Search Engine Optimisation
Thurtell Designs Ltd has a great deal of experience in search
engine optimisation, and this is demonstrated well by looking at www.norfolk-norwich.com.
This website was designed and built by Thurtell Designs Ltd and
is fast becoming one of Norfolk’s most popular online directories.
This year it is on target to receive in excess of 1.5 million hits.
So what have we done to make www.norfolk-norwich.com so successful?
Anyone with basic IT knowledge can build a simple website but it takes years of experience to understand how to get a website listed well with major search engines. The higher the website is listed on e.g Google, the greater the traffic and potential customers visiting the site.
To ensure that your website receives maximum exposure, there are 4 main search engines with which to get listed:
The Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org)
This is the world’s largest human-edited directory of the web. Websites submitted to this directory are vetted by a global community of volunteer editors to ensure that the website you are submitting is complete, and also contains the specific content you have told them it contains.
Google (www.google.co.uk )
Everyone who is computer literate will have heard of Google, the world’s most popular search engine.
Yahoo is the next biggest search engine after Google
Microsoft have their own independent search engine which is becoming the fastest growing search engine around. Their search results are very accurate and in some instances very different from those of Google.
Percentage split of search engine usage
1. Google 39.8%
2. Yahoo 29.5%
3. MSN(Bing) 14.2%
4. AOL 8.7%
5. Ask 6.5%
Although Google is the most single popular search engine, it’s worth taking note that all the other search engines add up to a higher percentage of searches than Google. To get listed on Google is important, but *60.2% of your website traffic will come from other means. Not everybody who uses Google just sticks to this search engine, research shows that there is quite a bit of overlap.
Research and find keywords that you would like your website to
promote that are relevant to your business.
Use the Google toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com) to research keywords, for example if you type in the word ‘Norfolk’ the drop down list which appears will contain the most common searches within Google which contain the word Norfolk
Norfolk county council
Overture (www.overture.com) also offers a similar keyword search programme. You can type in a search term and it will tell you how many times this has been entered over the past few months.
Descriptive page title
Give your web pages a descriptive page title but make sure that it reflects
the content of the web page.
Importance is given in the order in which the title text appears, for example the web page title below is saying that the website/webpage is mainly about Norfolk and Norwich, then property for sale followed by tourism and accommodation.
<title>norfolk norwich, property, tourism, accommodation</title>
The most important title to get correct on any website is that of the main index page.
The index page sets all the rules for your website, as it is the most indexed page by all the search engines. Most search engines touch this page every few days.
Keyword rich domain name
Rich domain names are a real advantage, on most occasions these are listed higher in search results. For example if your business buys and sells antiques, choosing a domain name (web address) containing ‘antique’ would be highly advantageous.
Keywords to be used in folder names
Ensure that you use keywords when you create subdirectories on your website. For example within www.norfolk-norwich.com we introduce an area on the website dedicated to Norfolk villages beginning with the letter I.
As you can see from the diagram below a directory called Norfolk was created, followed by a directory called villages and lastly a directory called I was introduced.
Please also note the title tag and rich domain name, which is being used.
Keywords to be used in file names
As well as using keywords in subdirectories ensure the filename also reflects what the webpage is about.
Keywords within your webpage and rich body content
Having the correct keywords within your webpage is probably the
most important thing to get right, it is a fine balance between
getting the search engines to index your webpages fully, or for
the search engines to class your webpages as containing spam, because
you have used too many keywords.
It is thought that between 15% and 20% of the rich content should contain the keywords you are targeting for that particular webpage.
For example if you were to build a webpage about the village of Ringland in Norfolk, and your rich content contained 100 words, between 15 and 20 of those words should say either Ringland or Norfolk.
Also make the keywords bold using the <strong> HTML tag, this will help emphasise the fact that these words are important.
META TAG name ="description"
Ensure the description Meta tag reflect keywords in your webpage. It is recommended that you use no more than 200 characters as it might be classed as Spam.
META TAG name ="keywords"
Like the Meta tag description ensure the Meta tag keywords reflects
keywords in your webpage.
Use up to 20 keywords for each webpage but make sure they are different for each webpage.
Header tags can also have a part in making your webpage SEO friendly.
Ensure they are placed on the webpages in the correct order so that
a <H1> tag will appear before the <H2> tag and so on.
This should be good coding practice anyway!
Make ALT tags as descriptive as possible, to describe the image.
For example going back to our webpage on the village of Ringland, if an image of the village centre has been embedded within the webpage, why not give it an ALT tag that says “Image of Ringland, Norfolk village centre”.
Also name the image accordingly, ringland-village-centre.jpg, would be a recommendation.
This can really help when people are searching for images, and could attract more traffic to your website.
It is a really good idea to have either a site map or directory on your website. Make sure this is one of the first links on the home page, search engines will pick up this link and index all the pages within that page.
Links within webpages should not use the "click here" approach, make sure the anchor link is placed round keywords like this "view information on the village of Ringland"
Multiple links from one page to another is a good thing. Have these structured and if there are lots of them show them at the bottom of the page, this will enable the search engines to read more of the main rich body content.
If you have external links from your website try and display them all on one page. This will help your page rank.
Don’t forget to update your robot.txt file to stop the search engines caching pages not related to your website or hidden files you do not want to be made public.