Having a web presence for your business these days is no longer a luxury but an important part of building a professional company. People tend to build websites for their businesses just because it is may be a requirement and that is it.!. They will probably not look at it again for a very long time.
It is absurd to look at some of the websites that belong to reputable firms but content on the website has not been changed in ages. People do not realise that a good web presence whether its on social media or otherwise is a very crucial factor that determines how their company is perceived by the entire world.
The internet surpasses geographical boundaries and it is your gateway to the entire world so taking it seriously should not be something that you should take lightly.
This brings me to the whole point of this blog which is search engine optimisation(S.E.O). This is a technical term but what it really means is you build your site so that search engines like google can easily and painlessly find and index your website. Google being the leading search engine, I will focus on optimising your site for the google search engine.
Google has a number of things that it considers when it is indexing your site.
I will try to explain indexing without sounding too technical. Google has built programs that go out their on the internet and pick certain keywords and categorise websites based on those keywords.
So if you own a plumbing business, google will look out for certain words on your website related to plumbing and then your site will be appropriately categorised based on those keywords.
Google wants your website to succeed and they are in the business of making sure people who search the internet get the most useful results based on their search query. So they came up with tools to help you get the best out of their search engine.
These days google is really the gateway to the internet. I get amused when you give people your web address and they actually enter it into a search engine and not the address bar of their browser.
Everyone should really be aiming on having their website appear on the first page of google when someone searches for something related to their business. This is not an event but an on going process because google keeps improving their product and also developing more tools that help you achieve better search engine optimisation.
Below are some of the factors that you need to put into place in order to fully utilise search engine optimisation provided by google.
The purpose of this is to help track and report website traffic. It breaks it all down to when your site is mostly used and who is looking and where they are located. This could help you determine when to put certain information on the site to target a certain group of people, and that’s just one example. It provides a lot of customer insight and it is very easy to read and understand.
Get a google webmaster tools account:
This a great suite of tools that help you improve your site performance. Especially for web developers you get a lot of information based on the structure of your site. You get a lot of information about areas of your site where you might need to make some changes to improve S.E.O. It is an easy to use tool and provides a treasure trove of information that is actionable.
Google local business centre account:
This will help you be able to tell google where your business is located and what your trade is. Very important for search queries which are location based. For example if someone is looking for a computer repair shop in the Kampala central area then you are easily discoverable if you are in that locale. Like I mentioned earlier google tries to get the most relevant search results for the user as possible and location is a big part of that.
Text format content:
Content is king and it’s not any different with google search engine optimisation. Make sure to keep your content in text form because google crawlers: these are google tools that index your website, read text better. Make sure you put as much relevant content on your site as possible in text format.
Do not put important information in graphics or flash images, you won’t have it index well. For developers make sure to use alt tags for your images as well. These make sure the google crawlers can know what your image is about . Eg
Another important point to put into consideration is google crawlers are designed to recognise organic speech patterns so you are encouraged to have a blog feature on your website. This helps google to pick out relevant keywords and also understand that you are not just writing keywords to game its system, but you are using them to actually write about something that your visitors are interested in.
Create a sitemap for your site:
This might seem too technical but it actually is not. A site map is representation of your site pages and navigation. It is a map of your site. Their are many resources online that can help you create a sitemap for your site. If you are using wordpress or drupal to build your site, their some plugins that will automatically help you build a sitemap painlessly and every time your site changes they regenerate a fresh copy.
A sitemap helps the google crawlers to basically know how everything in your website is organised. Also make sure that every page in your site is named based on what content is on the page. For example if a page is supposed to have content relating to say how your visitors are supposed to contact you then call it the contact_page and not page2.
Make sure to have back-links to your website coming from credible site. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are also included in this category. So if some very popular site has a link on their website that leads to your site then google increases your page rank. One of the ways that google ranks pages on your site is by how many follow links that lead to your website.
This reiterates the point I made earlier about making sure you have more text format content and not graphic or flash format content. Flash or graphic content makes your pages load a lot slower than when they were just text format. This is where google analytics and google webmaster tools come in, because they will show you how long your pages are taking to load so you can make appropriate changes.
Lastly use full path format rather than using relative links. For example use links like this app/views/index.html.erb and not this ../index.html.erb. Google search engine crawlers are designed to work well with full path links and not relative links. Also endeavour to use permalinks and also make sure to have titles in your webpages that are relevant to the content on your website plus naming your webpages appropriately.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Feel free to comment and below with your thoughts. At Therailsshop we design all our websites with search engine optimisation in mind.