How To Optimise A Webpage
Search Engine Optimisation, (also known as SEO) is one of many ways to market a web page organically through the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo. ‘Organic’ means making use of ordinary, non-paid-for search engine results, and applying a range of techniques to get your page as high up the rankings as possible. You will have to, of course, compete with paid text adverts at the top and the bottom of each page. But organic search offers benefits in terms of increased click-through rates and higher levels of trust compared to paid adverts.
I have heard SEO referred to many times as ‘free’, which sounds a great price! But, this is slightly misleading. SEO can involve any number of tactics that impact your positions in SERP’s (search engine results pages) and most will have some kind of cost or another, be in time, resources or cold cash… unless of course you’re the CEO of Google!
Stages in SEO
When looking to optimise a web page or site, the first thing you need to understand is structure. And this starts with a sitemap. Working off an up-to-date sitemap will give you full visibility of all indexable pages. Without a sitemap, you may be missing out pages that you can optimise and so boost overall traffic to the website.
Once you have a comprehensive list of all the pages that need to be optimised, we would start by researching search terms for all pages via a keyword tool such as Google Keyword Planner. This tool will allow you to collate a list of keywords for categories of products and/or services on your website and download them in a Word, Excel or PDF format.
The aim of setting keywords for your pages is to find search terms that people are likely to use in a search engine. The general principle is that you want to match keywords closely to the content of each page so search intent and search results are closely matched. You also want to aim for search terms that are used most commonly, as this will increase the number of times your page appears in search results.
When looking for the perfect keyword(s), we advise checking out the competition to see who is ranking within your industry in Google and what kind of search volumes they are getting. A common error in SEO is aiming for keywords where you simply cannot compete with the volumes the top-ranking sites are getting for those terms. You see this often with very general search terms which the very biggest websites have sewn up in search rankings simply because of the number of page hits they can attract. The secret then is relevancy, and narrowing down your keywords to more specific terms that match the content of your page more precisely.
Setting target keywords
Listed below are the core areas that we would recommend looking at to ensure that Google can easily understand each page’s target keyword(s):
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions (not a ranking factor)
- 'H’ Tags
- Image Alt Tags
- Body Contents
Optimising for keywords in these basic areas will help Google better understand you as a company and send signals of relevance for the keywords you are looking to rank for. It is crucial that you do not use the same keywords on each page. Time and time again, companies can think, well if I add this keyword to 5 pages, surely I should get onto the first page, right? No, if anything this may dampen your performance, as Google will have to guess which keyword each page should be ranking for.
If you have multiple pages that you feel are similar or talk about the same thing, understand which page is better suited for your customers and use that as the main and only page. We would recommend also applying a 301 redirect from the similar pages to the main page to ensure that you have no duplication and you are not confusing Google.
So, when you have selected your keywords you can then start preparing your Search Engine Optimisation recommendations for each page. There are many different layouts that you can use for your page titles & meta descriptions. Below are some examples of optimised page titles and meta descriptions.
- “Designer Bathrooms, Luxury Bathrooms – Company Name”
- “Handmade Furniture | Bespoke Furniture | Company Name”
When writing your page titles, we would advise adding your company name to the end of the title. The closer to the front the keywords are, the more of a priority they are in Google’s eye’s. If you have your company name at the start of the URL, you are potentially hampering your keyword performance.
- “Company Name have been supplying bathrooms since 1823 with luxury and sleek designs. We stock a wide range of bathroom products such as; cast iron baths, brass taps, walk in showers and much more. Visit our London showroom or shop our full range of bathroom products online. 5 star Houzz rating – Number”
- “For more than 90 years at Company Name we have been handcrafting beautiful wooden furniture in our workshops in Ipswich, Suffolk. We have produced more than 45000 different designs over our 90-year history. Visit our website to view our wide range of beautiful handcrafted furniture – Number”
Note that meta descriptions are angled to improve CTR. Google does not deem meta descriptions as a direct ranking factor, but if you write awesome meta descriptions, customers may choose to click on your result as opposed to your competitors’. So make them awesome! Also, Google has upped the character limit from156 characters (including spacing) to around 300 – 320 (including spacing), so make the most of the extra room.
H1, H2, H3 Tags
H1 tag: Luxury Bathrooms
H2 tag: View our range
H3 tag: Want to know more?
There are many H tags that you can implement on any given page, we would advise using your H tags to prioritise headings. For example, the first heading on a page should be labelled as a H1 tag in your HTML and should be the most relevant heading on the page, usually including your keyword (if possible). Having one H1 tag will help Google better understand the page you are trying to rank.
Image Alt Tag / Text
“Image alt text: Blue Cast iron bath”
Within each page, you may have a featured / main image (this mainly applies to product/service pages). We would recommend adding what’s called an image alt tag. This will allow Google to understand what your image is and rank it in the image results.
“Our products include cast iron bath tubs and single and double ended steel baths. The cast iron baths have a superior exterior finish smoothed and primed ready for painting, and include roll top and slipper bath styles, with ball and claw feet, wooden sleepers or cast iron feet. We also stock designer bath screens and bath wastes. *Please note that we do not make an additional charge for bath feet or supports.”
Content is key when it comes to ranking in Google. First thing first, always look to create the best piece of content for each page on your website in order to beat your competition. Awesome content can lead to higher rankings and even featured snippets, whereby you will rank in position 0.This is above all other organic results and you will have a snippet of your content laid out in a rectangular box with your webpage’s link. This is Google’s way of rewarding awesome content!
Follow these basic steps and you will have a well optimised website that Google can easily understand. Like what you see? Keep an eye out for one our forthcoming articles on the technical aspects of SEO.