“Can you make sure I appear in Google searches?”
I was asked recently by a new client – ‘can you make sure my site comes up when people put my name in…’ and the very short answer is – yes… and no!
Getting a lovely, shiny new website live doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll instantly appear at the top of the listings of a Google search. If only it were that simple! But don’t panic – there are things we can do to help get you there with some smart use of search engine optimisation (SEO).
The first thing I always say to non-techies about SEO is that it’s a long term strategy – you’re not going to get results overnight and it will take constant tweaking and effort to see the fruits of your labour.
SEO is an organic strategy – meaning that it isn’t something that you pay for and expect to see instant results – it just doesn’t work that way.
Here are 3 basic things to think about – but note that this is far from an exhaustive list… but it’ll help you get going:
Behind the scenes
Firstly – there is quite a lot that you can do ‘behind the scenes’ to improve your rankings over time. I’m not talking about what visitors to your site will see, I’m talking about image tagging, metadata and coding – sorry – too techie! I’m talking about making sure you give your images relevant names when you upload them, about making sure you provide as much information (author, size of the file, keywords to describe it) about your data and images as you can. That’s not something you need to worry about if I’m building your site – I do it all as a matter of course… phew I hear you say!
Content – your copy and images
Next think about what your visitors will actually see when they visit your site – the content of your website is super important for Google rankings. You need to spend time before writing the copy for your new website researching your ‘keywords’ – words which people will put into the search bar when looking for a service or product you provide. Then these keywords need to be peppered throughout your copy to help Google identify your site as somewhere that will help searchers with their quest! Make sure you use keywords in a natural way – don’t just have a page saying ‘gymnastics, gymnastics, hampshire, surrey…..’ on repeat – Google isn’t stupid and will spot this kind of nonsense a mile off!
Links to other sites
Having links to other websites from your site, and also having your website link on other websites, linking back to you makes Google happy too! These are called ‘backlinks’ and are seen as votes of confidence in your web pages. So if you’re a gymnastics site then a link to British Gymnastics would be good. There are many ways to get backlinks, for example if you look at my website – you’ll see that on my portfolio page I have links to all of my clients websites and facebook pages – this will help with their SEO and make them more ‘findable’ – is that a word?! I also include a link to my website (discreetly in the footer!) on all websites I build. This gives me credibility as a web designer which is what I want to be ‘found’ as….
So in a nutshell – it’s all about content, keywords and backlinks. At at a very simple level. There is way more to SEO than I have time to go into here – but feel free to get in touch for a chat if you’d like to know more about long tail keywords, SERPs and other organic gems.