How To Get On Google – 10 Step Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
As the Google ranked number one Website Designer in Poole and Dorset, you can be assured that I take SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) seriously. I enjoy helping my customers build on their websites success and support them with any questions they have with promoting their website online.
Having a website is only a part of making a success of being online. To get people to find you when they search Google, for example, requires further work including; building links to your website, promoting your website on social media, and making sure the website is updated frequently.
Below are some important steps to take for a both a new website, or even an existing website that is not performing well in search results. The process of getting your website found on Google is called SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. Put simply, its all about making sure your website is well designed, has good content and promoting it as much as possible. Work through the below points, and give your website the best chance of being found online.
If you need help with SEO on your website, please get in touch. I can usually carry out most of the essential changes for a fixed fee.
1. Check your content
The most frequently forgotten element of SEO is the most simple of all. Do the words you expect to be found for actually appear within the text of your website? For example, if you hope to be found when someone searches Google for ‘Gardener in Poole’, you should at the very least have the words, ‘Gardener in Poole’ within the text on your home page, and ideally have a page dedicated to this service (or product) on your website.
Google scans the text on your page to match against searched words – so it is vital the text on each page includes any keywords, (including areas you cover etc) you want to be found for. Remember to include common words someone might use to find you. For example, don’t just say you are an Arborist when most people will be looking for a Tree Surgeon.
Don’t be a copy cat. Copying text from another website isn’t only lazy and unprofessional, but Google knows that the text on your new website also appears on another older website. Therefore, it will often ignore any content that is copied from another page on the web. Always use your own, unique copy. Websites with original, well written content will always score better and its well worth the effort and time to do so.
Lastly, make sure your SEO Meta Tags are used correctly. Each pages title and description tag should accurately summarise what your website or a page is about. A common error is to have a title tag that says ‘Home Page’ for example – This tells Google nothing about your website. Title and Description Meta Tags are usually set when designing each page on your website. For example; if you are a Gardener in Poole – Your home page title should be ‘Bobs Gardening – Gardener in Poole, Dorset’ and your page description should be ‘Gardener in Poole, Dorset providing a range of Gardening Services including Mowing, Weeding and Lawn Care’.
Remember, CMS and E-commerce websites often create their own page title and description meta tags based on the page or product title and description you enter. Therefore, make sure page titles reflect what the page is about and include keywords within the opening sentences of each page.
2. Are you mobile friendly
These days, more people use their mobile phones and tablets to browse the web. Many older websites, (or even some poorly designed new ones) are not compatible with mobile phones, tablets and other devices with smaller screens. A modern website should be ‘responsive’. That means, it resizes to suit the size of screen someone is using. It will often change the menu style and layout to suit so the pages can be read, and navigated more easily. Chances are, if someone lands on your website using a mobile phone, and its not mobile compatible – they’ll move on to the next website that is. Test to see if your website is mobile friendly by clicking here.
3. Check image sizes
Never upload a picture to your website that isn’t web optimised. Pictures on the internet do not need to be hi-res, professional print quality. If you try to upload a picture to your website straight from a camera, (or good mobile) it will either fail to upload, crash your website or make the whole website slow to load. If you do not have image editing software on your computer that can optimise and re-size images, you can use a free online service such as http://www.imageoptimizer.net/ .
4. Less is more
Fancy effects and unnecessary scripts can slow down page load speed, or even not work at all on some browsers. And the slower it loads, the lower Google will score it. The same applies to websites that are built using WordPress or other CMS systems. Keep plug-ins and functions to a minimum and only use those that are essential to your website. You can check your websites load speed rating by clicking here.
5. Keep up to date
Google regularly visits your website to see when it was last updated. Websites that have not been updated in some while can be ranked lower as Google will assume you’ve given up. Its a good idea to update each important page on your website as often as possible, especially the home page. Having a Blog or News section is a great way to keep content fresh on your website, and Google will love you all the more for it.
6. Get social
Love it or hate it, Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter can be a great tool for promoting your website. Post updates about your website often, with links to your website too. Encourage people to ‘like’ and ‘share’ your social media pages. The more your social media following grows, the more points your website will score. If you are new to social media, make sure you understand the basics before using. Take a moment to look at your competitors social media accounts, or even other websites you enjoy visiting, to get an idea of how to manage this for yourself. Make sure you have links to your social media accounts from your website, and visa versa.
7. Get listed
You may have noticed that when you search for a local business, a result is shown with a map and contact details. Even if you don’t serve people from a physical address, it is still a good idea to get your business listed on Google maps. This shows Google and customers that your business is genuine. If you do depend on reaching a local customer base – a result on Google Maps is essential. Remember however, results are shown based on location. Usually, the business nearest the centre of the location specified will show first. Google will verify and score your result based on you confirming a PIN number that will be posted to you, and also matching your contact details on other established local directories. Hence, its important you follow this up with adding your website to local web directories, (see below) and ensure you are consistent with the contact details you provide. To get listed on Google Maps, click here. At time of writing, this is a free service.
8. Build up the links
Google looks at other websites that link to yours to help rate how popular it thinks it is. A website with no other page linking to it would throw up a red flag to Google, and it would assume therefore its not especially interesting. The more websites that link to you, the better. That said, pick carefully. Avoid irrelevant or spamy websites. Opt for websites that are either unique to your business or website directories that have an applicable section for your service. It should be quite easy to find suitable websites to submit your website details to. You can start by looking at any organisations you belong to, and see if they offer a option to display your website description and link. Next, you can look for nationwide and local website directories. Most will offer the ability to submit your website details for free. Below are a few examples of both nationwide and local to our area website directories, (if you’re not in Dorset, check for your own locally). Avoid being tempted into paying for a listing. Most genuine websites will offer the ability to do this for free or a small yearly charge.
- Yell.com (Free Listing)
- Poole Business Finder
9. Be secure
An SSL Certificate isn’t essential for all websites. However, even if its not required – some customers will have more confidence in a website if they can see the padlock icon and https before the website domain. If your website collects data from customers, for example over an online form or is an e-commerce website – then a SSL certificate is a must. Speak to your host about the cost of buying one and check with your website designer if it can be added to your site.
If your business is especially competitive and / or you cannot get the results you want soon enough, then one way to guarantee your website will appear top of the searches is to use Google Adwords. A sponsored result on Google allows you to bid per click, with a daily budget based on how much you want to spend on promoting your website. The bigger the daily budget, and the higher your bid; the more frequently your website will appear top of the results. Have a plan for how much you want to spend. Advertising costs can soon mount up – so make sure these can be offset by any profit. You can stop and start your Adwords Campaign whenever you like – and there is no commitment. To find out more and set up your Google Adwords, click here.
Need help with your website design or SEO? Get in touch with me today to find out how I could help.