Search Engine Optimisation

How to do it well: Part 2

21 Mar 2018

In last week's post we talked about SEO basics and the importance of content. This week we will take a closer look at on-site and off-site optimisation.

3. On-site optimisation

Besides the content itself, search engines also look for certain pieces of code when crawling your web pages. Some of these codes can be controlled within content management systems, others may need to be implemented by web developers. This depends on the platform you are on and how much accessibility it has for SEO on-site optimisation.

URLs

How do your site URLs look? Can you read them or are they full of numbers and special characters? Your URLs should use keywords rather than numbers or symbols, as those don’t mean anything to users or search engines.

Title tags

One of the most important tags in SEO is the title tag. It carries a lot of weight in search results ranking and also appears in the search results as the title of the indexed page.

  • It should be descriptive text for the page. Titles tags should be around 40-60 characters to avoid truncated text, but can be slightly longer.
  • Each title tag must be unique
  • Think keywords Don’t start with your company name
  • Important keywords near the front
  • Use Title Case for words to jump out
  • Don’t write a sentence

Keyword meta tags

It does not hurt to have them, but they don’t tell search engines how valuable the content of the pages is in relation to the keywords. Add a few strong keywords per page and move on.

Description meta tags

Google does not use description tags for ranking, but it does show these on the search results page, telling users what your page is about. Other search engines may use it for ranking. At the very least, these description tags should be seen as a sales pitch to encourage users to click on your pages.

  • Use keywords
  • It needs to be unique
  • Use Title Case for words to jump out
  • Don’t write sentences but snippets of text
  • You may use some upper case but not too much

Heading tags

It is best practice to use <h> tags on content pages, as these tags signal to search engines that the text is a header. If keywords are used, it clearly tells search engines that these keywords are important and describe what follows on the page.

Images

Images cannot be read by search engines, however, the image folders and file names can. You may also use alt tags and title tags to describe the image or get your web developers to implement these for you.

4. Off-site optimisation

Above we mentioned the saying “Content is king”. This is in fact only partially true. Google has revolutionised search with link analysis and no longer looks merely at content within a web page, but also at links pointing to that page to determine how relevant and important it is. You may have heard of “link building” in the SEO context. This is essential in building authority and developing strong organic rankings.

Why external links help

Links help search engines to find your site. The more links your web pages have, the more frequent will search engines index your site. Links also bring visitors to your site, so can help with increasing your overall website traffic.

Link profiles

Having 1 link from 100 sites is better than 100 links from 1 site, however, not all links will be quality links. You ultimately want links from relevant sources and trusted sites, such as newspapers, radio, tv, universities, government, popular and other highly respected sites (i.e. sites within your industry).

How to get links

Spend some time on your link building strategy to identify the right channels. Some of these may be social media, blogs, directories and companies you do business with, such as clients, service providers and industry associations. Ask colleagues, friends and family to share your content. The more people know about you, the more likely it is to get others to talk about your content. Provided it is good quality content, you’ll get more of the links that you want.

Where to from here?

SEO can be a technical and complex process, but don’t get bulked down. Focus on the four key areas of SEO and collaborate with experts in the industry on the areas that you feel you need help with.

Want to talk about SEO with us? We can do a site audit to identify opportunities and make recommendations for you to consider. Get in touch today!


tags:

SEO

author:

Sina Braeuning

date published:

21 Mar 2018