By now you’ve probably heard or read about Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. You likely have someone in your company who manages Google Analytics for your website, or you may even have invested in Adwords at some point.
While these are useful tools in SEO, they really just scratch the surface. There are a multitude of useful and surprisingly simple tricks available to website owners to help improve their SEO. But what is myth, and what really works with Google?
To help answer this question our developers have pulled together some useful tips they’ve learnt in their experience. In this article we’ll focus on busting some key myths, and how you can audit your site for SEO. Next time we’ll work through some of the more advanced tools you already have access to which can improve SEO.
Check the descriptions: the description tag appears in Google’s results under the title. While it doesn’t improve your ranking, it will make your result stand out if the description is relevant to the search terms and an appropriate length (200 – 300 characters to avoid truncating).
Don’t waste time with keywords: it’s been a long time since Google bothered looking at keywords, so don’t waste time on this. For e-commerce type businesses, the key thing to look for is the tag which will determine when your images show up in Google Image Search.
Your site isn’t mobile optimised until Google thinks it is: look up your site using Google on your mobile. Does it say the words “Mobile Friendly” next to the description text? If not, it means Google has found pages which aren’t mobile optimised on your site. The tools we discuss next time will show you how to find and fix these pages.
Link popularity and the PageRank score: You may already be aware of the importance Google places on links, but it’s not quite that simple. PageRank is the algorithm Google uses to ‘rank’ an individual page based on the quantity and quality of links to and from that page. Highly ranked pages linking TO your site will tend to improve your score, but poorly ranked links won’t help you. Links FROM your site can also lower your score, particularly when the target page has a low rank itself. It’s important to remember that PageRank is losing some of its relevance these days, but it can still be a good way of determining how well you’re using links. Tools like this one are useful to find out your PageRank – and other metrics – for your site and your competitors.
Social media may not work the way you think: most social media sites now block the value of outbound links – meaning links from social media to your website aren’t adding value to ranking score. They do, however, drive traffic – so use social media to drive visits, but not for link value.
Hopefully by now you should have a better understanding of SEO, and how well your website may be performing. Next time we’ll look at some freely available tools that can help you find relevant search terms, use them appropriately in content, and track your organic performance on Google.