If you’re not in the biz, SEO can seem like an intimidating or even unnecessary exercise. Industry jargon can be difficult to understand, and the terms used can often feel like nothing more than buzzwords designed to dazzle and confuse.
When it comes to creating a website, though, it’s always a good idea to build it with basic SEO principles in mind. After all, SEO is about creating a website that search engines recognise as valuable to audiences – and that’s something you should be aiming for already.
For total beginners wanting to DIY, WordPress is probably the most user-friendly platform to help you build an optimised website right off the bat. It has a range of helpful plug-ins and tools designed for this very purpose.
With the help of one of our SEO guns, Richard, we’ve put together a quick overview of SEO basics to keep in mind when you put your site together.
While content may seem like an obvious element of your site, it’s not always easy to get right. The content you include can enhance or detract from your organic ranking depending on how it meets a variety of criteria. For content to be effective, it should be:
Engaging and relevant – content that ticks both of these boxes will not only fulfil your audience’s needs, meaning lower bounce rates, but it will keep them on the page for longer too. This indicates to search engines that the page (and the site as a whole) is useful for people, so it should start appearing higher in the search positions.
There’s a cyclical effect here as well – more click-throughs to your website will help it rank better, and a better rank will generally result in more click-throughs to the site.
Targeted (but not stuffed) – Write your content with your page’s searchability in mind. Think about what language your target market is using to look for the solution your website provides. Then integrate those keywords or phrases naturally into the copy. The key word right here, though, is naturally. When your ratio of keywords to total words starts creeping up too high, so does your risk of a search engine penalty!
Unique – Say it with me: duplicated content bad, unique content good. Just like at school, copying your neighbour’s work is frowned upon – and also just like in school, there are real consequences if you get caught out.
Meta Descriptions and Page Titles
Make sure your meta descriptions and page titles exist. When writing them, try to make sure they are keyword-targeted, unique, relevant and compelling.
Ever clicked through to an article you were pretty keen to read, only to find it takes forever to load?
Ain’t nobody got time for that! Large image sizes can slow down your page speed, which can be detrimental to your organic rankings – especially in mobile results.
Reduce your image sizes where possible, and don’t forget to include your title and alt tags when you upload your image.
This is all part of the aim to keep people on your site instead of leaving for that other page – you know, the one that gives them what they need, when they need it. If users find your site confusing, impractical or simply insufficient, you better believe they’ll go (and they won’t come back without a pretty good incentive).
Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Avoid structures that are very deep or layered; if your site has to be that way (for example, a large e-commerce website), make sure you have breadcrumbs (signposts) for users so they always know where they are.
Just keeping these simple points in mind while designing your new site can help you get started on the right foot – or, in this case, the right page! If you have any questions about this post or SEO in general, just get in touch with our team.
If you felt like this post may as well have been written in another language, make sure you check out our super simple SEO jargon glossary!