Maybe you’ve been ‘guaranteed’ number one position on Google. What exactly does this broad-brush promise entail? What search words and settings are these claims based on?
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying there isn’t a place for genuine SEO specialists, especially if you have a large or complex website. But many small businesses are missing out simply because they can’t afford to pay for SEO services.
In fact, there are several things you can do yourself to help Google find, search and index your site. And the good news is you don’t need to be a web developer or an expert coder!
- Sitemap – instead of waiting for the ‘bots’ to eventually stumble across your site, having a site map will speed up the process. If you’re on WordPress, the Google Sitemap Generator will do it for you. Or you can use xml-sitemaps.com. Then simply submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.
- Title tag – the page title is what’s known as a meta tag (enclosed by <title> in your HTML code). It really is worth spending a few minutes writing a unique title for each page. Although Google sees the whole thing, users only see about 65 characters in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Remember to add keywords – preferably near the beginning – but don’t stuff them.
- Meta descriptions – after looking at the title tag, Google moves on to the page (or meta) description, shown by <description>. Google doesn’t use these as a ranking factor, but it does index them. They provide great free advertising, so it’s worth writing a brief compelling description for each page (approximately 160 characters) aimed at customers/prospective customers.
- Alt tags – Google can’t necessarily ‘see’ images, but it can see what you provide in the alt tag. The important thing is to describe the actual image and include relevant keywords.
- Content – the old adage that “content is king” still rings true as this is the most important aspect of what Google sees. The more content you have, the better, but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. It needs to be fresh, relevant, well written and easy to read.
- Internal links – internal hyperlinks within the body copy on each page will not only help visitors navigate around your site, but are good for SEO too.
Hopefully these tips will give you the confidence to optimise your website yourself and help improve your rankings.
If you do want to outsource SEO and sign up to a contract, please go in with your eyes open and make sure you know what’s being done to improve your website’s rankings each month. Keep your SEO supplier up to date with your industry’s latest buzzwords. And most of all, beware of false promises!