If you want your website to rank anywhere near the top of Google, you need to design it with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind from the very start.
SEO is the practice of optimising a website to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). The ultimate goal of SEO is to attract more visitors to a website without relying on paid advertisements.
SEO’s been around since the early nineties, and it’s become more and more important since then. With over a billion websites out there (yes, really), you’ve got a lot of competition to go up against!
An effective SEO strategy requires a lot of hard work, but there are a few simple steps you can take to get started. Read on to discover 5 easy things you can do to get your website ranking!
1. Carry out keyword research
In SEO, keywords are the words or phrases people type into search engines when looking for something. If someone was looking to get a leaking pipe fixed, for example, they might type in ‘plumbers near me’ - that would be their keyword.
Keywords are crucial in SEO, and how you use them has a major impact on your search engine rankings. This is because they help search engines understand the content and relevance of your web pages.
A good first step on your SEO journey is to carry out keyword research. This will help you discover the keywords that are relevant to your website's content, have a reasonable search volume (number of searches per month), and are not overly competitive. Some of the most popular keyword research tools are SEMRush, SE Ranking, and AnswerThePublic.
By identifying the right keywords, you can understand the terminology your target audience uses, and optimise your website's content accordingly.
2. Add your keywords to your content
Now that you know what keywords you want to target, you can start optimising your website for them!
In the early days of internet marketing, you used to be able to boost your SEO by putting your keywords anywhere and everywhere - an act known as ‘keyword stuffing’. Google’s algorithms have since evolved to recognise and penalise keyword stuffing, so you’ll need to take a different approach.
The best way to optimise your content is to integrate your keywords naturally throughout. You can do this by placing them in the:
- Page title
- Headings (H2s, H3s, etc)
- Body text
- Alt tags and file names
- Meta title and meta description
Remember: it’s quality, not quantity. Try not to use your keyword more than once per 200 words of copy, and make sure they don’t feel forced or unnatural in your text.
3. Use SEO-friendly URLs
It’s easy to overlook your URLs, but they’re more important to SEO than you might think. Search engines use URLs to understand the content of your webpages and determine their rankings, while users rely on them to gauge the trustworthiness of your site and get an idea of what it’s about.
By making your URLs clear and user-friendly, you’ll provide valuable information about your content and establish trust with your audience. Here are some good rules to keep in mind when writing one:
- Keep it short and readable
- Include your keyword(s)
- Avoid using excessive numbers or symbols
- Use hyphens (-) rather than underscores (_) or spaces between words
4. Compress image files
No one wants to wait an age for a website to load. Not only do slow loading times scare off potential customers, but they can cause your SEO to take a serious dive.
Large image files take much longer to process than text, making them one of the biggest culprits of slow loading times. Luckily, this is easy to avoid - put your images in smaller formats (such as JPG) and use a free tool like TinyPNG or Optimizilla to shrink them without compromising quality. This will make them load much faster on your website, speeding up your page speed significantly.
5. Optimise your meta title and meta description
Finally, you have your meta title and meta description. These are the snippets that appear in the SERPs to provide users with a preview of what they can expect if they click on the link.
The meta title specifies the title of a web page. It appears as the clickable headline in the SERP, and is displayed at the top of the browser window when the page is opened. The meta description goes beneath it on the SERP, and provides a brief summary of a web page's content. While it doesn't directly determine search engine rankings, a well-crafted meta description can have a big influence on your site’s click-through rates.
Your meta title should be concise, attention-grabbing, and accurately reflect the content of your page. You should include your keywords naturally, ideally towards the beginning so they catch the attention of both search engines and users. Your meta description, on the other hand, should be a compelling summary of the content of the page. Use action-oriented language and include a call-to-action when appropriate.
Keep your meta title within the recommended length of 50-60 characters (including spaces), and your meta description within the recommended length of 150-160 characters. This will make sure they don’t get cut off in the SERPs.
Don’t forget to give each page on your website a unique meta title and meta description - duplicating them across multiple pages can confuse search engines and lead to lower rankings.
Supercharge your web design’s SEO with b4b marketing
Remember, these are just a few starting points. An SEO strategy is a complex, ever-changing beast that requires constant monitoring and refreshing, so it’s natural to feel a bit daunted by it.
Not to worry. If you want to boost your website’s SERP rankings but don’t have the time or expertise to do it all yourself, we’ve got you covered.
b4b’s team of web designers and SEO experts in Bournemouth have been creating stylish, SEO-optimised websites for over a decade. We know all the ins and outs of SEO, from writing SEO-friendly content to optimising the behind-the-scenes tech. Whether you’re looking to improve the ranking of your current site or have a brand-new one built from scratch, you can trust us to get the job done right.
Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Reach out to us online or call us on 01202 684400 today! We’d love to chat with you about our web design and SEO services, so feel free to get in touch - we’re always here to help.