Top ten tips for search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation is a technique that can help your business reach the first page, if not the first position, for terms that describe your business in search engines like Google or Yahoo. Did you know that there are 6,600 searches monthly for the term “dentist Barcelona”? 4,740 listings are shown under this keyword. If you were a dentist, how do you get to the top of all this competition and get exposed to this vast amount of potential clients?

People often believe that you have to pay a lot of money in order to get there. Yes, you can start a pay-per-click campaign to draw people to your site. However, your content, URL, title and other factors can help you to rank highly in Google. Among the most important factors are high visitor numbers, links to your site from sites relating to your products or services, relevant keywords within your content and relevant meta-tags, which all will be explained below.

1. Keywords – Find out what potential customers are looking for
Google’s Keyword Tool is free and is the most important part of all your optimisation efforts. Search the terms which are reflective of your business. In “Advanced Options and Filers” set your Locations and Languages to “All countries” and “All languages”. Discover the monthly average of people who have been looking for these exact phrases. Always add to your terms the words “Barcelona” or “Spain”, etc. to ensure you are getting a realistic view of your local, prospective market.

2. Integrate your keywords into your meta-tags and images
If you have a CMS system, you can change those yourself, otherwise ask your web developer to help you. Include your favorite keywords in your meta-title, meta-description and meta-keywords. Optimise your meta-tags for every one of your tabs using keywords catered to their particular content.

3. Get a Sitemap
Sitemaps are the roadmap for search engine robots that regularly crawl your site. The sitemap leads them to all your sub-tabs. This ensures that all your keyword optimisation efforts on all your sub-tabs don’t go to waste and all your meta-data and website content is being indexed properly. You can create a free sitemap here and here you can read about how to integrate it into your site.

4. Get your URL working for you
Consider buying a URL that reflects your keywords and draws in more attention from Google. A 301 re-direct will link to your existing site; all you need to do is buy the domain name.

5. Make your PR work twice as hard
Are you being interviewed, or do you have the opportunity to be mentioned in an online publication? Use some of your keywords in your responses and inquire whether you can add a link to your site as well.

6. Attract visitors through social networks
When starting a social network site, consider that Facebook, Twitter or Google+ are also sensitive to keywords. Your profile name should be a combination of your company name and your top keyword(s).

7. Update regularly
These days, websites are more than static brochures; Google rewards sites with updated content. If you can integrate a blog onto your site, or a Twitter feed, it can help you to add more keywords naturally in context with your topics.

8. Get your business on the map
Google Maps is free and allows you to show off your business. Even if your website is not high ranking, it will position your address on the first page of Google together with its map.

9. Track your efforts
Ensure that Google Analytics is installed on your homepage as well as on those tabs that you deem interesting to follow. It will inform you about your daily visitors, and you can track this back to the day you had it first installed. It also helps you to see whether your marketing efforts are reflected in higher visitor numbers.

10. Get ready for the future
Adobe Flash products are SEO unfriendly, as search engines cannot read their content. Apple mobile devices, including iPhone and iPad, do not support Adobe Flash Player anymore. Get informed about HTML 5 or other options. Responsive web design means that your website will be also easily readable on a mobile device. Ask your web developer about this option.

By Christine Gneuss as featured in the Barcelona Metropolitan

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