Whenever we are looking for a product or services, most of us now immediately turn to a quick search on Google to find the information we need. The ubiquitous smartphone also means most of us can perform these searches wherever we are – even on the move. Whilst our increasingly online world has created huge opportunities for businesses to be seen, like never before, there can be challenges, especially for smaller businesses competing for visibility against companies with more money to throw at the problem!
So – how can you make sure your website is visible in such a vast sea of competing information?
Get the basics right
Making sure the fundamental elements of your site are properly set up to enable search engines to index them is the first step to maximising your chances of appearing on Page 1 of Google for your chosen keywords and search terms. Page URL’s, meta descriptions, title tags, alt image tags and structured data are all important parts of the overall picture of how your website is viewed by search engines. Pay attention to page loading speed, as slow loading sites perform less well in search. You should also make sure your website is responsive and mobile friendly.
Look at page descriptions and title tags
Page descriptions and title tags are an important part of the architecture of your web pages. They help search engines to understand the information which is available on the page as well as the purpose of those pages. With an increasing focus of search engines on the intent of the searcher – it is important to make sure that the purpose of your pages is clear, as well as the information on them. Ideally, the page descriptions should be different for each of the pages on your site. Title tags also create the headline for the search engine result so make sure you think about them in terms of how they will look in search results.
Use Alt Image tags
An alt image tag is a way of labelling an image on the page which may not be able to be viewed and should describe what is in the image. Search engines like Google use the information in image tags to identify how that image relates to what other information is on the page so again, ideally, utilise your keywords here if you can. Focus on making sure the alt image tags are descriptive as well as keyword rich.
Pay attention to URLs
If you are using a CMS to create content pages for your website, don’t just accept an automatically generated URL. Ideally you would want your URL to be descriptive and readable for the searcher to be able to identify basically what is on the page from the URL. Ideally, the URL will also be concise (shorter URLs are easier to share). Avoid characters like %, @ or & as these make your URL less easily readable for search engines.
For further reading on the more technical aspects of SEO have a look at our blog post ‘On page Search Engine Optimisation’
Optimise the content on all your site pages
Making sure that the pages on your site which you want people to find are well optimised with high quality content is a must for achieving visibility in search engines. This is quite a task in itself and should always be thought of as an ongoing process rather than something which is done once and then forgotten. Regularly publishing high quality, information rich content on your website is one of the most effective things you can do when you are focussing on search engine visibility.
How do you define high quality content?
High quality content is not an exact science, but, Google does have a set of search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEV) which are used by real humans at Google to assess the quality of content on the web pages. This is a direct factor in how those pages rank in search. Google evaluators are looking for pages to have what they term ‘beneficial purpose’ so the content on those pages needs to be considered beneficial to the searcher in order for the page to rank well in Google search.
Thinking about search intent and what information people are looking for when they arrive on your pages is a good place to start. Most people search for information online before committing to buying a particular product or service.
To assess whether your content is of a high quality, some questions to ask yourself initially would be:
- Does your content answer common questions about your product or service?
- Have you fully covered the topic?
- Are you providing readers with the most up to date information?
- Are you using language which is easy to read and understand?
- Is your content well written and free of typos and mistakes?
- Is your content unique?
- Have you included information on your sources, credentials or research if necessary?
If you are able to answer yes to these questions, you will have covered most of the criteria for content quality. You can find out more about content quality and beneficial purpose by reading ‘EAT, YMYL, SEO and beneficial purpose’ on our blog.
If you would like more information on how to improve search engine visibility and start getting your website noticed online, visit our website to get a free website health check and SEO audit. This will help to identify any issues which may be affecting your website’s performance and provide you with actionable steps to fix them.
Further reading on our blog:
Consistency in digital marketing
The benefits of long-form content for SEO
Keyword research and why it’s important