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earch Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be complicated, just as maintaining a performance car can be. There are some jobs best left to the experts, but there are others that can easily be carried out by website owners. Here are 5 easy steps that you as a website owner can take in order to optimise your web pages and improve the performance of your website and your search engine rankings. They’re not difficult and there are some free tools out there that can make the task even easier. We’re going to look at just 5 areas:
- Making content easy to share
- Completing business directories and listings
- Researching and using keywords
- Making the most of your images
- Two important meta-tags
- Making content easy to share. Visitors sharing your web pages via social media can play a big part in promoting your website. They are also building links back to your web pages and therefore improving it’s ranking within the search engines. Popular content is going to be featured more highly within search results as the search engine providers want to serve up pages that are relevant to users search terms and that give the user what they are looking for. It’s important then to make the process of sharing content as easy as possible for the users visiting your website. All of the popular social media platforms will provide snippets of code that you can add to each web page. These include an icon or button and enable visitors to share your content without ever leaving your website. I’d recommend you add share buttons towards the top and bottom of each page. Making it easy for users to share your content doesn’t take a lot of effort and can reap big rewards if you also take care to write informative and engaging articles that people enjoy.
- Completing business directories and listings. Building inbound links is still an important way to improve your search engine rankings. Despite Google clamping down on websites that abused this fact by buying thousands of spurious links, good quality links to your website will improve your ranking. One of the ways you can easily build these genuine links is to spend some time completing business directories and listings. Most of these offer their basic listing for free, although some do have a premium service that they may try to sell you. Entering your data will take some time because the directories do not want you to copy and paste identical content into their listing. This would create duplicate content, which is bad for SEO. This means you need to take the time to vary the descriptive content for each listing.
- Researching and using keywords. It all starts with the words your potential customers type into a search box. Understanding how your potential customers search and the search terms they use is crucial if you are going to create a web page that will appeal to them. But where and how do you start when trying to gain this knowledge? A great place to begin is the free “Keyword Planner” tool by Google. You have to sign in to use this tool, but you don’t have to buy advertising or anything else in order to use it. The interface is nice and simple and enables you to “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”, “Get search volume for a list of keywords…”, “Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords” and “Multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas”. Once you’ve got a clear understanding of what your potential customers may be searching for, you can begin to create a page that makes good use of these keywords and provide them with the information they’re looking for.
- Making the most of your images. Images are an important part of every web page and can help build your SEO. When you upload an image to your website there are two very important elements that you can use to your advantage when trying to optimise your web page for search engines. The two elements are the filename and the alt text. If you take a look at the source code of many web pages and locate the image tags, there may be two things you notice. First, the image will have a filename that is a meaningless combination of characters. Second, the alt attribute will have been left empty. Here’s an example I found.
Imagine trying to understand what the image might be from this information. Impossible isn’t it! Google can’t do it either, so from an SEO point of view, these images are effectively ignored. What we should use are meaningful filenames and some text in the alt attribute to explain a bit more. An ideal image tag might look like this.
<img src="MX_Rum4StLDW7x3dFNkzCrO0Ecg.jpg" alt="" />
Now can you understand what the image will show? So can the search engines! Always ensure your images have appropriate mark-up and they’ll be included when Google ranks your page.
<img src="puppy.jpg" alt="A puppy sat inside a pair of boots" />
- Two important meta-tags. There are two very important tags for every web page on your site, the page “Title” and “Description” tags. The title tag is used to populate the name of the browser tab on the users machine and is used by Google to identify the main topic of the page. The title tag and the contents of the description tag are also used by Google when displaying search results to the user. In our example results, the large blue text is taken from the title tag and the smaller grey text is taken from the description tag. As these are presented to the user in order to make a choice of which sites to visit, you should make the content of these two tags as interesting and relevant as possible. If you can grab the users attention, then you’ve a better chance of them visiting your site. It’s then up to the rest of your content to interest them enough to stay there.
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