Ways to revamp your website for 2014 – Part 3: SEO

Revamp your website for SEOWelcome to the third and final part of our ‘Revamp your website’ series (read Part 1 and Part 2). It’s time to talk about search engine optimisation (SEO).

Revamp your website: SEO

If your website is nowhere to be found when you type your core keywords into Google, you need to do more to improve your website SEO. In all likelihood you’ll need a professional to help you, but here are some factors to consider:

Software

The most fundamental part of SEO is that the search engine ‘crawlers’ can actually access your site and index its content. For this reason, your site needs to be built by someone who understands SEO and how the choice and customisation of website building software can affect it. Was your site built many years ago without much thought of SEO? If so, there could be issues within the code that need to be addressed. Ask an SEO-savvy web developer to review your site, and consider rebuilding it in a modern platform such as WordPress.

Keyword research

To optimise your site for search you’ve got to have a good idea of the keywords you’re targeting. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to research the best keywords – you’re looking for terms that attract reasonable volumes of search traffic but which are specific enough to generate relevant traffic, e.g. ‘children’s wellies’ rather than ‘shoes’ if you have a site selling the former.

Meta tags

Your keywords need to be incorporated into the meta titles and descriptions of each page on your site. These are the snippets that are displayed within search results, so there are two considerations: the first is to include the keywords for which you want to rank; the second is to make sure they function as good ‘teaser’ copy that entice users to click on them and visit your site.

XML sitemap

Ask your web developer to add an xml sitemap to your website, if this is not already in place. This gives the search engine crawlers an easy-to-access map of all the pages on your website.

Links

Link-building isn’t the epicentre of SEO like it once was, but there is still value in building a network of high quality incoming links to your website. Think laterally about how you could get a link to your website from industry blogs and websites, or news sites.

Google products

Although Google is coy about it, the existence of a link between search results and participation in other Google products such as Google+, Authorship and Places, is not hard to fathom. Our own interview of a Google employee yielded a reference to the ‘Google ecosystem’: we received a very clear message that businesses which participated across a range of Google products were likely to be rewarded with greater visibility in the search results. We think this is going to become even more apparent in 2014.