Today I presented a Search Engine Seminar for the AusIndustry Small Business Online Programme held north of Wollongong. The course ran though the most common mistakes websites make when competing for top positions on Google, as well as what companies need to do to improve their chances of success on search engines.
Attending were small business owners struggling with the complex and often conflicting messages from the web community on what ‘works’ when optimising their sites for search engines (called SEO – Search Engine Optimisation).
The top tips? Here are a few.
1. Write Keywords and Descriptions for each page of your website – not just the home page. Each page should have its own focus so that when a person searches a specific term your site can deliver what they are looking for.
2. Choose a primary keyword (or phrase) for each page and use it early in your description, in your web address, page name, Title, H1, and as many times as possible in your page content while not impacting the natural flow of your writing.
3. Go to Google Adwords to check your keywords’ popularity and usage. Use the keyword tool to check if there are other, better terms you could be using.
4. Make sure all your content is HTML, not text pasted onto a graphic. Many people use graphics for their navigation – not a great idea as search engines can’t read the text on an image and navigation terms are generally keyword rich.
5. Name your images descriptively (eg. bluejacket.png, not 12345.png) give them the same alt tag “Blue Jacket” and make sure the image has relevant context – reference the blue jacket in the surrounding copy.
6. Sign up at Webmaster Central at Google. The tools at Webmaster Central will help you diagnose the performance of your site on Google and suggest solutions.
7. As this was a regional workshop, another tip is to use geography to your advantage. If you are targeting locally, use (in this case) ”south coast” or “wollongong” in your keywords. You will have less hits on these terms but they will more likely be quality leads.
I also covered a number of other strategies including offsite tactics such as linkbaiting as well as some ‘black hat’ tactics to avoid.
The free seminar was designed to be attended in person, but if you missed it, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will arrange to get you a seat at the next one when it is announced.
The workshops and seminars cover all aspects of web marketing and development for small business. They are still being announced as they are rolled out but the confirmed dates so far are listed on CleverLink’s website. You have so much to gain by soaking in the training and taking away practical advice. And, no kidding, it actually does include a free lunch!