Search Engine Optimisation, better known simply as SEO is a practice of optimising the content on a website to improve its visibility in global search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! The higher a website ranks in the search engine results page (SERP) generally represents a higher amount of organic traffic due to its immediate visibility to users. The ultimate goal is to get to the first position for your desired keywords but making it to page one is the first major milestone.
The importance of page one rankings is highlighted in a study by Chikita which found that clicks on the first page accounted for 91.5% of all traffic in an average search. The difference between page one and two was a staggering 95% followed by 78% and 58% on subsequent pages.
People often say, "content is king" and Google's search algorithms certainly play into this expression. In years past, a greater weighting was placed on Meta keywords with a multitude of barely related keywords often flooding the metadata. Nowadays, Google places a greater emphasis on fresh and relevant content, with Meta keywords taking a backseat to simply reflect the page content. Google's guidelines emphasise the user experience and what makes it better for the user will also improve your ranking on Google. An old website with outdated content isn't attractive to a user, so why should Google prioritise it either. A diehard SEO philosophy to live by is "if you ignore your website, so will Google."
Top 5 SEO Errors
When Bam Creative take on a new SEO client, one of our first actions is to check over their current website and run a comprehensive checklist to identify any outstanding issues. The following items are the top 5 errors we come across when optimising websites for search engines:
- Missing ALT tags - When adding images into your content, always add in a descriptive and accurate ALT description. Not only is it a great opportunity to incorporate keywords but it is simply common courtesy to offer a non-visual description of the image for vision impaired users.
- Missing/Duplicate Meta title - Search engines offer you the opportunity to customise your page title in the search results and in fact penalises you if you don't. Content management systems will typically add in your page title by default but if your system gives you the opportunity to tailor it, you really should.
- Missing/Duplicate Meta description - By default search engines will take the first few lines of content from the page to fill out the page description in the SERP however this isn't always the best text to summarise the page. Tailoring your Meta description will give you the best opportunity to engage users to click through.
- Missing/Multiple H1s - Without a clear heading to establish the topic of the page, users may switch off and turn back the way they came. Missing headings completely miss the mark, while multiple heading 1 tags can create a confusing visual hierarchy. Maintaining a clear content structure will greatly benefit your users and your ranking.
- Broken Links - If your users come across multiple broken links on the page, they are likely to navigate away your website. While an external link you added yesterday will probably still work tomorrow, nothing stops the website from taking it down in the future. As Google will penalise your website for broken links, it's important that you monitor your external links periodically.
Not only do these errors reflect missed opportunities to incorporate keywords into the websites' content but they also represent a detriment to the users' experience. Going back through your website to fix existing problems can be a massive task so it's important to incorporate good SEO practices into your regular website updates. It's not about attaching keywords to the page but actually utilising the opportunities available and incorporating them into your content in a natural way. We wish you all the best on your SEO journey and if you need a hand, we're always here to help!