Getting to the top of the search engines is one of the most cost effective ways to market your website. The ‘organic listings’ or the left and side of the the search engine results page can drive thousands of visitors to your site. However, getting your website listed there has always thought to have been somthing of a ‘dark art’. But it doesn’t have to be a mystery! We’ve put together a 5 part guide to show you how to do it with your webeden.co.uk website builder.
Part 1 – The ground rules
Search Engine Optimisation with SiteMaker is much like Search Engine Optimisation with any website. The key is to make sure that your site contents are focused and relevant to the keywords that you wish to rank highly on. This means making a real effort in a number of places to make sure the terms you use are consistent. And don’t be too ambitious, you’re never going to beat the big guys if your words are too general and competitive.
This guide is based on our experience and generally accepted guidelines on how to improve website search rankings. It doesn’t guarantee results, but will point you in the right direction ;-). If you want more specialist help, employ an SEO consultant, or read the huge range of SEO articles available online.
Throughout this guide we make reference to a website www.joeslondontaxis.com which was built using SiteMaker to test the theories in the articles and show how to get practical results. All results were correct at the time this guide was written.
Firstly nobody can guarantee you positions in the search rankings. Search engines keep their search algorithms very secret and update them regularly to make sure they produce true and accurate results.
The second thing to know is that SEO takes real work. You’re going to have to give it some thought and make changes to all the pages in your site. This will take time and you may want to adjust things after a few months as you start to see results. The Internet is a great potential market but you need to invest time and effort in marketing your site if you want it to be successful. SEO is a good way of doing this but like most things it doesn’t always come easy.
Next, it’s going to take time for your rankings to improve. Search engines can take months to even list your site and then further time to assign you a rank. They will then review your site periodically and check for updates but the frequency of this can vary. So don’t expect too much too soon. Be patient, build your credibility and presence, and good things will come. Many sites that rank highly have been around a long, long time.
And finally, SEO isn’t everything. There’s never an excuse for not marketing your site in other ways if you’re serious about getting it noticed. Traditional offline marketing, online marketing (banners or AdWords), putting your URL on letterheads, posting it on industry specific directories/message boards, etc., can all help and these actions will also support your SEO efforts too. So don’t forget to look at other forms of marketing too.
First things first
So now the ground rules are out of the way, here are the basics. If you are building a new site, you have two challenges: getting your site listed, and improving its rankings. Even getting your site listed is a subject surrounded in controversy but it also closely relates to how you get it optimised.
In terms of optimisation it’s important to know that search engines look for consistency and relevancy within a number of different areas of your in-page content and within your referral links. These include:
1. The URL (or web address) of your page, e.g. www.joeslondontaxis.com, or www.joeslondontaxis.com/taxibooking, etc.
2. Your Page title in the HTML, e.g. “London taxi company”, or “London taxi bookings page”
3. Your Keywords metadata in the HTML, e.g. “London taxis, London taxi, Joes taxis, West London taxi, etc.”
4. Your Description metadata in the HTML, e.g. “London taxi company provides taxi services…”
5. Your page content, e.g. the text that is on your page, including headings (or section titles) which are treated differently from body text
6. Links on your page, including the anchor text, e.g. the text on which the link is set
7. Images on your page, including the name of the image file, and the link (if any) set on the image
8. Referral links to your pages, including the anchor text of the referral link, e.g. a link on another site referring to your site
9. Points 1-7 are easily within your control as they all relate to the contents of your site. Point 8 requires linking to your site from other external sites, which is less easy to achieve, though there are a number of ways in which you can go about doing this.
Remember, while search engines are mechanical they are not stupid! They are in a constant battle with link spammers who attempt to manipulate ranking results for profit. Optimising your pages and encouraging genuine link backs from other relevant sites will help but getting involved in link spamming and other dodgy techniques such as spamming keywords or content can get your site black listed. So more isn’t always best, make sure links, content and keywords are all genuine.
This guide will go through each of these points in turn and discuss how they are relevant to SiteMaker as well as how to go about achieving each one of them.
Like I said, none of this is solid fact, but it is based on perceived wisdom and what little guidance search engines give out. However, we also want to encourage debate. So if you know something useful or have found a good resource please let us know using the form below.
What’s next? Here’s a link to our Search Engine Optimisation Guide Part 2, which is all about choosing keywords.