How to Improve Your Sites Search Engine Rankings.
A website is in essence a blank canvas on the internet. It is where you can create a presence that is both reflective of your character and promotional of your service. Creating an internet presence can be both exiting and frustrating. The learning curve these days isn’t as steep as it once was. Plug and play site creation platforms can allow almost anyone access to a highly decorative and creative site.
The difficulty is providing a site that is able to be found amongst the vast number of websites on the internet. The art / science of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short, is enabling your website to be found by the search engines so that they can rank your site above many others for specific search terms. As your website is potentially your greatest advertising tool. It is important to be found.
Website design can be done by web developers and created especially for you and your business, mostly at a great expense. Today, there are a large number of creators developing very flexible templates that could serve your needs very well, at but a fraction of the cost. However, the flexibility of these design also create a minefield of options that could lead your website to be ill structured for the purposes of ease of use by the consumer, or possibly worse, poorly read by the search engines.
Search engines are mathematical algorithms which look for a series of matches. Then they compare your websites against other websites and ranks them by the best matches to the algorithm. Simply put, you need to give the search engines what they want, better than your competition, to beat them in the search rankings.
So what do search engines look for?
This is a question that is often asked, even more often guessed, and frequently changed or updated. In reality we can only know what the search engines are looking for by ranking and analysing what we have done. Reports from Matt Cutts, the head of Googles webspam team, can be very indicative of what we should and should not be doing. Essentially, he is now saying that we need to provide good quality, engaging, and original content that will add value to the internet. Google, being the big daddy of the search engines, could provide us with the most traffic and leads. It is therefore important to follow what they want us to do when we set up our website. Since Google sells advertising on the search results pages, they are very keen to provide relevance to the search results, so as to provide the best service to their advertising clients and search visitors.
How do we then make the search engines happy?
Search engine optimisation is a process that is two fold. There is on site SEO, and off site SEO.
On site SEO
Website structure is an important element to SEO acceptance. As the search engines are becoming more sophisticated, they have begun to look at signals that show well structured the site is and how easily it is to navigate. A well structured site ranks well, as is evident in sites like wikipedia.com or about.com.
Post structure is also important. The search engines need to know what the page / post is about so that it can be compared to pages with a similar topic. This is achieved by reading the H1 header, or to a lesser extent the H2 headers in the article. It is there for important they are used correctly and provide accurate information about the article. Google’s algorithm also has a very smart algorithm which finds semantic or relevant terms within the text of the article, and matches them against a large database of terms used for a certain topic. Previous tactics employed by article writers, aiming to be ranked for a search term, would continually repeat a phrase or term to show what the article is about. This is now known as over optimisation and will be penalised by the search engines.
The meta description is probably not as important for the search engines, but it becomes the small text component under your search result. This is where you get to tell people what the page is about, so make it count. You have 156 characters to convince people to visit your site over the others on the search results page.
Off Site SEO
Links to and from your website also creates a profile which can show the search engines how well liked and how relevant your site or page is. For this reason many sites created a vast number of links back to their site to rank it. This practice has largely been killed, the search engines can now see that a link is from a link network and unrelated to your site or article and deems it an unnatural link. Thus penalising your site in the process. Naturally developed links, by having other websites linking back to your site as a citation or recognition of a good article, post or page, are still accepted. The importance is that the links are from relevant sites or articles.
Setting up and developing a website is still fun, exiting and fulfilling. The fact that your website needs to be found, might mean that you need to find out how to properly please the SEO gods.
SEO is not difficult but it can be time consuming and costly to learn and implement. For that reason there are many SEO based business willing to assist, including LIP Services.
If you have any more questions regarding setting up your website, or updating your SEO profile, feel free to contact us here at LIP Services. It’s what we do.