There are numerous websites that don’t have any SEO in place on their site. Whether you’re a small business or a blue chip company, if you have a website, at the very least ensure on site optimisation has been conducted and implemented. Here are 7 SEO optimisation tips for Google that your website should have.
1. Title tags and meta descriptions are valid and relevant. Ensure they are the correct length, have appropriate keywords and most importantly that they make sense to the users. This is an easy way to improve your sites visibility in the search results and one that is still frequently neglected.
2. Heading Tags are still important – there’s a lot of people who don’t believe these are worth much from an SEO perspective but can you imagine if someone handed you a proposal/dissertation/document with no table of contents and no headings? How would you be able to prioritise what you want to read or what’s relevant to you? Likewise with Google, using H tags appropriately will help Google prioritise the most important content. And finally, last reason for doing so is it makes it more user friendly !
3. Structure your pages logically and link to pages within your site when it makes sense to do so. In an ideal world, SEO should be thought about before the site is even created. SEO plans should be formulated in the initial planning stages so an appropriate site structure and URL structure can be developed and exist on the site. However, in the real world, this rarely happens and SEO is an afterthought once the site is developed and they have 0 traffic.
4. You shouldn’t have duplicate content but it can happen on larger sites. Best thing to do if you do have duplicate content is to either use a 301 re-direct (permanent) or else use the rel=canonical link element. I’m going to do another post on this at some stage in the not too distant future. Matt Cutts AKA Mr Google has a great video which explains this.
5. Create a sitemap and make sure your robots.txt is set up appropriately. Some people say you don’t need robots.txt and they’re right, it’s not absolutely critically essential but it’s an additional factor that Google enjoy seeing and it’s better to have one and have it set up correctly than not to in my opinion.
6. Ensure your site is fast. Page speed affects rankings quite simply because if users are waiting for content to load, then they’re getting annoyed and bouncing/leaving your site and then your site is deemed as not relevant. That’s the short story. Google are obsessed with speed these days, their browser Chrome is all about loading websites/content as quickly as possible. Pay attention to this because it’s important. Google lets you test your website speed here.
7. Ok this is not strictly an SEO tip but it’s something that is going to be increasing in traction and relevancy into the future. Ensure your site is optimised for mobile and media devices such as the iPhone and the iPad. Trust me on this, it’s worth paying attention to the “brand in the hand” – I’d probably recommend this as a priority to ecommerce sites and booking websites such as hotels and flights. This is a huge area that is going to continue growing – in 2011, mobile users will exceed desktop computers globally. I’ll be writing a post in May that will explain to site owners how to tell if they need a mobile optimised site.
There you have it. 7 practical tips that will help you get more traffic and make your site better for users and search engines.