Search Optimisation

Search Engines are still one of the best ways of getting users to your site. However, with the enormous number of sites on the web, it is essential that yours stands out from the crowd. Simply relying on a basic listing is no longer effective. Below are some of the primary methods and techniques used for improving your search engine performance using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

When considering search engines today there are 2 main things to focus on:

  1. Is my site indexed for the correct search terms?
  2. How well does my site rank for given search terms?

Site Indexing

In order to get your site into search engine results for a given search term, the site needs to be optimised for those terms. This is often referred to as site/page optimisation. Many aspects of site optimisation will be built into your site by your website developer, including:

  • Mobile responsive design
  • Well formatted HTML
  • Breadcrumb site navigation
  • Sitemap.xml file
  • H1 page titles on all pages
  • Search friendly site navigation
  • Submit the site to the search engines

Once the basic site is optimised, the next area to look at is page content. This needs to be relevant and reinforce the search terms that you are trying to index. Within individual pages, you should look to only target 1 or 2 search terms. The main heading should include the search term and then the text within the page should repeat the search term often. You should also look at using sub-headings within the page content to help to reinforce the search term.

Once a search engine has properly indexed a site you may need to fine tune the headings and text in order to get the site listed where you want it.

 

Search Rank

When the search engine presents a page of search results they use a system called Page Rank to determine the order of results. There are many factors that determine page rank and the search engines will regularly change these and the relevance of each factor. 

The main factors are:

  • Relevance
    • Page titles
    • Page content
    • Links from other relevant sites to your site or specific pages
  • Popularity
    • How many other sites link to the site
    • How many times is the result clicked in the search results
    • How long people stay on the site before leaving the site or page
    • Links from social media

Recent changes made by Google mean that Engagement has become an important factor in determining page rank (in this context, ‘Engagement’ can be broadly defined as using digital tools and techniques to find, listen to and interact with your customers).

If your website uses Google Analytics, then Google is able to track how people are using it, what pages they are using and how long they are spending on the site. This allows them to determine if a website or page has ‘good’ or ‘bad’ engagement. These same principles apply to the search listings; if a search result is clicked and the user has ‘good’ engagement with the website, then this will be seen by Google as a positive factor.

The converse also holds true, with ‘bad’ engagement being seen as a negative factor. Google is currently aiming to push sites showing ‘good’ engagement up the page ranks and to drop those with ‘bad’ engagement further down.

So, in short, to improve your position in the search results tables, it is essential that you encourage and generate high quality traffic  to your site and that you maintain good user engagement once they are there (‘High quality traffic’ is traffic from visitors who are interested in and looking for your content, which results in more engagement and more sales resulting from online sources).

 

SEO

SEO falls into 2 main types. ‘Natural’ and ‘Paid’ SEO.

Natural SEO involves

  • The titles and content on different pages within the site
  • Keeping content and titles updated regularly and kept current and relevant to your business
  • Making the site SEO friendly (improvements to this will be made when we apply the redesign)
  • Getting other sites to link directly to the site's homepage and where appropriate specific pages within the site
  • Using social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to link back to content on your site
  • 'Share' links on the page on your site enable easy social sharing.
  • Add a news/blog section and add articles and news items on a regular basis

Paid SEO can comprise

  • 'Pay Per Click' search advertising
  • Getting someone to produce SEO copy for pages on your website
  • Getting someone to produce news items/blog posts on your sites
  • Paying someone to manage your Social media

Keep your website up to date

All search engines update website indices in their directories on a regular basis. If you find that your performance in a search engine is poor, then changing the text and keywords on your site could improve the situation.

Having regular new and up-to-date content is useful and important in building user engagement. Use social media to link back to your website for new content so as to drive traffic to your site.

 

Keyword advertising

Many search engines include keyword-based advertising. These services are provided by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and allow you to target your adverts to users that search for specific keywords.

Examples of these services are:

Specialist Directories

With so many websites now selling the same goods, website users are increasingly turning to specialist directories and shopping comparison sites as a way of finding the items they want. 

Examples of directory services are:

Business Listings

Search engines, maps and digital assistant services are now using business listings within their search results. These are listings that have had their details verified and which are used to show businesses in proximity to a user.

These services include

 

What to do next?

Below are some of the things to consider in optimising your website for the best search engine performance.

What to do:

  1. First make a list, in order of importance, of the search terms that you think people should be using to find your site. Next, look at the website content and see where you can include these terms in the text on the site. Based on the list of search terms, look at where you are listed and make content changes as necessary. You should review this after a few weeks to check for any changes.
  2. Make sure that your website’s homepage includes a strong description of your site and includes the 2-3 main keywords that you wish people finding your website to use.
  3. Make sure that your website's page titles relate to the given web page's content.
  4. Customise Meta Descriptions and Keywords for each page within your website.
  5. Make sure each page on your website has text which includes the keywords that you would like people to use to find the web page.
  6. Think of a slogan for your website which includes 2-3 of the main keywords that you would like people to find your website with. This slogan can then be used throughout your website.
  7. Include a sitemap within your website.
  8. Add your website to suitable website directories and any relevant shopping portals.
  9. E-Commerce websites should submit their product information to shopping comparison websites.
  10. Ensure that any product names or model numbers are complete and spelled correctly.
  11. Get as many other websites to link to your website as possible; the more relevant they are to your site’s content the better.
  12. When you get other websites to link to you, try to get text links and ensure that the text includes the main search keyword terms for your website, e.g. "Affordable Website Packages".
  13. If you provide a wide range of services, consider presenting these on individual pages rather than one big page. Individual pages give you more opportunities within the search engines. Link to these pages from as many other pages within your website as possible.
  14. If you have an e-commerce website, consider including a description on each category as well as each product page.
  15. If your website sells different brands or different product types, ensure it contains information pages about these brands and product types which can then be linked to your product catalogue.
  16. Make sure you have a Google Business listing (www.google.com/business) and Bing Places Listing (www.bingplaces.com).
  17. Get any partners that you work with to link to your site in return for a link from your site
  18. Look a facebook ads and promoted posts to target specific demographics
  19. Consider the Google AdWords terms that you think you would target and see what the pay-per-click rates would be. Set a monthly budget and give them a try.

What Not to do:

  1. Don't over-submit your website to the search engines
  2. Don't include hidden text on your web pages.
  3. Don't create multiple pages for the same page.
  4. Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects
  5. Don't load pages with irrelevant words
  6. Don't use doorway pages