1. Get the basics down yourself first
No matter if you have a small 4 page website or a vast, sprawling e-commerce store, there are a number of basic steps you can carry out yourself without the need of a search engineer. Keyword research is the first step to optimising your site, and this is also something which you are in the best position to carry out. Knowing your industry is key here as it will help you to come up with ideas for long tail keywords (keywords containing 3 or more words) that will send people to your site. With long-tail keywords there is less competition, and so achieving higher rankings is more easily attainable.
Our keyword research guide can walk you through the process.
Title and Meta tags
Another area that doesn’t take much work is creating unique Title and Meta descriptions for each page for your site. If you have a large site with hundreds or thousands of pages, begin with the primary pages; your homepage, FAQ or info pages, product or service category pages, and your most popular products or services. You can look at optimising other pages when you have more time or resources (obviously, if you are able to, it is best to get everything done ASAP).
Write unique title tags and Meta descriptions for each page according to the keyword you have chosen to target for that page.
Have a look through our onsite optimisation guide for a more detailed explanation.
Make sure that each page has relevant content according to the keyword you’re targeting. In text, ensure that the keyword is mentioned within the first sentence, and, ideally, the last sentence of the first paragraph. Include different semantic interpretations of the keyword throughout the text, but don’t overdo it.
Make it natural and, above all, informative, accurate and engaging. Don’t copy content from somewhere else. Embedding a video is fine, taking a quote and citing it is fine, but copying blocks of text and pasting it in, or rewriting a few phrases here and there; no.
For a quick guide as to how to do this and what kind of content you need, have a look though part 3 of our SEO Strategy Guide.
The speed each page loads has an effect on rankings, so it is important to optimise each image before you upload it. Images that contain extreme detail look great, but the majority of users won’t even notice as they are browsing on computer monitors or tablets, not high definition televisions. Reduce the pixel density using free editing software such as: Image Optimizer
Also, when saving. your files, give each file a recognisable filename that relates to your keyword (for example: ‘dog-with-a-bone.jpg’ and not just leave it as ‘D188923.jpg’).
Finally, make sure you include an alternate attribute (img alt) for every image. The img alt should be between 3 and 7 words long and describe the image concisely.
Don’t forget that when you create new pages for your site, you should include a URL that also relates to the keyword you are targeting. If your site has been around for a while, it might not be a good idea to go changing URLs for each page as there could be backlinks from other sites which would then not work. This can be overcome, but is something for another guide as it isn’t so simple.