5 ways to get your website ranking higher

5 ways to get your website ranking higher

5 ways to get your website ranking higherSEO isn’t rocket science. It might seem that way when you’re just starting out trying to get your website ranking higher though, because there are millions of articles about how to do this all over the web. What I’ve tried to do here is to pick 5 fairly simple things you can do yourself that will make a difference. Yes, you can do these things yourself, assuming you have access to edit your website in whichever CMS it’s been built with, eg WordPress, for example. So here are my 5 tips:

How to get your website ranking higher

1. Invest in Yoast

Yoast doesn’t actually do the SEO for you, but it will tell you how well optimised each page on your website is. Yoast is a plug-in you can use in WordPress, it’s very easy to use and it reminds you about all the things you need to have in place to get your page ranked highly. Visit the Yoast website to find out more about this and download the plug-in.

2. Include desired search terms in your page

Time and time again a client will say to me something like, eg “We want to rank for the term Oak Furniture.” Great. But then I look at their website and they don’t mention the phrase Oak Furniture anywhere at all! You’re not going to rank for a phrase that isn’t even mentioned so make sure you use the term you want to rank for in your Meta Title Tag, Meta Description Tag, H2 headings on the page and image names. The Yoast plug-in allows you to enter these Meta Tags and your CMS editor should allow you to select different heading formats. Highlight a heading on a page and select the H2 format. This indicates to Google that this is an important sub-heading. Each page can have several H2s and should also have an H1 heading that contains the key search term you want to rank for.

3. Put your keyword at the top of the page

If your page is about oak furniture, but you don’t mention the phrase Oak Furniture until somewhere near the bottom of the page, guess what? Google isn’t going to think this page is about oak furniture. If your page is about oak furniture, talk about it up front, right at the top of the page, preferably in the first sentence and definitely in the page title.

4. Alt Tags

One of the ways Google knows what your page is about is by reading names and alt tags of images. So don’t call your images home-page-1.jpg or header-1.jpg. Call them oak-furniture.jpg, pine-furniture.jpg, etc, whatever the main keyword is for your page. And make sure you type in an Alt Tag description for each image. The Alt Tag should contain the key search term eg “Oak Furniture.” This helps the user and also tells Google what the image is about.

5. Links

Links are the way the Google bot crawls through the web. If your page has no internal or external links coming to it, Google will never find it. Make sure there are links into your page from your own website, and also that any links out are to relevant sites. For example, you could link to the Institute of Oak Furniture Manufacturers from your oak furniture page and this increases its relevance.

Higher website rankings – where to get more help

We have a free website checker tool you can try right now for any page on your website. Just enter in your web page url and get an instant report to find out how well your page is optimised for SEO.

Or if you’d like our help to get your website ranking higher in Google, please email us or call us on 0843 289 3060.

Have you been conned by SEO?

Have you been conned by SEO?

Have you been conned by SEO?“Hello, my name is Sonya and I’m an SEO consultant. We can get your website to the number 1 position in Google for only £99.”

How many emails and phone calls per week do you get that start off with something like this?  If my own experience is anything to go by, you probably get quite a few.  What’s your first thought? “Mmm, maybe they might be onto something here, I would love to be in the top position on Google”?

You might think it sounds tempting. But let’s just analyse this for a second. What exactly are they promising? To get your website to the Number 1 position in Google.

What do they mean by “Your Website”. Do they mean the home page? Do they mean a particular section page?

And when they say “Number 1 position”, what search term would someone have to search for in Google, for your website to come up in the “Number 1 position”? I would hazard a guess that if you typed your company name into Google now, your site will probably already come up in the Number 1 position. But the people you want to find you on Google are the people who DON’T already know your company name. What search term will they type in?

Let me explain why this promise is meaningless

Let’s say your company name is “Lannards” and you sell office furniture. What search term do you want to be found for? “Office furniture” probably, right? Maybe some other terms like “desks”, “office chairs”, that sort of thing. Certainly, you’ll want to come up in the top 3 search results if someone types in “Lannards” and “Lannards office furniture”, but you probably already do. what you really want is that if someone types in “Office Furniture”, your website will come up in the top 3 results. Probably you’ll want this to be your home page.  If that happens, you’re reaching new potential buyers who may not know about your company and who will click on the link to your site.

What page should come up in the search results?

But if someone types “desks” into Google, you would probably want the “desks” page of your website to come up into Google, so that the potential customer goes straight to the page containing the products they’re interested in. And if they typed in “office chairs”, you’d want them to go to the “office chairs” page. In this way, each page of your website needs to be optimised so that it can be found for its main topic when people search for it.

Don’t be conned by style

So it’s totally meaningless for someone to say they can get you to number 1 in Google, because it depends on a) the search term being searched for and b) which website page will be returned in the search results. They could quite easily take your money and then say “we got you to number 1” because if you search for “Lannards”, you’ll come up top. And don’t be fooled, it can’t be done for £99. Because all your competitors are constantly changing their own websites and doing their own SEO, it has to be a continuous process of updating content, tweaking copy and key search terms, to keep on top of it all.

How can you improve your Google rankings, then?

What you should really be doing, is deciding on a main topic for each page of your website, make sure each page has a good volume of high quality text and other content such as images and videos that talks about this topic, and optimise each page for its own unique topic. In this way, Google will be able to easily work out what each page of your site is about and your rankings will improve. You can do this yourself of course, if you have the time and the inclination, or you can use a trustworthy SEO agency, based in the UK, who have proven results and a good track record with other clients. They should want to talk to you about what’s important to your business and what your potential customers are looking for.

For more information about how to improve your Google rankings, see our SEO top tips and other marketing resources and read about our in-depth, organic SEO services.

 

Google+ but not as we know it and how the G+ break up affects your SEO

google-plus-breaking-up-2015Going, Going, Google+ Gone

Since Google+ was introduced it became one of the must haves to help boost your SEO. G+ and YouTube from Google gave website owners the optimum resource for search engine optimisation. No matter whether it was personalised search results you were looking to improve or gaining increased organic reach G+ was a key driver to get Google on your side and to build on SEO for your businesses. Anyone searching for terms would see posts in Google+ being posted in top spots and YouTube helping with video promotion was also part of the social move by Google. But all this is set to change with Google’s change to G+ and its reorganisation into:

  • Communication
  • Photos, and
  • Streams

The three new areas were announced by Bradley Horowitz, the new VP in charge of the changing face of Google social media. In a recent Google blog on 27th July, Bradley commented:

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes.”

And these changes are still in an embryonic stage and include:

  • A more focused Google+ experience
  • Moving Google+ Photos to the Google Photos app
  • Putting sharing into Google Hangouts
  • Using Google without a Google+ profile (hurrah!)

The move makes perfect sense because since G+ was installed in our mindset the general concensus was that it didn’t quite hit the mark of knocking Facebook or Twitter off their respective pedestals. It had some nice features, some confusing features and a lot of irritating features like not always being able to access other Google products without a G+ profile. With photos becoming increasingly important (e.g. Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram) the move makes sense and Google+ has seen a lot of pick-up in the image area. Google Hangouts has had a solid following and the move to breakout Google+ into streams signifies that Google has recognised that it has strengths but not the overall Social Media clout it thought it might achieve.

Changes to your SEO activities

Q: Should I ditch my Google+ business page?

Definitely not! You should keep your business page (and if you haven’t got one, then set it up now!) The “Google My Business” section of Google+ is still key to search results and allows you to add and verify business listings – these are the details that appear in organic search results and in Google Maps. You should ensure that you manage this business page to enter all correct business details, add up to date photos and videos – and to make sure that you stay on top of, and respond to customer comments.

 Q: Is it time to split my YouTube & Google+ accounts?

Again, not yet. On YouTube’s own blog they say:

“Do NOT do it right now or you’ll delete your YouTube Channel!”

Google+ has been a good tool for locating people with similar interests but in its new guise it will help ensure that the people are actually using it, and where useful, should help it thrive. Your activity on Google+ has been sharing itself across the platform and once the separation occurs (G+ split from YouTube) comments will only appear on your YouTube channel. This is great news as it should raise engagement on YouTube. At the moment comments include Google+ activity and these tended to go to the top of the comment section, which discouraged interaction as the comments just listed the activity of a video being shared – not a lot of meaningful feedback. Keep an eye on the split as you’ll need to make a positive change to split your G+ & YouTube channels to take advantage of the SEO gains of a focused YouTube offering.

 Q: How do capitalise on the changes?

Reading between the lines of the announcement and the focus on ‘Photos’ the clue here is that Google are still placing a major importance on imagery. This means ensuring that you are using images liberally across your website, when they add value and when they are relevant – just posting holiday photos on your business website doesn’t hack it with Google search! But also make sure that the images are setup correctly, tagged correctly and pushed to Google search with Webmaster tools and if used in a blog use blog posting indexes. So if you are moving to a new generic/vanity TLD you won’t have a loss of SEO – but remember Google needs to know what’s happening, just moving without following the SEO rules WILL upset your current ranking. You can read more about getting on top of Google SEO with our guide

To see other areas of website SEO check out these links:

► Learn more about ranking techniques with examples of client rankings and approaches: ‘How to be found in Google Searches

► Why Social Media is so important to SEO and Google: Using Social Media Profiles for SEO

Google Penguin 2.0 is Live – are you ready?

Google Penguin 2 - is your website ready

Penguin 2.0 – is it relevant to your website? Well, if you are interested in keeping your website at the top of the Google rankings then you need to make sure that your website is ready for Google’s Penguin 2.0 to – the latest and major update to Google’s search algorithm.

Google-Penguin-2Matt Cutts, Google’s Search Engineer and key spokesman for all things Google, first announced that there would be the next generation of Penguin in March. He officially branded it Penguin 2.0 in tweets earlier this month and earlier this week he said it was rolling out late Wednesday afternoon on the channel “This Week in Google”.

“It’s gonna have a pretty big impact on web spam,” Cutts said on the show. “It’s a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous iteration of Penguin would essentially only look at the home page of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper and has a really big impact in certain small areas.”

In his blog post , 22nd May 2013, Cutts added more details of Penguin 2.0, saying that the rollout is now complete and affects English language queries, and that it affects non-English queries as well. He said:

 

We started rolling out the next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm this afternoon (May 22, 2013), and the roll-out is now complete. About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact.

This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), we’ve been referring to this change as Penguin 2.0 internally. For more information on what SEOs should expect in the coming months, see the video that we recently released.

What does Penguin 2.0 mean to your website?

The main thrust of this release is to clamp down on ‘spammy’ backlinks i.e. links that have been bought or add no value to the ranking of your site. Backlinks must adhere to key rules, they must not:

Come from sites built exclusively for the purpose of SEO
Use overly-optimised anchor text throughout
Come from adult or other “bad neighbourhood” websites
Come from sites that are irrelevant to your own site and its content

Download the key features overview of Google Penguin 2.0

And if you are not managing your website SEO – email us now to discuss how you can ensure your website is adhering to 2.0 and previous Google guidelines to manage your visibility on Google search results. Or call us on 0843 289 3060.