Back to basics: What can I do to improve my seo?

There are so many websites offering advice and guidance on how to improve your website’s rankings. This post touches on the basic things you should consider to improve your rankings.

Use a unique title and description
It is surprising how many people avoid using the title tag. Sometimes, in fact very often, people put one word into the title tag, but it should be used in full. What is the subject of this page? How can I say what this page is in one or two short sentences? Use these questions to make full use of the title tag.
Keep the title and description clear, concise and written with an interesting angle. Does the title and description grab a person’s attention? Would a person click through the search engine results page (SERP) and visit this page?
Strictly speaking a title tag is not meta data, or data about data, but search engines do use it. If search engines use it, you should too.
Use proper semantic code
There are lots of websites offering tips on how to write good HTML (semantic code). As a tip, use proper tags. If it’s a paragraph, tag is as a paragraph. Equally so, if it’s a main heading, tag it as a heading 1 tag, a sub heading, tag it as a heading 2 tag….
Think about the page layout. Does your site have an excellent structure? Is it clear? Do you help ‘scanners’ (i.e. include bullet points)? Does your HTML code follow best practices (i.e. do you only use one h1 tag? Followed by h2’s and h3-4s)?
Think about the user of your website
Would you say your site is user friendly? Do you put the user first, followed by seo second?
Search engines are getting clever because they recognise what most of the content is on your site. They do not mine all of it, but they have a fair idea what a webpage is actually about (i.e. term frequency etc). If you have good content, and semantic code relating to this content, you are putting the user at the focus of the site. Search engines like user focused websites.
If you are bored and want something to do, read your own website. Does the writing make sense? Is it easy, be honest, to navigate and read information? Do you ask a question as a heading, for example, and answer it in the body of the text? Is this answer clear? These sorts of questions allow you to start putting the user as the focus of your site.
Images and other ‘hidden’ content
Search engines cannot see pictures. For this reason meta data is important so search engines can read the pictures on your site. Does each image on your site include targeted keywords within the image’s name? Do you use alt text to explain what an image is?

I hope to expand on this post in the near future. I hope it was useful. Why have a great website if no one can find it?!

This post was updated on Sunday, 10th Feb 2013 (20:05) after an experienced visitor commented on my content (and points).

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4 responses to “Back to basics: What can I do to improve my seo?

  1. Great start. Don’t forget to include that each page needs a unique title and the description. Keep it clear and concise and written in a way to peak the users interest so they will want to click through the SERP and see the content on your site.

    Optimize images: Use your targeted keywords/phrases in the image name. Also, if you have an image on your site then use the ALT text to explain to the search engines what the image contains. This will help you increase your content to code ratio.

    Go beyond the semantics and think through the page structure and layout. Include the H1 – H3 tags in a way to identify the main topics and supporting points so that the SE’s can follow the semantic structure of your site.

    • Thank you very much for sharing your excellent advice, Christi.
      I will update this post (with your suggestions) on Sunday. If that’s ok with you?
      Gerald
      Ps, thanks for taking the time to read my blog

  2. Great advice on the proper use of HTML tags. Even people with little experience in web design should have a basic understanding of HTML to assist with their SEO.

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