Lesser Known Tips To Optimise Your Website

Even if you have only a rudimentary knowledge of web design, you will probably have some awareness of what SEO (search engine optimisation) means. It’s the methods used to improve a website’s listings in search engines such as Google and Bing. There are others, such as Yahoo!, Baidu, and Ask.com, but Google has an 83% market share.

The higher the ranking of the site, the more likely it is to appear in the first page of results, leading to more traffic, and potentially more customers and repeat business. 90% of queries originate from one of the major search engines, and hundreds of ranking factors are used to decide what order the listings should appear in.

It is not possible to know exactly what criteria the tech companies use in their algorithms, and in any case, they are frequently revised and updated. Contrary to popular belief, paying for ads will only have a limited effect, as most of the results are determined by the quality and relevance of the content on the site.

To build a website that is truly optimised for SEO, it is best to start from the very beginning of the design process. There are some basics that every site should have, such as meta tags, alt text, and links. These are easy to retrofit into a site, and it’s well worth checking each page to make sure it’s up to scratch.

There are other less well known factors Google now takes into account, such as site speed. Even a site full of authoritative and interesting content won’t rank well if it takes more than a few seconds to load. (Even a high ranked site that is slow and clunky won’t retain visitors for very long.)

There are simple ways you can improve loading speed, such as not having lots of large high-res images on the site. Use compressed images where possible, particularly because the majority of people now browse on phones and tablets rather than desktops. Keep the code as clean and streamlined as possible, with minimal https queries.

Google now prioritises sites which are ranked for mobiles, rather than desktops. Therefore, sites must be designed to be fully responsive from the very first stages, and should never simply be shrunk down to fit the screen size. It can be tempting to design a beautiful site which looks stunning on a desktop, but it may be frustrating to use on a smaller scale.

Accessibility is now also becoming more relevant to rankings. In any case, it is best practice to include accessible features, and in some cases obligatory, if the site is for a public service for example.

All images should have an alt text, so the user can read a description of the images. This is also useful if the image fails to load, and makes more relevant information available to the search engine. Sites should be designed with high colour contrast to aid the visually impaired, and should have audio descriptions enabled.

These are just a few of ways a site can be SEO friendly; it’s a huge and interesting topic which no doubt we will return to in the future!


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