What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is to improve your website to encourage increased visibility by search engines such as Google.
This is an important factor to consider when building or updating your website because it is likely that the vast majority of your visitors will come from a Google search.
Therefore, ensuring your website is easy for Google to find is hugely important.
What are things to avoid when making my website SEO-friendly?
The main aim is to be ranked high up on the first page of Google for every relevant search so that people will find you.
To help make this happen, here are the top 10 common mistakes to avoid when making your website SEO-friendly:
1. Slow-loading pages.
Google doesn’t like slow-loading websites. The only thing worse than low-quality, pixelated images is if they take an age to load- it’s an SEO 101 red flag. Not only would it turn visitors (and potential customers!) away, but it’ll raise eyebrows for Google too. Therefore, ensure your images and videos are high quality, but compressed.
2. Images without alt text.
Alt (alternative) text for images is an SEO function that should be used when uploading images to your site. It’s where you have the opportunity to describe the image. Not only does it explain to sight-impaired visitors what is on the page and provide a description when images fail to load, but it is also read or ‘indexed’ by search engines. It’ll add invisible detail to your website to give search engines more information about what your page is all about, which gives you more opportunity to be ranked higher on a relevant search.
3. Poor copywriting.
Writing original SEO-strong copy for your website may be harder than you think! Copywriting involves condensing information, using relevant keywords, having correct spelling and grammar, and ensuring everything flows. Keeping visitors engaged enough to stay on your website to inform them of your services is a skill that can be difficult to master in a short period of time. More isn’t always better either; avoid waffling, and focus on selling yourself in an honest but succinct way. If you need a hand with this, enquire about our SEO-friendly copywriting services today.
Following on from the previous SEO tip, keywords are essential to being found for relevant Google searches. But this involves more than chucking a few keywords into your sentences. Rather, focus on getting the messaging right. That way, the keywords will appear more naturally in your text.
For example, if you’re building a website for your Southampton-based seafood restaurant, knowing to include the words ‘fish’, ‘seafood’, ‘restaurant’ and ‘Southampton’ is a good place to start. But it’s better to think backwards from what sort of search terms a potential customer would use in Google to find you. They’d likely search for something like ‘good seafood restaurant in Southampton’.
Therefore, writing about your amazing, local Southampton-based seafood restaurant and all your incredible dishes in a condensed but fluent way would work best. It’ll give you a better chance of being ranked higher on this Google search because it can easily identify the relevancy of your website.
5. Avoid dead links.
These are hyperlinks that no longer lead anywhere, such as a link to a YouTube video that has since been removed or a link to a page that is no longer available. This would imply that a site is not updated, and won’t do much for its SEO rank.
6. Mobile optimisation.
Optimising your website for mobile and tablet viewers is essential in today’s world. While you may be building your website on a desktop computer or laptop, keep in mind that most of your visitors will probably be arriving via phone. You may need the help of a website designer to optimise your website to conform to the restrictions of a small phone screen. If that’s the case, we’re happy to help with this too.
7. Don’t try to cheat the system.
Listing keywords (known as keyword-stuffing) on your page won’t work. Google is much smarter than that, and looks for authentic content that humans can read and make sense of. The old trick of invisibly listing keywords in white against the white background of the website is long gone – in fact, you’ll be penalised for it and likely have your website’s rank drop in searches.
8. User-friendly website.
Having a website that’s laid out in a way that makes it easy for visitors to navigate is a surprising SEO must-have. Clear menus are needed to quickly point people in the right direction of the information they need too – an about us page, contact page and services you offer are required at the very least. The most important information to your customer needs to be highlighted on the homepage to keep them interested.
If you have an online shop, make sure it’s easy and secure to use too. There’s nothing worse than having customers put products in their trolley and not check out due to website issues, difficulty navigating to the purchase page, or concerns with entering personal details.
9. Not updating your website.
Keeping your website up to date is important in terms of contact details, of course. But updating your website with content is important too. This shows Google that your website is active and engaged with more often. If you are able to put aside the time, having a blog that’s regularly updated with articles about your industry would be a big SEO gold star too.
10. Paying for traffic.
Google is optimised to find organic and authentic content. So don’t be tempted to pay for backlinks, because Google will know! Purchasing backlinks means links to your website are published on other websites. But it’s far more valuable to focus your energy (and money) on making your website honest, and keep search engines on your side. It’s also worth mentioning that purchasing backlinks and ‘organic link-building’ are two different services, and should not be confused.
If these guidelines are in the too-hard basket for you or your business right now, don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help make your website the best it can be!
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