How Do I Improve My Website’s SEO? (Part 1 of 3)
So you have read my blog post about what SEO is and why it’s important, and you are keen to improve your site or store’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
As you will see, there are a lot of simple things you can do to improve your website or online store’s SEO, to improve organic search results and hopefully boost your traffic. To answer the question “How to improve my website’s SEO?” I’ll be posting three separate blog posts. Here is part one of three. Enjoy!
Before we continue…
- The intention of this three-part series “How to improve my websites’s SEO?” is to give you a list of basic good-practice SEO items to consider or chat with your webmaster about, as options to improve your website or online store’s SEO friendliness. If you need, we are also happy to help – just get in touch.
- Remember to check you have a way to measure your results before you start making changes to your website, I recommend ensuring your website is hooked up with Google Search Console (or Webmasters – whatever Google is calling it now days) and Google Analytics.
- Finally, your SEO-work will take days (sometimes weeks) to kick in. So if you do not see tangible results straight off the bat, do not fret!
Well let’s get this show on the road!
In part one of the series we will focus on the HTML aspects of your website, which I hope does not come across too technical. The reason I am starting with HTML is because it is the foundation of all web pages. If your website does not have a solid footing, or adopt at least some best practice HTML methodologies, it will sadly never be SEO-friendly.
HTML Best Practices
Search bots (like googlebot, bingbot etc…) favour HTML industry-standards and will be able to crawl your website easier, which will work to your advantage. Here are some important HMTL tags and attributes to consider. Speak to your webmaster to find out if these are implemented, or if you need a hand we are happy to help too.
- head and body tags: Like most good kindergarten stories, HTML pages also have a <head> and <body>. All good stories (or website pages rather) should have these tags. The <head> element is a container for metadata (more on this topic below). The <body> should contain the general text or content of the page.
- Metadata: Your meta tags should be within the HTML <head> tag (not to be confused with <header>) and provide metadata about the HTML document or page. Information in these tags are only useful to searchbots. Metadata is not displayed on the page itself (IE users won’t see it). The important ones are:
- metadata title: Defines the title of the document, and is required in all HTML/XHTML documents. It becomes the title in your browser tab, provides a title for the page when it is added to favourites. More importantly it displays as the title of a web page in search engine results.
- metadata description: The description of the page. Text in this section should directly relate to the content (in the <body>) of your page. It also displays as the description (under the title) for the page in search engine results.
- metadata keywords: The targeted keywords (or search phrases) you want your page to be found by through search engines. Only include words related to your content on the page. Do not use more than 4 or 5 good search phrases (EG: Nike running shoes, Nike shoes on sale, New Nike trainers, No lace nike shoes…) It is very important to make sure your keywords are relevant to your page’s content. Before your mind starts running wild, do not try and be sneaky and include unrelated high-volume search keywords/phrases in your metadata keywords, it will not work! In fact it will have negative consequences.
- header and footer tags: The HTML <header> element represents a container for introductory content or a set of navigational links. The <footer> tag defines a footer for a document or section and typically contains things such as authorship information, copyright information, contact information, sitemap, back to top links and related documents.
- Heading tags <H1>, <H2>, <H3>… <H6>: Always aim have one (and only one) <H1> tag on each page. It should be the same as (or contain) the keyword you want the page to be “recognised” for in search engine searches. Good page <H1> candidates: are the page’s title or post’s name. In the case of an online store’s product page, ideally you will have the product name as your <H1> tag. The other <H#> tags should be the stand out “searchable” information on your page, with a top-down hierarchy approach. IE <H2> is more important than <H3> etc… You do not need to use all variants of the header tags on each page. I do however strongly recommend to have one (and only one) <H1> tag and at least one (or more) <H2> tag(s).
- Image alt attribute: HTML <image> tags have a alt attribute that most websites do not take advantage of. Add descriptions for what is displayed in the image in your alt tags. Example: If it is a picture of a fancy wine you sell, make sure the name of the product is in the alt attribute.
- Inbound, Outbound & Internal Links: Besides finding ways to get others to link to your important website pages (inbound links), make sure you have links from content on your website to the important pages on your own website (internal links). Also remember to link to other external websites (outbound links).
Well that is it for part one of “How to improve my website’s SEO?” Just a reminder to keep your eyes peeled for part two and three. If you want a reminder when they are ready, like us on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In, or sign up to our mailing list here.