SEO Tips and Tricks
Having a web site, or setting one up is the relatively easy part, if you just want your site to be referred to by your existing customers or be found via 'off web' advertising, then that's fine. But if you want your website
to be visible on a search engine, then some web site optimisation is essential. Getting found on the web is difficult as seo is not an exact science and everyone has their opinions,
we have collated all the seo tips and tricks we can to help you understand & produce results for your website. Lets begin...
Content, as they say is king!
All search engines love good content
Be it advice, tutorials and good old business information. So if you have some sort information that you can part with (for free) on your industry, then post it up, even if it is a teaser or part of the full information, it will give your site more 'weight' by the search engines and you are more likely to be picked up for the search terms that you want to be picked up for.
Try to taylor your articles to your target audience, and impart information that your customers might be looking for, say for instance my site needs to attract marketeers or small business owners, hence why I have put up articles on the best design agencies, marketing tips and marketing resources. They are the most visited parts of my site and give weight to the rest of my website so I can be found for what I want to be found for. Although content is king, you will still have to present it to search engines in the best possible way, which is where the rest of this guide tries to help.
Firstly lets start with DMOZ or ODP
Am starting with this because it may be the most time consuming part of getting your website found. DMOZ or Open Directory project as it is also known, is one of the oldest and most respected internet directories around. Some say that it is essential to get a link on it, others try to down play it's importance. Well let me tell you that I have done some research in my area 'design' and all of the top category listing websites have one, it is essential to get a top listing. Why? Well all of the major search engines (including Google) are known to use it's open directory dump, which is an 'open' listing of all of the 'human' checked websites that have been submitted to it's directory. The search engines use this as a backbone from which to cross reference their own robot inspected site directory, which is why it is good to be on it.
BUT getting on it is the battle, there are reports that people have waited 2 years plus to get on there, and are still waiting. I have found the best way to get your site listed is NOT to go via your business category, but to go by your geographical location. Editors are more likely to be actively reviewing sites that help the business in their area, whereas an editor within a business category might have their own agenda and not be so ready to promote possible competition within their field of expertise. Am not saying it is corrupt, just human nature.
SO, submit your site to tour regional section of DMOZ for a faster result. Unfortunately a regional listing would not be as strong as say a European category listing but it is a good start. Make sure your site is up together and does what it says on the tin. Oh, and for all the designers in my area, ignore this, it doesn't work :-)
Next, let's get your onsite optimisation sorted
Here is a slightly easier part, it's all about making metaphorical signposts for the search engines.
1. PAGE URL NAMES
You need to start with the page names, easy when your site is a static one, you can use the names of the pages to help indicate the content. Why have say www.design-intellect.co.uk/about.html when www.design-intellect.co.uk/graphic_designer_bristol.html would be better as an indicator of what the company is all about.
2. PAGE TITLE TAG
Then get your page titles right, make sure they instruct the search engine robots properly what the page is about. So in the code of your pages the title would be repeated as per the page url name, my example would be 'Design Intellect | Graphic Designer Bristol'.
3. PAGE DESCRIPTIONS TAG
This is the short description that you would normally see underneath a search result in Google, this short piece of text should again re-inform the same content descriptor in the message, such as: <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Look here for a fresh and intelligent approach to your web, graphic design, advertising & marketing agency needs in Bristol."></meta>
4. META KEYWORDS
Again, you are creating the fourth signpost which should re affirm the same information. <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="web, graphic designer, advertising, marketing, agency, Bristol, graphic designer Bristol."></meta>
5. ON PAGE HEADER & COPY & ANCHOR LINK
Make sure that you have finally sealed the nail in the coffin by matching the keywords behind the page to the keywords on the page. Not just in the body copy but in the header. So again 'graphic designer Bristol' would appear in the h1 header and in the body <p> copy. Also, try to include an anchor link with the same words pointing to a deep page link within your site.
So in total, you have told the search engine robots that your page is about a 'graphic designer bristol' 6 times, so that should do the trick to let the search engines know what this is about.
Get 'properly' listed on the major search engines
And when I say get listed that doesn't mean just submitting your site, get it verified, submit a sitemap and a robot text file. You can do this by visiting your main search engines and signing up as a webmaster, it is free and gives you lots of free tools to evaluate your websites increasing traffic. Also, whenever you update your site, you can just resubmit your sitemap and the search engine will update your new pages a lot quicker than if you just left the web to it's own devices.
Get those backlinks!
Get 'properly' anchored back links to your site
These back links should be the same 'anchor' keywords as you are using on your pages. Carrying on the simple example, another website would has to have clickable text link using the words 'graphic designer bath' (or image with an ALT TAG of the same) pointing to your website. This again is like another metaphorical signpost for a search engine saying your website is, what it says it is.
How do you get these links? Well, before I show you, you need to know that their are two types of links around, what is known as a 'do follow' and a 'no follow', do follow links are what count towards helping your website up the search engine results ladder. There is a free tool out there that you can use on your Firefox web browser that can show you what type of link is what, it is called NoDoFollow.
How do I get these links? Hang on, am not done yet, there is also the page rank factor to cover, ideally you would like to get a 'do follow' anchor link with a high page ranking site. What is a page rank? Well google ranks it's websites from 0-10, 0 being an unranked page of unimportance (say a holding page), through to a high page rank websites like Apple or Facebook. Funnily enough there is a free tool for this too, called Search Status. This in combination with NoDoFollow will highlight when you have a chance of getting a good anchor link, shown below.
So, how do I do it?
Am not saying this is the correct way of getting good links but it has worked for me, what I do is start by searching for the same keywords as I wish to target on the major search engines, I then log the url's of the top five or ten pages of results, I then repeat this with all the possible permutations of the target keywords.
I then end up with a list off all the best performing websites within my target sector. I then use each url on a couple of decent online website analytic tools, Link Diagnosis. Once I have entered the url into the programs, I get a return list of that websites anchor backlinks, the anchor keywords, the linking pages rank and whether the link is a 'do follow' or 'no follow' link, and in the case of Link Diagnosis, it even supplies an algorithm based calculation of link strength based upon site strength/number of outgoing links. You can then carefully select and bookmark the best links that are appropriate for your site, saving them for later use.
Yes I know this is getting lengthy, but it does work, trust me :-) So, once you have the long list of linking url's, you can then go through them and see if you are able to comment on said websites or whether there are static exchanged links, if the later then you can't do much with it unless you want to enter the arena of link swapping. Spend some time flicking through the sites, and making sensible appropriate comments (not spam) in the comment boxes on the articles using your 'anchor keywords' in the name area in the forms, and an http:// link to an appropriate page or 'deep' page within your website. You will learn lots in this process, it is long and tedious but it does work. Once you start attain a few links, your site will start to rise in the rankings on web search engines for your 'keywords'. A quick note that people like to search locally, so try choosing your keywords AND a destination as you will have no chance doing it on a national level - hence my example, graphic designer Bristol. REPEAT AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN... That's SEO.
Well, thanks for your time and we hope we've have shed some light on the 'hands on' nuts and bolts of website seo and optimisation. Be warned, it is tedious but worth it!
Thanks for reading.