Guest Blogger, Paulo da Costa: “Paulo has worked in Media, Marketing and Research for the past 18 years. He is also a qualified Life Coach. When he heard about the opportunity of working with Google as a Coach he ran to it and never looked back.”
Paulo da Costa’s blog offers a great Google Digital Skills Training insight into SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
It’s merely the art and the technique of making sure that your website is of a high enough quality to start climbing to the top of the search page. Although Google is always changing their algorithm, certain attributes are left untouched meaning certain common SEO mistakes can be avoided.
Making it difficult to find valuable content
Sometimes the easiest things are forgotten. The main reason that we’re driven to a website is that the website is found to be most relevant, with the most relevant content accessible within 1 or 2 clicks maximum. Certain sites don´t make it easy to find that content, the primary drive for somebody to click on the website.
Choosing the wrong keywords
This is connected with the website objectives. When starting a website, a strategy must be in place in order to make the right choices, so we need to get back to the basics. What are you trying to achieve with the website? What are you trying to sell or inform visitors of? What content is relevant to your strategy? Choose wisely, remember to choose the correct keywords. For example, If your store sells bow ties, content for trousers might not be that relevant.
Black Hat strategies are not the way to go
What are Black Hat strategies? Simply put, these are ways to try and “deceive” Google by using spam tactics. This will give only possible, temporary gains for the website but long-term, Google’s spiders and bots will analyse this content which could harm your website’s rankings. Cheating doesn’t pay off. Here are some of the Black Hat strategies used:
Repeating low-quality content and flood it with Keywords
Stealing content from another website and simply copying it
Redirect to ambiguous websites
Simply remember that Google is becoming more and more aware of these tactics and all the time you spent using these tactics for an “easy fix” could be spent on using white hat strategies and making relevant improvements to your website.
Ignoring Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
This is quite an important point that should never be taken lightly. In order for Google to organise content and understand what is relevant on your website, the Title tags and Meta descriptions need you to tell them precisely that.
By using correct Title Tags and Meta descriptions, you are telling Google´s Spiders and Bots what is relevant on your website and what each image is, this practice, when done appropriately, will work towards improving your ranking. Google trusts your image descriptions to know what an image is and it is up to you to do so and the more relevant it is, the best result you will have
Long Loading Time
Sometimes less is more. If your website is overcrowded with images and videos, it will take more time to load, and the more time it takes, the less effective it will be. Remember that the attention span of your user is very limited and if a page takes ages to load the user is less likely to wait; Google considers this when ranking your page.
Make sure that all images and videos are sized for web optimisation to achieve a better loading time.
What do I mean by static sites? Even if your site is fully optimised, it’s important to have fresh content. Google pays massive attention to an optimised website that is dynamic. Once you finish your SEO strategy and achieve the goals which you have set for your site, it is important not to let it go stale. You must keep on updating your website with new and original content. Blogs within websites or newsfeeds can be quite effective.
Lack of Quality links
The World Wide Web, as the name suggests, takes pride in being able to link different websites together. What does this mean? If you have a bow tie shop and you have a testimonial from a gentleman who is a reference on bow ties, and you have a link to their website this can be considered a quality link. Now, if you have it linked to a gaming website, Google will penalise your website, simply because it is not relevant.
Not optimising your website for mobiles
In the world we live in today, more and more people are accessing the internet via mobile, so it’s vital to have your site optimised for mobile. The majority of Content Management Systems have an option where you can do so. It might take a little extra time, but it is worthwhile. This can be the difference between winning or losing a potential customer or visitor.
Ignoring Social Media
With the boom of Social Media in the last couple of years, it’s difficult to ignore its strength. Simply Google your name, and you will probably realise that the top results of your name are on Social Media. Make sure you have relevant links to Social Media on your site and be as “social” as you can be using the relevant networks.
Remember that the optimisation of your website is a marathon, not a race and it will take time until you get it right, but once you do, remember to keep it alive, relevant and healthy