Websites are often the most visible form of marketing for a business. If you don’t have a strategy, don’t advertise and your direct marketing is hit and miss, you need to ensure your website is doing all it can to deliver you leads.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) doesn’t need to be expensive and you don’t need to engage sub-Saharan witch doctors to make your site popular and successful with the search engines. A few basic changes make a big difference.
Having just worked with a new client to ‘tidy’ their site up, we thought it would be useful to explain some of the changes we made and why they were successful.
WHAT DOES THE SITE SAY TO GOOGLE & IS IT CONSISTENT?
As well as reading the words on the pages and posts, Google picks up what is called Meta data that sits behind the site. The Meta data is made up of the page title, the meta description and keywords. The page title should be around 60 characters long and the description around 150 characters long. The Meta data should be consistent for each page, but should also offer consistency across the site.
Page Title – the words in the tab at the top of the screen
Below is an example of the Meta data a theoretical bookkeeper called ABC Bookkeeping, based in Guildford could use on their home page:
Page Title: Bookkeeping & Accounts – Guildford Bookkeeping – ABC Bookkeeping
Description: Bookkeeping & Accounts – Bookkeeping and Management Accounts Services in Guildford, Surrey – ABC Bookkeeping
Keywords: VAT, Guildford, Surrey, bookkeeping, tax, FD, outsource, financial, controller, director, advice, guidance, books, accounting
The ‘Bookkeeping & Accounts’ wording is consistent for the page and the ‘Guildford Bookkeeping’ and ‘Bookkeeping and Management Accounts Services in Guildford, Surrey’ wording would be the same across all pages. Keywords can be the same across the site or relevant to the page or section of the site.
Most good quality content management systems will offer the opportunity for you to enter this information yourself. If yours does not or you are unsure how to, why not ask the company that looks after your site to do it for you.
If you present a consistent image to the search engines, they find it easier to ‘file’ your site and then rank it in response to search terms. Your aim should be to clarify:
1. WHAT you do
2. WHO you do it for
3. WHERE you do it
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT
Once you have defined your Meta data across your site, visit the copy on the page to ensure it is consistent with the page title and description. Try and use your keywords in the copy but in a way that makes sense. If you can add a headline or title to the content, do so. This is called the H1 tag, and you need to ensure it is the same as the Page Title, or similar at least.
When considering content, maximise your opportunities. If you are a hypnotherapist and can stop people smoking, help them sleep and become more confident, don’t cram all this into a single page. Have a page for stop smoking, a page for sleeping and so on.
BRING THE BLOG/NEWS ON SITE
If you have a blog or regular news, make sure you have this in your site, not elsewhere (Facebook or Blogger for example). By adding regular content you are keeping the site fresh (see below), adding lots of information to the site and increasing your opportunities to demonstrate to the likes of Google that you know about your industry/product/services.
USE TAGS & CATEGORIES
When adding blog posts, news items, posts or images to the site, use Tags and Categories which are relevant to what you do. Using our theoretical company above their tags and categories may be:
Tags: Tax, accounts, VAT, bookkeeping, self-assessment, Guildford, Surrey
Categories: Personal tax, Business tax, Accounting, Legislation
KEEP IT FRESH
Simply putting your site live and then dusting your hands off and walking away will get you nothing. In order to rank you ahead of the rest, the search engines like to see that your site is still alive and keeping up to date. Regular news and posts are a great first step but you should also consider new pages, reviewing and editing copy or even reviewing your Meta data every few months.
With just half a day of effort and focus, we took this clients site from the bottom of page 9 of Google to number 2 on Google in a week. We will now work with them to keep it fresh and monitor traffic levels. We always use Google Analytics on our sites and monitor traffic weekly. This way we can see the impact of changes as they happen and can quickly remedy anything that doesn’t work.
Finally, it is worth remembering that the web is a big place. Standing out is tough. Therefore in addition to making sure your site can compete of its own accord, you have to tell real people about it too. Once your site is complete, look at how you can drive people to it using forums, advertising, literature and signage – and always remember that popular sites are smiled upon by search engines!
Good luck. If we can help, please let us know.