What this article covers:
Getting Meta Tags correct – How to find Keywords – Getting your content right – URL Redirection – Building your own site – Paying for a website – Web Design / Smallholder Couses
Before I start,
I will be the first to admit, I am not an article writer and I do apologise in advance for any poor grammar.
Over the last year or so I have spoken to many Smallholders and the SEO subject (Search Engine Optimisation) often comes up. For this reason I thought I would share with you some of the common mistakes and false claims that are being made by lots of businesses today.
When I first started in the 80’s AltaVista was the main search engine to be listed in, web designers at the time understood html and what and how to implement seo the correct way, in fact we got rather clever and could manipulate the search engine rankings quite easily to achieve top 5 positions. Because AltaVista (now owned by Yahoo)did not counter act the manipulation, things had to change. That’s when Google was born.
Despite what you might read or hear from many new age web designers (graphic designers) SEO has never really changed much. The basics are still the same and I should imagine will always stay the same. The basic principles for good SEO and the chance to get good rankings in Google are:
Hard Work, Title, Meta Description,H1 tag, H2 tags, Content and In-bound Links
Get the above right and you website should see a good influx of hits !
So how do we get it right ? I could write 12 pages about this and still not cover everything you would need to know, but here are some of the basics.
Always create different Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions,H1 tag and H2 tags for all of your pages. This should be based on the page theme and content.
Meta Title: should be based on the page theme for example the index of the Smallholder Directory is
UK Directory of Smallholders – Alpacas Poultry Supplies
Never go much longer than about 8 words
(do not put the word home or your company name)
Meta Description: This should be at least 20 words long and keyword rich but avoid using to many small words like a, an, to and info etc for example the index of the Smallholder Directory is
Most people think they know what the keywords are, you would be surprised how wrong you can be and that people are not searching using the words you are thinking about. It always pays to check what words are being used to search for your products or service. You can find them here
H1 tag: This is important and should be at the very top of the page and based on the page theme
H2 tag: These should be placed within the page as sub headers the ideal positions would be top, middle and bottom.
Content: As Google loves text, each page should have at least 600 words, again it should be keyword rich and have only 1 H1 tag and 3 H2 tags as sub headers.
Inbound Links: I will start off by saying never ever buy inbound links. The internet has many companies trying to sell you inbound links, avoid them like the plaque. Google will demote your site or even chuck it out of Google altogether. The only true way of getting good inbound links is time, hard work and talking to people. In other words, getting other sites to add your link to their website. Remember Its better to have 100 good inbound links than 3000 poor ones. If you sell poultry it’s no good getting links on a toy shop website. It’s got to have relevance to your site.
URL redirection: This is a biggy and I come across it quite a lot with smallholder websites. If your web site domain is www.smallholder.com DO NOT buy another domain name and point it to www.smallholder.com. In other words you have 2 domain names pointing to the same website. Again Google hates this and classis it as cheating. It might take a year it could take 3 but when they catch up with you they could ban your site from Google altogether.
To build your own or pay for it ?
If you want a good website presence and want to be taken seriously you need to have a decent website. Yes you can do it yourself, but it does take time and some reading to get it right.
Try to avoid online self build sites, most claim to be free but are a complete waste of time unless you upgrade, even after you upgrade most are very restrictive, lots of people find out after long evenings building a site, it was a waste of time and money. Your are far better off finding a paid hosting company and using something like wordpress (it’s free) to build your site. It will take time to do and again lots of reading, but will be well worth it in the end. Hosting for a small site should cost no more than £4.00 – £7.00 pm (don’t use a free one) I charge £5.00pm on my servers.
To pay a web design company
This is the easy option but will cost you money. But and there is a big BUT it is down to you how much it will cost. Prices can vary massively depending on what type of company they are. Also how much seo they really understand. It’s no good having a great looking website that no one knows exists.
If someone is offering you a 12 page website for £200.00 stay well clear. On the other side, if they are charging £2000.00 then it is a good possibility you are being over charged. Always research the company you want to use. Some companies will charge you a fortune and actually contract the work to a guy in India and pay him peanuts for it. Even some of our industry magazines get all your graphic adverts produced in places like India. This gives them low costs and big profits.
Website and SEO Courses
You will also find companies offering one day web design/seo courses.
Before you spend your hard earned cash remember you cannot learn it in a day. I have been doing it for over 20 years and I am still learning. Always check their website for design, content and the meta tags for each page (right click then view source will show you them. title, meta description, meta keywords) if they have none or they are all the same on each page, perhaps you should not attend.