Thursday, 7 February 2013

5 basic SEO tips your first website shouldn’t be without

When looking to hire a web designer it is good to know a few basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) techniques so you don’t end up hiring a lemon! An SEO website is a website that is coded well for search engines like Google to be able to find your site when someone searches for content that your site relates to. It is very important your site has a good mix between SEO and visual graphics to obtain the best results.

Tip 1. Page Titles

When using Google search results the page title is the blue link that appears first in the listings; it lets people know who you are and what you do or more specifically what each page is about. When viewing a website these sit in the browser tab. Keep these short and keyword rich (words you think people might search that has to do with your company). Make sure every page you have has a different page title!! Google doesn’t like repeated content, and you want to maximise your keyword reach.

This is what the piece of code looks like that sits in your <head> tags:
<title>Your Company | A brief description of what you do</title>

Tip 2. Description

This is a slightly longer summary about each page and its content. The summary sits below the URL when a search result comes up. The words that people search often get highlighted in this summary, so make sure it contains plenty of searchable words you think people might use when looking for someone who provides your service or product.

This is what the piece of code looks like that sits in your <head> tags:
<meta name="Description" content="Put your summary in here, think of all the words associated with you company and put them in a sentence. Avoid commas."/>

Tip 3. Keywords

Each page should be targeted towards a different keyword. Your web designer has the opportunity to list keywords with commas on each page which should help optimise it. Don’t repeat these keywords on each page, each page should be targeted to a new topic to optimise your results.

This is what the piece of code looks like that sits in your <head> tags:
<meta name="Keywords" content="List your keywords, keyword rich, keyword optimisation, SEO, online SEO, search engine optimisation, key word" />

Tip 4. Page URL

This is the name given to each page; it should be short, no more than 4 words and use a dash (-) to separate words if you have more than one. This should be specific to what this page in your website is based on, use keywords!


Tip 5. Submit a sitemap

This is something that happens at the end of your site build. A sitemap indexes each page and creates a web plan of what pages link to each other. 
You can get it done for free here: and then ask your web designer to submit it to your webmaster tools.

Side Tip. Google analytics and webmaster tools help you see how your site is performing; you can view who is going on your site, how long they are spending, what they are searching and from there better optimise your site. It doesn’t directly give you a better SEO website, but it is a good idea to have it.

You can set up a free account here:
If you are going to do this though please let your web designer know beforehand as they need to install the tracking code into each page you wish to track. It’s a bit of a pain to install it after they have completed it.

I’m sure you have already been spammed by the many companies claiming to be SEO experts who can get you to the top of search results. But the truth is Google changes the rules surrounding SEO constantly just so people can’t cheat their way to being first on the list. The BEST ways to have your site showing up in results is relevant content, updating it frequently and inbound links. Have a content rich site, with great headings and plenty of information on each page, and then refresh it occasionally. Sites that sit with the same content for a long time go stale and start to drop in rank. Refreshing content shows search engines the site is still being used and will be relevant to searchers. Advertise your site everywhere - put links to it in as many places as possible. Social media is a great start and call popular bloggers attention to the site if relevant.

Don’t ever repeat content and don’t try and trick Google by hiding content or colouring it the same colour as the background – whatever trick you think of, they have too and your site will be penalised if/when they find out.

These 5 tips are the very basics of SEO for the web. If your web designer hasn’t got these sorted then remind them it is what you are wanting and they should be able to input the code for you.


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