Now we have an extensive list of keywords for your market (If you don’t please see lesson 2: Keyword Research Lesson), we need to address what pages are going to be the best pages to market, what pages are going see see the highest results for individual keywords, and look at the content on the website that we already have.
Lets say, for example, that your keyword research came up with the following list of keywords. Keywords that you would expect, to show for a mobile phone website.
“htc hero review”
“iphone 5 specification”
“iphone 5 review”
“htc vs iphone”
“htc hero review”
“iphone 5 review”
“htc hero specification”
As you can see, there is a, required group for “Specification “ & “Review”. If you, already have a main page for the the phone, you need to develop a page for the specification and also the review, and optimise these pages, with your new found keywords.
Your website content, as it stands at the minute.
As your website is something that you have more than likely spent time on developing, its a good question to ask, if you need to develop these new pages or are there pages within your website that you can edit to develop into pages of the subject.
Be aware of the make do attitude, remember Google will notice if you just bash a new page together for the sake of it, or edit an old page, by dumping extra text on to suit the keyword.
Slap dash, doesn’t drive home the conversions! If the content is wrong for the keyword, the user will not bother to spend time on your website and will ‘bounce’ back to the search page.
Pages that don’t really have anything to do with the topic or subject, will act as an anchor to your websites organic performance and you will not see the high rankings that we are targeting.
If its not worth publishing in a paper, get it off your website!
Remember you are writing for the viewer of the site, give them the information that they want to read. If the content is good, they will spread it around. Search engines come second! This will have a positive impact on your rankings.
Don’t write the same thing over and over in different variations, you can’t outsmart Google. Google have lots of clever technical people, that put together algorithms to bring back the best content for the customer, not the search engine. Write fully, fluently, keep your keywords that are targeted within the text, however do so naturally.
Onpage Search Engine Optimisation
In this section we are going to talk about meta information tags, body content, images and headers.
Most people by now have content management systems, systems like WordPress. Systems like these are fantastic as you can have extra modules installed, without contacting your websites designer. Systems like this put the power of your website back in to your hands.
If you have access to your admin pages, its a good Idea to open up these pages. If you don’t have access, its okay, you can still complete this section of the course however, do so in Notepad. Save the changes on your desktop and send to your website designer or install at a later date.
If you are of the opinion “I can’t do web design”, you need to change your thinking. Technology has changed so fast over the last few years. Websites are no longer a gigantic pain, more of a case of logging into your admin account and editing like you would do with Microsoft Word.
If you are considering moving to an updated website programme, go with WordPress. Simple to use, they use clean code, look amazing, great to optimise and thousands of modules to add on to enhance your admin, your website and the user experience. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with around 50+ platforms when building and optimising websites. True, there are better platforms to see higher rankings, however for the standard individual or business, its about as good as it gets! We offer a cheap install and template service if you require. Some hosting companies even install WordPress by default for you.
Optimising Titles, Descriptions and URL’s.
Writing a GREAT title tag.
Normally this is the most important line you need to write for your website, and frequently over looked! Search engines allocate a lot of weight to this line of code. Search engines, historically, show websites containing the keyword targeted at the beginning of the title, normally much higher in the rankings, than competition targeting the same keywords.
The Keyword tag should contain 70 characters, including spaces. This is the full space given to the listing on the search engine.
Title tags need to reflect what content is on the page. Its also a good idea to be creative with your punctuation to make the title tag readable, aim to include the keywords targeted.
You should also aim to keep your target key phrase intact. If we take “iPhone 4 Review”, as an example, it would be better to use that exact phrase in your title, rather than something along the lines of “iPhone 4: Our Expert Review” where the phrase is fragmented.
Website CTR from the organic listings.
CTR or Click Through Rate, is the level of clicks you get to your website from the search engines. Its standard to have lower clicks, to your website from the search engine, as you move down the listings.
#1 see’s 45-60% of all clicks from that keyword.
#2 see’s 28-35% of all clicks from that keyword
#3 see’s 19-24% of all clicks from that keyword
#4 see 8-12% of all clicks from that keyword.
Different SEO’s, have conducted their own studies to find similar results. These numbers are from our research completed early 2012, over 100 website rankings.
As you can see the range from 60% to 8% a huge drop. However, ranking number 4 is still in the eye line of the searcher.
To see the better levels of traffic, you don’t have to be number one on Google, if your title tag is exciting, eye catching and relevant enough, you should see more traffic from the searched keywords.
When you are writing your copy for your title tags, review what others have wrote, its easy to get into the habit of writing copy fast, as you have many pages to do, but spend some time working on it, after all it can make all the difference to your click-through-rate and ultimately, your conversions.
The Description tag
The description tag is the grey text on your Google listing. Sometimes Google will overlook this and provide the best content from your page, rather than what you have wrote, however only if its better for the searcher or if the meta description if left blank.
Remember that this text is often used by other websites, like social media for example. If someone was to share your link, their friends will see your description in their feed.
155 characters is the optimal length of the description tag, social media websites sometimes do cut these descriptions short, so get the impact message across quickly. Its also a good idea to contain your keyword within the description tag. Google, will give your website a boost from this and also the keyword will be in bold showing that your website contains the searched information.
The page address or URL
We are going to go ahead and assume that you have a WordPress website and that the system allows you to rewrite the URLS. If not you need to find a way to get this done as it will help your rankings.
A URL is the domain and page location. for example; www.domain.com/keyword-catogory/product.html
Really important note, if you are renaming an old page, to something new, you need to do what’s called a 301 redirect. Effectively you are asking your server, in code to redirect traffic from ‘old-page.html’ to ‘new-page.html’. There are other ways to do this HTML, PHP based, 302’s etc, however they do not pass Page Authority. if you can, stick with 301’s.
In WordPress, there are mods that you can simply enter old address and new address, save and its completed. If you need to know more, here is a file on 301’s (http://www.webconfs.com/how-to-redirect-a-webpage.php).
Once you have completed your .htaccess file and simply upload your .htaccess file to the server and you shall be okay. (YouTube if you need more help with 301 redirects.)
URL’s are important to the search engines and also readers. Don’t have your URL’s saying crazy things likewww.domain.com/uewilhh/72338/tree.html
Try and apply an order to it all. I recommend the groups of keywords, that we developed in keyword research. We are helping Google figure out what our page is about and how they should index you in their ranking. www.domain.com/mens-clothing/blue-t-shirt.html
Simple and also easy for the user to make an educated guess, that this page contains the information that they are searching for.
Headings are the H1, H2, H3 tags of your website. Normally these are the tags that are at the top of the page explaining what the page is about. In some Content Management systems these can also be called page titles, not to be mixed up with your title tags.
We want our H1 Tag to catch the eye of the user and also the search engine. Its always a good idea to contain the keyword that we are targeting.
H1 tags, normally have a big font attached to them, so say something interesting, eye catching and relevant to the searcher. H2’s & H3’s etc are often smaller than H1’s. Aim to have your keywords in all.
Using target keywords in your body copy can be helpful and this should occur naturally if, the content, is truly relevant to the key phrase. Including keywords a handful of times with a few variations or synonyms should be enough. Avoid keyword stuffing & programmes that measure how many times a keyword has been used in the top 10 competition. Remember, you are writing for the reader and not the search engine. Remember the knowledge graph, when your creating your content, think about the different types of keywords we talked about and how they should relate to the viewer.
Having your target keywords, in the file names and alt tags of any images, that are central to the content of the page, can have a positive effect on your page’s rankings. Use these images, as images to be embedded around or within the content.
Use the ALT tag and Image Title tags. Don’t Keyword stuff, try and write your image tags, as longtail keyword tags to see traffic coming from places like Google images.
Try to ignore your Keywords tag, this is not used by search engines and including keywords within this tag, will show your competition what keywords you are marketing for.
We want to turn your website it to a market leader. We want searchers looking around your market to come back to your website time and time again.
We do this by giving the user good quality content, related to the search term of the page that they land on. If a searcher sees the right content, the right information and a nice brand, they are more likely to click on to your website next time, they see you in the rankings.
Here comes the catch 22. As we know, Google rank pages higher if the targeted keyword is shown at the front of the title tag.
Red Widgets that will blow your mind.
If someone, searching for red widgets, sees your brand name and they have bought into your brand before, they are more likely to come back to you.
My Company | Red Widgets that will blow your mind.
You can, get away with having your brand at the front of the title tag. One word of warning though, only do this for long and mid keyword markets, when fighting for traffic vs competition is easier.
If you are wanting to build your brand and struggle filling your title tags, you can always include the | My Company, at the end of the title tag. Just remember the golden rule for Titles Tags, less than 70 characters. You can add more, Google will read, however this is the optimum.
Images are major parts of the optimisation process. They catch a potential customers eye, they help the algorithm determine what the website is about and they also bring in traffic, if optimised correctly.
Images on the specific page, are also shared on the social media platforms when someone shares you. Remember to catch peoples attention here! Use interesting images. If you have not heard of info-graphics, have a look at Googles images for infographics, or look at Visual.ly. These images, with the right data, can make the rounds virally.
The Alt Tag’s primary function is to provide a text version of a image, if the image doesn’t load or for the visually impaired.
In CMS websites, there is normally an option to add your Alt Tag, or Image Title. Don’t stuff the Alt Tag full of unwanted keywords, however include long tailed keywords, that are related to the image. Try and keep the images related to the content and surround with text that’s associated.
Image File Name
It doesn’t matter if the file is large, small, PNG, Gif JPG or JPEG. The file name however is important. Your file name should look something like, your-target-keywords.jpg before you upload it to your site or server.
Optimisation warnings and myths
Keyword stuffing & over optimisation
Keyword stuffing is something that lots of new SEO’s do. They have to many keywords within the title tags, they repeat content and rush through it all to get the project completed sooner rather than later.
Keyword stuffing can be the same thing with H1’s and body content. Its required to have your keywords on a page, however, stuffing keywords to a level that would annoy the reader needs to be avoided. Be natural.
Write easy to read content and eye-catching title tags. Websites with good content, good user metrics see higher rankings through merits alone.
Avoid huge URL’s with many keywords stuffed into the string, make URL’s easy to read for the searcher.
Its best practice to avoid duplicate content. Sometimes bad SEO’s can take your content and spin, with links to make it appear like you are trying to do something black hat. There are some good free plagiarism checkers on the internet like CopyScape.
When writing content for your keyword list, don’t try and cram as many keywords into a particular page, simply develop more pages targeting different keywords. Like the phone idea above, have a page for iPhone 5, reviews, specifications, gallery. Not a page with it all crammed in.
You should in theory, see much more related traffic. The users will be viewing content that they searched for and if you give them the right calls to action or navigation you should see higher conversions.
We have seen this on many website’s because it use to be a clever idea in the past. White content, on white backgrounds, so Google reads it and the searcher doesn’t We want to see high rankings from our honest, user friendly approach, not black hat SEO techniques.
Advanced onsite optimisation film
Technical Search Engine Optimisation
Advanced SEO, completed right, will start to set you apart from your competition. As we know, Google send out bots, spiders or crawlers to find new content. Content comes in many forms, these can be new websites, images, blog posts, films or the code that your website is structured on.
Bots are very good at what they do, however controlling them and giving them the right information is a task that is down to you.
XML Sitemaps & content
Sitemaps are great for customers, however XML Sitemaps are great for bots. There are many tools you can use to generate a XML Sitemap and you can check if you have a sitemap by going towww.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
Sitemaps do not help a website rank better, however, they do help Google index all of your content.
Remember the whole point of a sitemap, is so when a search engine comes to crawl your website, it can find every page on there. Make sure your sitemap updates each time you add content.
“Your Sitemaps need to be clean. We have a 1% allowance for dirt in a Sitemap. Examples of dirt, are, if we click on a URL, and we see a redirect, a 404 or a 500 code. If we see more than a 1% level of dirt, we begin losing trust in the Sitemap”.
This should be used when you want to prevent a page from being crawled. Most of the time robots are good at keeping pages out of the index, but will not remove a page from the index.
Robots, are really good for blocking all the content within a category, such as an assets folder, though it can be used at a page level to.
The robots.txt directive is best for blocking robots from non-HTML files like images, PDFs, Word Docs, etc. Like provided above, however robots txt look like this, is yours right?
Duplicate content is something that happens to many sites. Put simply, duplicate content is when the same content appears on multiple URLs. This content can happen by mistake, however most of the time it will happens because of the websites CMS makeup.
Duplicated content will not damage a website, however, It will not help your rankings either. Google is looking for fresh content all of the time. There are many plagiarism checkers on the Internet that you can check your work, against for content that resides on your website. If the duplicated content is coming from your websites makeup, it could be that the system is not set to a URL. This is called Canonicalization.
Homepage Canonicalization Example
Each of these URLs, are a different page to search engines. Having all four render, without a redirect, can confuse the search engine bots as to which one you want to direct people to. This gets worse if your site references multiple URLs for other pages on your site.
Canonicalisation issues can normally be fixed with a module. Have a look at Google site:domain.com, to see if you have any pages that are duplicated URL’s. You can also see in Google webmaster tools.
301 code is possibly the easiest way to fix this issue. A 301 module is available for most CMS’s websites.
Website load speed is very important to both the search engine and also the viewer. If you look at your website analytics and see that you have a high bounce rate, how likely is it that the user has come on to your website, waited 3-5 seconds to load, got bored and bounced away?
This is a common trend that searchers have, we are all very impatient. Remember a bounce rate is less than 10 seconds of activity. If your bounce rate is over 25%, this is something you need to address.
Site speed is a direct, albeit small, ranking factor in Google – i.e. all else being equal, a faster site should rank better than a slower one.
You can analyse the factors contributing to your site speed with tools like YSlow.
You might not think it would have an impact on your customer conversions, however, Amazon found every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. It can be useful, to use tools such as pagespeed from Google to diagnose the weakest links in your site’s speed.