrases – but not stuffed with a string of keywords that make the reader struggle to make sense of it. Today’s search engines are quite clever and read contextually, so as long as the copy is relevant to the keyword that’s fine.
    • Be careful about reusing copy in more than one place on the web. The big search engines don’t like this and may blacklist a website that has copy which can be found elsewhere. The rule of thumb is that each page needs to be at least 20% different from any similar copy found elsewhere on the web. This means that you need to ‘massage’ blogs if you reuse them on other websites or if you have more than one website and plan to use the same ‘About’ page.
  4. Promote your website on other sites. The more places your web address appears the better, these are a few of the places where you can link back to your site.
    • Twitter – add a shortened link to your tweets to take people back to a relevant page on your website. This can be a blog page or a services page.
    • Create a Facebook page with a link to your website – and keep it active.
    • Ensure your profiles on other social media – LinkedIn, Ecademy, 4Networking, Tumblr, Digg, Stumbleupon, FriendFeed, etc. have your web address listed.
    • If you write guest blogs for other people, or comment on other people’s blogs, ensure you add your web address at the end (if it’s permitted).
    • Put your website address in your email signature and on your social media ‘signatures’.

If you do these things you’ll be a few steps ahead of most people. If you want to take things even more seriously, give us a call and let’s see if we can help.


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