Everyone wants to be ranked number one on Google and reach as many customers as possible. With out a good ranking your small business may never be found. You'll need to work a lot harder to gain customers and new business. So instead, lets aim to get the best search engine rankings possible to help kick start or grow your business.
Search engine optimisation starts with good code and good website standards and continues with management of your online presence. Good coding standards have been at the core of website building at PB Web Development since the very beginning.
Since the early days we have always coded perfectly marked up and semantic code which Google and other search engines can easily read and index.
Now as the search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) landscape evolves and changes so do all the techniques and strategies but the foundations and fundamentals all still stay the same.
Managing the changes to the search engine landscape and getting the most out of your online web presence is what we are here to help you with.
Markup and Semantics
We start of technical but it really does all starts with good code and a solid foundation that allows a search engine to easily understand what your website is about, giving it context, structure and order. We have a simple checklist and criteria that all websites we build and work on have to meet before being able to continue optimising for any SEO campaign.
All code must be semantically correct. That is the heading structure on a page has to make sense in regards to important of the content.
- Titles and page headings are always properly written and marked as H1 (Heading 1) The H1 title is displayed as close to the top of the page’s source code as possible, for example, not after secondary sidebar content or secondary modules
- Content within the main areas follow proper heading levels and must not skip levels or have more than one H1 per page
- Heading titles are descriptive and meaningful in regards to the content
- Code is marked up with HTML5/Aria landmarks, e.g menus on a website are marked with role=’navigation’
- Images and media files are named descriptively
- All images and media have alternative text sources. Video and audio should have text transcripts and images must have alternative text describing what the image is
- Use microdata schemas where appropriate and possible to give context to the information that is on the page to the search engine
Speed and Optimisation
The speed of your website load comes into effect as a part of improving the user experience when loading a website. Not everyone in the world has super fast internet. Australia actually has fairly slow Internet speeds in comparison to other counties in the world such as Vietnam or Thailand. But in saying so, it is important to cater for the low end users and create a good user experience for people on slow internet connections.
What We Recommend
Every asset that is loaded on a page takes up precious milliseconds of load time. It may sound trivial but every 10th of a second counts.
Google recommends aiming for a 1.5 second page load time in order to give a user the best experience possible. It is though hard to achieve at times as we try and balance between visual communication and selling of product and services versus speed.
See our own website test where we have reduced our website footprint to less than 1 meg and achieve a loading time of 2.7 seconds and pagespeed scores of 91%.
Content pages load in 1.9 seconds with a footprint less than 233kbs and a score of 99%.
We achieve these scores and speeds by:
- Optimising the delivery of your code
- Using content delivery networks to distribute code around the world to various networks to speed up request and download times
- Using cache plugins and mechanisms in order to reduce server load and speed up response time
- Server level and user level image optimisation to ensure that everything that loads on a website is optimised for the web
- Use a good web host that has caching and a good fast response time when loading a website
Google made this a part of its search algorithm and became a factor in whether your website will list and rank well on a mobile search.
With mobile internet speeds being usually a lot slower that fixed lined cable or ADSL connections, mobile users get more frustrated with unoptimised website and slow experiences on a mobile. Websites with lots of mobile ads and slow loading experiences frustrated many and slowly started being ranked lower in search results on Google.
So is your website mobile friendly? Are you serving content that is useful to a mobile user and is what they are expecting from a mobile experience? Have you thought about the scenarios about when and why a user would be using and searching for your website on a mobile?
What We Recommend
Make sure that your website is responsive, that is it resizes and adapts to the multiple devices that a user may view your website on from a mobile to a laptop or desktop computer.
Ensure that assets are optimised for a mobile device, that is, are all the images optimised for a small screen or are you serving high resolution images made for a 27 inch high definition display.
Try and understand what users are doing and what they want from your website when they’re viewing it on a mobile devices. If you have a business location that is hard to find, perhaps that user is trying to call you to find the location of the store or trying to find the address from your website to make their appointment. Understanding user behaviour and catering for them will help them immensely.
Reduce the amount of popups and third party services that might be clogging up the screen on a mobile device. It’s common practice these days to have a newsletter popup of some sort on a website and each time it pops up on a mobile device, it will usually take over the entire mobile screen requiring the user to pinch and zoom to find the close button ruining the user experience. Avoiding this type of experience will improve user experience.
Indexing and Discoverability
Can search engines find your website and are all the pages listed on them? If the pages are indexed by a search engine, can it reach them properly with no errors?
These questions thankfully can easily be answered with a little bit of work and tools provided by Google and other third party SEO tools
One such tool is Google Search Console which allows webmasters to see the general SEO health of a website. Reporting on what links are index, whether sitemaps have been submitted and index or not, and what errors Google is experiencing when visiting your website and other users may be experiencing as well.
We do this by connecting your website to the Google Search Console and installing various plugins and extensions on your website to help Google and other search engines index and discover your content.
What We Recommend
Connect your website with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. This will let you have insights to your users and who is using your website. How many visitors you may be getting and how often they return to your website. These analytics can help you gain valuable insights into your visitors.
Connect your website with the Google Search Console. It is by far the best way to understand the SEO health of your website and improve aspects that Google deems as being issues.
Using a tool or plugin to to create dynamic xml sitemaps on your website. Dynamic means you only need to create once and as your site grows, so will the sitemap dynamically. This will allow you to control what you want index on your website and what priority each one of these links will have.
Submit Sitemaps to search engines. Once you have created dynamic sitemaps, let the search engines have them and guide them through your website.
Ensure that the Robots.txt file on your website is properly set to block Google from crawling areas of your website that you know it shouldn’t be looking at such as and admin area or your website or your corporate Intranet that you don’t want indexed on Google, or even private landing pages that you have created for certain clients or customers. If you don’t want it on a search engine, make sure it's defined.
Review your Index, noindex, follow and nofollow rules on the pages of your website. This is fine tuning the pages and telling the search engines to keep crawling or indexing the site appropriately.
Can you business or services be found in the area that your service. Our main area of service is in Sydney. So we wanted to target ‘web development sydney’. Anyone looking for web development services in Sydney hopefully will find our business
Currently with good management of our online reputation and localisation results, we appear second on the map results and second on the natural google listing results. A good result as we appear twice on the first page of Google search results. We must be doing something right.
As a part of our services, we’ll help your business get the best localisation results as possible to capture the local market around your business. We do this by looking at some local searches are available to you, what will yield the best results and help you setup your website and search engine results for these searches.
What We Recommend
Do a local search of your services in your area. Determine if you appear on the search results or not. Work out what other areas you can cover to help increase the search area of your business. For example you may want to cover all of the Inner West of Sydney and a search result such as ‘Inner west web design’ could be valuable for your business.
Social & Recommendations
Social media has changed the way we have done searches and has impacted the buying behaviour of our customers and even ourselves. Previously before social media, big ticket price items such as electrical appliances, devices and cars all required a salesperson to help with the sales process. The sales person would build up a rapport with the customer and help educate them on the best product for their needs.
With the introduction of social media and social recommendations, this is no longer the case. Users will spend hours or days researching for the best product, watching countless YouTube video reviews from strangers they don’t know and reading reviews on websites like Tripadvisor or Expedia before making a booking for their next overseas holiday destination. All of which are powered by other users and their experiences.
It is so important now to make sure that you have a third party service such as Google reviews to help give users potential new customers a third party reference to see what type of experience they would be expecting.
We will help you with by analysing the current social standing of your website and helping you improve that standing with recommendations and strategies to put in place to increase third party ratings.
What We Recommend
Engage customers where they are. If your audience is all one Facebook, make sure you have a channel of communication to them via Facebook. If they love watching live videos then perhaps Snapchat or Periscope or Instagram might be better.
Whatever the channel, make sure that you are comfortable using it and your customers are engaging on it.
Where possible, we also recommend managing third party reviews of your business. All businesses can be listed on Google Business Listings, and there are many other third party services such as Feefoo and TripAdvisor that can potentially help your business depending on the industry that it is in. If you’re not on any third party review websites, we suggest engaging with them and getting your product and services reviewed accordingly.
The first step is to do and audit of your web landscape taking everything into account from your website, to social media presence to how Google sees your website.
With the report we will be able to recommend the best approach, next steps to take and what will have the biggest impact for biggest return on investment.
It could be as simple as improving your localisation or adding social recommendations and third party reviews to your website or something more complex such as re-coding parts of your site and optimising the code to that it is indexed and read by Google better.
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