SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. In other words, it attempts to improve your rankings within the search engines. The way your ranking is decided is through Googlebot (Google’s web bot) who crawls to discover new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. When a user enters a query (i.e. design and digital), the search engine looks through the index for matching pages and returns the results that they see as most relevant to the user.
There are many factors that define your search engine ranking on Google, mainly decided through Page Rank, which is an algorithm used to rank websites in the search engine results each year. The algorithm changes 500-600 times per year, but there are some things that can be done to ensure maximum chance of people finding your content.
1. Content is king
The single best way to improve your content is to write good content – it’s as simple as that. If what you’re talking about is readworthy and relevant, more people will read it, meaning more traffic is driven to your site. All the tips and tricks in the world are pointless if your content is not worth reading. Once you’ve done this, you can also consider making your content:
If your content is not very well-written, likeable and therefore shareable, it won’t rank very highly.
There is a popular assumption that only short content gets read whilst long content gets tossed aside. In truth, long, informative content that is rich in relevance and filled with good information tends to rank significantly higher on Google’s pages.
This will allow your content to be found by the people that are looking for what you have to offer.
Meta title tags
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. It is the first impression both search engines and people have of your page and the optimal format goes something like this:
Primary Keyword(s) – Secondary Keyword(s) | Brand Name
OR 5 SEO Tips to Improve Organic Rankings – Graphics, Web Design and Digital Marketing | JUMP
This is important for:
Search engine result pages
Your title tag determines (with a few exceptions) your display title in SERPs, and is a search visitor’s first experience of your site. Even if your search ranks well, a good title can be the make-or-break factor in determining whether or not someone clicks on your link.
Your title tag is also displayed at the top of your web browser and acts as a placeholder, especially for people who have many browser tabs open. Easily recognisable titles with important keywords near the front make sure that people don’t lose track of your content.
Some external websites, especially social networks, will use your title tag to determine what to display when you share that page.
Meta descriptions are HTML elements that concisely summarise the web page. They are the first impression both search engines and users have of your page. It also acts as extra advertising space in SERPs. The ideal description length is no longer than 160 characters. Any longer and they will be truncated.
Note: Google announced in 2009 that meta descriptions and meta keywords are not factors in its ranking algorithms. They are however still an effective way to get users onto a website.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locators and is human-readable text designed to replace IP addresses that computers use to communicate with servers: http://www.example.com/category-keyword/subcategory-keyword/primary-keyword.html
This is important for:
Improved user experience
Optimised URLs provide both humans and search engines with an easy to understand indication of what the destination page is all about.
On mobile searches, you may notice that the URL is replaced with a breadcrumb path. Google is taking it on to create this.
URLs are one of many ranking factors that search engines use to determine a particular page relevance to a search query so make sure page keywords are within the URL when possible.
Links and readability
Copied and pasted into forums, blogs, social media or other stuff. Some websites may leave links unformatted.
4. Optimising images
Choosing the correct image:
Strength: versatile, small file size
Weakness: loss of the fine details
Best use: full colour photographs
Strength: small file size, allows for animation
Weakness: loss of quality of photographs
Best use: icons, graphics with few colours
Strength: versatile, supports transparency
Weakness: larger file size, doesn’t support CMYK
Best use: graphical elements
Use informative file names
The more detailed and informative your filenames, the better search engines can understand the subject matter of youe image. For example, my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG.
Provide ALT text
Lastly, it is important to provide ALT text for several reasons. It is used to describe the contents of an image file which helps to determine the best image to return for a user’s query. This is also great for visually-impaired users or users who have screen-readers as it provides them with more information about the image, which can be vital to them using a webpage.
Not good: < img src=”image.jpg” alt=”” >
Better: < img src=” image.jpg” alt=”puppy >
Best: < img src=”image.jpg” alt=”Dalmatian pupply playing fetch” >
Links are yet another important source of ranking power. You should always make sure each link is relevant to the particular webpage it is linking to.
– Help to navigate people around your site in a targeted fashion
– Provides your audience with further reading options encourages people to stay on your site reducing bounce rates
– Helps Google crawl to index your site and tells Google (and visitors) that a particular page of content is important
– Provides “link juice: (ranking power) differently to internal links as search engines consider them as third-party votes
– “Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.”
Find out more about Simon and his role at JUMP here.