With Valentine’s Day approaching do search engines love your site and if not how can you boost your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?

In this article I outline 8 ways to boost your site’s natural search engine placement, all important in times like these, when you need to increase your target audience’s awareness of your company.

Our Fusion Site Management System can help you boost your SEO as it automatically sets the pages you create to a very search engine friendly format. It also provides you with the ability to quickly add page titles, summaries and a list of relevant keywords, which are used by search engines to index your content. However, even if your site is not powered by the Fusion system there’s still a lot you can do:

1.Title tags and Meta tags
Insert information like your company name and highly relevant, targeted keywords that apply to your company’s services and products, and that appear within the content of the page in question. Every page on your site should have a unique title, headline, relevant filename and meta tags that should be specific to your page and should encompass your entire business offering across your entire site. (Within Fusion this automatically relates to the Title, Summary and Keywords fields as outlined above.)

2.Offer great content
Your content has a huge impact on whether a search engine decides that your site is relevant to specific key-phrases. That being said, you should avoid over stuffing your site with keywords – this is a Black Hat technique and could easily get you blacklisted.

Write your content first, taking into consideration that it is the people reading it and not search engines that will make the decision whether to use your business or purchase your products. Once you’ve written your content with this in mind, start researching keywords that apply to your content and business offering. There are many online tools to help with keyword researching, a free service is available through Googles AdWords Keywords tool. (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) Once you’ve acquired a list of relevant keywords and key-phrases, go back over your content and insert them where relevant, but don’t over do it!

3.Acquire links
Request links from other relevant sites, using existing real-world relationships these can be with your customers, suppliers, PR companies relevant to your industry, etc. Search engines look favourably on sites that have strong back-links and especially those that are on-topic. A good example would be to have other places online that (favourably) review your products or services and provide a direct link to your site.  You could also ask clients to write about your business offerings and their experiences dealing with you, giving them more quality content on their own site and linking to yours.

It is also worth bearing in mind that it is best to employ a ‘deep linking’ process when acquiring external links to your site. This simply means that you should try to acquire links to as many pages on your site as possible and not just the home page.

4.Use HTML
Try to avoid using too much Flash technology. Although Flash certainly has its place online and we are beginning to see advances in search engines being able to index Flash content, it’s by no means perfect yet.

Flash is great for presenting video content online, creating audio-visual presentations of your products or services and providing entertaining, interactive applications, but even then it can sometimes be a good idea to transcribe the Flash content, to boost SEO on a particular page or section within your site.

5.Submit a Google site map
Sitemaps are essential to giving your pages the best chance of being indexed and included in the results of a Google search.  Check out Google’s webmaster tools (www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) and sign up for an account to get started.

6.Regularly refresh your content
Search engines are not interested in old content and they will look to re-index your site on a regular basis, so any relevant changes you can make to your content or new pages you can add will certainly help. If you stop adding new content to your site, your rankings could start to slip and you’ll begin to appear lower down on the page of search results. Don’t forget to make sure the content is concise and relevant.

7.Add a blog to your site
A great way to regularly update your site’s content is to create a blog, where you can talk about the latest news, advances and changes within your company and industry. You could enhance this further by creating a new domain for your blog, which you can then use to back-link to specific pages on your main site. Be careful not to simply duplicate content though, as this can also lead to search engine black listing.

A blog is a great tool for keeping your visitors, new and old, up-to-date with your company and industry. You can use blogs to help promote new areas on your site, new products and services and to give your visitors another way to locate your web site. Blogs and blog posts tend to get indexed in the search engines quite quickly as well.

8.Make your web site for humans – not spiders
Probably one of the biggest mistakes committed by SEO newcomers is writing and organising their site specifically for the search engines’ spiders (the tool used by them to scan your site’s pages and index your content.)  This is often done to maximise rankings. However the traffic that tends to come when using this technique generally does not convert in any way, i.e. from audience to qualified lead or from browser to purchaser.

Although this point was mentioned above, it really is vitally important that you bear it in mind when dealing with your SEO – ultimately humans hold the purchasing power and decide if they will engage in business with you.