Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is important in getting your website noticed. Having great onsite and offsite SEO will ensure the search engines rank you highly and get your site more traffic and authority. Whether you are designing a site from the very beginning or making changes to an existing one, it’s important your website is properly optimised for the search engines. Here’s a simple onsite SEO checklist you can use to help design your website:
Think of a XML sitemap as a road map for the search engines. They use it to ensure they’ve got an up to date list of every page on your site. All good sites have one of these so don’t leave it out!
A HTML sitemap is used by both the search engines and your viewers to help find their way around your web pages. This will look just like a normal page on your site and will make it very easy for Google bots and viewers alike to navigate and view your content.
Alt Tag On Images
Search Engines are blind to images. This means it’s important to use the alt tag on your images to tell the search engines what that picture is exactly. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, if it’s a picture of a ginger cat then “ginger cat” will do.
Great, Unique Content
Your content must be unique for two reasons. 1) Search engines absolutely hate duplicate content, so if you’ve copied anything from anywhere and put it on your website you could get penalised for it. 2) You could be breaking the law by plagiarising somebody elses work!
Those reasons aside, you surely want your content to be unique anyway?! If you have great, unique content not only will you get traffic and keep them interested, the search engines can reward you for it. Make sure you keep it fresh and updated, too.
Copyscape is a good tool for ensuring your content is unique.
Some people consider this the most important part of onsite SEO. You should use your keywords in the title tag of a page and also your brand name, in that order. Have different title tags for every page or the search engines will think they’re the same!
Meta Description Tags
This is the small piece of writing that people will be able to see when they search for a keyword relating to your business or your brand name. It should include a few keywords and be short and descriptive. The search engines also use this to learn a bit more about your site, but when writing it do so with your customer in mind.
Having a good navigation system is essential for the success of your website. Search engines use them to better understanding how your site is structured, and viewers use them to make their way around your pages.
Webpage Loading Speeds
Search engines understand that people browsing the internet can get impatient quickly, so if you have slow loading speeds on your website you can expect the search engines to penalise you for it.