6 Basic SEO Tips
Following the appearance of the Big Man, Kennie Young, in an SEO interview on BBC radio 2; on the Jeremy Vine show with Anita Rani, we have been inundated with emails asking for the details of the 6 basic SEO steps for small business owners that he mentioned in the Radio interview. Over to Kennie:
BBC Radio 2 SEO Interview
For any readers that missed my BBC Radio Two interview on the Jeremy Vine show, that would like to listen to it, you can click on this link to hear it:
During the interview, Anita had so many questions that I only managed to mention 3 of the 6 basic steps that small business owners should take to give their websites a better chance in the search engine rankings. My intention is to cover them briefly in this blog item and to feature each one in it’s own article over the next 7 days.
Basic Advice - 6 SEO Tips for Small Businesses
I thought about calling these six SEO tips, the BBC Radio 2 Basic SEO tips, but that would appear to be somewhat pretentious and I don’t wish to give the impression that I work with Radio Two on a regular basis, I was simply chosen for an interview, so 6 basic SEO Tips it is!
The Page title is the most important piece of information that appears on any website page, as far as the search engine spiders are concerned. The Page Title is situated in the head area of your source code and when viewing the site, it appears on your screen in the top bar of your browser. The Page title on this page is 6 Basic SEO tips - Jeremy Vine Show BBC Radio 2 six basic SEO tips - Kennie Young SEO advice which you’ll see at the very top of your browser window.
It’s amazing how many people use the page title - Welcome to my website, or some variation - and if you are doing that, you are making your site relevant for the term “Welcome to my Website”, which with 214 million competing pages, won’t bring you many visitors! Like my page title above, you must make the title relevant for the search terms you want the page to be found for on the search engines. I want the page to be found for 6 Basic SEO tips, for Jeremy Vine Show SEO tips, Kennie Young SEO advice, etc. so that’s why the keyterms appear in the Page Title.
You must also ensure that every page has it’s own Page Title. There is no point using the same title on every page of your site. If your page is about Pink widgets, your title tag must be tailored for Pink Widgets and related terms.
I will cover lengths, repetition of keyterms, etc in the more focused blog item on Page Titles.
Description Meta Tag
The only really important Meta Tag is your Description Meta tag. If you look at the source code of your page, you will see that we use the same content string in the Description Meta Tag, that we use in the Page tite (Title tag). You will read all sorts of nonsense from the gum-flappers on SEO forums saying the description tag doesn’t matter- don’t listen to them - it’s very important. We keep the Description tag, in most cases, the same as the Page Title, simple because it keeps the keyword continuity throughout the page, but you can change it slightly if you wish, keeping the keyterms active in the string of-course.
Again, I’ll go into more detail on Description tags when I break down the 6 basic SEO Tips, later in the week.
Headings are important to the search engine spiders. H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags should always be used in your content. Apart from the fact that Heading help relevancy in the search engines, they make it easier for visitors to find content on your page. Your main heading should always be an H1 tag - on this page it is 6 Basic SEO Tips. The H2 tags are Radio 2 SEO interview and Basic Advice - Six SEO Tips for Small Businesses. Then the other headings are H3 tags. Note that there is a natural progression down the page H1, H2, H3 etc.
Your page content must contain the words that you want to be found for on the search engines and the keyterms used should tie in with your Page title, description meta tag and your H1 tags - see where we are going with this? The page must be focused on the terms you want to be found for. If I want this article to be found for Jeremy Vine basic SEO tips, the content must appear on the page as a complete keyphrase and the individual keyterms, Jeremy Vine and basic SEO tips must appear elsewhere in the content. You will never feature for keyterms that you are not optimised for, or to put it simply, if you want to be found for Hornchurch Heating Engineer, ideally that keyphrase should appear in your Title, Description, Heading and content.
Your website navigation is not only important for website visitors, it is very important to search engine spiders. The spiders need to be able to reach every page on your site easily and they do that by following links on your site, so if every page on your site is linked to every other page of your site, then there is a very good chance that a spider will visit and index all of your pages within two or three visits to the site. At the very least, every page on the site must be linked to your homepage and all of the important pages linked to each other. It’s difficult to do if you have 20,000 pages on your site, but for most sites, footer navigation and a site map link on every page will do the job.
Good navigation also supplied pages with lots of internal links, which is also a ranking factor in the Google spider’s algorithm, which I’ll cover in more depth in the Navigation article.
Google, Yahoo and Bing, (and the other smaller engines), consider a link from another website to be a vote for your website and the more votes that you have, the more relevant your site will become for the search term. That’s a very simple explanation of why incoming links are good for your rankings, but don’t get hung up on building links and don’t buy links as you could get yourself banned from Google for it. (see Google webmasters Guidelines).
There is so much hype about link-building and no doubt you’ve been contacted on the phone or via email by link building companies - likely from India or Romania - offering to build you links, only to be disappointed by the poor quality or their service and to see no real improvement in your positions in the rankings. Without taking the 5 previous outlined basic SEO steps, link building is unlikely to pay dividends. If you are UK based, with a fairly local Geographic area - back to my Heating engineer in Hornchurch - you only need one or two good quality links from reputable websites, combined with good optimisation, to see your site move up the rankings - assuming that you have followed the other basic SEO advice above. Don’t be fooled into paying £500 for a link building campaign, you don’t need lots of links to appear for local geographic terms, like Hull hairdressers, or Bromwich Barber. One or two good links are more than sufficient.
Check out the Big Man’s Blog over the next week to find out more about how you can improve your chances on the search engines.
Doing it yourself is unlikely to get the same results as a professional optimisation company, as there are dozens of other steps that a professional SEO can do to help your site achieve rankings, but if you put these 6 basic SEO tips into action, you will go from having no chance on the engines to having a good chance of success.