Here at SpinDogs we're bombarded with questions about the noble art of SEO. Whether your site is old or new, these tips will set you on the road to search engine optimisation.
- Good Structure - Your web designer knows this, and should have developed a good clean structure for your website. In an ideal world, you'll meet W3C accessibility standards set out by the W3C and use modern web coding standards such as XHTML and CSS. Search engine spiders like websites that are easy to get around, so it's a fairly simple equation. Good structure equals happy spiders, equals high rankings, equals a huge bank balance and early retirement!
- Try to use an existing Domain - If your domain has been around for a while, the chances are it's already listed in the search engines. It might even have links coming in from other websites, which is great for search engine optimisation. But if you're using a brand new domain, beware! You're starting the SEO process all over again! And you don't get results overnight...
- Be clever with your Keywords - Don't just throw a string of words at the page. It doesn't work! The words you use should be the same ones your prospective customers are typing into Google. For example, if someone types in "I want to improve my rankings!", Google will find that exact phrase at the top of this page, and send the reader straight to SpinDogs. You should also think of a regional slant. If you sell pies in Cardiff, the phrase "Cardiff's premier pie-maker" will get you placed when a hungry customer types in "Find me a pie-maker in Cardiff"!
- Content is King! - Your content needs to be focused on the needs of your prospective customers. Give them a reason to stay on your website, like valuable information or free resources. Remember, keywords are important, but don't become a slave to them. (We'd look a bit daft if we wrote "SEO is important because without SEO your SEO campaign is going to fail"). There's a human audience at the end of all this - don't lose sight of them!
- Gain relevant incoming links - Other sites linking to your website is a vital part of search engine optimisation. All of the major search engines are interested in your site's popularity, but remember to target links from sites that are relevant to your industry. If you're offering links from your site to others, make sure your visitors will find them useful. But stay away from link farming! This can have a damning effect.
SEO is an enormous subject, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you're doing it yourself, make sure you read the guidelines published by the major search engines. Here you'll find the protocols you need to follow to avoid low ranking or removal from listings.
You can find Google's guidelines here: