5 Ways to Make Sure your Website is Search Friendly

Google

5 Ways to Make Sure your Website is Search Friendly

 

Introduction
Search engines don’t always see a web page the same as we do, a bells and whistles page built with Flash might look amazing to you and me, but there will be no information for the search engine robots to index and it is unlikely to feature as high as you want, in search results.
A great website needs to be structured for both humans and search engines alike and here are some steps you can take to make sure your website is search friendly.

1) Content
Most of the content needs to be in HTML text because search engines robots can read text a lot easier than images, JavaScript or Flash, which will be ignored. Of course, nobody wants a website which is just words, it looks boring and is unlikely to capture the user’s attention, anyone involved in SEO or digital marketing will tell you images, videos etc are important for a great website and the tips below will allow you to use visuals while still being found by the search engines.

  1. Include text on the pages that contain Flash or Java plug-ins.
  2. Add crawlable or navigation links to search boxes
  3. Upload transcripts or closed captions to video content in order to make them searchable
  4. Assign “alt attributes” to images this provides the search engine bots with a text description of the images which they can recognise.
  5. Use HTML5 instead of Flash

Another important feature of your content is that it needs to be unique. Google loves original content they want to provide the user with the best experience, which means giving choice, variety and relevant information. Duplicate content doesn’t do this and you may be penalised.

Duplicate content within your own site can be caused by a number of things including;

  • Session IDs
  • Tracking parameters
  • Scrapers
  • Comment pagination
  • Printer friendly pages
  • Www and non-www websites

This might all sound a bit complicated for the average person, however, one way you can establish whether you have duplicate content is by using Google Webmaster Tools. If you do, there are ways of removing it which you can discuss with your web designer.

2) Title Tags

Title tags are one of the most important elements of SEO and it is essential to get them right if you want your website to be search friendly. The mission is to create a title that captures the user’s attention but also makes the search engines take notice.

Best Title Keyword Usage

Best Title Keyword Usage

A title tag should be under 60 characters so the user can see it in its entirety and understand what the content is about, it should also contain your main keyword which is usually at the beginning and if possible a benefit, which could be just giving the user information

Here is are 2 title tags from the same company leading to different pages of the site, both have the main keyword, a benefit, which is this case is a choice and they tell both the user and the search engine the same thing.

3) Sitemaps

A Sitemap is a great way to have all your web pages indexed by the search engines. It is an XML file that lists every URL your website has, with additional metadata about each one. Every website and blog should have a sitemap because it informs the search engines of any changes to your pages.

It enables the search engine crawlers to follow links to all your pages, meaning you need to rely less on external links bringing them to your site. Implementing a sitemap involves 3 steps Firstly, you need to generate the sitemap, some sitemap generators include

XML Sitemaps

WordPress Sitemap Plugin

Small SEO Tools

You then need to upload it to your website and finally notify Google about it, by adding the site to your Google Sitemaps account. This useful guide tells you how.

Rich Snippets

These days when conducting a search online, users are often presented with ratings, reviews, locations, and pictures relating to a particular site, this is done by implementing rich snippets. Rich snippets are structured data mark ups that web designers add to the HTML that help the search engines to understand the information contained in a particular web page

It’s the difference between this:

or this:

Which would you click on?

Now transfer this to almost any business, a pretty picture, good reviews, and detailed information, plumbers, for instance, could mark up free estimates, their location, membership of trusted associations, all things that would make a user more likely to click onto their site.

Google’s aim is to provide their users with the most relevant search results possible and using Schema markup will help them deliver this. Studies have found that pages using schema markup rank better than pages without schema.org integrations by around four positions

Despite a relatively low number of websites using this tool, Google presents schema-derived markups in around 36% of results. So, if they can read your page clearly this information will be passed on to the user. This will result in your page ranking higher in the SERPs. A Win Win situation!

Remove Hidden Text

In the past, some dodgy webmasters were known to use hidden text to stuff keywords onto their pages and increase their ranking, when people keyed in those words the site would be shown in the results, even though it might have nothing to do with the user’s query.

Google quickly put a stop to this and programmed its algorithms to penalise websites where hidden text was found. Great, you might think, cracking down on “Black Hat” tactics has got to be good, right?

Well, yes, it is, but unfortunately some sites may inadvertently have hidden text especially if you use a free web host which includes adverts on your site or perhaps you have text informing people using a specific browser that they won’t be able to access certain features of the site, because this can’t be viewed by users on other browsers it is classed as hidden text, maybe you have some content written in a similar colour to the background, a drop down menu for navigation or use third party scripts, any of these also be perceived as hidden text.

Your website will suffer dramatically if Google detects any hidden text and can even be removed completely, so it is essential you review your website regularly you can do this by holding down the “a” and “control” key on your keyboard or selecting “edit” and then from the menu in your browser. then clicking on “select all”

Conclusion

The 5 tips above may well be the tip of the ice berg as far as search engine optimization is concerned but everybody has to start somewhere. The 5 points in question are part of the starting block we undertake at SearchRise – A leading Newcastle SEO agency and we do this for every client we board. These are the basics, once you’ve got this right you can concentrate on the more familiar aspects of SEO such as local map listings, short and long-tail keywords, fast loading times and social media. Search engine optimisation can be a lengthy process and should really be undertaken by an expert to make sure it’s done right and your website does the job it was created for. Bring in more business!