So you have a new website – What next? Part 2- Making Your Site Search Engine Friendly
In part 1 of this blog post – So you have a new website – What next?, we looked at the issues involved in trying to attract visitors to your new website. Here, in part 2 of the series, we look at how we can make your website more friendly to search engines.
Driving traffic via search engines
The Important ‘Text Blocks’
There are five key elements in any webpage when it comes to the way search engines spider content. They are:
- Body Text
All of the above should be relevant to the page you are creating or editing. Relevancy is the key phrase here; Google and all major search engines will look to see how relevant a page is, simply because they want users to stay with them. If you searched for Cardiff on Google and Google returned pages relating to London, you would soon switch search engines. In a nutshell, the search engines want to deliver relevant content to their loyal users.
You should decide upon a few ‘killer’ or ‘long-tail’ keywords that your page is targeting and ensure that these killer keywords appear in all five ‘text blocks’.
Long-tail keywords have at least two and sometimes up to five words in the phrase. These keywords are highly specific and draw less traffic to the site, but the traffic they do bring are more likely to achieve a goal on the site. For example, using the keyword car tyres is very broad and could result in lots of traffic. The keywords car tyres south wales or ford focus car tyres will bring less traffic, but those people who searched on these terms will be far higher quality visitors to your page. This is because visitors use long-tail keywords to narrow down their search. To successfully use long-tail keywords, you need to know what long-tail keywords actually get hits, so research is the key here.
Your Trophy Keywords
Using the right keywords on your page can mean the difference between being listed on the all important first page search results or being under your competitors, way down in the search rankings. You should not ‘keyword stuff’. Being too broad with your meta keywords should be avoided and having more than 12 keywords would be seen as keyword stuffing. Another common way of keyword stuffing is by repeating the chosen keyword(s) too many times in your content. The major search engines are clever enough to know if a snippet of text is readable to a readable or not!
As an example, if we wanted to optimise our page for the phrase Web Design Company in South Wales, the first thing we need to is carry out a bit of keyword research. You will want to know what keywords people have used in search engines to land on the page and what keywords competitors are using to attract traffic to their pages. The popular keywords that people have searched to find Forte’s own Web Design South Wales Page is: web design south wales, web design cardiff so we will use the keywords web design south wales, and web design cardiff as our ‘trophy keywords’.
The URL is the link that people use to get to your page, we should construct the URL to contain the trophy keywords where possible, so ideally we would construct our URL as show below:
Again the Meta Keywords should contain your trophy keywords that are contained in your title and URL. In addition to this, the Keyword section also gives you more scope to add extra keywords that cannot be fitted in the URL or the Title. At this point you should be carrying out keyword research, finding out exactly what search terms potential customers are using to find your website. This doesn’t just mean going back through old website analytics data and finding how people came across the page; you may want to carry out some market research to find out what keywords you have not thought of yourself. Who knows – you may find a niche keyword that none of your competitors have optimised for. I would include the following in the Meta Keywords for the example we are using here:
web design south wales, web design cardiff, web-design south wales, web-design cardiff, web design newport, web design wales
Each keyword or long-tailed keyword is separated by a comma as above.
The title length should be around 65 characters long*including white spaces and should always be keyword rich. That is, use the trophy keyword that you have decided on. In this example, this is an ideal Title:
Web Design South Wales | Cardiff | Merthyr Tydfil | Pontypridd
* Google shows 69 Characters (Including Spaces) for Page Title whilst Bing shows 65 Characters (Including Spaces) for a Page Title Tag
The Meta Description should ideally be around 155 characters including white space. The Meta Description is often shown in the search engine results, as shown below in this search for Web Design South Wales using our very own result.
Not only is the Meta Description used in the search engine results, it is also checked by the search engines for relevancy, hence why keywords should always be included in the Meta Description.
The body should also be littered with your keywords but there are also a few more rules to follow when writing your body copy. You can see where you pick up ‘points’ in your quest to get to the top of the search engines from the list below!
- Keyword in the h1 tag
- Keyword in the first 100 words in the html on the page
- Keyword in the <b> or <strong> tags on the page
- Keyword in other h tags
- Keyword in image alt text
- Keyword repeating in the html text on a page
- Keyword in image names on the page eg keyword.jpg
- Keyword in the list items <li> on the page
- Keyword in the <i> or <em> tags on the page
- Keyword in the internal link anchor text on the page
- Keyword in the external link anchor text on a page
The above is a rough average score that the major search engines give. This should not be taken as gospel, but can certainly be seen as best practice to follow the above.
From the list above, we can see that it is vital to get our No1 keyword(s) into the first h1 title tag. Next we should be looking to get our keywords into the first 100 words of the body copy. Remember though that the body copy must be readable – all the search engines will know if you are keyword stuffing! You should also try to make sure that the keywords inside your body copy are in a bold font. Other keywords should also then be included in other heading tags in the page eg h2. h3. etc.
Our next blog in this series will look at building links to your page from other pages, and the effect this will have on your search engine ranking. Sign up to our newsletter on the right of this page to be notified of
Part 1 of this blog post – So you have a new website – What next?