Businesses, bloggers and independent traders might be tempted to believe that if their site looks nice enough it should be enough to rank well in Google and start getting tons of new business. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. The expectation is that once you flick a new site live, you will almost start seeing increased traffic almost immediately, but there is still a lot of work to be done once you hit that live button.
Optimising your website for search engines is more than just a case of working through a pre-launch checklist of site structure and content placement, it’s also a case of tweaking the site afterwards and on an on-going basis. Don’t fooled into thinking that you have to have it perfect pre-launch, chances are you will want to edit and tweak the site, the pages and the content as you start to understand more about how the users interact with your site.
So, now that you’ve worked really hard on building your shiny new site, we need to make sure that search engines love it as much as you do. To do this, we have to effectively signpost your site. By signposting we are referring elements on your website that help search engines understand what it is that your website is about. It might seem obvious now, but signposting your site is one of the crucial things that webmasters often forget.
We have compiled a small checklist of must-edit elements, to help you signpost your site.
Title tags are one of the most important signposts, and one that must definitely be described properly. Essentially, we like to look at the title tag a bit like a sign you might see on the road. It would be the sign that described a major destination, such as London or Manchester, but doesn’t contain the detail about the small hamlets that are en-route. It provides the biggest picture on what that page is about, and can be seen in the code looking something a bit like this:
<title>Unique Widgets from the Widgets Company</title>
and represented in a browser tab in, say, Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer.
With this title tag, you want to avoid putting things like ‘homepage’ or ‘Page ID=22’, but rather ‘Unique Widgets from the Widgets Company’
2. Header tags
Header tags are a bit like the signposts that describe the smaller surrounding towns, it doesn’t make them any less important but it should be more specific. They’re most often referred to as H1, H2, H3 and so on and look a bit like this in the code:
<h1>What’s so unique about our widgets?</h1>
This helps to describe the content to which it is related, which in this case, is an explanation about these unique widgets and why they’re unique.
Meta-descriptions, although not strictly helpful for ranking, are helpful as a descriptive signpost for humans in the search results. After all, it is humans that we want to be looking at our site. Essentially this is the piece of text that describes the page/s in much more detail, and you can even use it as a sales enhancement tool. You might see that meta-descriptions look a bit like this in the code:
<meta name=”Description” content=”We’ve been selling unique widgets like these from just £0.99 online for over 15 years. We currently have the largest range of unique widgets online today. Click the link to find out more .” />
When users read text like this, along with the title which is also displayed in the search results, both humans and search engines have a clear idea what the page is about.
This is the basics of good signposting, but if you can get this right, you are well on your way to having a sight that can actually be found.
Need help signposting your website?
If you’re not sure if you’ve properly signposted your site then we can help! You can easily contact James Golding or another member of the team by completing the contact form at the bottom of this page, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling our Lewes office on 01273 478822. To view our SEO services, click here.