If you have a website for your business, you may have heard the term SEO ‘pop up’ from time to time. But do you know what it means? SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is a process of improving your website, driving in more traffic by ensuring you rank as high as possible on search engines such as Google.
One option is to run an audit to check the websites general health. During this process, you will be provided with a report on any issues that arise. For example, your sites speed, any broken links and how effective your content is.
We have put together this simple guide, explaining how keeping on top of SEO will be beneficial to your business.
Content is key! Imagine if you were looking to make a purchase, you would want to know as much about that product as possible before you complete the order. The content should provide all of the relevant information, such as materials, sizes etc. However, there are ‘rules’ when it comes to SEO friendly content. For example, if you have pages where the content is below 200 words, Google may mark it as a low-quality website.
Why are headers important? They will make your content far easier to read and understand! They act as anchors for your pages navigation and are therefore essential for a quality user experience.
H1 – This header will draw attention to the content of the pages. It’s similar to when reading a book! The main title will give you an insight into ‘the story’. It will be prominent being the largest text on the page. Remember, when deciding on the H1 title, it should contain primary keywords. Although the keywords in your header won't impact the search results on Google, they will be relevant to the useability of your webpage.
H2 – These are considered subheadings. So, for example, after the H1, you would then separate the rest of the content with H2 tags.
H3-H6 – These headers are rarely used, but can still help to improve the organisation of large amounts of content. An example of this would be an eBook or case studies.
3. Alt Attributes (Alternative Text)
This is basically adding additional descriptive text to the images on your website. Adding alt attributes to your images will help Google understand what they are. They will also help those with certain disabilities such as users who are visually impaired, or have other physical or cognitive disabilities. These Alt Attributes allow users to understand visual content, including charts and graphs. How do you do this? It is a simple process but depends on the platform you are using. For example, if you are using Wordpress and adding a page, or perhaps altering an existing page, first you need to upload the image you want to appear in the image block. You can then add the Alt Text on the right-hand side of the page.
4. Title Tags
A title tag is the HTML element that specifies a title of your web page. They will be displayed on the search engine results page - (Also referred to as SERPs). If you have more than 75 characters, Google will cut off the title. However, if your title tag is less than 10 characters, you will not be providing enough information about your website.
Backlinks are also known as inbound links, incoming links or one-way links. They are links from one website to another. Pages that have a larger number of backlinks will have a high organic ranking on search engines.
Ensure you aim for rich, deep and meaningful links from websites that have high domain authority. This will guarantee a great quality user experience.
Blog writing is another important aspect of exceptional SEO. Ensure they include high quality, rich and unique content. And don’t forget top-quality images! Including relevant keywords is a must. Don’t cram them in though. The text needs to flow naturally. Don’t attempt to write blog posts on anything other than the product or service you provide. Google will not be fooled!
7. SSL Certificate
Have you ever come across a website that displays a ‘website not secure’ message? This means the page you are looking for doesn’t have an SSL certificate. If a user comes across this message, they are unlikely to proceed any further through fear of lack of security. You should expect to see https:// rather than http:// in the browser address bar.
8. Broken Links
On occasion, your website may experience broken links. They will negatively impact the user’s experience, and your search engine ranking will also be affected. In turn, your site will be considered as poorly maintained and coded. As soon as the broken links become apparent, they should be fixed. This includes internal links as well as external.
9. Duplicate Content and Meta Descriptions
A meta description is the HTML tag that is used when describing the content of your web page. The meta description shows up underneath the title and URL as it appears on the results on the search engine. The recommended word count is between 140-160 characters. You should avoid duplicating content and descriptions.
10. Avoid Shallow Content
If you have pages that contain less than 800 words, you will need to add more relevant information where necessary. Shallow content will have a negative effect on your website's ranking.
11. Fix Errors
During an SEO audit you may stumble across 4XX Errors. These include the following:
404-Not Found – Page you are searching for can’t be found.
408-Timeout – The server wants to shut down an unused connection.
403-Forbidden – Something is preventing you from accessing the page.
429-Too Many Requests – the user has sent too many requests in a certain amount of time.
If you are not technical enough to resolve these issues then we recommend speaking with a web developer who can help you resolve these issues in no time at all!
12. Canonical Errors
A canonical tag is what informs a search engine which page is to be considered as the page of record. These are common errors that occur when a website has more than one URL displaying similar content, and if you don’t have correct redirects in place. Again, give the web dev a call if these are going over your head!
It’s understandable that as a business owner you may not have time to run and implement these simple SEO checks and edits on your website. You also still may feel a little bit out of your depth doing these yourself, especially if you are not technical in any way and have had someone else build your website for you. If this is the case then we would always advise asking the person that built your website or hire a freelancer to do the job for you. It shouldn’t be too costly to do it and will certainly be worth the effort. If you would like further advice or even to hire us to help you with your website SEO then feel free to get in touch and we can advise accordingly.