Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process we use to enable our client’s websites to be visible in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. But what is really involved with SEO?
We ensure that search engine results for their target searches or queries of target keywords show our client’s article and website content to prospective website visitors. We use white hat SEO techniques and operate in compliance to search engine requirements (particularly Google’s) on the good practice around publishing content online.
However, there is no short cut to ensure that a website will rank on SERP (Search Engine Results Page), we can’t make modifications one day and then ensure that the next day the website is at the top of the results. The SEO task is an ongoing task with a series of tests, a number of stages, and many adjustments. SEO strategies are not constant either and new algorithms are always affecting the ranking criteria.
The first thing that we do in order to get an overall picture of the website’s health in terms of functionality and compliance for search engine requirements (mainly Google), is to audit the site. The site is usually tested in various SEO tools and on-page issues are noted and prioritised on what needs immediate fixing, we then categorise them as High Priority, Medium Priority, and Low Priority.
High Priority SEO tasks
Google Business Listing
Business must have a Google Listing to make it easy for clients to find all important information such as contact details, address, website and location.
Google Analytics and Search Console (Google Webmasters Tools) accounts
The site should be added to Google Analytics for traffic monitoring and Search Console (Google Webmasters Tools) for site health monitoring.
Blog posts should have substantial length, be well written, and informative. Content is one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors.
Please add a blog section to the site and start posting original and relevant articles on the site. Blog posts should have substantial length, be well written, and informative. Content is one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors.
Title tags should be unique, keyword optimised and descriptive of the page content. This will help increase the site’s chances of ranking well on search.
Rich Snippets help Google identify the type of content a site has. It should be added as appropriate.
Post and pages should be connected through internal links to distribute authority or “link juice” all over the site.
Robots.txt gives out instructions to search engines which folders and files to access and which they should not. If the site has blocked resources (JS and CSS files), the robots.txt can be used to direct the search engines to access these resources.
Posts with thin content were found on the site. Blog posts should have substantial length, be well written and informative. Content quality is one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors.
URLs should be descriptive of the content and should be as short as possible. It should only use lowercase letters and hyphens.
Keyword research is necessary to find the most relevant keywords for your site. These keywords will also be used in the optimisation of SEO on-page elements.
Bad links were detected on the site.
Mobile Usability & Blocked Resources
Should be fixed to increase website’s mobile-friendliness. Mobile search is now higher compared to web search and it’s important for a site to be mobile-friendly.
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Medium Priority SEO tasks
An HTML sitemap gives users a list of the complete pages and posts.
Multiple Homepage Version
There should only be one homepage URL. The others should be redirected to http://company-website.com
Duplicate Content Issue
Some pages of the site have duplicate content. To eliminate this issue, content should be re-written to make it unique.
Meta descriptions should be unique, keyword optimised, and descriptive of the page content.
Google is blind to images. It needs descriptive and if possible keyword optimised alt texts to know what the images are about.
Actual images are too big compared to their displayed version. They should be resized and properly optimised for the web. Images that are too large can negatively affect page speed.
Irrelevant Indexed Pages
Google indexed pages it shouldn’t. There’s a good chance Google will just drop these pages over time but the process could be hastened by submitting an updated XML sitemap.
The site has no search bar. Having a sitewide search bar gives users the option to find the content they want quickly.
Social Media Profiles
If there are business social media profiles, these should be included on the site. Add sitewide icons that lead to these accounts.
Too Many Redirects
Redirects are not bad but there are too many within the site. We can hasten loading time if we correct these redirects.
Uppercase/Underscores on URL
Underscores and uppercase letters found on image and pdf links/file names. Use only lowercase letters and hyphens as separators to avoid URL issues.
Blog posts should be categorised properly. Categories help readers find related articles quickly and it helps the search engines crawl the site deeper.
If possible, the contact details should be complete: Business address, phone number, email, location map, and other relevant info.
Low Priority SEO tasks
Ideally, page speed scores should reach 85 for both mobile and desktop. Follow Google’s suggestions on Page Speed Insights Tools to improve it.
Should be submitted to Google via Search Console to let Google know of the important pages/posts of the site.
The text should be easily readable to improve user experience.
There should only be one and only 1 H1 tag per page. Pages that have multiple H1 tags should be corrected. Only one should be retained and the rest should be demoted to h2-h6 as appropriate.
Images over 100kb
To help increase page speed for both mobile and desktop, we need to optimise image sizes. Images that are too “big” slow the site down.
Mobile-Friendly Tool indicated blocked resources (CSS and JS files). Google should be allowed to access these files in order to determine the mobile-friendliness of a site.
Broken links found on the site should be corrected to improve user experience.
Main Navigation Issue
The navigation bar should include the most important pages of the website and should have a user-friendly design.
These are just mainly the Technical and On-page phase of SEO. There’s also a stage that we call Off-page SEO which focuses on the website promotion. The following are the methods that we usually do.
- Research on business directories, online listing sites, and other opportunities for backlinking that are active and are also ranking well in the SERP.
- Test listing sites using a tool to check for authority and “spamminess” and are also checked by actually visiting the sites.
- Register the client’s website to these sites and listed with its contact details, company/business description (target keywords are included here), services offered and other details, but importantly, a backlink to the website, usually the homepage.
Overall, SEO is the best way to optimise a website in order for search engines to understand it better, index the pages and give the site higher rankings. Indeed, it is a “new age” marketing technique, but in this generation where competition continues to increase and grow, we must give importance to an effective SEO as it helps the business achieve its objectives, supports sales, attracts more customers, and helps promote good brand equity.