Guide

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Top tips to improve your SEO

Search engine visibility is the key to online success. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of enhancing aspects of a website to improve its ranking in search engines.

The higher you rank in a search engine's index, the more visible you will be. If your business has a website, read our top tips to help ensure it gets found:

1. High quality content
Regularly updated, well-written, relevant content will improve your SEO. Remember to write content primarily for users, not search engines. As search engines become more sophisticated, they are able to identify content that is the most useful and relevant to the user.  Avoid duplicate content, from both other pages on your own website and on other websites. Your content should contain your target keywords for the page, but beware of ‘keyword stuffing’. 

Read content marketing.

2. Meta tags
Meta tags summarise what the site is about and have a role in the search rankings. The most important meta tags are the title and description.

The title tag should include the main keyword of your page, your company name and possibly your location. The description tag is what users will read when your page comes up in search listings. It should contain your main keywords and read like a sentence, not a list. Meta keywords are no longer used by most search engines.

3. Build good quality links
One of the most important factors for determining your ranking in search engine results is the number of high quality, relevant links from other websites to your site – otherwise known as back links. The links must be relevant to the content of your site and they must be from reputable websites. Beware of 'black hat' tactics for gaining links - these could result in your website being penalised. 

See search engine optimisation: links strategy.

4. Include a sitemap
Sitemaps can be used by search engines to index your website. Having a sitemap means every page of content is therefore easier to find, reducing the number of clicks both web crawlers and users have to make before reaching the required content.

4. Track your results
SEO should be treated like any marketing campaign and tracking the results is a key part of the process. Without feedback, it will be unclear what search terms are being used to find your site, or which site elements attract the most traffic.

Find out more about measure your search engine optimisation results.

5. Paid search marketing
If your website doesn’t organically rank well on search engines you can buy your way to the top with paid promotion on Google AdWords or the Yahoo Bing Network. You write your ad copy, choose your keywords and set a daily budget then your ad is ready to go. You can also target your ads to customers in certain cities or regions.

See pay-per-click and paid search advertising.

6. Mobile
It is important to consider mobile in your SEO strategy. Google now labels websites that are optimised for mobile as ‘mobile-friendly’ within its mobile search results meaning that if yours is not, it can have a negative impact on your ranking on mobile search results and the click-through rate to your website. Check if your site is mobile-friendly.