Last week, we hosted a lunchtime Q&A session on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) at THECUBE. SEO is a process which online businesses can use to maximise their site’s visibility on search engines, and our co-workers had plenty of tips and experiences to share about it. I have summarized the main points that emerged from the session, which will hopefully give you an idea of how the process works.
1. Identify the right keywords for your business.
Search engines index sites by the text they contain, so it is important that you should identify the key terms which define your business, as well as the words which will be entered into search engines by potential customers. Once identified, these words can be used to great effect, repeated throughout the site often and prominently (see point 2) enough for the search engines to register them. In order to compete with larger, more established companies on the keyword front, it is better to decide on a more specific set of keywords and target these on your site, rather than waging a hopeless battle for general terms. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to identify relevant keywords that have many searches but comparatively little competition.
2. Place keywords in the titles on your website wherever possible.
Search engines prioritise the text in the title tags and in your headings and sub-headings, which are labelled as <h1>,<h2>, <h3>… in HTML, so you should make sure that you choose these words wisely and use keywords where appropriate. The words in the main body of the text are also taken into consideration, but less so than the headings. However, search engines can detect when websites repeat keywords endlessly out of context, so don’t overdo it.
3. Try to get other sites to link to your own.
Another factor the search engines take into account and consider important is the number of times other sites link back to your site. The more prestigious the site providing the link, the more credit your site gets from the search engine. For example, a link from a well-established site such as bbc.co.uk will count for more than one from a lesser-known, newer site. The links only work in your favour if your keywords are included fully in the link, so make sure that you always include keywords in the link when linking to other pages on your own site and try to ask others who link to you to use those keywords as well – being the destination of a ‘Click Here’ or ‘Read more’ link will not help you at all. For example, instead of saying The Cube, it would be more useful if the link included The Cube – Co-working Space in London – not only is this more helpful for the reader, but it also improves the SEO.
4. Maintain a steady flow of fresh content on your homepage.
Search engines value fresh and original content, so it is in your interests to keep your website regularly updated. This can be done quite easily, for example, by posting a blog on your homepage.
5. Choose the right technology.
By bearing these points in mind when working on your site, you will be making the most of search engines’ potential to help you attract new custom and increase your company’s profile.