A rough guide to better search results
Thursday, 4th November 2010
Search engine optimisation for beginners.
Everyone seems to have woken up to the fact that there's quite a lot to be done that can boost rankings in all the major search engines. To do this properly can take a lot of time and effort, but there's certainly a few things that you can do yourself to make a good start. Here's our quick Rusty Monkey guide to getting the basics right:
Write good copy. If you're writing your own copy or have access to your website to change things around, try and think carefully about what it is you're writing. Make sure it's accessible - you don't want people reading it to be put off by techincal or specialist language. Make it so that you explain things clearly and concisely and get people interested in you - the overall aim should be to make people get in touch, either by email or phone, to request more information.
Work out what your key search terms are. Often these will be obvious - 'web design Nottingham' is pretty important for us but it's also very competitive. If you need some ideas there's plenty of free keyword tools out there. Google has one that's really useful for not only giving you some ideas, but also telling you how many people search for certain words per month - you might be surprised what people actually look for.
Use your keywords sensibly - put them in page titles and headings and use them a few times throughout the text, but don't go overboard. The last thing you want is to sacrafice the coherence and sense of the text for human visitors just to insert a few extra keywords for Google's sake.
When you've tweaked the content run your site through an SEO checker. Again, have a search online and you'll find plenty of free website analysers that will tell you how relevant your site is for the keywords you're targeting. This can be a good way to find out how effective your amendments have been, and whether you need to alter how often you're using your keywords to maximise the impact.
When you're happy with the content then it's time to start getting the site out there. First thing you should do is submit your sitemap to Google - search for a free sitemap generator and sign up for a Google Webmaster account (it's free). This lets you tell Google exactly what is on your website to make sure it sees everything when it adds you to its index. If you have a physical location, remember to add yourself to the Google Places listing - add as much information as you can to help people find your business. Most people these days will turn to Google before any kind of paper directory, so make sure your details are right.
There's also plenty of free online directories you can add yourself to. Some will earn valuable backlinks (backlinks are any link to your site from a site somewhere else on the web. The more you have, the more popular Google assumes your site to be, so they're a great thing to build up). Whether they link to your site or not, the more times your business and website are mentioned elsewhere the better, as it makes it more likley that people will find you sooner or later.
The best way to build up a good network of links is to provide useful information to others. For example, have a look at a few forums that are relevant to your business. If you see someone with a particular problem that your products could solve, post a reply and link to your site. Some forums will prohibit advertising, but you should always be able to put a link in the signature, or at least get your name out there. Even better is if you can make others spread the word for you - use social media like Twitter to reach people, and if your message is good enough it might even 'go viral' and the web community will do the rest.
There's plenty that can be done to boost website rankings, and at Rusty Monkey we're more than happy to help out. Contact us if you think you could benefit from our experience, and if you're tackling this yourslf, best of luck, we hope our advice comes in useful.
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