A simple guide to setting up an SEO friendly website
Setting up an SEO friendly website is not difficult, you just need to understand and follow some basic rules and the rest will just happen.
There are three top ranking signals used by Google to determine if a web page is relevant to a search query and how they should rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). They are:
- Content – is content relevant to the search query
- Links – Are any other sites linking to your content
- RankBrain – is a machine learning artificial intelligence system, the use of which by Google was confirmed in October 2015. It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users
Here are five quick tips to get you started…
Creating a website is easy, but creating an SEO friendly website that is found by search engines takes a little more effort.
First you need to research and understand keywords your customers are using to search for your products and services.
You want to avoid colossal mistakes such as:
- Choosing over-specific keywords with no traffic – for example a Brand name that is only used by your company .
- Using umbrella keywords which are not concise enough such as “car repair”. I would advise you go for long-tail keywords such as “classic car repair in Yorkshire”
- Choosing keywords which do not convert or are not relevant to your business.
Prior to 2012 having a keyword in your domain made a big difference to search. This lead to companies buying multiple domain names in trying to fool Google to deliver them more traffic. Google ran an Exact Domain Update in September 2012 which removed authority of having keywords in domain names.
Generate an XML sitemap
The Sitemaps protocol allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently. Sitemaps are a URL inclusion protocol and complement robots.txt, a URL exclusion protocol.
Fix your permalink or URL slug
Permalinks or URLs are important in optimising a new website, having unnecessary characters in your URLs such as question and punctuations marks, irrelevant numbers might affect how your website is understood by search engines making it hard to crawl and indexed except for authoritative websites.
When creating URLs for your page avoid dynamic URLs such as www.mydomainname.com/?p=21535, they are ugly and do not tell search engine crawlers and website visitors what the URL is about. Instead use statics URLs like the ones used on https://searchenginewatch.com/static/guides.
Title tag and meta description
Each page on your website needs to have a title tag, which outlines what the page is about. Having your keywords in your title tag can help your web page rank higher in SERPs. Title tags can exceed the 70 character limit and include your business or brand name with a keyword.
Meta descriptions on your web pages outline in greater detail what the pages are about. To fully maximize your meta description, fill out the description with humans in mind as this determines whether users click through to your website from search engine results.
Making your website mobile responsive is a win-win for both you and your website visitors leading to better SEO and higher rankings from search engines. In many cases, smartphones are used at least as often as computers for accessing the internet.
With Google’s update to their algorithm, mobile friendly sites now rank higher than non-mobile responsive site. Head over to Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to determine the mobile responsiveness of your website.
Also, pay attention to your CSS and theme, this could deter your website from responding properly on mobile devices, get a theme which was developed with clean code, that’s fast and intuitive.
Generating back links
When an organisation is trying to increase web traffic to their website following these simple steps will help. Read your article carefully and decide if you think that your article is interesting enough for someone else to link to. If it is then you have done a good job.