SEO Guidance for Website Owners

Search Engine Optimisation, or what is popularly referred to as SEO, is the method whereby website owners undertake certain procedures to increase their search engine ranking and is specifically targeted at the keywords somebody will type into the search box of a search engine. The website that manages to achieve a higher ranking than that of its competitors on a search engine will get more website traffic and therefore more sales, although getting onto the top of the first page of any search engine is not an easy mission. Nonetheless, with a few practical changes to your website following systematic methodology will reap rewards.

Prior to commencing the SEO process, undertake a brief site analysis to include checking your sitemap, use of flash, animations and images, website content, page titles and the number of pages within the site, etc. Inspect header tags, robot,txt files and anchor text in the pages of the site and then take a look at the websites of your competitors and see where they rank in a search utilising your keywords.

Next, analyse your website methodically and make a list of your main keywords, categorising them as primary and secondary keywords. You can use the assistance of keyword tools such as Google AdWords. These keyword tools will provide data in connection with the keywords that people are entering into search engines. Select the relevant keywords applicable to your website and then use a competitor’s website to form ideas to help you to generate keywords and phrases.

Ensure that each page of your website has a unique title that encapsulates the very essence of that page and includes services, products and most importantly include important keywords within the text. Page titles speak about the web page content and all of this plays a crucial role in SEO. Choose your page title carefully and keep it short roughly between 50 and 70 characters.

Meta descriptions play an important role in search engine optimisation, giving a more elaborate description of your products and services and page content. Construct a good description of your web page using your main keywords in the description. However, do not fill the description with keywords, as it should look like a description. The length of the meta description should be between 130 – 150 characters. A further fact that makes the meta description so important is that the content you insert will be displayed as part of the search engine results.

The content of your website will play a major role in your search engine ranking. Your web pages should have good quality content, being fresh and comprehensive. Search engines love fresh and unique content and they will reward you with a higher ranking in search results. Make good use of your keywords, but write for your website visitors and not search engines.

Incorporate header tag (h1 tags) on each page. The range is from h1 to h6. Use your main keywords in the h1 tags. Search engines will give higher priority to anchors text, so you should use your major keywords here. Try to avoid using generic phrases like ‘read more’ and ‘click here’, using more search engine friendly phrases such as ‘Information about our services here’. This will help in providing a link to other pages for search engines.
Generate a site map for your site, which should be linked to all pages in the site. The ideal site map will offer inside links to all internal pages of the website. If you have a website with more than, say, 100 pages then build a site map that links to only the major pages of the site.

Have a robot.txt file for the site that indicates to search engine robots the pages of the site that need to be crawled and the ones that do not.

Finally, link building plays a vital role in search engine ranking of your site. Endeavour to get them from relevant sites and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Organic methods of link building are from social media sites, newsletters, blogs and the creation of videos.

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