Is your business website achieving the Google rankings you want? Do you need to improve your search engine optimization or SEO?
Search engine optimization can be a daunting prospect for many people, however, like many processes it can be less intimidating if you break down the steps into smaller parts. Enter my 8 main steps to improve search engine rankings.
These steps will not need get you number one results on Google. Getting number one and top ten rankings, particularly on Google, can be an extremely difficult task and some factors – such as the age or longevity of your website – are not needlessly in your control while others – such as how many external links you have – can take time to implement. However, the 8 steps listed here will almost certainly enhance your rankings in all search engines and you may find you will be able to achieve top ten rankings in engines such as Yahoo and Bing.
SEO STEP 1: Keywords
One of the things to remember with SEO is the reason why search engines exist in the first place – that is, to provide suitable results for people who are searching for particular subjects. The search engine's job is to provide the best results possible from the keywords that people type in.
That's why you will hear about the importance of keywords – or more correctly keyword phrases – over and over. Keywords are the building blocks of a good SEO plan. Get the keywords wrong and it does not matter how good your search engine optimization is, your efforts will fail. Get them right and you could be on the road to success.
The key is to determine keywords and keyword phrases that:
- They are not so competitive that you will not get high rankings unless you are willing to put in lots of time and effort (and possibly costs)
- Are not so specific that people rarely search for the terms
- Are directly related to your business. That is, if people type in the keywords, see your website in the search results and click through to your website, they will generally want to stay because they're interested in your site and its contents. There's no point in getting traffic for a particular keyword phrase that is not directly related to your business because people will leave your site in a matter of seconds.
SEO STEP 2: Title tag
The title tag is the text people will see in the browser tab (for example, 'Marketing communications for small business – Melbourne' on En Pointe's home page). This title is perhaps the most important on-site seo factor and it must be used correctly if you want to improve your seo. In particular, it must include your most important keyword phrases.
SEO STEP 3: Description meta tag
The description meta tag is another important seo factor, although its importance depends on the search engine. In some search engines, this tag is used to describe the pages that are listed in search results. Again, the description meta tag must include your most important keywords.
SEO STEP 4: Alt tags
Images do nothing to improve your seo but if you use an alt tag with each image it can help your search engine rankings.
SEO STEP 5: Permalinks
Permalinks are the addresses you see at the top of your browser (eg enpointeconsulting.com.au/seo-website-analysis). Ideally, these should include keywords.
SEO STEP 6: Sitemap
The inclusion of an XML sitemap will help search engines find all your pages, not just your home page and your top level pages. Many website owners will need help to add a sitemap to their website, but it is worth the effort.
SEO STEP 7: Content
Content is absolutely vital to improve your seo. In particular, your headings, paragraph text, bullet points and links should all include keywords where possible.
SEO STEP 8: External links
Getting links from other websites is perhaps the most important aspect of any SEO campaign. In fact, if you have no links pointing to your website from other websites, your site may never be found in search engine results.