Back To SEO Basics

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Posted on Jun 12th 2012

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines' "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results. “- from Wikipedia 

In plain English, SEO is generally a number of techniques or processes used to optimise a website and give it the best chance to be seen in search engines like Google or Bing. 

Many times, there are some fundamental elements missing which can structure a website for search engines to understand and follow what the website is about. 

Here are the SEO basics we find important to address and maintain on all websites:

1. Page Title 

The Page Title is used to define the name of the page and should be included on every page. 

The contents of this tag are usually shown as the title in search engine results and the visitor's browser. It is generally good practice to keep this information simple and consisting of only relevant words to name the page - often this can match the main heading on the page. A good way to select an appropriate Page Title is to anticipate the primary search terms that a visitor would use to get to the page. 

Page Title Tips  

  • Ensure every page has a Page Title
  • Each Page Title within the website should be unique
  • Avoid over-stuffing the Page Title with keywords - keep it brief and relevant
  • Depending on anticipated search queries, the business name or location may be used in conjunction with other primary keywords
  • Use punctuation such as the hyphen (-) or comma (,) to visually break up wording to improve user readability / visual appeal in search results
  • Keep the Page Title under 70 characters (including spaces) 

2. Meta Description 

The Meta Description should be used in conjunction with the Page Title to further explain the information being delivered to visitors. The contents of this tag should be a brief summary of your page's content, consisting of any relevant keywords. 

There are some cases that search engines will automatically use content from within the page if there is no Meta Description defined, or if the search engine believes that it can generate a better description of your page. This highlights the importance of ensuring the tag is completed correctly. 

Meta Description Tips

  • Ensure every page has a Meta Description
  • Each Meta Description within the website should be unique
  • Avoid overstuffing the Meta Description with keywords - keep it relevant
  • Keep main keywords near the start of the Meta Description - Some search engines will clip the text if it exceeds a certain number characters
  • Use punctuation such as the hyphen (-) or comma (,) to visually break up wording to improve user readability / visual appeal in search results
  • Keep the Meta Description under 150 characters (including spaces)

3. Content Header Tags 

Content Heading Tags (example, H1, H2, H3... etc) should be used appropriately to section content. H1 tags are the most valuable to the page and are generally similar to the Page Title to reinforce the keywords or main purpose of the page. Header tags make the page easier to read visually, but also can influence search engines in the way they are served content. 

Header Tag Tips

  • Only use one H1 tag on each page
  • Don’t skip tags (example, only using H1 and H4)
  • Don’t overuse header tags - only use them as needed in relation to the content on the page

4. Image Alt Tags 

Image Alt Tags should be used to describe the image, not the website, in a text version to help search engines understand and read what the image is. These tags are also used for visitors unable to view the image, or visitors using a screen-reader if they are visually impaired. 

Image Alt Tags

  • Keep the Image Alt Tag short, simple and descriptive
  • Don’t include an Image Alt Tag if it is used for layout or design purposes (include an empty alt tag attribute instead)
  • If the image contains text, use this in the Image Alt Tag

5. Content 

Content is King on the Internet and in relation to SEO it should be original, well-written and most importantly, relevant. It is important to write Content for the website visitor first, then make appropriate modifications which may assist with the SEO aspect of the website. 

Content Tips

  • Include but do not overuse keywords within the page Content (keywords should be naturally occurring throughout the text)
  • Ensure a spell and grammar check has been completed on all Content
  • Link to local pages or external websites that may be relevant to the textKeep content up-to-date
  • Keep content fresh with regular news or blog posts
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