SEO Primer - A Beginner Guide to Search Engine Optimisation
Getting your website indexed and ranking high in the various search engines is important for bringing traffic to your website. This starter guide will give you advice on how to choose the best keywords for your website and how to use those keywords effectively.
The first step to effective SEO is deciding on what keywords to focus on for your website. The important thing to bear in mind when choosing keywords is to keep the number of keywords per page as low as possible as this will make the SEO for your website more focused. By using a small number of focused keywords you increase the odds of each page in your website appearing on page one of the search results whereas using too many varied keywords will dilute SEO effort and will likely result in lower rankings for each of those pages/keywords. The smaller the website (as in the number of pages) the more important it is to be selective with your keywords. Bigger websites with more pages can afford to deviate more with a higher variety of keywords used across sub pages.
What keywords to use?
If you are not sure what keywords to use here are some general tips that are suitable for most websites:
- Your business name. The number one thing you should aim to rank well for is your business name/website name. This is especially important for returning visitors/customers or people who are already aware of your business but don’t know your exact website address. Fortunately it is usually easy to rank well for a business name as they tend to be unique and often a websites domain name will contain the business name which will give additional SEO weight to the website name.
- The second most important keywords to choose are those that represent your products or services. This is what people will search for who don’t know what website or business to use and are trying to source a service provider or product. This is what will bring in new visitors and potential customers to your website. If for example you are selling Blue Widgets you might want to use keywords like “Blue Widgets” “Buy Blue Widgets” “Blue Widgets Dublin” (see GEO targeting below).
- GEO targeted keywords. This simply means including your town, city, county or country in your keywords. By doing this you can rank higher for localised searches. For example if your business was called “Blue Widget Company” there may be other websites or companies in other countries with the same or similar business name. By choosing “Blue Widget Company Ireland” you can help your website rank higher than other websites for blue widget searches in Ireland and for searches that contain the keyword “Ireland”. You can also apply GEO targeting keywords to your products/services, for example you could have keywords for “Blue Widgets” and more geo targeted keywords like “Blue Widgets Dublin” or “Blue Widgets Ireland”. Once again it is important to be selective so don’t try to over reach with too many locations in your keywords.
One of the most important rules in effective SEO is to stay focused. In 2014 Google had over 30,000,000,000,000 web pages indexed. This is a huge number of web pages and many of those pages are likely to be competing for the same or similar keywords as your own website. By staying focused you can bring your web pages higher up in the results for particular keywords instead of lost in the lower rankings. As a website ages and grows in size it will build reputation and more varied keywords can be added to new pages but when launching a new website it is important to stay more focused.
Optimising Page Content
Once you have chosen your keywords you will need to include them in the text content on your website. If you can’t work a keyword into your page content then you should reconsider the keyword you have chosen as it might not be appropriate or accurate to what the page is about. Whilst keywords can be added to keyword fields, image tags and other behind the scenes or lower-visibility elements on the page the most effective SEO benefit will come from the visible text content on the page. Google gives more credence to keywords in visible text to circumvent keyword spamming and return more accurate search results.
MGS Web Design can help you choose the best keywords for your website and ensure every page is optimised safely and correctly.
Choosing keywords and search optimising pages is the first step of effectively marketing a website online. A complete long term marketing strategy can include link development, an active social media presence and paid online advertising.