The key to online success relies on good SEO practices and adhering to the rules stipulated by the major search engines.
Frustratingly, search engines update their algorithms on a regular basis and lately we have seen some major changes with big updates being rolled out.
Every time the goal posts are moved by the major engines, website owners and retailers are forced to alter the way they are carrying out their search engine optimisation.
Saying this however, there remain a few constants in SEO; that if carried out correctly, will see you flourish in the results pages.
Mobile friendly websites
Mobile optimisation is critical when you’re getting started with SEO. Make sure your website is responsive across a range of devices, specifically for mobile.
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users is estimated around 2.5 billion in 2019.
Every delay in browsing may be a missed opportunity to engage a new visitor.
SEO in 2019 is about understanding the ‘mobile consumers’ and how their searching habits differ when they are on the go comparing to a desktop user.
Think of your own searching habits when you’re in a rush and you’re looking for a fast answer. Or think of the search result that grabs your attention.
Keywords are the very foundation of search engine optimisation. They are fundamental to an SEO campaign and are the primary tools in a website owner’s toolbox.
For this reason keyword research is critical to every strategy and campaign. Successful websites; those that feature at the top of search engine result pages have a very good understanding of what their core audience are searching for.
By identifying the right keywords for your business and optimising your website for them, you will increase the number of visitors to your website and soon begin to enjoy the extra business that this brings.
Before setting up your website or online store, draft a list of keywords that best describe your business and compare them to companies within your niche market to see if they carry any value.
The title tag is a very important part of the web page when you are optimising your site. Your keyword should also be in the title.
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content.
The Description Tag
The meta description tag is also an important element of the web page, not just for search engine optimisation, but also for the end user. This will be the first thing that a potential visitor to your website will read and you will want to make sure that your link is clicked ahead of all the other results on the page. Like the title meta, make sure the description is unique on each page, optimised for your chosen keyword and clearly explains what a user will see once they have clicked on your link.
In theory, meta descriptions do not affect SEO. This is an official statement from Google, released in 2009. However, since meta descriptions show in the search engine results, they can affect CTRs (click through rates), which are linked to SEO & rankings. So, in practice, meta descriptions might have an impact on SEO.
Google uses the meta descriptions (along with the title tag and the URL) to come up with search results on its pages. You can usually recognize the meta description by taking a look at a web page’s search result. Here’s a branded search for the keyword “cognitiveSEO”:
The recent algorithm updates implemented by the major search engines have focused a lot of attention on content. They are making website owners concentrate on quality copy that will ensure a visitor has the best experience possible when they visit your site.
In the past, many website owners had neglected the importance of producing an informative website with quality, well written content. In the clamour to make sure their websites rank well; they have been guilty of producing keyword saturated copy with wafer thin and repetitive content.
Websites like these have seen their rankings in search engines diminish spectacularly, or, have vanished completely.
Back Link Profile
For years, website owners would labour long and hard to create a large back link profile that would guarantee an improvement in rankings. This is because search engines would treat each back link as a vote of approval. Lately though, the emphasis has switched from quantity to quality and a poor link profile can have a detrimental effect.
The quality of links is determined by the authority of the site that is linking to you and the relevancy it has to your website. This has led to website owners blog commenting, forum posting and guest writing on websites that share a common theme.
It is also important not to use keyword heavy anchor text in your links, as search engines take a dim view of spammy anchor text and will penalise your website.
Social Networking Social networking has gradually become more important to good search engine optimisation. You will need to set up accounts for your business on all major social platforms and start sharing information, links, videos and ideas.
This is an excellent way to build trust between you and potential customers. Creating a splash on social networking sites is a great way to spread the word about your business and encourage visitors to your site.
Make sure you engage other users in a friendly and informative manner. No one likes a bore, and if you are forever boasting about your product or service instead of listening to other people’s opinions and views, you will soon find yourself very lonely.
You may have noticed that search engines have started to serve up a lot of images in their results and most give you the option to specifically search for images only. The images are shown in the results based on keywords; so it is important to consider this when you add images to your site.
Use keywords in your image filenames and always fill out the ‘alt’ and ‘title’ attributes with descriptive content. This will help the search engines understand what your images represent and index them correctly.
Good search engine optimisation is essential for all online businesses. If you don’t optimise your website properly, then you will lose your target audience to your competitors.
It is important to be aware of any changes that search engines make to their algorithms and adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.