A 10 point plan for SEO Success
I’ve recently been asked to look at doing a basic SEO plan for a client so that they can think more about Search Engine Optimisation when creating content, so I thought I would share some of the basics with my readers as it really helps us to work at a higher level on websites that have a basic SEO applied.
- Long gone are the days of creating keyword dense articles and information with the purpose of getting a website to the top of search engines. I was recently reminded that at a local web workshop that there’s only one number 1 spot on Google so we shouldn’t obsess about getting all of our content to rank for a keyword it should rank well for a reason, according to Google there are 200 other factors to consider.It’s not to say that we shouldn’t think of keywords but we should put the reader first. In April 2012 Google rolled out ‘Panda 3.5’ /’Penguin” which forms part of the normal algorithms and part their over-optimisation penalty. So they’re really watching out for who’s being good!Keep the theme in mind but try and keep the keywords down to 4/5 times per page (or up to 11%) Each of the below paragraphs contains about 2 keywords per section without sounding over optimised, over optimised! Not everything is about keywords for SEO. We can still create valuable content and have it rank due to the authoirty we build up over time.
- Everyone’s heard of Meta Tags haven’t they? The Meta information is kept in the top part of the code within each webpage. It helps search engines to make sense of what the page is all about and works alongside the ‘Title Tag’. The Meta description is displayed in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) so it’s worth thinking about how it communicates value to the person reading it on a search engine because it’s at this point that people will decided if your website meets their query almost regardless of where it shows up. These descriptions should be an accurate reflection on what the page is all about.As part of the meta tags you can add keywords in the META Keywords Tag but a long time ago in a galaxy far far away everyone stuffed the keywords too much so search engines don’t pay too much attention to them anymore. So if you must, put a few of them in there just for good measure!
- Page Titles are very important, they’re like the title of a book! (they’re normally found at the top of the code within the page) They can also be read at the top of the browser window.The title for this page is: A 10 point plan for SEO success Liquid Silver Marketing Blog.They need to have some of the keywords in there based on what the page is all about. The same applies from the above they’re displayed in the Search Engine so be sure to think about what people are likely to click on. Page Titles need to work well with the Meta Description.Once you’ve done these two things, you may find a big improvement on how well the page works in search. Keep the page title to about 70 characters because there’s a limited amount of space to what a search engine can display. Don’t worry too much about going over by a few words – as long as it adds value to the visitor.
- The header tags are part an important part of the HTML mark-up. They’re like titles but they are read by the user on page and displayed in sized according to how they’ve been set- up in the style sheet.
These tags range from H1 – H5. The top of this document has a H1 tag (A 10 point plan for SEO Success ) because that’s the main title of this article.As you go on with the article you can split each section up by using other ‘H’ Tag’s i.e H2 H3 etc. I’ve used H3’s for the above term ”H’ Tag’s’ because of the lenght of this list, they normally reduce in size and importance as you go down the scale.
- Most pages online page images on them as they help to break up the text. (I must use more) Images are also indexed by search engines and help them to understand part of what the page is about. Although they haven’t moved into pattern recognition yet ( They have in author rank but ask me about that another time)
Do consider that a Search Engine needs to be told that you’re using a picture of a say ‘Hand’ you can add a small amount of information in the ‘ALT’ tag which is displayed if the image is unavailable or if you have someone who has sight problems they can use a screen reader which will tell the reader that it’s an image of a ‘hand’ only if you add it to the title tag of the image which is seperate to the ALT tag. Marking up your images is good practice and helps them be indexed in the search engine and helps the readers to know whats on the page.
- Sitemaps are fairly important, we can finish doing all of the work we need and wait for the ‘incey wincy Google bot spider’ to come along and sit down, crawl our website; or we can tell them where the pages are and what they are called. We can create a XML site map and send it to Google via Webmaster tools which is a free service. If you don’t have an account yet, get one. It provides you with a lot of information about your website. Once you’ve sent your sitemap in you can see if all of you pages are indexed.
- URL’s are important because they are the web address of the page you have made. Some content management systems create these automatically when you create a page and sometimes its down to what you name the page. Along with the work we’ve done on page titles its worth thinking about ensuring the URL matches the page theme.
- Link building perhaps one of the most important part of promoting your content is creating relationships with people and other website so that they link to your website.
You can think of it like a vote of confidence (if you want to link to this post please use the link above thanks!) Links can also be compared to some forms of academic referencing, As you normally credit the source of what you’ve been reading (no wonder that the Google founders went to Stanford and the ‘Page Rank’ algorithm was born.) getting good links is hard!!
- Google Analytics, I was speaking at an event recently and was very surprised to find out how many business owners don’t use Google Analytics! I’ve spent 1-2 hours everyday for the past 7 years studying analytics. It was at that event the host said ‘he’s a bit of a geek like that!’ But I really believe that you need to understand what your traffic is doing and what you can improve on as you start to get a better understanding of what people are doing on your website.
- Social Media, you mind find it hard to believe that I’m not the greatest fan of Social Media but that’s only because It’s not suitable for every business and social is where people go so they’re not spammed with marketing all of the time. Social wasn’t mainstream 7 years ago but the growth is hard to ignore as the lines between Social and Search are starting to merge.We’re beginning to see a much higher emphasis in search place on socially active websites. So it’s worth thinking of as an extension of you website. But also be mindful that there are lots of rules in Social Media that are different to other forms of Marketing.