Search optimization for your online business can be broken down into two main categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. To help you optimise your site we’ve collected together 5 of our top tips for better on-page and off-page SEO.
On Page SEO
- Use internal links within your site Search engines crawl your site by finding links on a page and following them. Then they rank a page by the number of other pages linking to it (this is an over-simplification, to illustrate the general idea). In order that all your pages can be found, make sure that they all have at least one link from somewhere else on your site. Inbound links are less important than links from other highly-ranked sites, but they still hold importance.
- Use page titles effectively The
titletag should appear in the
headsection of all of your HTML pages. Your page’s title should contain more than just the name of your business. Use the title attribute to emphasise what your business actually does, and possibly your location as well as the name, as these are the things people will be searching for. For example, if you run a plumbing business in South East London, your title could be ‘joe bloggs south east london plumbing services’. Now, anyone searching for ‘south east london plumbers’ has a better chance of finding your site.
- Choose a domain extension base on your audience’s geographical location Like many SEO tips, this is just common business sense; you probably already have a general idea of where your target customer is located. You should choose a domain name that reflects this, e.g. if your customers tend to come from the UK, you should try to get a .uk domain name.
- Use ‘friendly URLs’ Friendly URLs are human-readable web addresses. Your URLs should be keyword-rich and descriptive of a page’s content. For instance, instead of linking to a page with an anonymous ID, like so ‘www.joebloggsplumbing.co.uk/13.html’, consider adding a descriptive element such as, ‘www.joebloggsplumbing.co.uk/plumbing-services/home-repairs.html’. Separate keywords with dashes, not underscores.
- Use keywords in your meta tags, particularly the meta description tag Search engines will pay very little if any attention to the meta keywords tag, but the meta description tag is still important. The content of this tag is used to display a description of your site when in the list of search results. The description should be concise, accurate, and understandable to a lay-person.
Off Page SEO
- Article Marketing One of the best ways to start getting links to your site is through article marketing. Articles are typically 400 to 800 words long and appear on article directory sites. They should contain all your keywords and links to your site, and subtly advertise your services. Be very careful not to copy material from other sites; search engines will penalise this.
- Submit your site to search engines The ‘big three’, Google, Yahoo! and Bing, provide free tools for submitting your site to their listings. This is no guarantee of acceptance by search engines or of rankings, but it can help your site appear in search results more quickly.
- Submit your site to directory sites Many local business directories allow you to list your business for free. Some directories act as hubs for other, smaller directories. So, concentrate on finding the hub directories that smaller directories use to build their own content. In this way your listing in the larger directories will be propagated to smaller directory sites.
- Trade links with other sites Some site owners will offer to trade links with you, or you could consider purchasing links from a site back to your site. If you do this, ensure you target sites with high page rank.
- Build quality content Most importantly of all, concentrate on writing really great content that people will actually WANT to share and link to.