Here are some SEO Search Engine Optimization tips to help improve your website ranking in the major search engines Google and Bing.
What is the difference between search engine Rank 30 and First Page Top 10 ? Maybe not very much at all ! The competition is so hot these days that we must do absolutely everything possible to score every Ranking point available. No matter how small the difference, it all adds up.
What phrases do you expect people might type in to find your website ? Do you actually have a webpage with that title ? If not, then go create that new page.
Some old advice, but still important and valid today
Combine lots of keyword combinations, plenty of unique high quality content and inbound links from reputable sites. All this will help improve your rank in search engine results.
Ranking Top 10 first page in organic (free) search engine results is not easy ! In fact it does require much hard work and persistence before you do see some ranking improvement. Please do not be deluded. There is no magic bullet here, other than Google Adwords paid advertising. But there are most certainly "basic steps" and "best practices" you can follow to improve organic web rank free.
(1) Research your opposition, identify relevant target keywords and key phrases
Start by searching for Product Names and Services that you intend to advertise on the web, particularly within your geographic local area.
Take a look at the websites who rank Top 10. Notice what page "Title" and short "Description" they use. Notice both what content and how much content there is on the website pages.
You can see what websites ranks Top 10, so your objective is to do better. Aim to invent different and more enticing Page Titles, short descriptions and more comprehensive product detail pages. Think about Page Titles and Sentences that will attract attention and encourage people to click to find out more. Your Page Title might even be witty and humorous ! Whatever it takes to get visitors to your website.
Your business name and geographic location (City/Town, Region, State) should be used as keywords on the Home page of your website at least, and also "About" and "Contact" pages.
For products, the brand name, the best features and even model can be a significant keywords.
Focus mainly upon "long tail search phrases" that are a text string of 3 or more words. People who are looking for something quite specific will enter long tail search phrases into search engines. The list of relevant results returned is narrowed down significantly and the competition level for long tail phrases therefore much reduced.
(2) Ensure your website is a mobile friendly responsive design
Right now more than half of your website visitors will be using a touch screen mobile device, like a Mobile iPhone or an iPad. Desktop computers are now in the minority. How things have changed in just a few years ! This is the reason why Google and Bing have now made mobile friendly reponsive design a search engine ranking factor for their "Mobile Search Results" pages.
Any website that does not pass the “Google Mobile Friendly Test” will now rank poorly in "Mobile Search Results" pages, which will have a negative impact upon website visit numbers.
Please note that "Mobile Search Results" and "Desktop Search Results" are two different sets of search result pages served up depending upon the device that you are using at the time. Rankings will vary in each set of results pages, Mobile vs Desktop.
This is why I.T. ZAP now build all websites using ZURB Foundation, the best and most bulletproof front-end responsive framework that there is. If your website is not mobile friendly, then contact IT ZAP and ask about a website rebuild.
(3) Who should I listen to for SEO advice ?
The Google Webmasters YouTube Channel ⇒
Amongst the thousands of “SEO Expert” I personally have very high regard for the opinions of Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin and his excellent series of “Whiteboard Friday” presentations.
8 Old School SEO Practices That Are No Longer Effective
Rand Fishkin, 15 November 2016 : How to keep up with Google. 45 minutes well spent !
Unique, high quality content now becoming more important than Keywords ?
And if you would like a super comprehensive explanation about how search algorythms work, then here is a really great article :
(4) Descriptive page <title>, <h1> heading and short <meta description>
The page Title appears in seach results as a blue underlined link that people can click to view. That string of words will have a critical effect upon your search engine impact; phrases that you do rank with and phrases that you just don't at all. Think of the page <title> like a Scrabble “triple word” score.
Put your main target Keywords up front, the word order does matter. On subsequent pages related to the same key phrase, you can change the word order a bit to cover more bases with the objective of matching various common search query text strings exactly.
Don't enter page titles like "Welcome to ..." or "Home of ...". Nobody searches for that !
Try to write a Headline that attracts attention, something that is interesting and invites clicks, even witty and humourous. Especially make sure that it is different to your opposition. No point entering the same.
Make sure that your Title tag is unique; different to other pages on your website, not a duplicate.
65 characters is the optimum page <title> length ... use them up. There is no penalty if your title is longer.
Your "Short Description" will appear in search results underneath the blue Title link. The optimum <meta description> length is 160 characters.
The short description needs to be brief, a couple of short sentences and straight to the point of what's really good about this !
There is no penalty if your description tag is longer, just that the additional text will be truncated in search results. Sometimes Google alters the short description on Search Results Pages, according to the phrase that was searched for.
Search Engine Optimization features built in to the "Ecommerce Templates" content management system used by IT ZAP Website Design Works :
All dynamic Search Engine Friendly <head> page code automatically generated from details you enter.
Page <title> tag and main <h1> heading according to the Product Category or Product Title you enter appears in search results.
<meta name="Description"> tag, the “Short Description” you enter appears in search results. (This can change according to the search phrase entered.)
<h2>, <h3>, <h4> (etc) headings you enter into the detailed Long Description pages as appropriate.
<alt> Alternative Text tag on all images that tell Search Bots what the photo is all about.
Rich Snippets for product details, articles and customer reviews. This is embeded code that gives search engines a better understanding of what the page is all about. (Not all websites include this feature.)
How does Google choose titles for search results ?
Does the position of keywords in the URL affect ranking ?
(5) Decent amount of UNIQUE text on the Long Description page
You need a decent quantity of text for the information of website visitors (your customer) to attract interest, convince them to buy, and for indexing by Search Engines. Then the search engines will likely recognise your page as "quality content".
You often see just Heading, a photo, then 1 or 2 sentences and price. Not good enough ! Insufficient keyword density.
Little text = little interest = little to index = little search engine impact.
Make the effort to enter comprehensive descriptions on every page. Add even more details, compared to your opposition, so as your webpage ultimately becomes all original high quality content. This is a major SEO tip that has now become even more significant.
Operating instructions, user guide download files and troubleshooting tips are great examples of content you can easily add to make your webpage more helpful, interesting, unique and better than your opposition.
(6) No Duplicate Content, No Duplicate Content !!
Do not bother copying and pasting text "verbatim" from your supplier's website. Search engines are awake up to that and will recognise your page as "duplicate content" of low value because it contributes nothing new. That information has already been indexed. It is like taking a book to a library and asking them to include it in their collection. And the librarian says "Well, we already have 20 copies of that. Not really interested in any more, thanks."
Your duplicate page may get indexed, but it will be unlikely to rank well. This is not to say that you cannot take information from your supplier's website, but rather point out that it will certainly be necessary to modify the text quite significantly to make it unique and, therefore, not be detected by search engines as "duplicate content".
Is a "SPECIALS" page considered duplicate content ? Here is the offical answer ...
(7) Use <h2>, <h3>, <h4> heading tags in your Long Description pages
These additional Heading tags can help repeat and emphasize the key topic of the page to search engines, and website visitors. This is also an opportunity to add extra keywords not in the main <h1> page heading, or you can change the Keyword order.
Please note that there should only be one <h1> heading on a page. But you can have any number of <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> headings on the one page.
(8) Descriptive filenames for every image
For example : use-lower-case-with-no-spaces.jpg
You might be amazed how many visits you get directly from image search alone, and how many websites just name images with obscure codes of no benefit whatsoever.
(9) Descriptive “Alternative Text” tag for every image
Search engines do not have eyes. They only read source code. So you need to enter the <alt> Alternative Text tag to explain to the search engine bot what the photo is all about. Another opportunity to add extra Keywords, or mix Keyword order. And blind, colour-blind and low sighted people using a screen reader will very much appreciate your <alt> Alternative Text tag descriptions as well.
Google Image Publishing Guidlines, Quote : “The filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. Try to make your filename a good description of the subject matter of the image. For example, my-new-black-kitten.jpg is a lot more informative than IMG00023.JPG. Descriptive filenames can also be useful to users: If we're unable to find suitable text in the page on which we found the image, we'll use the filename as the image's snippet in our search results.”
(10) Meta Tags in all document download files
If you offer Brochures and Catalogues for download (particularly pdf), don't forget to go into the file properties and enter Title, Short Description, Author and even Keywords. Many don't bother, and thus miss out on another SEO opportunity. Tthese docs all get indexed just the same and get listed in Search results as well.
Yes, do use descriptive filenames for all download docs as well, like : mybusiness-furniture-catalogue.pdf
(11) Keep your robots.txt and sitemap.xml files up to date
The robots.txt file will tell search bots the filename and location of your sitemap file. It will also list "disallow" folders and filenames; places where access is prohibited; files you do not want indexed.
The sitemap.xml file is a list of every page on your website that you do want search engines to crawl and index.
Many software tools are available to auto-generate a sitemap.xml file for you. But for advanced features like "lastchanged" date, "changefreq", "page priority" scores and "output filters", then A1 Sitemap Generator is wonderful and highly recommended.
IT ZAP will help you with this, or do it all for you.
(12) Open a Webmaster Tools Account with both Google and Bing
IT ZAP will have done this for you already.
Submit your sitemap for indexing by search engines. View website visitor reports, search impact reports, error reports and more. Check for broken links and fix.
(13) Use website hit counter services
IT ZAP will have done this for you already.
Use other hit counter tools like Google Analytics and StatCounter (free) to monitor your website visit numbers. See if they are increasing, find out where your hits are coming from, and if your Rank is improving.
(14) Update your website often !
This may be down near the bottom of the list, but it is still very important.
Search engines love new, fresh, quality content.
More new pages, more fishing rods in the search engine river, each with different keywords as bait will help catch more fish, more website visitors and potential customers for you !
If you rarely update your website and allow it to go stale, then your ranking will gradually decline.
For those who simply do not have the time or inclination, IT ZAP offer a website update service.
(15) Build Backlinks from high PageRank websites
Google in particular places high importance upon the number of quality backlinks your site has. Every link from a high traffic website pointing to your website is a vote to say this is good !
Yes, Facebook – Twitter – Google+ – YouTube are the obvious places to start. All "high traffic" websites where you can promote your business to the world and add a URL page link to your website ... free.
Check all your supplier websites. Do they have a "Where to Buy" page listing all dealers ? Make sure your business is listed, and ask each supplier to enter a link to your website URL.
You can also submit articles about your business or products to various other websites.
Ignore those Search Engine Optimization emails from Spammers in India ! They know nothing about your business and are therefore not capable of writing quality articles about your business. In fact they will likely involve you in Blackhat link farm exchange schemes, making your business website a target to be "Blacklisted" and removed from search results entirely !
(16) Don't use BlackHat techniques
Don't even think about keyword stuffing with white text on white background, or participate in link farm exchange schemes.
If search engines detect this, or somebody lodges a Spam Report, then your website will be Blacklisted from all search results. Once Blacklisted, it is not so simple to get reinstated.
(17) Provide links to other interesting pages on your website
So now your website visitor reaches the end of the article. What will they do now? Leave your website after just one page view? Oh No ! Search engines use a web visitor's page view count as a measurement of how interesting they found your website to be.
Just one page view ? Then no, your site was not really of much interest.
Multiple page views ? Well yes, they certainly did like your website ! And here is a method to encourage and hopefully achieve multiple page views.
At the bottom of each page, offer your visitor a selection of links to other pages you think they may find interesting. And at the bottom of those other pages, do exactly the same thing, but with a different selection of pages. The objective is to lead the visitor by the hand through key pages containing other interesting and critical information on your website.
The "Ecommerce Templates" content management system has a "Related Pages" feature which is fantastic for this purpose. You can see some Related Pages below.