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Effective SEO Techniques

effective seo techniques to boost rankings

SEO remains a vital tool to help you rank well in search engine results (SERP’s). There are many “experts” giving plenty of advice on how to optimise your website for Google, but what does good SEO website design look like?

Many designers think they understand SEO strategies, but opinions and facts can easily get entangled, confusing business owners who need to know what is best for their business. In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about SEO.

The Big Three SEO Techniques you need to know.

When designing a website for SEO, there are three fundamental techniques to employ:

  1. Keyword research and placement
  2. Making your site search engine friendly
  3. Building links

Keywords and key phrases are the backbone of search results. There are many online research tools to get you started, but you mustn’t use keywords indiscriminately and diminish the quality of your content. Original visual content, including photos, videos and infographics, can also boost your site’s traffic and encourage content sharing.

Your web designer will ensure your website is easily indexed and searchable. Descriptive titles, meta tags, headings and alt-text are all opportunities to make your site more search-friendly.

Once your site is live, the ongoing SEO work begins through link building. Backlinks are links on other sites that send traffic to your site. Having high quality inbound and outbound links helps establish your site’s authority with Google and other search engines. So that’s a brief intro to SEO; now, let’s explore the subject a bit further.


With SEO, Everything IS Black and White…

But the only SEO techniques worth using are White-hat SEO.

These are the safe and long-term result producing techniques that the major league search engines recommend as part of good web design. Here are a few of what we think are the main White-hat SEO techniques:


1. Content is KING

There’s no point in having a website with poor content. A search engine is like a nightmare editor: it will catch you out on poorly written work. The best way to optimise your site for search engines is to produce excellent writing. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft endorse websites that are the most appropriate for any given search. Google’s new Rankbrain algorithm rewards websites that provide compelling content—the longer they browse your site, the better your rank prospects. Your content needs to get to the point quickly and encourage users to keep reading and clicking links.


2. Mark-Up Matters

Semantically structure your markup to help search engines understand the content of your webpage. Keep it simple! Search engines like proper heading and titles. Use CSS to separate design elements from your content and make it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for. If your titles are declaring certain content, make sure you deliver. Make your title and description tags more compelling by browsing the Google Ads that appear at the top of search results. Use these keywords and phrases in your meta tags to generate more clickable SERP’s. 


3. Keyword is Key

You’ve got to create your website with well-researched keywords and phrases in mind that you think your customers may use to find your particular site. Keep in mind that single words are not the most effective. Instead, try multi-word phrases that are more specific to your product/service and use them effectively throughout your website. Not sure what phrases to include? Reddit is an excellent resource for finding search phrases. Just search your topic and scan the threads for phrases that keep popping up. Another great source of keywords come courtesy of your high-performing competitors. Type their URL into a keyword research tool, and you’ll learn what keywords they rank well for. Incorporate the relevant keywords into your content.


4. Make the Link

The rule here is Quality over Quantity. You want links from other web pages that are regarded highly by search engines and relevant to the content of your page. The amount and quality of inbound links to your site affect how high up the search engine your site is placed. Talking about quality, make sure your content is easy to read and broken down into bite-size chunks. Remember, most users are browsing on their phones and don’t want to read great blocks of heavy text.  Keep your URL’s short and descriptive.

White-hat SEO’s evil twin, Black-hat SEO, uses techniques that are disliked by search engines. Unfortunately, websites that employ these techniques can suffer a number of punishments ranging from ranking penalties to complete removal from the index. Some websites can be banned. For the love of Google, do not do the following:


  • Hide-and-go-Seek

Hidden content is the sneaky, underhanded content hiding within the code for a site that is stuffed with keywords. Developers can also hide this content using CSS, ridiculously small text or coloured text on the same colour background. If search engines catch a whiff of this, your website will be penalised or banned altogether. You’ve been warned.

  • Stuffing is for Turkeys

Don’t stuff your site with Meta keywords. Two main Meta tags are used to inform search engines of the content on the page, and when they’re misused, they serve as an alarm to search engines that you’re using spam techniques to improve your ranking. Google is smart, don’t risk trying to fool it.

  • Doorway to Destruction

Doorway pages are designed for search engines and not for your customers. These fake pages are stuffed with content and highly optimised for 1 or 2 keywords that link to a target or landing page. Search engine spiders/crawlers can detect these pages, alerting the powers that be, resulting in being flagged and banned.

  • Farming Saga

The temptation to link all kinds of crazy things to your website to increase traffic is understandable. But, it has the opposite effect. Link farms or free for all (FFA) pages list links of unrelated websites. Trust us when we say they won’t provide your site with an increase in traffic. The only thing you can be sure of is the risk of having your site banned for participating in this scam. On the other hand, having good outbound links to authoritative sites can help establish your website as an information hub in the eyes of Google’s Hilltop algorithm, lifting your ranking.


The Internet is a Beast

SEO is essential because it’s all about ranking. A higher ranking will result in more customers, which is imperative for companies that make most of their money online. Good SEO can help these companies improve their organic traffic significantly. As you’ve seen, it’s not about the stuffing. You need an excellent game plan for SEO, and this is where we can help. We know a lot about how search engines work.

The internet is unfathomably large. Without search engines to help us navigate through the approximately 50 billion indexed web pages, we’d be lost in all the disorder. Search engines help find order amongst the chaos by creating an index that directs you to the most relevant website for your search query. Life is moving fast, and this index changes with it. Every day new websites are added, existing pages are redesigned, and new content is uploaded. The internet is fluid, dynamic. And search engines need to stay up to date. Enter the crawlers.

Creepy Crawlers

Search engines use crawlers to create search engine result pages by finding your website via a link from another website or the Add URL page. The crawlers then process this information and index it. When a person enters a query, the search engine analyses their index and generates results of the most relevant websites. Search engines use a ranking system to deliver relevant results. Numerous factors are taken into consideration, and your SEO success depends on your understanding.

Ranking Factors

So, relevancy is determined by over 200 ranking factors. I’m not going to list them all; however, some of the most important factors include:

  • Links: When I’m talking about links, I’m referring to Pagerank, the link analysis algorithm used by Google. It takes the quantities of links into account and essentially translates every connection to a website as a vote for that particular website. Essentially, the more links you get, the higher you will rank, which is why some people lean towards farm linking. Remember when I told you that quality comes before quantity? Well, not all links are created the same. Links from authoritative websites will have more influence than links from less prevalent websites. Keep your links relevant, or suffer the consequences.

  • Keywords: The keyword distribution on your page is extremely important as Google checks how often the search query can be found on it. If the search query appears in your domain, URL, and content, for example, your page will be considered more relevant and will thus rank higher. Just don’t overdo it.

  • Site Age: Is it just Google who honours the knowledge that comes with age?! Google perceives older websites to be more authoritative than new websites. Take that, you young whippersnappers.

  • Fresh is Best: Frequently updating your website is a good idea. It keeps you on Google’s mind. Adding new pages and deleting old ones indicates that your website is still alive and kicking.

  • Algorithm Updates: Google’s Hummingbird algorithm uses semantic search to deliver results based on intent as well as language. So while keywords are still important, your page will perform better with related subtopics that are a good match for a user’s search query.

Your website’s load times and usability can significantly impact your ranking. Slow websites will have higher bounce rates, and Google demotes sites with high bounce rates or short dwell times.

If you want your website to achieve greater success on search engines, you’ve got to get your SEO just right. Doing it the wrong way can seriously mess with your reputation and your business. 

At Activate Design, we can help you with SEO and improve website performance. 


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