For anyone who has their own website, or is in charge of a site for another company or organisation, search engine optimisation is definitely the hot topic of the day.
Though it won’t transform your company into a global success overnight, optimising your site for search engines should see a gradual increase in your traffic and page rankings.
When trying to improve their SEO, a lot of people focus on link building and social media, but there are actually a lot of onsite techniques you can implement that will help to improve your site’s SEO.
What is onsite optimisation?
Onsite optimisation refers to the internal changes you can make to your site to make it easier for the search engines to crawl and index it.
For years, this mostly meant packing your site and TITLE tags with keywords in the hope it would push you up the rankings. That technique is now frowned upon by search engines, and can actually get your site blacklisted if you try it.
These days, web masters and developers have to adapt and improve their techniques as algorithms change. But there are still a few standard onsite SEO techniques that are easily overlooked, but also easy to implement.
If you’re not familiar with HTML or how a web page is structured, every page in your site will have a TITLE tag, META tags and <h1> tags that give information to the search engines and can be used to your advantage.
For a long time, META tags were seen as one of the most important ways to improve onsite SEO, they let you list keywords, phrases and descriptions for each page, and this is then picked up by the engines when they crawl you site.
Less weight is now given to META tags, but filling them in is still a good idea. TITLE tags are still pretty important and they should contain your keyword and important information. This won’t appear on your webpage, but the search engines will see it.
<h1> tags are normally placed around the title on each page and tell the search engines what that page is about. Again their importance has waned a bit, but they can still help to boost your rankings.
Many people assume that the search engines are only interested in text, but this is simply not true. Make sure all of the images on your site have their ALT tag – the text that appears when you hover over an image – filled in with relevant information.
Images are actually rated above videos, maps and news by search engines, and a quick search of Google images shows how importantly search engines take image indexing.
TITLE tags are important for telling a search engine what you site is about
When building a website it can be easy to name URLs after your own naming system, but if this is made up of seemingly random numbers and letters, the search engines won’t know what it means.
Try using clear, concise URLs that clearly state what a webpage contains, this will help search engines to crawl your site and users to find it.
As search engines become more intelligent, it is becoming harder to trick your way to the top of the rankings. One of the key factors that is now coming into play is the basic quality of your site.
Is it well laid out, is everything clearly labelled and most importantly, is it well written?
Making quality the top priority for website rankings should encourage web builders to create interesting and relevant content, contained in websites that are easy to navigate and quick to use, making the internet a more interesting and informative place for everyone.
About the author: Tom Shurville is the managing director if Distinctly Digital, the SEO agency from Hertfordshire. Tom prepares tailor made solutions for their clients making sure that the companies’ can reach their target audience.
Picture credits: Wikipedia 1