Website Search Engine Optimisation can broadly be broken down into on-site and off-site elements.
It is usually easier to control the on-site elements though unless you have little competition on the net for your particular keywords you will need to do the off-site work too in getting backlinks to your site.
Note that the more competitive the keyword you are trying to rank for, the more quality backlinks are likely to be required.
Lets take a look at the practical things we can do to help our rankings:
On-site Website SEO
- Create unique page titles that accurately describe the content of the page and contain the target keywords for the page at the start of the title. e.g. – Discount Widgets | Joes Widget Warehouse
- It’s easy to target one keyword per page but you can combine them if they fit together sensibly, e.g. Discount Designer Widgets targets both ‘discount widgets’ and ‘designer widgets’ as well as ‘discount designer widgets’.
- Use the homepage to target your most important keyword(s).
- Use H1 heading tags if appropriate to the feel of the page. H1 is not worth much in SEO weight but every little counts, e.g. – Discount Widgets from Joe’s Widget Warehouse
- Optimise your images file names and alt tags so they reflect the keywords you are targeting for the page.
- Forget about Meta keywords! They are useless for Google and Bing/Yahoo makes such little use of them they are more likely to cause confusion than anything else.
- The Meta description will not help ranking but can be used to help promote the click through if it includes the keyword and is interesting or prompts action, e.g. ‘Joe’s finest discount widgets are guaranteed for life unlike any others – See us now for deep discounts!’
- Improve the structure of your URLs if possible. Shorter is better, try to include the keyword in the url, e.g. http://www.joeswidgetwarehouse.com.au/discount-widgets (Use hyphens to separate words in urls)
- Make the site easy to navigate, use descriptive anchor text for internal links
- Have quality content! Write about your services, include pics and video if appropriate. The content should have natural looking use of the keyword in the text, don’t worry about keyword density in the text but try to mention the keyword early in the text.
- The text will likely have mention of broader terms or synonms or related terms – this is good as long as our page is still focussed on the target keyword.
- If bold and/or italics make sense with your design then maybe use once for the keyword early in the text.
Off-site Website SEO
- Backlinks – get them! Unless you are in a very uncompetitive niche you really need to get links from other sites to yours. Good links come from sites already ranking well for your keywords and ideally from content on those sites rather than from some links page.
- Get a spread of other domains to link to you, better to have links from lots of domains than links from just a few.
- Good links are also composed of keyword rich anchor text rather than just the name of your site. Of course they must be free of the noFollow tag too.
- The more competitive the keyword you are trying to get listed for, the more and/or better quality backlinks will be required.
- Links from specialised directories are still useful, so are links from blogs and article sites though the link juice behind those links varies dramatically.
- Make use of the Google webmaster tools to verify the site and submit a sitemap. Use them also to indicate your preference for urls with or without the www and then stick with that choice whenever mentioning or linking to your site anywhere.
- Use Google Analytics or a similar package (there are many available but Google’s is free!) to see what pages and keywords are bringing in the traffic and where from. Use that info to prioritise what other content to get on the site.