Time and time again, we see basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) principles overlooked during the website development process. Neglecting SEO at this stage can have far-reaching consequences, which is why we’ve put together some top tips on how to avoid getting yourself stuck in this sort of rut.
Missing basic principles of SEO during the website development process can result in a website not having a strong base to work on for building search engine ranking and online presence. Through the implementation of these Search Engine Optimisation principles, the way a website has been built can really complement and enhance its future SEO, thereby providing an inherent boost to its search ranking performance. Implementing the very best practices during the early stages of the web build will provide something of a ‘safety blanket’ for the site as it starts to develop its own SEO profile, so there is no doubt that it is worth taking into consideration.
So what are these best practices? There are a few. However, below we’ve put together 5 key practices that we believe will help give you a great starting point:
- First Things First – Mobile Friendly – This constitutes an increased workload for your website developer. With another ‘Mobilegeddon’ update from Google in 2017 and mobile devices accounting for just over 18bn users online globally, mobile devices have overtaken desktops and laptops in terms of time spent on screens by 0.4 hours per day (at the time of writing). It’s clear to see the trend in using mobile devices to browse the web, so the importance of ensuring your company website is mobile friendly ought to be apparent. Optimising your site for mobile ought to improve its ranking performance on mobile web searches, so make sure you bear that in mind when creating a new site or planning your SEO strategy.
Furthermore, whilst ensuring your website is mobile friendly, there are 4 other best practices you ought to be looking at and implementing in order to ensure a consistent and coherent SEO strategy for your website. These practices are as follows:
- H tags being in correct order -H tags are used to organise and style the content on your website. Naturally, at the homepage level, your logo will be attributed to the H1 tag, your slider banner will be the H2 tag and so on. At the product page level, the title page may be attributed with the H1 and the product hierarchy attributed with the H2 to H5 tags. The importance of H tags is not purely aesthetic, however. Google bots use H tags to help determine a pages subject matter and if these Search bots cannot find H tags then it has less to go on. What’s more, if H tags are used incorrectly or in the wrong order then Google will be unsuer how you wish your content to be prioritised, which may make it more difficult for it to rank a website properly. Making life hard for search engines (especially Google) is a big no-no, so why not make it easy for them? It’s not hard to organise your content with the correct tags and it will allow search engines to rank your content in the best possible way, thereby increasing potential web traffic volumes and conversions!
- Image Alt. Tags – explain, explain, explain! In order to get by in life, especially within search engine ranking, you need to tell search engines (especially Google) everything regarding your site (or at least let them know what you want them to rank and what it is that they’re ranking). This means using your image alt. tags! Alt. tags are used to let search engines know what an image’s contents are and will also be displayed should the image break, for whatever reason. It’s important to be descriptive and precise, however, as it’s no good having an image of an Audi R8 V10 and simply typing ‘shiny car’ as the Alt. tag. Add context to your description – ‘image of a 2015 Audi R8 V10 ‘ this tells search engines exactly what the image is and where it needs to be found in the search in order to increase your websites exposure – Imperative for SEO strategies!
- Meaningful Page & Meta Titles – an age-old trick, nothing new, but as we are talking about the best practices it makes sense to mention them. From a customer engagement perspective, you want to showcase what you know but in a way that is unique compared to your competitors. What you need is something that engages your audience and entices them to click through to view the content within your website. Creating meaningful or catchy page titles and Meta titles can be a very good way of achieving this.
For example, an energy services company might want their ‘Services’ page title to be more enticing when looked at from a consumer perspective, and they may wish to use this page to target a very specific type of traffic. One way some might achieve this is by changing their ‘Services’ page title to ‘What we do’, in order to appear less formal and more engaging. Furthermore, in order to drive leads through customers contacting them via the website, the energy services company will want to be consistent with their welcoming and engaging approach. In doing so, they alter their formal ‘Contact us’ page title to something less formal such as ‘Come Say Hi’, this makes the audience feel more comfortable about visiting the page (even if it’s just to browse) and most importantly, approachable.
- Audit Files – Make things move quicker! A frequent quick fix we’re seeing is – auditing of files; we see so many speed issues with website loading and far too many ‘http requests’ or ‘JSS minification’ issues. However, there are simple fixes to this:
- Combine stylesheets/scripts into a CCS (Cascading Style Sheet) file. This will shrink ‘http requests’ and in turn the websites loading speed;
- Look at your images file size and the space that the image is sitting in. The image size must be relevant to this and whether or not they’re being shown on a retina display. Saving these files in the correct sizes can be an easy and quick way of shrinking image file sizes and increasing their loading speed, in turn helping the websites load speed;
So there we are, 5 best practices to get you going on your quest to build an effective Search Engine Optimisation strategy. These are by no means going to see you surge up to page 1 of the search engine rankings. However, what these 5 principles will do is give your strategy a platform to work from. There are plenty more ‘best practices’ out there that can help your Search strategy; Meta Descriptions (from a customer experience perspective), integrated social API’s, duplicate content and more so keep researching and keep reading. We will be covering more in the future weeks.
For more information about the SEO and Web Design services we provide here at Ruckus Marketing, feel free to contact us at email@example.com