The ultimate goal for any SEO campaign is to drive more traffic to your website. It is an accepted truth in the SEO world that organic search results are much more effective at converting visitors to sales than paid search. Some business people we meet just refuse to click on those sponsored ad’s and will always click on the ‘free’ organic results on the left hand side.
People tend to trust those websites that appear in the organic search listing far more than those who achieve page one rank via paid search. Most internet users know that the organic search results are highly ranked because of the quality of the content on those websites and the relevancy of that content to their search term.
People also know that the search engines will usually place ‘reference’ or authority sites at the top of their rankings.
This post is the first part in a short series. In this post we will discuss the ‘Do’s’ of SEO’ i.e. what you should do to optimise your website.
WSIIMS 12 point approach to SEO
- Research: Always begin any new SEO campaign with thorough keyword research. Select those keyword phrases that are most relevant to the products or services that your business provides. Check out which keywords are being search for on the internet for the products and services you are providing. Keyword phrases containing 3-4 words are usually the most effective best if you want to attract visitors that are ready to buy.
- Website Structure: Where possible use keywords in your domain name, page file names (URL’s), page titles, page headings, folder names, etc.
- Website Navigation: Try and use keywords in your navigation links, for example rather than saying ‘Contact Us’ use ‘Contact ABC Company Limited’. Your website should be easy to navigate by both the search engines and most importantly by your website visitors. Include a sitemap in the website if your navigation is complex.
- META Tags: Always Use keywords and keyword phrases in the title tags, meta description and keyword tags. Each page in your website should have about 4 unique keyword phrases that are highly relevant to the content found on that page.
- Page Content: Use keywords and keyword phrases in your page content. Use your keywords / keyword phrases just a couple of times in the first quarter of the page text. Don’t overdo it though otherwise the search engines will think you are trying to ‘spam’ your keywords.
- Keep it Local: Take advantage of local search opportunities by using your city, county and region names in your body text and on your contact page, if appropriate. For example if you have a kitchen and bathroom fitting business covering South East England only you do not really want web enquiries from overseas.
- HTML Code Quality: Validate your website HTML code regularly and correct any coding errors. These errors interfere with the search engine spiders crawling your website site and they can also create browser compatibility and usability issues. There are many online code validation websites available – just type ‘website code validation’ into your favourite search engine.
- XML Sitemap: Create XML sitemaps for your website and submit them to Google Webmaster tools and Yahoo Site Explorer to encourage the search engines to index and page changes more quickly.
- Link Building: Create backlinks to your website from highly relevant blogs, authority sites, directories and other websites relevant to your industry.
- Blog: All business should have a blog! Start a blog either as part of your website domain (preferable) or on a separate domain. Use your blog posts to Link to relevant pages on your website using your keyword phrases for those pages. Be proactive and comment and participate on other blogs.
- Web Analytics: If you want to measure how effective your website is you simply have to install website analytics on your website to monitor progress. Track how many unique visitors come to the site, how visitors find your website, which keyword phrases are bringing visitors and from which search engines and also which backlinks are sending traffic to your website. It is important also to monitor the effectiveness of the pages in your website (website content) – but that subject is a whole blog post on its own!
- Be Patient: Do learn patience. Search engine optimisation is a process, often a long term commitment, rather than an event.
Finally, try not to get ‘paranoid’ about trying to optimise your website for the search engines – always try and optimise your website from your web visitors perspective. Remember search engines will not be buying your products and services, your website visitors will!
Part 2 in this series will be covered shortly in another post and the topic will be ‘The Don’ts of SEO’ – what you should never do in your website.
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