Nowadays we all know the importance of having an online presence in business. The nature this takes can vary: perhaps you’d like your website to increase brand awareness or maybe you own a retail business and your website works as an ecommerce store.
However, one of the biggest problems with new businesses, and particularly new online start-ups, is that once they’ve paid their money and got their shiny new website they think the job is done. This is wrong!
Consider your website as a shop window to your business or online store. Now, just because you’ve got a shop, doesn’t mean that people will necessarily enter it. So how do you get visitors to your site? This is where search engine optimisation comes into play.
Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is all about optimising the content of your website to make it more readable for search engines. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, periodically send out spiders to crawl through masses and masses of code and to index what they find. Think of it like a librarian going through all the periodicals they can find so that they can keep their card catalogue up to date. If the periodicals are not labelled correctly, or are on the wrong shelf in the library, then her job becomes that much harder.
That is essentially what SEO will look to correct. Of course, good web design is the starting point of this process and you will often see designers advertising their website services as being SEP-compliant or SEO-friendly. However, this does not automatically mean that they are building you a website which will automatically get found on page one of Google for your chosen keyword.
What it actually means is that they are using clean code, ideally conforming to w3c web standards, which makes it easier for the spiders to crawl. By clean code we mean that heading tags are used in the correct order and data is presented in a logical format. The easier it is for your site to be crawled, the better optimised your site will be. However, there are a number of additional steps that can and should be implemented once your site has been built.
The most basic of these steps is to make sure you have unique Meta data on each page. The Meta data is what you see on the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages) when carrying out a search for a particular keyword. The meta title should reflect the broad content of what is on the page, with the meta description providing a more detailed synopsis.
When writing your meta content beware keyword stuffing. This is where you try and trick the search engine into coming up for your chosen keyword by just repeating it over an over again. For example, if your site is advertising a used cars business in Hackney, don’t simply write “Used Cars Hackney | Buy Used Cars | Sell Used Cars ” because ultimately the search engines will treat this as spam and you could end up with a poor ranking or even being de-indexed. Instead, consider how a human being would actually want to read the heading and use your keyword no more than once.
These rules regarding duplicate content and keyword stuffing should also be applied broadly across your entire website’s content. If Google finds two pages where the majority of content is the same it will likely de-index both pages or certainly push them far down the SERPs. The same goes for keyword stuffing.
Keep your content unique, diverse and ultimately dynamic. Remember that even if you aren’t employing the SEO services of a professional, chances are that some of your competitors are. This means that their websites are getting constantly reviewed and updated while yours remains static. Those spiders will be coming back again and again to see what changes have been made to your site and if they think nothing’s happened then they will start coming back less frequently. In other words, keep your site updated as often as possible or risk losing your good ranking on the SERPs to someone who is.