It’s no surprise that regularly redesigning your website to update content, indexing and page structure can have a tremendous positive impact on the continued success of your business. The reason that the design and structure of your website can increase traffic is because the changes are likely to result in search engine optimization. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of modifying a website to enhance its chances of appearing in the top search results when relevant key words are entered into a search engine. In other words, it’s one of the most effective ways of increasing the volume of traffic and incidental visitors to your website, which at the end of the day means more new customers or clients for you.
SEO is a huge area of knowledge which can make a big difference to the online profile and real world results of your business, but it’s also a practice where it is easy to make errors. To get you started, here are eight must-know tips for any website owner…
1. Choose the right domain name: The first thing that you should do for seo is research and brainstorm the top five phrases or words that relate to your company. You may find that Google Adwords, and other similar programs available online, provide free key word searches that can help you to narrow the field down to the most key-word rich domain names for websites advertising your industry. Once you have a few options to choose from, be sure that your final choice of domain name is one that is brief and will be easy to type and to remember.
2. Include smart title tags: Only slightly less important for seo than your domain name are the titles that you give to each indexed page of your website. As a website owner, the titles on your web page are one of the most valuable tools you have to control search rankings. Make sure that the key words you use in your headings are carefully chosen for relevance as well as sense. Your title needs to be a well-constructed sentence as well as incorporating key words – it can’t simply be a list of them.
3. Use headings to get ahead: The headings and subheadings you include in your content are also important for seo because they are used by search engines to determine the content and context of your website. As with the page titles, you should include key words in your headings, while being careful not to over ‘stuff’ them with the result that they appear to be spam and could have your site penalised.
4. Include keyword rich content: Seo can be achieved by placing keywords and keyword phrases throughout the content of your website – but not too often. One method of achieving the right key word density is to include them approximately once in each paragraph. There are many free keyword density tools available online, however, as a general rule, keyword density should be around three to six percent as higher than seven percent can be considered ‘spamming’ or ‘stuffing’ and may earn penalties.
5. Visually emphasise keywords. As well as including key words throughout your website wherever is reasonably possible, making them stand out in your content will boost seo. Search engines automatically give more weight to key words if they are visually emphasised using bold text. It is important to remember to only make bold your key words, however, not supporting words, otherwise the impact will be lost.
6. Provide clear and functional navigation. Including a clear sitemap or text link navigation in your website will ensure that it is maximally search engine friendly. A website with well-structured navigation and correct internal navigation is more likely to be indexed by search engines in its entirety which is a great way to increase seo.
7. Include key word rich links. If your website includes links to other pages on your website, or links to other websites, make sure that relevant key words are included in the anchor text. Providing key word rich links will mean that visitors to your site know what the link contains, and also performs the same function for search engines thus powering seo.
8. Sidestep flash features. Unless your website necessarily includes complex design elements, including flash in your web development plan can cause problems for seo. Flash does not show up in search results and does not run on most smart phones and personal wireless devices. When it comes to redeveloping your website, video, rather than flash, is a feature that is successful in capturing the attention of your customers and is also very search-friendly for your seo purposes.
Guest Bio: John is working as a freelance writer for Infinite IT Solutions which is a web design company based in Melbourne, Australia