5 TIPS FOR BETTER WEBSITE SEO
There is not much point in having a great website if people can’t find it. Today, most buying journeys start with a Google search and if your company does not come up in the first two or three pages of the search engine results, it is unlikely that you will make the cut.
This may sound brutal, but in the digital world this is simply the way it is. You need to be found.
When looking at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) the tendency is to focus in on the keywords; finding those words and phrases that your target audience types into Google and then ensuring that your pages are optimised for these words. Whereas this is not wrong, it is unfortunately only part of the process.
You see, search engines start by assessing how good your website is. Is it well structured? Is it optimised for mobile? Is it secure and does it deliver the end-user experience that warrants directing people to it? If you fail on these factors, then no matter how well you plan and execute your keywords, you will be consistently marked down the search engine rankings.
So, for now we are going to ignore the keywords and search terms and focus on those technical areas you need to look at to improve your standing with search engines – here are just five.
This is fundamental; if a search engine cannot crawl your site, they cannot review your content and add your site to their index. You need to make sure that every relevant page is marked to invite search engine bots to examine them and you need to get the basics right on each page to give the bots what they need and make sure everything is well linked.
When you change your site, over time, the search engines will find it and re-index it, however, you can take steps to prompt the search engines to take a look. Having an up-to-date and accurate sitemap is also a big plus-point.
The search engines have become extremely security conscious and look to only direct people to sites that are demonstrably secure. If your site is not using HTTPS with all of the appropriate certificates and host protocols in place, it is unlikely that it will be recommended.
A common mistake that organisations make is securing their site with HTTPS certificates and then linking to content, applications or other sites that are not HTTPS – this is frowned upon and needs to be fixed.
3. Site Speed
Your site may look beautiful but if it takes a lifetime to load each page, then this is seen as detrimental to the user experience and will score you low with the search engines. Optimising page templates, compressing images and utilising caching of key pages are all techniques that can be used to improve the load times of your website and every fraction of a second you can save will see you climb the rankings.
It is now estimated that over 50% of web searches are conducted on mobile and we see this in the web analytics we run for our clients. This is why search engines now favour those sites that are mobile-friendly – in fact, some search engines prioritise their results mobile-first.
Your site has to support mobile usability. The search engine needs to know that the best possible user experience is delivered regardless of device, i.e. text isn’t too small to read, clickable elements aren’t too close together and content isn’t wider than the actual screen size.
These are still a fundamental ranking factor and should be high on your priority list. Internal links enable end-users to navigate more effectively across your site; they help to deliver up the content they are looking for quicker and reduce bounce rates. External links show that your site is part of a wider eco-system and if you are linked to a site with a high reputation, this is a good thing.
Making sure you utilise links will only benefit you; search engines love them as it helps them with their indexation, however, they can also be your downfall. Broken links are frowned upon and links to external sites with a poor reputation will not do you any favours.
Knowing how your site is perceived by the search engines is essential and can help you focus on the priority areas that will have the biggest impact. This is why we offer our SEO Helicopter Audit.
This free service provides you with a snapshot of performance against the key factors and delivers you an easy-to-understand digest report on your website and what should be your priorities. If you are interested in having us run our SEO Helicopter Audit on your site, simply reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form on our website.