Search engine optimisation is today an extremely effective and credible way to build your online presence, promote your company and services and gain business. This wasn’t always the case though and throughout the year’s spammers, link farms and black hat SEO’ers have tried to cheat with shortcuts and trick the search engines, darkening the reputation of SEO.
The SEO industry has grown up and it’s time to put the shady reputation in the past and out those outdated practices. Like every industry online marketing and search has moved forward, local search optimisation is one area which demonstrates this, along with the huge impact smartphones and mobile devices have had on the digital world.
We recently blogged about white hat and black hat SEO practices and why it really does matter when it comes to avoiding penalties from the likes of Google and Bing. SEO is an ongoing process, not something that can be done once and ticked off the list. If your website contains long title tags which are stuffed with only keywords, this will be working against you, not for you.
Outdated SEO practices need to be cleaned up and replaced with modern SEO, here’re some basics of today’s SEO that you can check on your website and deal with immediately.
Title Tags should be 55 characters or less if you want the entire title to show in Google’s SERPs. Consider the user experience, studies have shown a good page title length is around seven or eight words but less than 64 characters, even if these are shortened in the SERPs sometimes it’s important to get the right message across. Using your keyword early in the title tag is also advantageous.
Meta descriptions need to be crafted to entice visitors to click through, whilst being relevant and containing your keyword but avoiding stuffing. Google truncates anything text over 155 characters so keep to below this. Think about including a call to action in meta descriptions for example ‘Buy’, ‘Hire’, ‘See’, ‘Discover’ etc. Both title tags and meta descriptions should be revisited and compared against competing pages in the SERPS and updated.
H1 and H2 tags can be used to further target your web pages with your keywords and it makes sense to have a heading on the page which tells the user about the content and lets them flick through so its a chance to grab their attention.
Amongst other things, local SEO requires adding locations to web pages, title tags, meta tags etc, although when it comes to creating content for different locations, swapping just the town or city name is a no no. There might be only so many ways in which you can write the same thing but it’s so worth the time and effort.
Reviewing and updating your content is also important, whilst blogging gives your website new and fresh content, there’s nothing worse than seeing a 2014 product year on an out of date page. Either update the content if appropriate or remove the page and add a 301 redirect to another appropriate page so you can still benefit from any traffic the original page may generate.
Look at your existing backlinks and use Google’s Disavow tool to see if you can make some suggestions to Google about inappropriate links that have been added over the years. This shows that you understand how SEO practices have changed over the years and tells Google.
Check your conversion tracking is in place and working. If you’re paying a digital marketing company to do your SEO, Social Media or PPC it should all be tracked and reported. As a website owner, you should be aware of what SEO has been done on your site and review this on a regular basis. Your web analytics will also give you a heads up and display any problems with your SEO, Google Search Console is good for this.
Google and other search engines are very open and honest about what works and don’t work when it comes to SEO your website. Whilst there are still undoubtedly shady SEO practices being used and digital marketing agencies who promise you a No. 1 ranking in Google or 1000’s of new followers instantly, the industry has cleaned up and if something sounds too good to be true it probably is!
Shortcuts never work long term, but if you’ve been burnt with SEO or seen a blatant SEO faux pax, why not tell us your story and have a chat with our friendly team about turning your digital marketing around.