Earlier this week, Matt Cutts (who works for Google) released this short five minute video, which has some basic tips for beginners on Search Engine Optimisation (or “SEO”).
The tips include:
- Ensure your website is crawlable, i.e. can Google actually see your website and the words on it? Thankfully very few websites now use Flash now, which Google couldn’t see or index (in the same way iPhone or iPad users can’t see Flash content!).
- Include useful content on your website’s pages and describe what you actually do, so it helps people find you. For example, if you’re a business in Southend-on-Sea, ensure that your website actually mentions the place Southend-on-Sea in a prominent position! Think about the terms people are going to use in Google to search for your business.
- Market your website broadly. The more people are talking about your website (e.g. via social media, in newspapers, etc), the more likely your search engine rankings will improve too.
- Use and pay attention to your page title and meta description. These are HTML codes that help display your website pages better in search engine results. In the Google results example below, we’ve specified our own page title in the blue heading, which is the title of this blog, followed by our company name. In the top example, Google would have automatically generated a description and it would have looked something like this (shown in grey). In the bottom example (shown in black), we’ve written our own custom description, which is a bit more user-friendly and will help our article get noticed more (and encourage more clicks to our website!).
- Use online tools and analytics available to you, which includes Google Webmaster Tools. These can help identify any issues with your website and help remedy them. You should also be looking at your website’s visitor statistics to find out how people are finding your website and, more importantly, think of new ways to help people find you!
The video above is well worth a watch. Matt is head of Google’s Webspam team, which means his job is to help improve the results you see when searching for things on Google. His team also looks at ways people are trying to fool Google to get their websites ranked high and, more often than not, those websites get penalised or blocked! However, if you follow our and Matt’s tips above, you won’t go wrong!
Mike founded Primary Image in 2010. He specialises in the WordPress website platform and speaks regularly at national web design conferences. Mike became a member (MCIPR) of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in 2015.
Hello:- I’m interested in the point about META tags. I didn’t think search engines really cared about them anymore. Is this true?
Hi Geoffrey, yes Meta tags are still important, but primarily your page title tag (which Google will normally use to display the page in the search results) and the Meta description tag (which again Google will often use, unless the author abuses the description tag and puts lots of useless information in there, or if the search query was very different to what’s in the Meta description tag). Google will, however, ignore the keywords Meta tag – this is pretty much obsolete now. Hope that answers your question! Joe