March 30th, 2016
Making sense of SEO – ten things that are good for SEO and for humans!
We all know that having the best looking website in the world is pointless if no-one can find it. That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) is so vital – enabling search engines to find your website and to rank it highly in their search results.
For a long time, SEO was seen by many as a dark art; the preserve of technically proficient website developers who would perform invisible coding trickery behind the scenes of your website to help it stand out from the masses. Or the advice was to stuff your site with relevant search terms, ‘keywords’, in the belief that a greater quantity of relevant search words would equate to a higher ranking.
In the early days of the internet, there were germs of truth in both of these beliefs, but since then search engines have become far more sophisticated in the way they assess and rank websites. Nowadays, search engines are designed to look for sites that offer what real people are looking for – that is good quality, relevant content, written for humans not robots, from organisations that are trustworthy and honest.
We had a chat with Colin, our SEO expert at Edge45 who we work closely with, about Google’s latest algorithm known as ‘Phantom’ which basically aims to identify and separate out high quality websites from low quality ones and ranks them accordingly. So reassuringly, this means that companies with websites that send out the right ‘quality’ and ‘trust’ signals, and provide a great user experience will rank higher than those who don’t.
That also means that being a coding wizard is not the only way to improve the SEO of your website. Whilst some of the technical aspects are still important, providing high-quality content that demonstrates what a great organisation you are is equally so.
Here are ten things we think are important for SEO and for humans:
- Regular updates – Google loves fresh content, so keep your site updated with news, blogs and case studies. Take a look at our blog on content marketing for tips on creating great content.
- Be authentic – make sure your website reflects the reality of your business. People want to deal with businesses that are genuine and honest.
- Provide evidence – give people reasons to trust your business. Include testimonials and case studies that demonstrate what a great business you are to work with.
- People pictures and biographies– include pictures of real people from your business. It’s one way to demonstrate your authenticity. Don’t fill your site with stock photos of men in suits pointing at flipcharts – instead show yourselves and your clients. Let your personality shine through and show how your people have relevant skills and expertise.
- Meta titles and descriptions –The text that helps to attract search engines and people to your website is still vitally important. Meta titles appear at the top of every page on your site in the browser bar – they should accurately summarise the content of the page and ideally include the search terms that people type in to find you or your service. Meta descriptions are the sentence or two of text that appears in your search results on Google – whilst there is debate about their importance in SEO, nevertheless they are important for humans – Think of them as your shop window. It has to be appealing and entice people in. So make sure they accurately describe your business and give reasons for people to click on your site.
- Links – good quality links both from your site to other relevant sites and, most importantly, from other sites to yours have long been recognised as an extremely valuable way of increasing your ranking. Internal links help google and humans to find the content easily on your site. Links to your site are effectively third-party endorsements of your business.
- Show your good side – one way to show what a trustworthy business you are is to promote your Corporate Social Responsibility work. Showcase any charities, good causes or community groups you support.
- Get in the news – a great way to get more links to your site is to be talked about in the news or on other companies’ websites. They can link to your site and bring in traffic from new sources. Offline PR and marketing will support this.
- Press and media page – have a page on your site where all your press and media coverage is collated. This makes it easy for Google – and people – to find, and provides evidence that you are a genuine, successful business.
- Speed – your site should load quickly, so think about the size of pictures and other documents you put on there.
Basically what is good for your customers is good for Google. Good content on your website and good communications are vital to the success of any business which of course includes your online success.