DIY Search Engine Optimization

Ten Tips to improve your website’s Search Engine Performance

 If you’re using your website to sell a product or service a high ranking on search engines is an obvious plus. While we can help you with longer term planning and more complicated search engine optimisation campaigns there are plenty of ways you can increase your organic ranking on Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine quite easily without our help.

 1. Keywords

When writing the text for your website make sure to use approriate keywords through out your whole site in titles, content and image names. Decide what keywords people may use when they search for the information you provide and use them. Over-use of key words however can be damaging to rankings so don’t take it too far! Spiders are programmed to ignore the unethical practice of “keyword stuffing.” You won’t get away with it for long.

2. Update your site regularly

Keep the content on your website fresh and relevant. Return visits to frequently updated websites look good to search engines. People won’t return if the content is stale. We are building a lot of our clients html websites using WordPress. By programming the site in html to look and feel like a highly designed and interactive site we can benefit from the advantages of WordPress as a cost effective and user friendly CMS tool. It allows for easy updating of the website with new news stories, information and photographs. If you don’t have the budget for a new website at the moment, add a blog to your site and get blogging! Keep updating news stories and add fresh content regularly. It should also be standard practice to link back to your archives when you create new content.

 3. Social Media

Social media is not just for personal use. Set up Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Linked-In accounts for your business also and use them to distribute links to the new articles or content that you post on your website. This not only helps your performance in search engines but improves your relationship with your followers and keeps them informed of any updates your company has.

 4. Links

If people are talking about your site or recommending it, search engines pick up on this and it can sometimes help you move up in the rankings. Spiders crawl the web and recognise this. The more links you have from reputable websites the better. For example some companies have a “useful links tab” on their websites where they may include the website addresses of  companies that they recommend. It can sometimes be worthwhile to return the favour and include links on your website to other reputable websites. Be careful however of unsolicited requests to add links to your website. Make sure that the links are from reputable sites only, as links from disreputable sites or “link farms” can damage your ranking.

5. Image Tags

Spiders are unable to search text in images, only text. You should change the title of your images from Fig1.jpeg for example to something relevant to your chosen keywords. Adding an “ALT” tag allows you to include a keyword-rich description for any image on your website.

6. Add a Site Map to your website

Adding a site map or site index to your website makes it easier for spiders to search your site. Site maps can improve search engine optimization of a site by making sure that all the pages can be found. This is especially important if a site uses Adobe Flash or JavaScript menus that do not include HTML links.

7. Search-friendly URLs

By naming your URLs with clear keywords, you can make your site more search engine friendly. For example www.idea.ie/social-media-for-business/ is a much better way of writing a URL than www.idea.ie/11222999/ft389

8. Avoid using Flash

Websites built using Flash can look good but they are disastrous for Search Engine performance. Spiders do not recognise text on Flash images. Another reason not to use Flash is that it is not iPhone compatible.

9. Monitor your performance

Keep track of what keywords people are using to search for the service you offer. These can change and so the content of your site may need to change to suit. Measuring your website’s performance using Google Analytics will help you better understand who is visiting your site, where they are coming from and what they are interested in. It is also important to be aware of what visitors to your site are doing when they get there. Tracking how they move around your site can give you valuble information on what services or information you offer that  appeals to them.

 10. Get listed on Google Places

By creating a Google Places account, you are listed in Google Maps for searches. Your listing will feature your location, contact information, an image and details of your business.

 Improving your search engine performance is an organic ongoing process that requires an investment of time and effort. There is no quick fix and you must be realistic about the results. IDEA can help by assessing your overall online presence and developing a long-term plan that includes, as part of it, your website’s performance in search engines. Contact a member of the IDEA team to find out more.

Posted by Ciaran Fox on 6th February 2012