Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of maximising the number of visits your website receives via natural search results. The theory behind it being that the higher you are on a search engine page, the more visitors the site will achieve.
There are several standard techniques to remember when optimising your website for SEO.
Having an Effective Navigation
The navigation must be properly structured with links and titles relevant to the content they are directing the user to. Also pay attention to ensuring:
- All links are working
- Pages have content
Good Site Structure
Site structure will dictate how the search engine spider bots read your site, what information they gather, and what content is the most important. Website sections should be organised according to
Good Code Structure
Applying the appropriate tags and attributes to all relevant sections of your webpage; including tables, images, forms and links provides a powerful SEO boost. For example, making proper use of:
- META tags
- Title attribute
- Alt Tags
- Header tags (H1 H2 H3 etc)
Manage your Content
Research relevant keywords that can be used through the content of the website. A general rule of thumb to go by, is to keep the keyword density to around 3 and 8 percent (according to Google) any more than this risks the search engines logging you as spam and/or your users not being able to read content. Site Map Having a site map on a website is one of the W3C rules for web design and their importance is often underestimated. In its HTML form, it is a comprehensive list of all the website links, as well as giving an indication of the importance of each page in relation to each other.
Submitting Your Site Map to Google
A step which is often missed is submitting a website sitemap to a search engine itself. This is usually done in XML form and has several advantages including the:
- Most recent modifications
- Page Changes
- Page importance
- More detailed information than the standard HTML sitemap
Conforming to the W3C Consortium
Conforming to web standards set out by the W3C consortium is, in general, a good practice. However, it also has an effect on your SEO ranking. A good, well built and coded site leads to visitors staying, following, linking, and returning as they are comfortable to navigate and understand your website. If you have a particularly badly coded website it can lead to search engine crawlers abandoning your site completely; depending on how bad your site’s mark-up really is!
Currently the average size of a webpage is 320KB and this, on average, takes 5 seconds to download. One of Google’s long-term aims, is to reduce this loading time and make the whole of the web a faster place. Google offer a dedicated service for testing the load speed of your page called coincidently enough Page Speed. Page speed calculates your sites load speed and gives it a rating out of 100; it then advises on how elements can be improved. Examples range from compressing Javablocked and CSS files, to not scaling images on the fly in the code.
Google Analytics allows the web master of a site to monitor web traffic, marketing effectiveness, and detailed statistics about visitors to the website. The most popular sections of the site can be analysed to see which parts are performing the best or vice versa. This allows the web master to determine where visitors are looking and if they are looking in the right place first. If not, then perhaps the keyword set up needs tweaking.
So in summary, making use of more than one SEO technique is highly advised. One cannot give you a top ranking. Good site structure, good coding practice and the use of the right tools is paramount to SEO success.