I think it is fair to say that many people believe that Search Engine Optimisation is some sort of dark art that is well beyond their control. Well, that's not strictly true, there are many things that every website owner can do to help their website perform better in the search engines with little or no coding ability (depending on your website implementation).
Below are our top 5 tips to setting yourself in the right direction - up those search rankings!
Image Alt Tags
The internet is a very visual thing so it may surprise you to know that the Search Engine's 'crawlers' that automatically visit your site can't actually see any of the images on it. It relies solely on the alt tags that sit behind the image in the HTML. That is why it is important to add good 'Alt tags' to your images, explaining what they are. More importantly though, It wouldn't just help Google know what the image is, the main purpose of an Alt tag is to help visually impaired users that use screen readers to understand what the picture portrays. By carefully adding descriptive but sensible alt tags you can add more keywords to your site helping its ranking but also go some way to make sure that your website is accessible to all. The more accurate and descriptive the better, just try to stop short of writing a short story.
Plenty of page content - relative to your audience
Many People overlook this, they write the content when the site is created and there it sits for the next 5 years. All content on your site should be fresh, unique and most importantly, user-friendly. When it comes to content, the more you have, the better chance you stand of ranking highly in the search rankings. However, he trick is to make sure that it is easy to read, relevant to your audience and ensure that it has not been copied from elsewhere, It must be unique!
Consider a Blog
A blog is a perfect way to add content to your website without having to have a dedicated 'product page'. Blog posts can be about anything relevant to your business and should always be specific to a certain subject.
Title tags are what appears at the top of your browser tab and also is the main link in Search Engine Results pages (SERPs)
It is recommended that you try to keep your title tag under about 60 characters long. Its hard to be to specific because Google actually set their display (at the time of writing) to 600px so the number of characters you manage to fit in will differ depending on the letters you use.
If your title is too long, search engines often cut it short, which could well end up meaning your most important words are not in your title.
A meta description is the text just under the clickable link on a search Engine results page that explains what that site is about. This text should be descriptive and around 50 - 300 characters in length.
Its important to remember to set the meta description for every page on your website otherwise search engines will select a body of text from the page content and use that instead. Sometimes it may select the perfect text to display but it is better to be in control of your own descriptions, so take the time out to write some great snippets.
Correct Use of HTML Elements (and keywords)
When adding content to your website, it is crucial that you utilise Header tags. You may have seen header tags in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, well, they are no different on a website. The use of HTML Elements in the correct order, such as <h1></h1> <h2><h2> etc is well documented to have clear SEO benefits as well as benefits to the visually impaired users of your website.
Even better is (where possible) to include relevant keywords in these tags. However, again, be careful not to go overboard and keyword stuff, this could negatively impact your search rankings and not help them .
We will delve deeper into SEO in a later post but all of the tips above should be easy enough for all website owners even if you do not have access to the code.