Search Engine Optimisation
There are a number of steps that we can take during the web design process to ensure that your website gets the best results possible in search engines.
1. Meta Tags
Firstly, when building the website, your developer will need to put into place a couple of things called META TAGS. These are the “description” and “keywords” for your site. A number of years ago these used to be what search engines used to index sites – they now use much more complex algorithms so META TAGs are almost irrelevant from this perspective, however it is still a good idea to cover all bases. The description META TAG is also used to display information about the site in some search engine results (shown below).
It is important to consult with your website developer so that they can determine the best description and set of keywords for your site.
2. Title Tag and Headers
Once you have determined your best set of keywords, it is important to ensure that they are mentioned
in both your Title Tags and Content Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc). Within reason of course - they should still make sense to your website visitors - don't be tempted to just cram them full of keywords and render your site unreadable. If your site does not make use of Content Headers, you should seriously reconsider... they are important for determining the heirarchy of information on the page.
3. Site Content
At the end of the day, they say that "content is king". In other words, if you have quality content that is genuine and is based around the topic of the keywords, then you should rank well in search engines once you are indexed. After all, the intention of search engines is to display sites for keywords which are genuinely most relevant. Of course it doesn't always work that way due to the many other factors that rank sites, however, having quality content in your site which mentions your keyword often (within reason of course) is always a very good idea.
4. Search Engine Submission
The second step is to submit the site to all the big search engines and web directories. If you look closely on most search engines you will find a link that says "submit your site" or "suggest a URL" or similar. These will take you through the process of adding your site to their index list.
Before adding your site you should check that it hasn't already been added - by typing your domain name into the search bar. If your site shows up in the result(s), it has already been indexed, so there is no need to add it again. If your site does not appear, you should feel free to submit your site.
These can take anything from 24hrs to 3 months (depending on which search engine it is and the nature of the listing, directory listings usually take longer) until your site is "indexed" and starts coming up in search engine results.
You should consider gaining a link to your site from another already indexed site - when you are linked from other quality sites it DRASTICALLY improves your results in search engines and also the speed at which you are initially indexed. So hopefully the results are seen soon after submission has taken place.
There are a number of ways to monitor your Search Engine standing. Google Analytics is one example of a tool that can be installed and used to monitor the search engine results and keyword hits on the site. These can be configured to regularly send reports, so you know how your site is doing.
You should also use other methods to manually monitor your standings - regularly perform searches using different search engines to see where you come up, and employ other methods such as hit counters, website statistics reports, enquiry forms etc, to monitor the general traffic flow to your site, and identify trends etc. Even most budget web hosting companies will offer some sort of statistical monitoring packing as part of your hosting account.
7. Link Building
If you would like to improve your search engine performance in the future, there are two ways to go about it:
- Get other quality sites that are in a similar topic to your targetted keywords to link to your site - you might do a link exchange deal with them. eg 'You link to me, I link to you' kinda thing which helps both sites in the long run. It's quality over quantity here though - one good link is worth more than 100 irrelevant ones. Stick to sites that have content which relates to your keywords. And make sure you use your keywords in your active link text!
8. SEO Services and Products
- Employ the services of an SEO (search engine optimisation) company. These products/services vary greatly in price and actual services performed throughout the market. As with any business arrangement you should approach with caution and get advice from a professional, or act on a recommedation, as incorrect proceedures in this area can actually harm your search engine standings, or in extreme cases even have you de-listed! Remember, the bigger the bells and whistles doesn't always mean the better the service!
Click here to contact me for more information regarding SEO Services.
9. It won't happen overnight...
Be prepared to have to wait to see results. Being indexed in search engines takes time - link building takes time - and the age of your site can also increase your standing in search engines as time goes by. It is also a never-ending process - regularly assessing your site's performance, adjusting the content and keywords, and keeping your site regularly updated will all help in the long run.
Please note: This information has been provided by C-Squared Web Design to help you make informed decisions about your website requirements. This information has been written to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing the document and no guarantees are made to any specific points contained herein. Search Engine technology is a fast changing industry and whilst this information may be correct at time of writing the relevant technology may change at any point rendering some of this information out of date and/or incorrect. This information is copyright and may not be reproduced and distributed in any form (digital or printed) without my permission. Please ask if you have any queries.