Beginners Guide to SEO
Posted: Aug 27, 2019
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and refers to the extent to which a website satisfies the demands of search engines and therefore the extent to which they are likely to feature highly in search rankings. In the early days it was all about tricking the search engines rather simple algorithms into thinking your site fulfilled search criteria by creating content rammed with specific keywords. The search engines are now wise to this and place far greater emphasis on good content and good user experience. The key lies in convincing the likes of Google and Bing that your specific site will best fulfil the needs of users searching for keywords and terms that best match your business.
Optimise use of Meta tags
Meta tags are part of the HTML tags that describe your page content to search engines and website visitors. Without effective Meta tags you may end up ‘misrepresenting’ your site in the eyes of the search engines. These Meta tags only appear in your page’s code and you can check them via source code (Ctrl+U). To summarise, Meta tags are vital to tell search engines what each page on your site is about and they represent the first point of contact for all search engines – so it is best to make a good impression! In terms of the most important Meta tags for SEO, this is up for debate but these 4 are crucial.
- Title tag – arguably the most important of all as it actually shows up in the brief description of your site in search results and is also pulled out to show up as anchor text and a title in social shares. Because of this the title tag should always be very clear and concise while perfectly describing your site in under 55 characters – easier said than done!
- Meta description – if anything rivals the title tag for importance it is the Meta description. The title tag appears at the top of a search result, while the meta description is that little snippet underneath. It is crucial in convincing users to click on your page and should be around 150-200 characters in length.
- Canonical Tag – use of canonical tags helps avoid search engines thinking that similar pages represent duplicate content and penalising you for it.
- Alternative text – use of alt text to describe images improves SEO as it gives information about your visual content to search engines.
Provide great content
Getting content right when populating your site is key. It is all about providing content that best fits your business profile and helps show your products and services in a good light without overly pushing them. You want content that interests your users and addresses their problems or concerns. Use Google Analytics to better understand your users and what drives them to your site. By building up a profile of your average user you can better tailor content to them.
You can also analyse what your users have typed in their search engines to lead them to your site, giving you a valuable head start on those important keywords. Keywords should be used, but not abused as providing a good user experience is vital. You should use both head terms (3 words or less – less specific) and long-tail terms (3 words or more, more specific) as a combination will help generate traffic and improve relevance. Above all, ensuring that content is readable and enjoyable and in a consistent voice, will boost your user experience and help forge a brand identity.
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