There are various things to consider before starting search engine optimisation for your website. Your company’s website is its shop window. It’s crucial that you consider and start to implement SEO best practice right from the design stage. Trying to optimise it for search engines once its live and in use is a more complex, and ultimately costly, task.
Take time to consider which search engines are worth targeting, and what you’re offering your target audience. David Holt, director at online communications solutions provider, Amplify, says: “Google, Yahoo and Bing are the only search engines you need to worry about. Currently Google accounts for 65-70% of search engine activity, so you could just focus your attention on Google.”
SEO is more of an art than a science. The algorithms used by search engines, Google in particular, are shrouded in secrecy and constantly changing so you can never guarantee your position at the top of a search page. However, there are some basic rules to apply when optimising your site:
- Consider the content of your website first of all. Think about exactly what you’re offering and how relevant your content and web copy is
- Get your business on Google maps – it’s quick and easy to do, and is a good promotional tool
- Keyword research - start by typing in the most basic phrase for your service and then go from there. Google Keyword Tools can tell you how many people have searched for a particular keyword, and also how many other sites have used that keyword. Going for the most popular will make it harder to get to the top of the search ranking, so you may want to tailor your keywords to fit your business more specifically. Eg ‘blue swimwear’, as opposed to just ‘swimwear’. Keyword Tools will also give you a list of similar phrases that people look for, and how popular they are. Through this tool you can create a keyword library that contains phrases you think are most likely to generate searches to your site. It is better to focus on a small number of keywords and channel your efforts on promoting those.
- Always make sure you use simple language and don’t use abbreviations for words.
- Produce regular content – build your content around the keywords. Write it so that it flows well. Google is looking for natural density, so if it reads well while using the keywords then it should be the correct density. You need to have enough content to show you are an authority on the subject, but this does not have to be located on your homepage.
- URLs – each page on your website should have a descriptive URL which should tell Google what your business does.