When creating your site, don’t neglect the importance of meta tags and their user and SEO effects.
There are three meta tags that you should certainly use:
- Title tag:
This may well be one of the most important factors in achieving high search engine rankings. If possible, Title Tags should contain the specific keyword(s) or phrases you are looking to optimise for. As the words in the title tag are what appear in the clickable link on the search engine results page (SERP), if they appear relevant, it may result in more clickthroughs.
- Keywords tag:
Although it is probably the least important of the meta tags, it is still relevant to SEO and therefore it is good practice to populate this tag with the keyword(s) and/or phrases relevant to your site. The keywords should be listed in order of importance, separated by a comma. Remember to include variations of a keyword, but you must avoid repeating the same keywords as these will probably be treated as spam.
- Description Tag:
These tags serve two purposes. They should utilise your keyword(s) and/or phrases, and they should help gain user clickthroughs from search engine result pages. Therefore direct relevance to the page and uniqueness between each page’s meta description is key. These descriptions should optimally be between 150-160 characters.
Whilst some Search Engines don’t consider meta tags when indexing or judging the contents of your website, meta tags are used by some search engines for the display of your web pages in their search results. The text snippet that you see below your page heading can be taken from your Meta Description.
Keywords (or key phrases) are an important part of SEO. These are what we type in when we are searching for products, services, and answers on the search engines. If your site ranks highly for the word or phrase used in the search, then the chances are that your site will appear high in the displayed search results.
Make sure you use your keyword(s) in the TITLE of your pages as well as in the description tag. Be careful not to overload the title with keywords and remember that the description will most likely be displayed on the search results so it should make sense to a human reader.
When introducing keywords (or phrases) into your text, the one word to bear in mind is relevance. They should always be relevant to the page content and when used as ALT tags should be relevant to the image being displayed.
As a general rule of thumb, keyword density (which is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page) should be between 3 & 5%. Any more than this your site could be penalised for being ‘search spam’.
It is good to put keyword(s) near the start of the page, in larger fonts – perhaps as the page title. Having them appear near the end of the page is considered good practice too.
When choosing keyword(s) or phrases you need to consider what your potential site visitors will be searching for. Take into account that your competitors may also be optimising for those same word and phrases. This means that the most productive keywords to optimise for they are not always the most searched for phrases.
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Link popularity is a major factor major search engines use to rank web sites.
This refers to the number of links to your site, from other sites on the internet. The more links to your site (especially from other content rich sites that are considered relevant to yours), the better. It is these links and their relevancy that add weight to your case when the search engines are ranking your site.
Reciprocal links – where you swap links with another site – should not be discounted. They won’t carry as much weight as a one-way link but, every little helps.
Links carry more weight if they are surrounded by relevant text rather than appearing on a ‘links page’ and a text link should appear as the keyword or phrase you’re trying to optimise for rather than ‘click here’.
Link building can be time-consuming, especially building relevant links. Of course, if you have Good SEO content then other, relevant sites will be more inclined to link directly to yours.
Content is King
It’s a phrase we’ve all heard and it is particularly true when we talk about SEO.
There are two angles to consider when thinking about website content – Quality & Quantity.
Quality: Content should be well written, rich in keywords, relevant, informative and interesting. Pictures & graphics look good but aren’t as valuable as words, even with the appropriate HTML tags attached to them. It is a fine line however, keywords and phrases should appear frequently – but naturally – within text.
Quantity: Your website should be updated regularly. If your website’s content doesn’t change, what reason does a visitor have to return?
Relevant, timely and consistent content will turn first-time visitors into repeat visitors. This means you need to be sure to have good, well-written and unique content that is rich in not only keywords and phrases, but offers an easy read for the average Internet user.
Good SEO content will work in three ways:
- Interest & engage human visitors to the site so that they may return
- Boost search engine rankings by including relevant keyword and phrases
- Attract links from other sites, if the content is relevant & interesting
If you’re setting up a new website, selecting the right domain name can be very important. This is because search engines, such as Google, will take the domain name into account when ranking the website in their search results. Arguments remain as to how much weight search engines put on relevant domain names but ‘every little helps’ when it comes to SEO.
This means that there should be a clear relationship between your domain name and theme of your website to increase your chances of ranking well in search engines. Your domain name should reflect what your business does and if possible include one or more of your targeted keywords. The appearance of a keyword in your domain name will definitely help your rankings for that specific keyword.
There will be two types of visitors to your site, human visitors and search engines. The ability of a person to remember your domain name, spell it correctly and pass it on to others is just as important as any SEO value the domain name may have. So any domain name you choose should be easy to spell and remember as well as being SEO friendly.