Ten tips to top the search engines (Search Engine Optimisation)

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Simply having a website doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get traffic. Recent research indicates that 87% of all Australians are looking to the internet for information about products and services (Sensis e-Business Report 2009). Are you capitalising on this trend and focusing more of your marketing online? In today’s highly competitive web environment, having a site that is not optimised for search engines is like having a shop front with no signage! Poor rankings could be costing your business hundreds, if not thousands of leads.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an art which most experts take years to master. While there are no quick solutions (results may not appear for up to three months), here are our top 10 tips to top the search engines:

Tip 1: Add metadata to your individual pages

Meta elements provide information about the contents of your web page, most often to help search engines categorise them correctly and match a user’s search with your website.

A good content managed system (CMS), which is a system that allows you to edit your own website, should allow you to add metadata to your individual pages. You can add things such as a search description and a variety of search phrases or keywords that relate to the page.

Tip 2: Sprinkle your keywords

Once you add metadata to a page, you need to also build keyword density in the contents of that page. For example, if you’re targeting an audience looking for anti-ageing skincare, the idea is to use anti-ageing related phrases in your metadata and then use these phrases a number of times within the copy of your page.

Be warned, there is a fine line between keyword optimising and keyword spamming – search engines can actually punish you for the latter.

Tip 3: Beautifully animated sites suck!

More often than not, we see websites out there that are heavily animated with flash and slide shows on the home page. While these look beautiful, they don’t do you any favours in the ranking world. The rule of thumb is, if you can’t highlight it, search engine spiders can’t read it. And if search engine spiders can’t read it, you’re not going to rank for it!

Tip 4: Use links and design hierarchy to prioritise information

Within your page, use formatting such as heading styles, hyperlinks and bolding to prioritise information. By no means should you go nuts; however, use headings, subheadings and crosslinks to other pages within your site to help search engines better classify your information.

Tip 5: Be cool by association with backlinks

A good site will encourage other sites to link to it. Reputable links from other sites will enhance your rankings. Search engines, such as Google, reward sites on factors such as popularity, age and content. Encourage your clients, business alliances and other business peers to backlink to your site from theirs. Backlink to their site too and then everyone wins!

Tip 6: Make your URLs relevant

Carrying on with our ‘anti-ageing example’, use keywords when naming your page to ensure that the keyword appears in your URL.

For example, www.yourdomain.com.au/1234%fjxyz won’t assist at all in capturing the anti-ageing seeking market. Instead, try calling your page something like www.yourdomain.com.au/anti-ageing.

Tip 7: Submit your URL to major search engines

Most major search engines such as Google do allow you to submit your URL. You can do this for any page on your site. Just Google ‘submit URL’ and you should get a search result linking to Google’s ‘Submit URL’ page, or click here.

Tip 8: Optimise your images

Optimising your images within the site will help search engine spiders to index your images too. This also helps readers who use ‘text only’ web browsers. Make your image file names relevant and then add a description of the image by using alt-tags. Again, a good CMS will allow you to add alt-tags.

Tip 9: Turn a top ranking site into a top converting site

There is so much emphasis on having a top ranking site. However, what happens when people get to your site?

The key to converting leads is to build a user-focused site. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they want. Make the content relevant, concise and enticing.

Once a user is on your site, use strong calls to action and web forms to capture that lead. A good CMS will also mean that once a user fills in a form with their inquiry, their details remain in your database for future marketing.

Tip 10: Conduct an in-depth SEO audit and market research report

The online environment is forever changing, evolving and becoming more complex. It is important that you engage in online market research with an expert at least every 6-12 months. This will identify the most popular keywords your market is searching for, industry trends and tactics to put you ahead of your ranking competitors. If you are already engaging in SEO, you can have an SEO audit to identify areas of improvement.

The Creative Collective has an impressive team of SEO experts who consistently achieve top ranking results for clients. If you’d like a free, no-obligation chat about how search engine optimisation could assist your business, simply contact Katrina Lees of The Creative Collective Newcastle on 0423 211 922 or email [email protected].

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