Now let’s talk about how search engines see and understand what’s on a web page, which parts of a page are the most important, and how you can make your pages more visible to search engines. And now let’s hear from Ben at Pro Dive.
So over the years we’ve optimised our website, probably classic example is SEO . You know when we did our first order in our website, we could clearly see that we were missing terms because we weren’t always looking at it from a customer who doesn’t work within the industry. Our website didn’t have ‘scuba diving’ written in it just had diving in it because that’s how we term things. But with organic search, you have to look at all the factors, so there’s the on-site factors, keywords, your descriptions, your meta tags, your alt tags, your titles, all those things are your internal links. And there are the things that are off-site such as your external backlinks, things like that, that can impact your ranking. What you want to do is, when people think diving they’re thinking about pro-diving, if they want to learn to dive that’s where that should go.
In simple terms, when you ask a search engine to find something, it looks through a huge list of previously catalogued pages, called “the index,” and pulls out relevant results.
But before a page can make it into “the index”, the search engine first needs to know what the page is about. That way, it can easily find it the next time someone performs a similar search.
So how does this work and why does it matter for your business?
Well let’s say you own a Café, and you’ve got a website to promote it. When you look at a page on the site you see this.
But when a search engine looks at the same page, in addition to seeing what you see on your screen, it also sees the code behind it, called HTML .
Specific parts of this code help the search engine understand what the web page is all about. And knowing which parts are important can help you to optimise your site so it can be found more easily.
First lets look at the title of the page in the code.
In this example, you can see the title in the tab at the top of the page: “Bondi Beach Cafe.” The search engine sees the title enclosed in a piece of code called a title tag. It looks like this:
Bondi Beach Cafe
Many websites can be edited using tools that handle all the HTML coding for you - that’s called a content management system, or CMS. If you use a CMS to make changes to your website, there’s probably a place to add this title. You can help the search engine index your page properly by making sure your page title accurately describes its content. That way it can show up in relevant searches.
The next thing you’ll want to think about is the page’s text. Think about who you want to visit your page, and what words they’re using to describe your products and services. Do they talk about fair trade coffee? Do they use terms like "flat whites" or "freshly brewed coffee"? These are probably the terms they’re also using to search.
Try to speak the language of your customers when you write your content. Because this can help ensure they’ll find your pages when they search.
Finally, let’s talk about the page’s images.
Search engines won’t see the tempting photos of your coffee art in the same way we do. But what they will see is the code behind it.
To help search engines identify the image, give it a descriptive name. So a name like "image.jpg" isn't great for search engines. Whereas "iced-peppermint-mocha.jpg", which clearly describes what's in the picture is going to do a lot better.
You can even take it one step further by adding “alternative text” in the code with your image. Known as an “Alt tag,” it describes the image, which is useful for people using web browsers that don’t display images, or for people with visual impairments who use software to listen to the content of web pages.
In the HTML , the ALT tag will appear something like this:
src="http://www.example.com.com/iced-peppermint-mocha.jpg" alt=”Iced Peppermint Mocha”>
Again, if you use a content management system to update your website there’s probably a place to add an Alt tag, too.
So remember: Use descriptive, unique titles for each page on your site. Write for your customers, but remember to include important words and phrases that can help search engines understand what your pages are all about. Also don’t forget to name image files with descriptive words and include alternative text.
Together, all of these tips can help search engines understand your pages and put them in front of the people that matter - the people looking for your business.
If you want to make sure your website turns up in more search results, stay tuned for this video, which includes:
- how search engines understand what’s on a web page
- which parts of a web page help search engines do this
- how to make your web pages more visible to search engines.