One of the questions we get asked on a regular basis is ‘what do I need to do to rank highly within a Google search?’
Now days there are many things to consider when it come to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). A well planned SEO strategy which adheres to Google’s guidelines will give your website the best possible chance of ranking well. Please see below for a list of the things we recommend implementing on your website for the best possible SEO foundation.
- Gain an insight into your target market and decide upon a short list of the key words and phrases that you wish to be target within a search. Provide this information to your copywriter and web team for reference.
- Create unique page titles for each individual page. These should accurately describe and communicate the topic of the page’s content. These page titles will be displayed in search results. Keep these titles brief but at the same time descriptive to inform your users.
- Create unique page descriptions for each individual page, which are added to the ‘description’ meta tag. The aim of a meta description is to give your users and search engines a summary of the page. These descriptions are displayed under the title and URL of the page in the search results. Once again try to make this fairly brief (around one sentence) but descriptive and informative of the page’s content. Avoid using the same description for multiple pages on your site.
- When creating individual pages, name them appropriately so the URL is reflective of the page content. For example, the ‘About Us’ page could be ‘about-us.html’ or /about-us/. Avoid using confusing or generic URL’s such as ‘/page-139/’ or ‘page-139.html’.
- Plan, design and build a clear navigational structure that is easy for users to navigate and know where they are on your website. A well planned navigational structure will not only help with your sites’ SEO but also allow your user’s to find the information they are after quickly and give them an optimum experience. There’s nothing worse than getting lost within a website that has a confusing navigational structure.
- Add quality page content. Keep your copy interesting and descriptive. If you are having trouble doing this or want to take it the next level, we recommend hiring a copywriter. They will also usually be able to optimise your page’s content for SEO. Please do not try to write your content based on just your target search phrases. In other words, write your content for your users rather than for search engines. Please do not add content that is duplicated, hidden or non-nonsensical to users as this will imply a penalty from Google. Also let’s be extremely clear, the days of page keyword stuffing are long gone.
- Page content should be properly formatted and broken down into appropriate sections. This will allow users and search engines to easily understand and digest the content. For example, use one main page heading (h1) then use sub-headings (h2, h3, h4 etc) if appropriate. Please use these headings sparingly. Use paragraph tags and other HTML text elements along with CSS to effectively lay out your content. Avoid adding large amounts of text without the above formatting.
- Add unique and descriptive alt and titles to your website images. Keep these image tags very brief but descriptive. Also, optimise your images for quicker load times and save them in the correct format. Common web file formats jpg, svg and png. Avoid using text as images rather than HTML, as this text cannot be read by Google.
- Add outbound links if appropriate to your content. These links should be easy to understand and give the user an idea as to where the link is pointing.
- Develop your website to be mobile friendly (responsive). This will also give your users an optimum experience when viewing your page content on different screens and devices.
- Develop the code in HTML5, using the correct HTML tags in the right situations and also for the correct content. For example, use the
<nav></nav>for the navigation,
<footer></footer>for the footer content,
<article></article>tag for individual articles etc. Also use Aria Roles, for example
- Add content on a regular basis. Both users and search engines like websites that have fresh content on their website, as it shows the website is active and informative. It will also help covert your users into returning visitors. A great way to do this is to add a ‘blog’ or ‘news’ section to your website.
- Add links from your website to your social media platforms and vice-versa.
- Add videos to your page if appropriate. You can easily embed YouTube or Vimeo videos.
- Effectively use a robots.txt file to tell search engines which sections of the website to crawl and what not to crawl.
- Add your website to Google Search Console to track any errors with your website.
- Submit a XML Sitemap on the Google Search Console and also create HTML site map for the website.
- Submit your website’s URL to Google.
This subject is very in-depth and there are many more things that could be done. Consider employing an SEO specialist if you want to take things further.
You can read more on how to make your webpages Google friendly on Google Support.
We also often get asked the question ‘Can you please make my website rank at the top of the first page on Google?‘.
There is no way to guarantee a certain listing on Google and any person/company that claims this is lying (with the exception of using Google Adwords). All you can do is optimise your website and website’s content in the best possible way in terms of SEO. If you stay active with your SEO, over time your website will usually increase its ranking as Google will list more established and active websites with higher importance. It also depends upon your competitors websites and their level of SEO.