Saturday, 18 August 2018

Is your website Search-Engine-Optimised correctly?


Do you know if your website is optimised correctly?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of making your website searchable online.


As an experienced SEO copywriter who has spent time researching the competitor websites of my clients, I have seen plenty of examples of badly applied SEO.


I have also been approached by digital marketing agencies, asking to work with me, and have found they are using outdated techniques from the early 2010s. 

If you're not acquainted with SEO, the process can seem mysterious, which can allow unscrupulous SEO "experts" to take advantage.


Let me show you some SEO basics.

Learning a few basic SEO principles will help you check your website has been optimised properly.


Below, I have listed nine of the main things you need to look at, how to check for them and how to fix them if they're wrong.



1. Is your website responsive?

Google is making continued efforts to make the internet more mobile friendly. So your website should provide an optimal user experience on a range of different devices.

A responsive design automatically resizes for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.













Google gives preference to sites that are responsive and has introduced mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of your site is indexed first. 

If your website isn't responsive, indexing will default to the desktop version of your site, but this will harm your page rank.

HOW TO CHECK: View your site on a range of different devices to make sure the screen size is adjusting properly.

HOW TO FIX IT: Unfortunately, if you find your website is not responsive, the only way to make it so, is to have it redesigned.



2. Does your website load quickly enough?

Part of Google's mobile-friendly internet initiative is that people should be able to access your website on the go, using public wi-fi, 3G, 4G or 5G. 

If your website doesn't load quickly enough, visitors will get bored waiting and move on to the next one. It could also adversely affect your page rank.

HOW TO CHECK: Visit Google PageSpeed Insights and type in your URL.

When the tool has analysed your loading speed, you will get a report like the one below. This will tell you if your loading speed is good, medium or bad. If you're not getting close to 100%, scroll down for advice on how to fix it.


















HOW TO FIX IT: Most of the advice on how to fix your page speed will be actionable by your web developer, so you'll need to refer any problems on to them.


3. Has your website's security certificate been updated?

If your website's security certificate hasn't been updated, Google will have started warning visitors that your website isn't secure. This could be adversely affecting your traffic.

HOW TO CHECK: Look at the URL bar when you view your site online. 

If the update has been made:
  1. A padlock should appear in the URL bar
  2. The standard HTTP should have changed to HTTPS










(As displayed in Chrome)

HOW TO FIX IT: If there is no padlock and your URL still begins with HTTP, your certificate needs updating. Your domain provider should be able to do this for you.



4. Does your site have a favicon?

A favicon is a small symbol or picture that appears in most browser tabs when your website is displayed. It might be a small version of your logo or part of your branding.

The favicon is a mark of a professional and credible website. Experts advise that each site should have its own personalised version.

HOW TO CHECK: Look at the URL bar when your website is displayed.

The screen grab below shows my favicon. It's a small version of the blue bird that appears on my website.


(As displayed in Chrome)

HOW TO FIX IT: A favicon is something your web designer can provide. 

If you are using Wordpress, or a similar web-ready template, you can create your own favicon online for free and apply it to your site using a plug-in. 

As an alternative, this tool allows you to create a favicon from images up to 5MB and includes the option of GIFs. If you don't have a suitable image, you can choose a favicon from the free gallery.


5. Does your site have page titles?

The page title is one of the most important parts of your website for SEO and should be something significant. 

Each page of your website should have a different page title and each page title should be no more than 60 characters long, including spaces. 

HOW TO CHECK: Look at the URL bar when your website is displayed.

The page title appears in the browser tab, next to the favicon, but you can't see all of it here.






(As displayed in Chrome)

The best way to check it is this:

  1. Open your website in the browser
  2. Right-click or CTRL click anywhere on the page
  3. From the menu that comes up, click the option that says 'View Source' or 'View Page Source'. This will bring up a page of scary looking computer speak, but don't panic.
  4. Find the <head> tag. This should appear a little way down the screen and is marked in yellow below.
  5. Under the <head> tag, look for the <title> tag, which is also shown in yellow. This is your page title.
  6. Check the page title for every page of your site. They should all be different and relevant to your business and the page in question.




If you have a one-word page title, like 'Home', above your home page, your page titles haven't been written or added correctly.

Likewise, if you have the same page title on more than one page of your site, your page titles haven't been created or applied properly.

HOW TO FIX IT: Effective page titles should be written by an experienced SEO copywriter or digital marketer. If yours have been, but they haven't been done correctly, you should go back to the agency or person who supplied them.


6. Does your site have meta descriptions?

Meta descriptions are keyword searchable, so make sure yours include some of your key words and phrases.

If you don't enter your meta descriptions specifically, the search engine will find and use some copy from the page of your website. However, this may not necessarily be the copy you want to use to introduce your site to potential customers. 

For best results use specific meta descriptions and have a different description for each page of your site. Each meta description should be no longer than 300 characters, including spaces.

HOW TO CHECK: Your meta descriptions can also be found in the source code of your website.


  1. Open your website in the browser
  2. Right-click or CTRL click anywhere on the page
  3. From the menu that comes up, click the option that says 'View Source' or 'View Page Source'. This will bring up a page of scary looking computer speak, but don't panic.
  4. Find the <head> tag, this is marked in yellow below.
  5. Then, underneath that, look for the line that starts <meta name="description", or something similar to that. I have also marked this in yellow.



Again, check that every page has a meta description, that they are all different and all provide a relevant introduction to the page in question and to your business.

HOW TO FIX IT: Effective meta descriptions should be written by an experienced SEO copywriter or digital marketer. If yours have been, but they have not been done correctly, you should complain to the agency or person who supplied them.



7. Is your page copy formatted correctly?

The copy on your page should be formatted into short paragraphs that are easy to read, separated by relevant headings to introduce each section.

The headings, in particular, are important for good SEO. They should appear regularly as you scroll down the page.

HOW TO CHECK: Look at your pages. If you have long paragraphs or large chunks of text that don't break at regular intervals and/or no introductory headings, your page might need some attention.


HOW TO FIX IT: An experienced SEO copywriter should be able to reformat the page for you, breaking up the copy and inserting SEO-keyworded headings.

8. Do your images have relevant filenames?

The names of the image files used on your site can be used for search engine optimisation.

For the best results give each image on your website a relevant filename. Ideally you should keep the filenames short but, if you have to use more than one word, separate the words with hyphens. E.g. decoupage-boxes.jpg

HOW TO CHECK: If you supplied the images yourself, you may already know if the filenames were changed. If you didn't supply the images, or don't know about the filenames, you will need to speak to your web designer.

HOW TO FIX IT: The image filenames can be changed/updated quite easily, but you will need to ask your web developer to do it for you.


9.Do your images have alt tags?

Alt is the web design abbreviation for 'Alternative Text'. Alt tags should be applied to the images on your website. 

They can be useful for blind internet users as they are intended to explain what the images are. They are also a good way to improve your search engine optimisation.

For best results use a different, relevant alt tag for each image. Each alt tag should be no longer than 125 characters and words should be separated with hyphens.

HOW TO CHECK: 

  1. Go to your website and right-click, or CTRL-click on an image.
  2. The menu that appears will vary according to your browser, but you need to click on Inspect (Chrome), Inspect Element (Firefox) or something similar in other browsers.
  3. The browser will open up a new panel on your screen with the filename and alternative text highlighted. 
  4. In the example below, the filename is highlighted in yellow and the alt tag is highlighted in green.
<img id="CopywriterLeicester" src="Resources/copywriterleicester.jpeg" alt="Blue-bird-with-yellow-pencil">


HOW TO FIX IT: If your alt-text is missing or hasn't been applied properly, your web designer can easily fix it for you.


About the author.

I am a professional copywriter with more than seven years' SEO copywriting experience.

If your website isn't working as well as you hoped it would, why not take advantage of my FREE copy evaluation. The offer is open to all new UK clients and I can check your copy for problems like these and more.

If you're planning a new website and would like some help with your copy, you can visit my website to find out more about my SEO copywriting service or to get in touch about a project.

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