Do you wonder what your developer is doing when they tell you they’re working on SEO? This article aims to be a broad overview explaining just some of the practises involved.
Articles on Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO) are not hard to come by. You’re spoilt for choice from Moz Blog to SearchEngineWatch and everything in between. Try it. Type those three letters into Google and you’ve hit the jackpot.
However, you’ll quickly find that it is a deep, and constantly evolving subject. When you are looking for website design, you need somebody who has already spent hours upon hours reading the wealth of information out there. You need someone who knows how to put those techniques to work for your business. If you’ve got a web developer who doesn’t use SEO right from the start, you need to move onto the next one.
A developer can use a vast array of SEO techniques that are broadly covered under:
- Code & Website Structure
- On-site Content Changes
- Off-site Content Changes
Code & Website Structure
Website code needs to be written in a language (or rather syntax, if you will) that makes sense to a search engine. Some ways of improving site structure include:
Changing filenames and directories to include keywords
Why? Search engines aren’t currently able to look at an image and know what it is, so images must be given a descriptive name and title. Let’s say you sell specialised canine PC equipment, and want your site to be found when someone searches for “dog laptops”. An image on the site should be named with keywords, and uploaded to an image directory also named using keywords. For example: www.yoursite.com/images/dog-laptops/dog-laptop.jpg. A search engine will look at the URL and rightly assume you are in the business of “dog laptops” and “dog laptop”, therefore boosting your ranking for those search terms.
Placing permanent redirects for old file names
Why? By changing existing filenames to keyword targeting names, any historical ranking for these old files could be lost as search engines can no longer find them. A piece of code is put in place to tell search engines that a file has not been lost, but actually renamed. This is important to avoid slipping down the rankings.
Creating HTML and XML Sitemaps
Why? An HTML sitemap is a set of links to help visitors find their way around your site. Search engines are clever and reward good user experiences. An XML sitemap is more or less the same, but not seen by visitors, rather the engines themselves. By uploading and verifying XML sitemaps, we can be sure that a website is being read correctly by search engines.
Improving page speed
Why? Now this is a biggie and can take a lot of time as various speed improvements can be made to files and server behaviour. Read more on speed improvements over at How to Improve Website Speed
On-Site Content Changes
The ranking of a website doesn’t only depend on the code and more technical aspects, but also the content and user experience:
Creating pages for every target service
Why? If you have one page for your canine PC supplies store that covers everything you do, you’re only giving one avenue for visitors to find you. By splitting those pages into each individual service, you’re going to have more pages in search results. Not only will there be more pages, but the content will be highly targeted and relevant. Create a page for dog laptops, another for desktops, another for mobile devices, another for support…you get the idea. This way, people can find exactly what they want, rather than finding a generic “catch all” web page.
Changing titles, meta and heading tags for every page
Why? A title is the first thing a searcher sees, as well as the meta description being the “sales pitch” below. To drive clicks, titles and descriptions must contain keywords for the search engines and be well written for readers.
Adding information and reference sections to the site
Why? Simply put, these generate more internal links as well as create a better user experience for more search engine brownie points.
Ongoing blogging and news stories
Why? Search engines love relevant content. If a page hasn’t been updated in months, it may be assumed out of date or no longer relevant, so blogging and creating fresh content keeps a website active and keeps visitors coming back.
Off-Site Content Changes
Once the website is optimised, it is also important to look to the rest of the web to find ways of improving visibility:
Adding your site to directories
Why? Adding a website to directories like 118118.com, Yelp.com, and many more, all serve to both point more potential visitors in your direction, and also provide inbound links to a website that can boost rankings.
Creating social media profiles on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn
Why? This is another opportunity to gather relevant links, but more importantly is a great way to keep in contact with your audience! Anyone can share content over social platforms, therefore giving your content more chance to be seen and shared via rank boosting links.
Guest blogging on relevant sites
Why? Writing as a guest on other relevant and authoritative blogs can give an opportunity to link back to your own site. Search engines will favour the websites that have high quality links pointing to them. By creating good content, you’ll also drive interest back to you from a wider audience.
This is a very brief overview, and by no means covers the depth of Search Engine Optimisation. After reading this however, you hopefully now have a better idea of what is going on behind the scenes!
Are you looking for SEO analysis on your website? For a fraction of the cost of building and managing an in-house SEO team, Contact Digizoid to see what can be done for you today.
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