The cornerstone of SEO and Search Engine Marketing are keywords, keyphrases and key terms. When you are working with your designer on a new website you must bear in mind the above. The Search Engine crawlers are little algorythims that come and visit your site, hopefully regularly and they are primarily text based. They analyse and index all the text, code and content on your website. So when you are designing your website you need to bear this in mind. Here are 5 tips and best practices to incorporate into any new website design:
The objective here is to create a navigation or menu that is both Search Engine and User Friendly. This is achieved by using Semantics in your menu system. The term “semantics” describes the study of meaning; the relationships between signifiers (for us, words) and what they indicate. By analysing your links, navigation and content, the Search Engines are using advanced semantics to assess the quality of the information on your website. To aid this you should have a menu system that is both logical and user friendly.
For instance all the sub categories of Online Marketing should come under the menu heading of Online Marketing. This seems pretty straight forward but it is all too often overlooked and implemented poorly. Examples of this are using images instead of actual text based links in your menu. Use text always, as words will be preferred and recognised in relation to where they link.
Search Engines need to be shown just what your website is all about in order to drive traffic to your website. How? The most important factor of any website is the keywords and keyphrases in which you wish to rank for. Research, Analyse, Understand and Implement your keyword approach on every aspect of your website, concentrating on good semantic structure.
Visualise that these words and phrases are the little corner of the Internet that you wish to dominate. For example a Financial Consultant should look to include that phrase where possible. Instead of a heading called “Consultancy” they could expand this to say “Financial Consultancy” thus increasing their chances to rank for that term. One caveat is that you must not overdo it. In the SEO industry this is known as “keyword spamming” and can actually hurt your website. Keywords and keyphrases must be natural and logical for both the Search Engine and the User. With all this in mind perform as much keyword research as possible.
3. URLs and H1 Formatting
Accepting the caveat that using text were possible we can then, use this in a plethora of areas on our site bearing in mind that overdoing it could hurt our rankings. URLs can be optimised and your keywords can be inserted where possible. You should implement a good permalink structure in your urls so that instead of letters and numbers you should have your keywords. Using your Navigation Structure will help you here.
There should be no more then one H1 Tag on each page and you should look to insert that pages keyword here. Just like a well formatted word document with proper use of H1,H2 tags, lists and paragraphs, your web page should follow the same flow as this. Remember that Search Engines analyse and index the text so it’s logical that your webpage should have properly formatted text.
Images are often overlooked but are very important in SEO. Search Engines cannot see that beautiful image of your office on your homepage. All it sees is the name and size of the image. Here is where the importance of “alt tags” come into play.
Simply put, the alt tag is a small brief description of the image. Now the search engine can anaylse and potentially rank that image. Ever use Google Image Search? Always use the ‘alt tag’ attribute to describe all images on your website. Good practice is to optimise your images for fast loading times and quality. Compress images to make the file sizes smaller and increase the speed of your website.
5. Social Media
So you’re probably sick of people going on about social media and how you need to be on it so I will not repeat it here. I will leave you with this. Last summers “State of the Web” survey by the Irish Internet Association had these relevant numbers.
By the end of 2012 75% of adults in Ireland would have a smart phone. 50% use them while watching television with the majority of their time spent looking for local goods and services and using social media. In terms of SEO, the more mentions of your website across the internet the better. So a “retweet” or a “facebook share” are invaluable because the search engines recognise that real people have chosen to share your tweet or status update. Social signals as they are called are now a huge factor feeding the search engines.
Our team at IMS Marketing have the skills, experience and knowledge to implement all of the above and more. We also tailer SEO and Online Marketing campaigns for all our clients, working from your core product and service to your website and outwards into the wider internet across all channels and verticals.