7 SEO basics that anyone can follow
I will be totally honest here - sometimes when I mention the simple phrase: 'Search Engine Optimization (SEO)' to a client I can almost hear their brain disconnect.
Its true - SEO can be a complicated, intricate balancing act. However the bottom line is pretty simple. You want to be improve your visibility and get found online, and Google wants to show its users the information it deems most valuable, authoritative and relevant to that searcher
Everyone can make themselves more search engine friendly by picking up a few simple habits. Here some basic key points which can help you along the way to a search engine friendly website.
1) Ranking Google ranks pages. To 'get to the top' it puts its most authoritative pages first. Ranking is mainly generated by the quality of links from other reputable pages. For example if the BBC was to link your site amongst other relevant text regarding your company/industry/location it would be far more valuable than the same link on a random affiliate site which Google doesn't really trust or deems a bit spammy. Remember a golden rule with getting links (or back-links) it's about quality, NOT quantity.
Content is key. Well written, useful, relevant content should be your best friend. Show google you really know your stuff and how it relates to your business. Don't try and be clever, but use natural phrases relevant to your topic, phrases that people would use to find your website. If you want to sell 'organic gluten free cakes', write an article about organic gluten free cakes. Don't go OTT on repeating keywords, instead pack it full of fantastic information.
3) Make it obvious
Google can't really tell what your image is, so name your images. Make sure you fill in the 'alt' attributes. For example (I am sticking with the cake theme here) name your image organic-gluten-free-cake.jpg. Simply name the image as what it is and do so using hyphens (-) as spaces, Google happily recognises them as spaces. Underscores are not properly recognised as spaces so try to avoid them.
Correct repetition of keywords, (remember, not over the top), lets search engines know exactly what you're on about. Make sure they can be found in your content, your titles, descriptions, images & blogs. Remember they need to be relevant to the rest of your content so copy & pasting a keyword over and over would actually do more harm than good.
I feel another cake analogy coming on regarding keywords. (I am sorry, truly sorry).
Imagine you are baking a chocolate cake. Chocolate defines the flavor and type of cake but it doesn't mean you should dump a bucket of chocolate powder in the bowl.
Note to self; work on analogies.
Wordpress calls these 'slugs'. Think about how your pages are identified. On your blog page, you want the URL to be /blog, not /bl02784g. Make your slugs pretty, dammit!
6) Site speed
People don't like slow websites so make sure all of your images are optimized. Downsize all images to the actual size they will appear on your website. Plugins may also affect loading times so its not worth adding fancy widgets for the sake of it. No visit counters, please!
Another think that can affect rankings is how frequently you update your website. Now don't panic, this doesn't mean you need to redesign every month but you do need to add some fresh stuff. Google doesn't love static content so change it up. Add blogs as often as possible providing you have enough to talk about without becoming repetitive. If you struggle with blogging, try changing around the static text you have on your site every month.
That's my 7 brief points!
There are other aspects to SEO but in the interest of sticking to the basics on this posts I won't be explaining them in full - they include internal links, keyword research, finding things to write about that add value, social additions and weight of code. These will be covered in future posts but for now feel free to get in touch.