Top 10 tips for website design and search engine optimisation

Toiling away writing website content and trying to get your pages to rank well can be a hard slog, we wanted to give you a quick and easy reference page that would just give you some basic pointers for how you can improve your on-site search engine optimisation. It’s never going to be exhaustive because there is no quick fix, gone are the days of keyword stuffing to get you to the top of page 1, google is far too clever for that, instead be prepared to put in the hard yards, but, rest assured, hard work is recognised.

So, where to begin?…

1. Keyword research

We’re all experts in our field (or we at least profess to be), because of that we often know the correct terminology for things (and smirk when people get it wrong), but that might not help us very much when it comes to website keywords. Do your research, work out what people are actually searching for, and what generates the most keyword volume, but also, be specific, it’s no good going for such a generic term that visitors end up on your site, but can’t find what they’re looking for meaning you end up with a monstrous bounce rate.

2. Page Naming

Name your pages something specifically to do with your chosen keyword, a keyword specific URL will help your customers find you in the long run. Have a look at search volumes, decide if you want to be really specific, or if you’re going to be very specific with some of your page content.

We’d usually recommend naming the page for the highest search volume, then be more specific with your H2 and H3 tags and associated conent.

3. Page Titles and Meta Description

Imagine these are your welcome mat and front door, people will see these few lines of text before they see anything else, they need to be informative and captivating, and yet relevant – and contain keywords – but don’t be too pushy, you’re not a waiter at a seafood restaurant trying to get people to come in.

These are what google see first too – so they need to contain your keywords, and a good call to action wouldn’t go amiss too.

4. Image optimisation

Name them correctly, and with the appropriate keywords in both the filename and title, DSC0003847585.jpg is not going to be as informative as 18-tooth-sprocket.jpg is it?

Make sure you’ve given your images Alt tags, these need to be both keyword related, and informative, this is how a blind person would find out what the image is, so if it’s 18 tooth sprocket on a white background, tell them that.

5. Image re-sizing

Not too big, not too small, at this moment in time I’d be aiming somewhere between 600 x 600 – 1000 x 1000, depending on what it is you’re showing, just don’t go too small that it gets blown up and pixelated, don’t go so big that it hurts your page load speed.

6. Content, content, content

Remember that keyword research? this is another area where this comes into its own, you’ll need plenty of text (a minimum of 300 words please), that is relevant, and, most importantly – interesting. Why would visitors keep coming back if there’s nothing much to read, and they don’t learn anything when they do? Don’t stuff it with keywords, but do your semantic research, and try your best to include long-tail keywords.

Hints and tips are brilliant for your visitors, and answering frequently asked questions, if you know the answer to something a lot of people ask, it’ll generate website traffic for you, no doubt.

7. H1’s, H2’s & H3’s

Think back to when you used to write all those university/high school essays, make sure your titles on your pages are keyword specific, and that they flow.

Your H1 is your page title, they will then know immediately what this page is all about, your H2 are your subsections, and H3 is a category within that. Think of it like a family tree, just don’t miss out the annoying Auntie!

8. Calls to action

There is NOTHING worse than not being able to contact someone, why make it difficult? It either shows you’re not that bothered about customer service, or you’re not that bothered about taking on more work. Make your contact details prominent, and make it easy for people to leave their details for you to get back in touch.

If you are too busy, just reply to customers with a polite email, or tell them there’s an extended turn-around at the moment, you never know if you’ll be turning away a potentially lucrative contract in the future.

9. Google Reviews & Schema

Get reviews from your clients, if it’s good, shout about it, if it’s not, thank them, and take measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Then, display it all on your website and ensure it’s easy for them to leave you feedback. Once they do, don’t forget to mark up your pages with the appropriate schema to ensure people see your ratings on the SERPs (search engine results page).

10. User-Experience

Making your customers’ journey flow is just as important as doing all of the above. Without an easy journey, if clients can’t find the content they’re looking for within 3 clicks then your bounce rate will be sky-high.

Content needs to be clean and clear and comprehensive, most importantly, it needs to be informative too. Menus should be kept to a bare minimum, use a hierarchy system to ensure content and landing pages are easy to navigate to.

In Summation…

We hope that gives you a few basic pointers, stuff to go away and work on, we’re sure there will be some things there most of you won’t have ever considered.

However, if you feel overwhelmed and you don’t know where to begin, Pinnacle can put together an online marketing strategy package that can help maximise your website performance. Even if you don’t have a huge budget we will work with you to ensure your website starts working for you. Please, get in contact with us today to help start improving your search engine optimisation.

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