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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Effective SEO gets the right site visitors to your website. You will probably also do this by promoting your website offline &/or via social media.

SEO is not enough on its own. Your ultimate goal is sales, not site visitors. The essential second objective of SEO is to trigger the right response from site users.

Keep both objectives in mind as you set up or edit your webpages.

SEO needn't be about spending up big. Good writing, an ability to put yourself in your customer's shoes and attention to detail are often enough. It also depends on:

  • how competitive your industry is online; and
  • whether you aim at a local, national or international market.

Search engine friendly

There are well established practices that help a website to rank well in SERPs. We cover some of them here.

Your competitors are likely to know about good SEO too. So even after you attain those high rankings on page 1, expect to work to maintain it.

You're ahead of the pack if you have a SuttonNet website. Structurally, our sites tick search engines' boxes, so they tend to rank high in online searches.

Google publicises some of the principles that they use to rank webpages. They certainly don't tell all, and their system changes from time to time. Here are some insights from Google:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications....When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results....

You should build a website to benefit your users, and any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better.

Key points:

  • Write for your site users, not some imaginary search robot.
  • Use the SEO tools that Bizazz offers.
  • Update your webpage content often.
  • Check results (website statistics, sales, customer feedback).
No time to update your site?

Ask SuttonNet to update your webpages for you. We can work with your photos, full text or notes.

Search engine friendly coding, careful proofreading and fastloading pages - all at reasonable rates.

SEO & webpage structure

When you edit your site using our content management system (cms), Bizazz uses code features that search engines value. Make the most of this.

Use custom heading styles (h1, h2,...) for main topics: don't invent your own headings with bold, italics etc. The higher level the heading has (h1 is top), the bigger the weighting that search engines give to its words. Include important search terms (keywords or key phrases) in these headings.

Create page titles and menu names that include keywords. Write a relevant, unique metadescription for each webpage*. Stay within recommended lengths:

  • metadescriptions: <150-160 characters including spaces;
  • webpage titles: aim at no more than 60-65 characters including spaces: limit is 70;
  • limits change at times. If we haven't updated this page for a while, search online for current recommendations.

*Metadescriptions matter for webpages that site visitors are likely to land on. Don't worry about "Thank you for contacting us" and similar pages.

Webpage content

Keep page content on topic - relevant to the page title and (sub)headings - and communicate naturally. Don't resort to old tricks such as keyword stuffing; even if you fool a search engine, you'll repel customers.

  • Imagery
    +

    Use relevant, high quality photos. Add titles and alt(ernate) text with useful keywords/key phrases.

    • Search engines take notice of photo titles and alt text.
    • These create more routes to your website. People find links to your site whenever they search for photos of bedknobs, broomsticks or whatever it is that you sell.

    Videos are best uploaded to Youtube, with a link back to your website and links on your webpages to each video.

    • Your website will be quicker to load if it is not weighed down with video files.
    • Youtube is another way for people to connect to your website. When they find your videos, they also see a website link.
  • Intellectual property
    +

    Honour copyright.

    Does SuttonNet think our clients have lousy ethics and don't care about intellectual property (IP)? No! But mistakes and misunderstandings about 'fair use' happen.

    • Don't filch great text content from other sites. (Note: search engines make allowance for product data from manufacturers.) It is generally fair dealing to summarise or quote briefly from another webpage, acknowledging the source by a link.
    • Build on others' good information that you have quoted, by adding examples and comments of your own.
    • If you use any photos that aren't yours, get permission from the owner. Check copyright provisions on stock photos when you download them. Some are for non commercial use, or only for restricted commercial use unless you pay a fee.
    • Check out the Australian Copyright Council 's website for information on copyright online (fact sheets, print book and ebook format).

    Search engines care about IP too. They penalise copycat websites severely.

    For the website owner's protection and ours, SuttonNet may have to suspend a website that breaches copyright. We'll always notify you if this happens.

  • Links
    +

    Pay careful attention to Bizazz settings for links to other webpages.

    • Use link titles with relevant keywords.
    • For links to other webpages on your own website: use 'ordinary link' (opens in same window, replaces current page).
    • For links to other websites: don't close your website. Set the link so that the site user opens it in a 'new window'.
    • For links to PDF documents on your own site: users can't usually access your site menu directly from the PDF. So select 'new window' for PDFs; this keeps open the webpage that contains the link.
  • Words (and pictures) of wisdom
    +

    Update webpages often with interesting, relevant, original content. Give site visitors a reason to come back. They'll start to trust your knowledge and experience.

    Well written webpages that offer explanations, how-to's and historical background all give your site an SEO boost. You build your website's reputation with search engines, as you build an online library of expert comment and advice.

    Both a website and a webpage author can earn search engine credit for trustworthy, useful content, especially if other sites link to their webpages.

    • Put your name and credentials on information pages that you write. Contact us for assistance, so that search engines respond to it as 'page author' data.
    • SuttonNet is currently writing Bizazz blog software, which will automatically generate a search-engine-friendly author panel.

    You can find out more here about SEO and 'Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness' (E-A-T).

TIP After substantive webpage updates, always click on the 're-index' link on the Bizazz Publish page. This indexes the new content immediately and rebuilds the sitemap for search engines.

From SERP to website

A seriously cashed-up buyer has searched online, and one of your webpages has appeared on page 1 of their SERP. How do you entice this keen customer to visit your page, rather than the others listed above and below it?

  • In search results, the webpage title is followed immediately by a metadescription. Whatever's written there can draw people to your website or put them off.
  • Edit metadescriptions (aka Google descriptions) in Bizazz.
  • Make sure the page title and description fit together well: informative, to the point, not repetitive. Together they draw the reader to think,'That website is where I'll find what I want.'
  • Be creative. Perhaps a shorter metadescription will work wonders.
  • Don't change the webpage title, unless the webpage content has changed drastically.

Warning: search engines sometimes replace metadescriptions in SERPs with a description of their own devising. They do this in response to the particular search phrase used. You can't stop this altogether. To minimise it: keep your description directly related to the main topic of the webpage.

In an online world that depends on creating trust, a business account with Google helps you stand out as a credible business. Include a clear photo, opening hours, website link and contact details. When your webpages appear in search results, your Google listing can show up there too. It's an added incentive to visit your website.

Be visitor friendly

Now that you have your potential customer where you want them...

What information do your customers want most? Place it high up on the page. Phone users might not look past the first scrolldown.

Your website needs to lead the site visitor simply to the right decision for their needs. That doesn't mean throwing a clumsy noose around their neck.

On a webpage I recently visited, three different 'Click here! Join us!' flyouts jumped across the text while I was reading. How annoying is that? I still need the knowledge this website offers, but I look for it on other sites.

Not every website visitor will become an instant customer. If you can't help them this time, try to give them a good site experience. Maybe they'll want your products later on, and remember how easy it was to use your website. They will almost certainly recall a bad experience!

  • How does each webpage appear at first sight? Inviting, overwhelming? Do blocks of information or graphics compete for attention? Are there long paragraphs? On a phone, these look terrible and are hard to read.
  • Deliver what the webpage promised in the SERP. Otherwise your visitor will leave annoyed because you wasted their time.
  • Does the menu help you more than your customers? It can take a few tries to get this right. You can easily change menu names and re-arrange menus using Bizazz.
  • Alternate text for images helps visually impaired web users to access more of your website. Your photos' alt text should be informative, and sound natural when it is read aloud.

Last updated 13 November 2020