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01 September 2014

Make Sure Your SEO Counts

Make Sure Your SEO Counts
Tips and advice to make your way to the top of the SERPs.

By now, most website owners and hosts know the meaning of search engine optimisation (SEO). This is because it comes with the desire to want to be seen on the search engine result pages (SERPs) – so, naturally, people will implement what they can to make sure they’re seen when people search for them.

When it comes to SEO, did you know that it’s also the smallest details that sometimes count the most? When we think of SEO, we think of keywords, page titles, header tags and the actual body content; when we need to also be focusing our attention on the smaller parts that are often overlooked. These include the wording in your URL, your meta tags and also your images. 

Why Metas Matter

Your meta tags consist of a title, description and keywords. These are the snippets of information that appear in Google’s result pages, giving users a more accurate description of what they can expect if they click through to a specific page on your website.

It’s very important that every page of your website has meta tags that are unique to the actual page. Your title is the most important, with the description coming in second as it’s a great way to not only add value to your page, but also to tell people what the page is about.

It’s best to keep in mind that meta keywords no longer have any SEO value and it is recommended that you rather leave them out as Google may end up penalising you. 

Meta Title

Your meta title is the most important when it comes to SEO value. The search spiders look for keywords in the title and if it’s relevant to the content page, which is why it’s important to include a keyword and also your business name in the title.

Your title is what appears in the search result pages and search engines make it a clickable link to your website’s content page. Ideally, your title needs to be between 55 and 60 characters – including spaces. This number is, however, a guideline as it also depends on your capital letters and the width of the letters in your title. Based on what we’re seeing, it’s recommended to try and stick to 55 characters.

Meta Description

The same goes for your meta description. The description should be about 115 characters (including spaces) if you don’t want your sentence to be cut off in the middle. Remember that this is also a guideline as it depends on the letters being used in your description.

The description also appears in the search engine result pages, underneath the title. While it doesn’t really have any SEO value, include a keyword or two so that people searching for those words are more likely to click through to your page.

Make sure that your description is well-written and clearly tells users what they can expect and find on the relevant content page. 

Pay Attention to your URLs

The URL of web pages may seem like a tiny detail or even insignificant to some, but to search engines they are very important. We see many URLs that are messy and comprised of random numbers and letters. This kind doesn’t sit well with search engines.

Neaten up your URLs by using words (separated by hyphens) to describe what the page is about or make it something relevant to the page – similar to a title. If you can, try to include a keyword or two while still keeping it relatively short. 

Name and Describe your Images 

There are many people out there who are unaware of the fact that your images play a big role in SEO. Your image title and alt tags need to be relevant to the image so that Google can identify what the image is about. 

Image Title 

Your image title works much like your page title. It needs to be short, make sense and relate to what the image is about. For example, if you have an image of the Eiffel Tower at night, make sure you name the image “Eiffel Tower”.

The image title also pops up when you hover over an image, which is why it is very important to name it accurately. 

Image Alt 

Alt is a version of “description” – but for images. If users are unable to see images or if the images have been disabled, the alt text will be in its place so that they can see what the image is about. Google will also love you for giving your images the correct alt text to match your image and your image title.

To use the same example as before, if you have an image of the Eiffel Tower at night, your alt text will say “Eiffel Tower at night”; clearly describing what the image is. 

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