Designing a website with your brand in mind is challenging at the best of times, on-page SEO is time-consuming, but if followed out correctly you will get the intended results on the search engines. Did you know that carrying out search engine optimisation (SEO) is of little or no use if your website is not set up correctly to allow the search engines to find and identify your content as relevant?
One question you need to be asking yourself is: “Is my website SEO ready?”
We have listed 6 additional questions below that you need to be asking yourself and your website designer when creating or updating a website for your business.
1. Is your website domain name user-friendly: be sure to have an SEO-friendly URL that has a keyword or keyword phrase within it, make sure the URL makes sense and describes what the webpage is all about. This is both good for the search engines to identify its purpose and to rank it accordingly, but this is also beneficial for its users who are searching for the products or services.
Keep it simple, easy to read, and if possible, make it easy to remember.
a) Experiment with Keyword-only URL’s these have proven to be easier to rank. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, so remember what applies today, may not necessarily apply in the future. (December 2018).
b) Avoid using non-readable or default assigned URL’s, if the URL makes no sense to a human being, it simply won’t perform as well as if it was in a readable format.
2. Make sure the keywords used are appropriate to the cause: You will need to use the keywords that can be related to your product, service or brand, this allows the search engines to categorise you correctly and to rank you accordingly.
3. Make sure you use unique content: Always create and upload unique content to
your website, do not copy and paste content from other websites or internet sources. Information taken or gathered from third parties and that has not been written or researched by yourself will not pass as your own. The Search engines have a content checking algorithm in place, that can very quickly identify if you have written the blog or content yourself or if you have copied it from someone else. The best ranking websites rely on unique content only, so if you want to outrank your competitors please bear this in mind.
4. Make sure your website is responsive: A responsive website should function well on all screen sizes and on all modern mobile devices that the end user (your customer) may be using when they visit the website. Long gone are the days when websites only needed to run on a PC or desktop computer, with the number of smartphones, tablet computers, smart watches and mobile devices now out numbering the use of PCs, websites now need to be designed to ensure the user experience is maintained; no matter which device the website is viewed upon. This process is called “Responsiveness”. Having a responsive website to improve the user experience has become so important to the end user, that the search engines will no longer rank your website high in the results, if the end-user experience is not of the same high quality across all devices.
5. Does your website have an XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap guides search engine spiders otherwise known as bots, to understand your website structure and its content easier when it is crawled. Failing to add a sitemap to your website may result in your content being overlooked or missed when the spiders crawl your content. The larger the website the more likely it will become that some of your content may be missed and therefore will not be indexed by search engines. For this reason, websites that do not have a sitemap tend to rank lower in the search engines.
6. Heading and Meta Tags: Make sure you use your headings and Meta description tags to emphasise the importance of the content on your website. This makes it easier for the search engines to understand which information is of value to your users and will highlight an important message to the search engines for them to show in their results page. When we search content on the search engine’s we are provided with a wide range of results for us to choose from. These results are gathered using the information highlighted upon websites using the heading and meta description tags and will be ranked accordingly based on the Search Engine algorithm. Heading tags do not just have an impact on usability but affect your SEO too, websites failing to correctly make use the headings and meta descriptions will find they are less likely to appear in the search results for a given keyword or key phrase.
Once the above has been completed, you are now at least on the right path to successfully promoting your website on the search engines. On-page SEO in combination with the correct number of high-quality backlinks and online marketing services otherwise known as off-page SEO or SEO for short, can in time improve your Search Engine Rank Position (SERP). SEO is a trust-building process for the search engines, only the best content and the most trusted websites will rank at the top of the results page. The Search Engines are constantly evolving and improving their algorithms to ensure that only the very best unique and resource rich content is shown to its users to choose from. Remember, the Search Engines are directories, there purpose is not to rank websites, but to provide answers to questions posed by their users. If your content is of a higher quality to that of your competitors and if it meets the criteria of the Search Engines’, then your website should show in the results page higher than content that is of less relevance to the search query. Remember content relevance is decided by the search Engine, so it is important to realise that just because you deem something to be of higher importance it does not necessarily follow that the Search Engine will agree with your findings and rank other content higher.