“Google own the internet”. That statement isn’t 100% factual. But, effectively to get anywhere you have to play by the rules of Google. And this means utilising Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO divides opinions. Some say it is too complex. Others say that optimisation as a whole is necessary. The algorithms continue to become smarter and as such the effort it takes to stay on top will grow.
A few of the basic terms you will find in this article are explained below.
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. This is setting your website up so that it gets the best results from the algorithms that are used by Google and Bing.
Meta Data – This comes in the form of tags and descriptions. This is heavily relied on to explain what the page does to search engines. It is not visible unless revealed by software or by viewing the code.
HTML – is the language that is used on the web and H1 to H6 are the levels of headings. With 1 being the most important and 6 being the least. These show what is important on each page and are used to direct the Search Engine crawlers.
Crawlers – These are the autonomous bots that are used by search engine companies to discover and read your website.
UX – UX stands for User Experience. A good UX is defined by the accessibility and quality of a website.
Black Hat – Using techniques to improve SEO that are not in line with Googles code of practice. This can be penalised if discovered.
White Hat – SEO that is achieved within the guides from Google.
Bounce Rate – The number of page visitors who don’t view any other pages before exiting your website.
You can view a full Jargon Buster here.
As with everything in life, doing it right from the start is the easiest method. To begin with you need to ensure the basics are fulfilled while building the website. This starts with ensuring that you have built a responsive website. The website design also needs to have a good UX. If a person does reach your website, they will want to be able to use the website easily. If they can’t they will leave. And a high bounce rate will damage your rating with search engines.
The next step is to ensure that you have filled in all of the meta data fields for the website. This enables the search engines to show the pages that are related to what a person is searching for.
Once you have a website that is responsive, easy to use and has the relevant meta data. You need to begin producing content. The content needs to be relevant and shareable. This is because of the way the internet has grown and most time is spent on social platforms. Most back links you will get are from people sharing across social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
Time consuming and at times irritating. Retrospectively optimising your entire website will take longer the bigger your website is. If you are having a redesign you will have to build the new website, then transfer all of the content you wish to keep. Deciding which content to keep could be as simple as choosing the pages that had the most success. You could however then lose content which is raw and just needs to be optimised to make it findable by the Search Engine crawlers.
Once the redesign is complete, the steps become the same as having a new website. You need to ensure all future content is correctly tagged and that content is good and easily shareable.
Content Is King
Once you have redesigned and optimised your website you need to concentrate on the content. A website will only survive so long as you keep it active and up to date. Ways to do this are by having a dynamic RSS feed for your social media content and to be constantly updating with new content.
The key with content is to understand that all content has a place, and choosing what format to utilise is key to making it work. Spending time planning a piece of content will allow you to make the best of the opportunity.
When optimising your website, it is key to not become disheartened if you don’t see results immediately. Most companies offering SEO services will tell you that you won’t see much for about 5-6 months. This is partly because of the nature of how the Search Engine Algorithms work. And partly because of the work involved in optimising.
For example. In month one of the process you will spend a lot of the time researching and auditing the website. you will plan your choice of key words and begin to decide on what you will be adding to your website.
In to the second month you begin to optimise. You will ensure the links for pages are worded correctly and fit with what people would be searching for. This will yield some results but not substantially.
The third and fourth month are your period of content creation. You will be uploading the content and adding more and more pages to the website. this means that there will be more pages available for search results. The fourth month is also the point where you will be reviewing how content posted in the third month is doing to optimise what times you are publishing and promoting. Allowing you to better understand your audience.
The fifth month is usually the period during which you ramp up social media work. You might have been doing this before, but now you should have enough content to ensure that you can rotate it without looking like you are just constantly repeating yourself.
And finally by month sixth you should be in a strong position where you can continue to produce and promote good content that will drive traffic.
Our team have over a decade of experience with websites. Combine that with our 50 years of experience in the design industry and we are perfectly placed to help you with your digital media needs. Why not get in touch and organise a meeting with us.