A Simple Explanation of Search Optimisation

One of the sites I read every morning is SEOmoz. I’d advocate anyone who is passionate about their online business, and making that business a success, to do some reading every morning about online business success. This morning I read a very good article which perfectly describes how we approach search optimisation at Add People: Perfecting Keyword Targeting & On-Page Optimization.

The article is a very good, very simple and understandable blueprint of optimising a page. If you’re an Add People customer, you’ve probably received a site analysis that follows these exact same points. These are the things that I look at (not in this particular order):

1. Site code. Are there any problems which will affect optimisation or indexing? Easy code fixes? Big problems such as frames or an all-Flash site? No-nos such as hidden text? Tons of css formatting or javascipt that can be moved out into stylesheets and includes?

2. Age of Domain. This lets us know what we might be dealing with – new domains will take some time to see the hoped-for results.

3. XML Sitemap. This helps, especially on sites with javascript/image-based navigation. Unless you have a one-page site, it’s always worth doing a sitemap, and it can help pinpoint problems such as duplicate content.

4. Meta Title. We will have a list of key phrases that we’re working on for your site. The two or three most important keywords will go in the title, followed by the business name. Keyword One | Keyword Two | Business Name.

5. Meta Description. This is a marketing/conversion area, so it will contain a sentence or two that really sells your business.

6. Keywords. It’s debatable how much impact these will have on search, but for me it forms a map of what we’re optimising for on the page. If you don’t mind your competitors seeing your keywords, it’s worth doing.

7. H1 Title. As said in the linked article, it’s debatable how much impact this still has for search, but it’s worth doing. It has semantic value (as long as you only have one), and it reinforces to your customers who have come in on that keyword that they have, indeed, found what they were looking for – decreasing bounce rate and increasing conversion.

8. Page Content. The general rule was always at least 240 words or so of text for optimisation – you may have more. Use of keyword text links in copy is important, linking into relevant areas – but don’t overdo it. It’s very easy to write spammy copy.

9. SEO-Friendly URLs. If you can do it, great – it depends on the limitations of the CMS that you may be using. I always recommend it, but implementation on an established site can be difficult.

10. Lastly, Alt Text on Images. Keyword rich alt text, which should help accessibility as well. Any graphics should relate to the content on the page, which should closely relate to the keywords that you’re optimising for – or it doesn’t belong there!

Bookmark the above article and refer back to it. It will help you understand why optimisation changes are being made on your site, and as you go forward, creating and modifying content, you’ll understand how to make the right choices as you do so.