Search Engine Optimisation – Making sure your new website is SEO ready.
Now that you have done the groundwork, decided on a structure for your website and identified the key products and services that you want to highlight, it is time to start looking at search engine optimisation for your new website.
Search engine optimisation or SEO is an on-going process, you can’t just launch a website and decide – great, my work here is done! I refer back to the shop window analogy that I mentioned in my previous article. Think of your website as your on-line shop, you don’t invest time, money and effort into a new business premises, open the door and hope that customers will happen upon you. You have to let your customers know who you are and where to find you, this is essentially what search engine optimisation does.
The holy trinity of search engine optimisation is no secret: Firstly, you need a well constructed, easy to navigate website. Secondly, comes lots of great up-to-date, original and interesting content in various formats and finally you need to use your great content to build high-quality links to your website.
We discussed how to develop the structure and navigation of your website around your key products and services in the first blog in this series. From a search engine optimisation point of view your website needs to be easy to enter, easy to leave and easy to navigate. This means fast load times, avoiding pop-ups and having good internal linking.
In order to make it easy to have your website indexed by search engines you should include “title” and “description” tags for each page, these are not as important as they were a few years ago for SEO, but leave them out at your peril. They indicate a high-quality well built website. They should be unique to each page of your website, and should be short and accurately describe the content of that page. Lots of website developers fail to include page “title” and “description” tags in new websites because they are time-consuming. It is not a good idea to leave them out; search engine optimisation is about doing lots of little things really well!
Secondly, your content needs to be original, up-to-date and relevant to your product or service. Read the second blog in this series on how to create great marketing massages for your new website for some tips. Create your own content, don’t copy someone else’s. Don’t repeat content on different pages of your website, duplicate content has a negative effect on SEO. If you are using images and videos make sure you tag them correctly because search engines can’t actually watch/see them, they rely on your descriptions to tell them what is included. Content rich websites with various media do well in search, if you don’t tag your content it may not be indexed as you would wish. Keep your content fresh and interesting; add new content by including a blog, social media plug-ins or new how-to videos. Great content is vital to the success of your new website because it is the cornerstone of the third major factor in a successful search engine optimisation strategy – building links.
Inbound links are links from another website to your website. High-quality inbound links tell search engines that the content on yourwebsit e is interesting and relevant. A high-quality inbound link comes from a website that carries weight or authority such as a website with an .edu domain or an on-line newspaper. Link building is part of the on-going process of SEO, it takes time to build high-quality links. There are some things that you can do to help in the link building process as you launch your new website. Include an ‘add this’ or sharing button on your website, so visitors can share your website through social media. Include the option to subscribe to updates of your blog or ‘tell a friend’ by emailing a link for your website to friends or colleagues. Don’t forget to include the new Google +1 button. Avoid participating in spammy link-swapping schemes; they can have a severe negative effect on search engine optimisation. Good link building should be done over time as part of an on-going SEO strategy.
Remember the holy trinity of search engine optimisation, a well-structured, easy to navigate website, great content and high-quality inbound links and make sure your new website is SEO ready when you launch it.
Next – some free tools and tips on how to test your new website.