While there is no one-size fits all approach, there are a number of easy to implement actions which can make a big difference toward improving your Search Engine Rankings.
Wolters Kluwer takes care of the technical side of things by ensuring that when your site is built, it is built to the latest standards*. The areas you can manage yourself relate to improving the content, titles, descriptions and url names within your site, as well as organising third party sites to link to your own.
*If your site is more than 4 years old, we encourage you to contact us to discuss the benefits of rebuilding your website to current standards.
Below we will briefly summarise the main points we recommend you to consider for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Marketing of your website. Our Web Manager clients also have access to our SEO Tips page including a downloadable checklist to help cover the basics – if you’re an existing Web Manager client, or would like to find out more, please contact us.
We also recommend you consider reading Google’s ‘Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide‘.
Create unique, accurate page titles
The ‘title’ tag tells search engines what the topic of each page is, and is generally what is displayed as the first line within the search results of the search engine as well as in your browser tab to tell visitors about your page.
The title tags should:
- Accurately describe the particular page’s content – ideally the words you use in the title tag should also appear somewhere in the actual page content. It is best practice to create unique titles for each page within your site.
- Be brief and descriptive – too many characters and they won’t show in a Google search. We recommend no more than 60 characters.
- Include location references within the titles if you are targeting a particular area for your products or services, e.g. if you are targeting North Sydney, you might have a title for your home page of ‘Smith Jones & Associates, Chartered Accountants, North Sydney’, and make sure you include those words in the actual content of your page.
A tool that may help with establishing keywords to use when writing content, titles and descriptions is Google’s ‘Keyword Analysis Tool‘ – this provides a way of looking up search volumes for particular phrases and provides suggestions for alternative phrases and their search volumes.
Make use of the “description” meta tag
The description provides a summary of what a particular page is about. Really just an expansion of the title tag, this is generally the information that will be displayed below a search result of the search engine.
Google also recommends having a unique description for each page within your site to help make the search results more useful for users so they can easily see what a page relates to.
One thing to keep in mind is that a Google search result will only show the first 150 characters of your description so it is best to try and keep your search description within this character limit.
Make your site easy to navigate
Make it easy for users to click through to other pages within your site. This includes setting links within your page content to relevant pages or sub-pages, e.g. on your home page you may mention some of your services or products – using your content editor set links on each of these words to the relevant page within your site.
Make sure content is categorised within folders using obvious naming conventions, e.g. having all ‘services’ within a ‘services’ folder – generally your Web Manager site will have been built using a logical folder structure already, so this point shouldn’t need too much attention.
Page names can also include ‘keywords’ in them to help rank better on a particular word or phrase. E.g. a ‘Services’ page could have the ‘url’ renamed to ‘Accounting-services’, which would in turn lead to a better ranking on an ‘accounting services’ search.
Regularly adding new content to your site has the double benefit of keeping your site content fresh as well as also increasing the number of search phrases your site will be found on. Write regular blog posts on topics your clients are interested in and relate to your industry or service offering.
Web Manager has an easy to use blog module which sits within your site tree and can be edited just as you would a standard content page. This is more convenient than linking to an external blog and can be set up to feed through to the homepage of your website too. To learn more about Web Manager’s blog module, please click here.
Link swapping / in-bound links
Having links pointing to your own site from third party sites will improve your site ranking – you could approach suppliers/business partners or sites in a similar general niche and request a reciprocal link swap.
The more quality links there are to a website the greater its chances of a higher ranking in the search engine results. Creating more in-bound links to your own site involves determining and approaching sites that may be willing to link to you. If you are a member of an association or business alliance, consider asking your partner organisations to include a link to your website from theirs.
Use ‘Google My Business’
Google My Business is the fast and easy way for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence with Google. Google My Business complements your existing website by giving your business a public identity and presence on Google. The information you provide about your business can appear on Google Search, Maps and Google+.
Include links to your social media pages on your site (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc). Offering competitions where a user enters the promotion by ‘liking’ your Facebook page for example can be a good way to virally increase the visibility of your Facebook page and in turn your main website.
Include your website address in any company print or electronic material
Make sure your website link is included on all print and electronic material including business cards, invoices, email signatures, stationary etc. Including your website address in traditional print advertising, such as yellow pages or local newspapers, can get good results.
Paid online advertising
If you want to get more aggressive in driving traffic to your site, there are a number of channels that can be used for paid electronic advertising. Google Adwords uses pay-per-click ads where keywords can be targeted to obtain relevant search traffic. This also can include advertising on their ‘Display network’ where your ads can appear on third party sites that are relevant to your products/services. Another avenue is to have an ad included in third party email newsletters.
Managing and tracking your progress
There is no one size fits all approach for driving traffic to your website – however doing a good job of the basics will certainly enhance your chances. Take a look at the habits of your target audience and work out which communication channels they use. History has shown that unique and thoughtful campaigns can quickly go viral and generate huge amounts of interest in your website.
How well you end up ranking is also affected by how effective your competitors are with doing the same job on their own sites.
If you simply don’t have time to spend on updating your site from a search engine perspective and are considering using an SEO specialist to assist you, take care with who you hire. Google handily has a page with some guidelines and questions you could ask a potential SEO’er to make sure you are going to get value for money.