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.
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?
- 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.
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).
- “gerald murphy manchester metropolitan university” (within the first few weeks)
- this returned a hit because I have used each of these words on this blog. In fact, these words are enclosed in heading tags, as well as, strong tags.
- This search was generated at the end of November 2012. The hashtag suggests that someone was miming social media, and by doing so, my reblogged post on the free and open internet got picked up. Hence the hit.
- “gerald murphy information and communication”
- Just like the first point (above) a searcher landed on my blog, at the start of Dec, because each of these words appear on posts within this blog. Furthermore, they appear in the heading tags, or are enclosed in strong tags within paragraph tags.
How to improve your blog rankings
The first thing to do is register your blog to common search engines. You can do this via the WebMaster tools/settings. By doing so, search engines will send their bots to your site. These bots will gather information on your blog. You can make their work easier by using the proper tags in your HTML (heading tags, strong, emphasis etc).
By using proper HTML you can also place more value on your terms. If there is an important word (or phrase) place in in the heading. If you can think of few words to describe the whole post, place these in the title. If you want to help readers to scan your blog, put the important terms in bold (use the strong tag, not b). This is discussed in the SEO post last week.
Blogs are personal, not necessarily corporate
Traffic is good so long as it is relevant traffic. In other words, the focus should be on quality, not quantity because you want relevant searchers rather than a mass of frustrated searchers who land on your blog by accident. This blog, for example, is unlikely to get many hits, but it is likely to get many relevant hits. If a person searches for anything related to search engine technology, SEO and my name they will be directed to this blog. They are likely to know of me, if they don’t already know me.
Corporate companies, for this reason, are always looking a mass number of hits because they are well known, unlike Gerald Murphy!
Search Engine Optimisation (abbreviated as SEO) is the ability to find websites on the Web by searching for keywords. True SEO is focusing on organic searches because the results are all related to the term(s) that have been searched, rather than displaying Pay Per Click results. One of the latest developments is Academic SEO because it makes various formats (e.g. media, PDF etc.) easily found .
Using the correct keywords allows you to be found. If you are using the wrong keywords, you will not have a lot of hits.
How do people find my blog?
The best way is to learn some basic HTML. Put a title on every post, use headings on each post, make important words/terms in bold. This will also help scanners to read your blog! The image below should get you started on good HTML practices.
How to use HTML on a blog or website
How do people find geraldmurphysearch?
- A “gerald murphy manchester metropolitan university” search will direct you to this blog, but why?
- Short answer: by following good use of HTML. The detailed answer: I have posted a post with my name which was enclosed in a heading 1 tag, and it has been inserted in a title tag, as well as being printed in bold (or strong).
- This meant that search engines could interpret these words as being important. For example, a heading 1 tag indicates that these words are related to the body of the text. Whereas the title keywords indicate what the whole document is about: what is this post saying?
- Use the WebMaster tools
- The blog is registered with search engine bots (the programs which scan and read the HTML tags and content) via the web-master tools under the settings tap of WordPress (see image below). This means that bots visit this blog from time to time, doing a quick scan of what tags I have, and index them so people can search for them.
Where to find the WebMaster settings on WordPress?
How do you improve your rankings?
Organic searches take a little time, but a good place to start is with your HTML. You don’t need to be a technie person to use HTML. HTML is just the start, one you write a post ask yourself:
How can I sum up this post using 5-10 words?
Write these words as tags. Next, ask yourself does the title tag sum up the whole post? Are the most important terms in the heading tag?
This post, for example, might be displayed for the following search terms “how to improve search engine optimisation rankings”. Hopefully you know why*?!
- Beel, J., Gipp, B., WildeAcademic, E. (2010) Search Engine Optimization (ASEO): Optimizing Scholarly Literature for Google Scholar & Co. [PDF available on this link]
* SEO is in the title tag (title of the post), “improve” and “rankings” are in a heading tags.