Wiliam Staff Team : Staff Tags : SEO SEO Melbourne

Top 10 SEO Best Practices from our Melbourne team

Wiliam Staff Team : Staff Tags : SEO SEO Melbourne

We’ve mentioned it a couple of times in previous blog posts...
Search Engine Optimisation is the sum of many parts.

In order to generate the maximum results from your SEO campaign, it is very important to streamline certain aspects of your online presence. 

Here are the top 10 SEO factors according to Wiliam’s Melbourne search engine optimisation team:

1. Crawlability / Indexability

The notion of “If we build it, they will come...” still holds true for many web design and development agencies around the world. However, considering the fact that search engines have now become the “user interface” of the world wide web, you would be losing out on a lot of visitors and potential clients if you don’t pay attention to these basic requirements.
Clearing out all the technical “speed bumps” that could have a negative impact on the user’s experience or the search engine crawler’s access to your web site content, is crucial.
Using a “progressive enhancement” approach ensures that your website still provides the main content, even if all the “bells and whistles”, like flash or AJAX are turned off.
Starting with a solid foundation is key!

2. Keyword choice

This is a big one!  All too often, keyword research is done with a limited SEO tool-set, or worse, based on half-baked research guidelines. Choosing the right keywords and key phrases to connect with your target audience is the corner stone of any successful SEO project.  The failure to do so can be very costly...  Proper research requires having  a solid understanding of the target market (local / regional / global) and being able to identify the correct search terms people actually use to find your products of services.
Another very important aspect of keyword research, is being able to group or theme key phrases according to the intent or objective of the searcher. For instance, if you are an online retail or e-commerce website, you will have to pay close attention to how you group your key phrases, based on which phase of the buying cycle the searcher objective translates to : Awareness > Interest > Consideration  > Purchase

3. Browser title

An oldie, but still a very important ranking factor. The reasons given for it’s positive influence
are numerous:
- prominent location in the web page’s source code: the <title> tag usually sits high in the html source code, being one of the first content related tags the search crawler hits when visiting the page
- limited characters to define the page content = tight focus: a good title should be between 60 to 70 characters long, and strongly tie in with the on-page content
- prominent location and use in the search engine results: the text if the browser title is placed at the top of the search snippet, and is used as a link to that particular page of your website
Using the right keywords in the browser title to reflect relevant content on the page is crucial.

4. Site Architecture

Building on a best practice web development approach, the use of the correct keywords should also be reflected in the site navigation and internal linking structure. Proper implementation of information architecture, accessibility and usability factors will greatly impact the effectiveness of your web site’s SEO success.  Get your web site’s foundations right, and you will be much less prone to fall victim to the regular search algorithm updates, which tend to significantly reshuffle the rankings.

5. Link Popularity

Basically, every link is like a vote. Whenever another web page links to a page of your site, it signifies that your content is interesting enough to mention or even recommend. The search engines have integrated several link popularity metrics in their algorithm, in order to help them determine relevance, authority and ultimately, rank.
Many factors determine the possible SEO impact of each incoming link: the authority or relevance of the site it originates from to the actual link text.

6. Top Level Domain and url path

Choosing the most effective top level domain name is really step 1, whenever you are entering the online marketing space. Making sure some of the most important keyword(s) are present in your domain name has a lasting impact on the success of your SEO efforts...
However, in many cases, the company name existed long before the website was ever built.
And if you are lucky to already possess a well recognised brand name, it would not be a good idea to change the url, just for the sake of SEO.
Next to the top level domain, we would also advise you to create a url file path to your web page that makes sense. It should also reflect the content someone can expect on that page...
The url is usually the last line of the search snippet, and eye-tracking studies have shown that shorter is better... Just like with the browser title. You only have these few lines to convince the searcher to click on your result... So you’d better make it count!

7. Age of the site

If your competitors’ web site has been around for some years, and you have only recently entered that online market, it will be harder, if not impossible to outrank an older domain.
This is one of the restrictions and realities an SEO has to deal with...
So when you decide to buy a domain name for your website, have a look around for older domain names. It could have a positive effect...

8. Hosting location, speed and reliability

Depending on which market you are trying to target (local/regional/local) it is important to consider where you want to host your website. Another aspect to consider is the reliability and the speed of your the server you are hosting on. If your web site is inaccessible too often, this could influence the crawlrate of the search engines, and ultimately have a negative effect on your rankings, because you cannot guarantee your site will provide the searcher with a positive user experience...

9. Keyword use in body text

Eye-tracking studies have shown that people scan web pages much faster than they would for instance a printed newspaper column. The usability tests would usually show an F or an E eye focus pattern, which clearly indicates the importance smart keyword placement throughout your copy. From your page title, through to your page footer...
There has been a lot of speculation about keyword density, as in, the number of times a word appears on the page. We would advise you to simply write naturally, and remember you are trying to communicate with people...  You can easily overdo it, which will only result in a negative effect on your conversions.

10. Meta description

This optional html tag has been a much debated topic in SEO circles for years.
Why is it important?  It is an important part of the search snippet. If you have a well written meta description, which highlights the relevance of your web page for that particular search,
it will be used in the search result snippet, and will ultimately generate more click-throughs than the search results listed above yours...
Not setting up a proper meta description will result in an “on-the-fly” snippet, taken from anywhere on your page, showing only part of a paragraph or sentence, surrounding the search term.  You have less control over your message, so by all means, create a good meta description, and try to keep it short and to the point (approx. 160 characters).