7 ways to be SEO smart

Thursday, March 12, 2015 by Richard Howe

7 ways to be SEO smartIn order to drive traffic to your website, ranking highly on the main search engines should be a crucial part of your website strategy.

In this blog post, we look at the quick-win things that make a difference to SEO success.


Title tags

The most important element of any webpage is the <title> tag, which serves as a concise description of what the page is about. The title tag should be comprised of your main keywords, words that are specific to your product or service, have a high search volume but a low level of competition. 

Using an online tool (of which there are various free and paid ones) is vital in choosing your keywords and this is something that should be right at the heart of your SEO marketing efforts.

Your title tag needs to be meaningful, no more than 60 characters and avoid repetition.

Description tags

A description tag is an attribute that goes into a bit more detail about what the page is about. These are particularly important because they are visible to the user in the search results. For this reason, they need to be compelling and informative and act as a lure to encourage the reader to click on the link. 

Using keywords is important here too, and a length of around 155 characters is ideal.

H1, H2 and H3

Headings and subheadings not only help the reader, but tell the search engines what your content is about, so <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags are important from both a user experience and a SEO point of view. 

Although keywords can be used within these headings, you will be penalised for doing this too much, and also for repeating heading tags. Best practice is to only use one H1 tag on a page (but several H2 and H3 subheadings) and to always make the text of the title relevant to the topic.

URLs

URLs should be clear and easy to understand and not contain a string of unintelligible letters and symbols. They should also be as short as possible – not only does this help with readability, but it also makes them more memorable. Limiting the number of dynamic parameters (often shown separated with a /) helps in this way too. 

If your URL has to contain several separate words, then using hyphens is better than using underscores or spaces – since they are easier to read – but where possible it’s best to avoid this altogether.

User experience

If your site works well for your users, the search engines will like it too. So it’s important to make your site as fast as possible and ensure that it’s easy to navigate around. Search engines want to provide the best experience for their users and will reward this with higher rankings.

Content

It should go without saying, but it’s absolutely critical that your website’s content should be interesting, informative and cater for its audience. Each page’s content should match its title and your users. When they click on a Google link to your site, they should find exactly what they were looking for. 

Attracting lots of visitors to your site is useless if those visitors immediately click away again, annoyed that they have been brought to the wrong place.

Images and video

Optimising your images and video is another important factor that can sometimes be overlooked by website designers. Currently, search engines cannot ‘read’ photographs or videos and so don’t know what your pictures are about unless you tell them. So although it’s a bit time-consuming, adding alt attributes to each image on your site is crucial.

Making sure that your images all have relevant names, captions where necessary and are small enough in terms of file size to not slow your site down too much also need to be high on your list of priorities.

The main thing to keep in mind is that what works well for the user will also work well for the search engine. After all, a search engine’s job is to find sites that match a searcher’s criteria the closest. 

If your website does what it claims to do, is easy to navigate and contains useful, engaging and well-written content, it stands to reason that it will rank more highly. 

Looking at things from the user’s point of view is, as always, vital to your website’s success.

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