A guide to keeping Google happy.
What is the point of having a killer website if no one can find it? You should be taking every step possible to make sure your site is visible to a maximum number of people, and nowadays a huge percentage of your site visitors will reach your website through a search engine.
When you input a query to Google, or perhaps Bing or Yahoo, how many pages of search results do you look through before you find what you’re looking for? I find that I get bored halfway down the first page, and have more than likely found an answer to my question or the site I was looking for in the first three or four results.
But how do you nab one of those top spaces for your site? It’s a science for sure…
The answer is search engine optimisation – or SEO in its abbreviated form. Described by the experts at Moz as “a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results”… “SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines”. Strictly speaking, optimising your website to please the search engines is the name of the game to place your site in the spotlight. There are a few ways you can get started yourself without enlisting the help of a professional.
To please the search engines and climb their rankings there are several steps you can take:
Make things easy for ‘crawlers’
Search engines assess your site using ‘crawler’ bots. These bots analyse your content and the quality of your website to determine how user-friendly and informative it is. Google digs right down to the bare bones of your website, valuing content built in HTML format. This includes external links, but search engine crawlers often overlook images and other visual content such as Flash files.
Make sure all of your visual content is visible in the HTML text on the page. Remember that search engine crawlers will see a completely stripped back version of your site when they go seeking to rank your pages. You can view your site through their eyes on sites like SEO-browser.com.
Keep content relevant, but don’t overuse keywords
What is a keyword? Keywords change from industry to industry; a website selling shoes won’t want to cram their content with the word ‘coffee’. Take a step back from your business and have a look at your brand DNA: what are the important areas of your business, and what kind of customers are you hoping to reach with your website? What questions will those customers be asking of Google, Bing or Yahoo?
Making sure your content is relevant to your industry is a step in the right direction for Google, but don’t try to trick them into boosting your site. There have been many instances in which sites have hidden their keywords in website backgrounds in order to cheat Google into giving them a higher ranking. Google can and will penalise you for this; your site may end up blacklisted.
Create a great user experience
The way in which your customers (and in turn, Google’s crawler bots) navigate your site must be an area you pay some attention to. Sites which are easy to use, navigate and understand are in the good books at Google, and they’ve recently introduced a new update to their algorithm to favour sites which are optimised for mobile use.
Google, Bing and Yahoo want to provide the best possible internet experience for online browsers. Making sure your site loads quickly, is professionally designed and accessible across all browsers, and delivers a high quality of relevant content, all makes for a great customer experience.
Check out this blog post if you want to optimise your business website and create a great user experience.
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