An SEO Guide to Updating your Website

An SEO Guide to Updating your Website


The task of updating your website with new content is a pretty straight forward process. However the process itself needs to take into consideration the parameters that Google sets out in order for your website to be indexed and seen by the people searching for your content.

There are probably many other sites competing for the same space on that front page of Google as you are, so get your Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] right and you could be dominating that front page and generating many more visitors.

This guide has been written for the newcomer to SEO, and to help you make the most of your content management system (CMS). It will cover some basic techniques in generating new content, optimising it, and adding it to your website through the CSM we have built for you. These are all best practice techniques and are based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
By following this guide you will learn about keywords and how to use them in generating content, how to lay that content out so that Google’s spiders can index and rank it, and some best practice principles covering the use of images.

You will also find the occasional link to other websites, which will give you more in depth information on a particular subject; you are encouraged to read these too.

What is SEO?

Plan your content before hand
Do some keyword research and find out what people are typing into a search that will deliver your content to the front page of Google
Make sure you use the keywords (Or variations) you have identified, within the page

Now let’s look how Google and other search engines works

They all send out crawlers (small automated programs) across the Internet to gather information about all the websites, pages and other content they can find. This information is returned to the search engine and indexed, it is then fed into a complex algorithm that will match the data to a search query a user types (or speaks) into a search engine.

Your job is to make sure your content is structured and optimised for these crawlers to get your website index correctly and your content is delivered to the search results page (SERPs).

For a detailed look through SEO read MOZ beginners guide to SEO

Choosing Keywords

Searching for information on Google has become such an ingrained habit among Internet users that the term “Google” has become a verb. No doubt you have used Google numerous times to look for information. But have you ever stopped and wondered how those search results come up in the order they do?

The answer is that Google and other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing have hugely complex ranking algorithms that decides how to order the thousands or even millions of websites that may be relevant to any given search. It uses hundreds of separate signals to decide which websites should appear higher – signals that range from the relevance of a page, to the search term, to the time it takes to load a page and so much more.

The fundamental concept in how search engines like Google work is that of keywords. These are the terms people type (or speak) into search engines when they are looking for information. “Restaurants” is a keyword, “where can I buy Armani shirts in Oxford Street” is a key phase. Each time someone types a keyword or key phase into a search engine, it calculates which websites are most relevant to the keyword and which will be the most useful to the user.

So how do you know which terms people are using?

It is not enough to guess how people might be searching for your website, blog or any articles you write. You need some objective data to back up the decisions you make about which keywords you should be appearing for.
The most detailed data on what people search for online comes from Google, and it includes average numbers of people searching both locally and globally. You can utilise this information to your advantage by using it to identify the search terms that will drive the most traffic to your pages.

This involves:

Finding all the possible search terms people use to find stores, services or property in your area.
Ordering these terms by search volume, with the highest volume terms at the top.
Narrowing down that list to isolate the most relevant keywords with the highest search volumes.

So how do you do this?

There are two options open to you here. The first is to hire a digital marketing professional to do the research for you. The second is to conduct the keyword research yourself using the Google Keyword Planner or one of the many tools available on line.

Google Keyword Planner

Google’s keyword planner is a free service and good place to start in searching for relevant keywords for your new content.

To get started you will need an account with Google AdWords, if you don’t already have one.

Note: It will try to encourage you into starting an AdWords advertising campaign, but you can ignore this.
Once you have an account you can access the Keyword Planner here.

Keyword Planner are a plenty out there, here a few option to using Google:
- Semrush
- Ahrefs
- Moz Keyword Planner

There are many more if you search for Keyword Planners

So how do you use keywords and keyphrases?

Keywords should be used to help you generate content and optimise your page. Start by determining what your new article will be about and use keywords that are relevant to it. To demonstrate we'll use a page to list restaurants in London.

Simple Keyword Example:

If someone wants to know where the best Italian restaurant is near Sloan Square they could type into a Google search:

“Where is the best Italian restaurant near Sloan Square”

The keywords you could use in your content might be: Italian restaurant near Sloan Square
You would use relevant and supporting variations of this keyword and seed them selectively throughout the article or webpage. You would also use it in the page title, the page description, the URL, the H1 and H2, and images etc.

Adding new pages and optimising content

Adding fresh content to your website on a regular basis is a huge advantage to your positioning in search results. As when you publish content on your site, Google gives your webpage a score. Over time, this freshness score will fizzle out, and so your site will require more fresh content for the crawlers to return for indexation.

Creating a good user experience

Remember, Google is looking for quality and relevance, and your users are looking for a fantastic user experience. Plan your content out, do the keyword research and get your timing right to make the page live.

A quick anatomy of a webpage

Let’s start at the top and go through the things you can do to make this new page work with optimising it for search engines to index.

An ideally optimised web page should do all of the following:

Be relevant to a specific topic
Include the page subject in title tag
Include the page subject in the URL
Include the page subject in image alt text
Specify the subject several times throughout text content
Provide unique content about a given subject
Link back to its category page (If applicable)

Page file name – the URL

The best practice for URL structure is to keep URLs as simple as possible and maintain uniformity in its structure, always use lower case and separate the words with hyphens (underscores can be used but are not recommended). An exception to this rule is if URLs are going to be used in verbal advertising, i.e. TV or radio it is better practice to leave out hyphens.

URLs describe a site or page to visitors and search engines; remember your keywords and key phrases here. Keeping the URL relevant, compelling, and accurate, and be as descriptive and brief as possible, this is a key to ranking well.

The following characters should be avoided where possible:
# % & * { } \ : < > ? + (and spaces)


The page description

The page description or Meta Description provides a concise explanation of the contents of your web page. These meta descriptions are commonly used on SERPs to display preview snippets for a given page (see the example below), they have little importance on how the page gets ranked by Google, but it does make the SERP description user friendly and they are more likely to click on your link.

The meta description should use the keywords you identified intelligently, but also create a compelling description that a searcher will want to click. The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters.

Page Content

The content of a page is what you are writing or creating, but essentially it is what makes it worthy of a search result position. It is what the user came to see and so extremely important to the search engines. So obviously it is important to create good quality content.

So what makes good content?

From an SEO perspective, all good content has two attributes:

1 - It must supply a demand
2 - And must be linkable.

It can be a video, an image, a sound, or text, but it must supply a demand in order to be considered good content.
In SEO, there is no difference between the best and worst content on the Internet if it is not linkable. If people can’t link to it, search engines will be very unlikely to rank it, and as a result the content will not drive traffic to your website.

NOTE: A cautionary tale on duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. When there are multiple pieces of identical content on the Internet – maybe your website, it is difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query.

If Google finds duplicate content on your site that has been taken from another site, your website will be penalized in the search results. The exception to this would be if you were using content as a quote, add the Quote marks to the text and make sure you have a link back to the source page it came from.

Using heading tags

The heading tags in your page will be defined by H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. You will probably not need to go any further than using the H3 tag.

The H1 tag is the most important on the page and should reflect the pages subject and primary keyword, the subsequent H tags need to support the content.

You can look at tags as if the webpage is a book. In a book the chapter title is a H1 tag. All the subchapters would have an H2 tag. If these subchapters have another sub-area then this would use an H3 tag and so on.

Having a clear hierarchy in your heading tags will make it more user friendly and give search engines a better understanding of which parts of the content are connected to each other.

Remember: Make your heading tags relevant to the content on that page

Adding images to your content

If you use images to support your content make sure to give them detailed, informative filenames. Images, just like your pages, get indexed for image search through Google in a similar way.

The filename can give Google clues about the subject matter of the image. Try to make your filename a good description of the subject matter of the image.

If Google is unable to find suitable text in the page that uses the image, they will use the filename as the image’s snippet in the search results.

Make sure the image file name is relevant to the article
e.g. Giovanni_Italian_Restaurant_Sloane_Square.jpg

Make sure the image has the ALT (Alternative Reference) tag written correctly. Use a similar name as the image file: e.g. Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant Sloane Square

You can write this in a more user friendly way as the text will be displayed if the user has images turned off in their browser.

Specify a width and height for all images. A web browser can begin to render a page even before images are downloaded, provided that it knows the dimensions to wrap non-replaceable elements around, such as your copy. Specifying these dimensions can speed up page loading and improve the user experience.

Note: Do not upload high-resolution images and scale them to fit the page by specifying the image size in the page, this slows down the page loading time and you can lose visitors, especially on had held and mobile devices.

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