In order to create awareness of your company it is important to reach high in search engines such as Google for relevant keywords you want to be found for. Approximately 80% of your traffic will be coming from search engines; however 40% of searchers will not go beyond the first page of results. Therefore, in order to drive traffic to your website you need to appear ideally on the top 10 search results (the first page of results) for key search terms relating to your business. If you are unsure where you are currently appearing in Google results a free tool you could use is www.seobook.com. Note: 4 = position 4 and is on page 1 and 22 = position 22 and is on page 3 of results. Most of this is concentrated on Google search engine as it is the most used search engine worldwide and also in Ireland which shows the greater potential of your business being found.
So what makes a site appear high up in search results??
Google looks to see how relevant your website is relating to that particular keyword and also how trustworthy they think your site is. So first of all how does google determine how relevant your page is, having the search term you want to be found for in the page title, having the term appearing prominently and regularly on the page and having other sectors linking to your site. Secondly Google looks to see how trustworthy your site is, Google does this by assigning a quality score between 0-10 to every page it indexes. It’s called the Pagerank (PR), if you want to check your PR, you will need to download and install the Google toolbar.
In order to appear high in search results you need to optimise your site for relevant keywords. Use Google Ad Words free tool to research keywords that are relevant to your business and it will also allow you to see which keywords are more popular and see how a list of keywords might perform. This tool can will also suggest alternative or related terms you could target.
You should go under cover and look at key phrases on competitor sites that appear high up in results and look at their page titles to see which search terms they are targeting. You can also use Google keyword suggestions by typing in key search terms and Google will suggest keywords based on the most common terms that have been searched for previously. It was reported that 40% of searches are based on keyword suggestions so it is vital that you ensure you know which search terms relevant to your business are being suggested in order to increase more traffic to your website. Make sure when choosing what search terms you want to be found for, you use a mixture of high volume keywords and low volume keywords. What I mean by this is you should choose keywords that are searched for most often but also less competitive keywords that are not searched for as often.
Onsite optimisation is looking at how you can optimise the website itself to appear higher in organic search results. Keywords are very important here also. For e.g. you should allocate 2 or 3 search terms to each page and the content of the pages should match the search terms you are optimising for i.e. if you are promoting taxi rides for golfers then the page should be about golfing and taxi rides not taxi services for weddings.
Write Page Titles – first of all check your page title tags to see if they contain key search terms and that they are different on every page. Secondly look at your competitor’s websites and if the title tags are the same on every page you know that their site has not been optimised for search engines.
Page Title Tag –generally accepted rules as Google Algorithm is to place the most important terms and your company name into the title tag, place the most important term at the start as Google places the most importance on this. This means don’t place “Welcome” or your company name at the start. There is also a limit of 70 characters so try not to exceed this. The web developer will be able to do this for you once you give him/her your recommendations, to ensure the site is optimised from a marketing perspective. To view title tags, you must right click on the webpage and select “view source”
Write Description Tag – you should also write relevant description text, generally no more longer a ranking factor but it is very important in encouraging browsers to click on your search results. This description will be viewed by users in search results and appears just below the title, so ensure it is compelling and not just a list of keywords.
Internal Link Structure – what is important here is making sure the Google spiders can crawl and index your sit, to do this you must ensure it is easy for the spider to travel from the homepage to all there pages on the site via links. Things to do: insert links in the homepage text to key pages, have a sitemap which links to all pages of the site and ensure all pages have links to other pages of the site as this will enable the search engines spiders to keep moving around the site. You should also use some keywords in the link text to indicate to the spiders what the page is about.
Alt Image Tags – every image has a tag where you can input a description for what the image is about. If you however your mouse over images in a well optimised site you will see a tag appears briefly. Google reads the text in the same way as it reads normal text on the page. Therefore, you can place one keyword in each image tag and it increases the keyword density on the page.
Page Load Speed – Google wants to present the best search results. If a page takes too long to open then Google thinks it is not a great experience. Therefore you should avoid excessive use of Flash and large images that slow down a site and avoid too many plugins that have to download before the page loads. To check your page load speed go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
Ensure Content is indexable – Google cannot index text within images and web designers might but your headlines in a fancy font because it looks good but these fancy fonts will be within an image. If it is Google cannot read the text. Google LOVES content, what this means is that you should aim to have a minimum of 250 words per page, add new content to the site regularly as Google can see that new content has been added and it encourages the spiders to come back and index it more frequently. You should also aim to have lots of content that is relevant to the terms; the more it is consistent the more Google sees your page as being highly relevant to the search terms.
What you need to consider in offsite optimisation is geographic location, domain renewal period, link building and the impact of social media on SEO.
Geographic Location/Targeting – if you want to appear in google.ie search results you need to be seen as an Irish site. This can be achieved by either having a .ie domain as you can see that Charleville Chamber have a .i.e. domain to be seen as an Irish site or you can have a .com domain but you need to make sure your website is hosted on an Irish server. You should also consider setting your location in Google webmaster account. Please also consider in renewing your domain name for at least a 5 year period or more as Google sees this as an indication that you plan on being around and thus will increase their trust in your site.
Link Building – the various types of links include: one way links, reciprocal links, directory links and trusted directory links. The ideal links to have would be one way links, from sites with high page ranking (trusted sites) e.g. YouTube and also from sites within your sector (relevance)
The Importance of Anchor Text – if you have a back link pointing to your website and the text in the link says “Charleville Chamber” or www.charlevillechamber.ie then we are not maximising the value of the link. Instead you should try and have the search term as the anchor text e.g. social media marketing tips Ireland. Google can see the text in the link and the algorithm says “if other sites are linking to them using the term “social media marketing tips Ireland” then they must be relevant to that search term. If 20 sites link to us using that term then Google thinks that you will be Very Relevant for that term. This will boost your ranking.
Get Listed in Trusted Directories – for example Dmoz.org this is a handmade directory which means you must be checked out by an editor in order to be accepted. Google places so much trust in this and if your page is accepted your Page Rank Quality score will bump up quickly.
Some Link Building Ideas – get listed in authority directories e.g. Dmoz.org and also consider Yahoo directory and www.bestof theweb.com, look at competitor sites and see which sites are linking to them. Use Open Site Explorer tool to view these links and ask these sites for a link. You could also consider asking suppliers to link to you such as offering a customer testimonial on their site with a link to yours and maybe sponsor a local charity and ask for a link in return as many charities have a “thank you” page. You should also consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce and request a reciprocal link and writing your own blogs because by creating powerful content other sites will want to link to your site.
Impact of Social Media on SEO – social media is increasingly becoming a major factor in affecting Google search rank. You need to keep an eye out on if people are “sharing” your webpage because the more they do, the more Google will trust your site and you want people to press the “like” button and engage with you on your social media accounts.