Follow our easy to understand guide to get your website’s basic SEO foundations sorted.
- Have your website load fast & be free of errors
- Have a site map
- Tag properly
What is SEO
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation, meaning the website is optimised for search engines so that when people search for your website or your field of expertise, it will show up on the search results page.
So how do you optimise a website for search engines?
1. Have your website load fast & be free of errors
Search engines’ algorithms are built with the person doing the search in mind. If someone searches “Best chocolate chip recipe” – Google will show the webpage with the most-visited chocolate chip recipe. The longer people stay on the site, the more it shows google that there is something relevant on the site. The sooner people bounce from the site, it’s telling Google that the site doesn’t have much relevant info or is hard to navigate.
As people upgrade to faster networks and faster phones, if it takes more than a few seconds for your site to load, people might bounce. To avoid that:
- Make sure your image sizes are optimally sized for the website. When images are too large, it’ll take longer to load. Too small, the image becomes blurry. A good reference for a landscape slider image: 1200 x 800 pixels. Header images: 640 x 840 pixels. If your site uses a template, refer to the documentation for that template for guidance.
- Make sure you’ve identified any 404 errors i.e broken links where “page not found.” It’s like within your website, you’ve told someone to go to another page in the site, but the path doesn’t take people to that page. These 404 errors are a turnoff and people might just bounce. It’s pretty straight forward to identify the 404 and other error pages to fix.
- The way pages are coded can affect page load speed. Speak to your programmer and ask them to help cache the site so it loads faster.
2. Have a site map
When you have a sitemap for the crawlers from the search engines to follow, it makes their work easier. It also gives you control over which pages are crawled (and indexed), and which pages not to be crawled on the web. It starts with opening a google search console account and sending it your sitemap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ24HuiolDs
3. Tag properly
If you don’t tag your site properly, it’s like a book in the library that does not have a call number. There is no way people will find the book. But once your site have the right tags, it becomes easier for the search engines to find you.
For example, if you’re running a Landscape Design Business in Japan, you might have some of these pages:
For each of those pages, make sure the page titles, meta descriptions and headers are optimised. Meaning for projects, it might say Landscape Design Projects in Japan.
Don’t just focus on text and forget about images! Where properly labelled, images too can help boost your site visibility. There are three parts to images: file name, title, and alt text. (Aside from having a suitable size for your image)
i. Image file name needs to reflect photo
Park Hyatt Japan landscape design.jpg
ii . Label the title of the photos consistently with your company name.
Park Hyatt Japan landscape design | Landscape Design Nippon
Founder Matsumoto Genji | Landscape Design Nippon
Zen garden design | Landscape Design Nippon
See how the Company name is in each image title?
iii. Last, the Alt text.
The Alt text is what gets read out to the visually impaired and what shows up if the image does not load. The best-practice is to be descriptive (as if you are describing to someone who isn’t looking at the screen). So taking the previous example, the alt text could be, “Day time bird’s eye view of Park Hyatt Japan’s landscape design June 2018”
If your site is a WordPress site, you can use free SEO plug-ins such as Yoast SEO or All-in-one-SEO to help you with the tagging and generating sitemaps.
Once set, then it’s looking at the content strategy
Once these foundations are established, then the site can start its next phase of strategically creating content and building backlinks.
Having these basics of SEO sorted for your website is like having money in the savings account that will accrue interest. Because overtime, a website can gain domain authority (DA in short) when more reputable websites point to it, and more visit the website and stick around to browse.
Not sorted or just have a question? Want those pesky errors fixed by our developer?
Drop us at line at firstname.lastname@example.org.