SEO 101: A guide for beginners

As you may already know, search engine optimisation, or SEO, “is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results,” according to Wikipedia.

How does it affect your business? SEO can direct more significant traffic to your website, resulting in increased awareness amongst the investor audience.

IRM follows many best practices in developing your website so your company will be easy to find online. In addition, there are other ways you can enhance your site’s ability to stand out in search engines, such as Google, and increase visitors to your webpages. Here are 10 website elements to check for improving your SEO capabilities.

1. Title Tags

Title tags are vital to search rankings as they communicate what the page is all about to Google or other search engines. These tags show the page title in search-engine results (see example below) and in a browser’s toolbar. So, you’ll want keywords in your title tags for search engines to determine the relevance of your web page and help your site top search results. Just make sure to keep your title tags 70 characters or less as most search engines will truncate them to this limit. Don’t forget to include your company or brand name and keywords related to that page.

2. Meta Description

A meta description should be a short and accurate summary of your web page content. Like title tags, this element displays in search results and leveraging keywords here will boost up your rankings as well. You’ll also want to fix your character count within 160 characters as most search engines will maintain meta descriptions in this maximum.

3. Keywords

Keywords are the relevant words users utilise to search Google and these words eventually direct them to your website. You’d want to apply these keywords in your site’s intended topic and make them appear in a natural sounding and grammatically correct copy. Be careful not to put too much keywords though or Google might consider your content as spam or junk. You’ll want to focus on quality and helpful content that would provide user satisfaction. Below is a sample keyword cloud specifying keywords used in IRM’s site.

4. Heading Tags

Heading tags will support how search engines define the topics of your page. These headings allow search engines to establish a hierarchy for the data on your page, beginning with your H1 tag, moving down in importance to H2, H3 and so on.

H1 headings are HTML tags that should include your keywords and directly connect with your title tag. In fact, the H1 tag will usually be like your title tag. Meanwhile, H2 and other headings will help determine the sub-topics your page and should contain similar keywords as your H1 tag.

5. Sitemap

A sitemap relays data to search engines so they can easily find all your web pages that are available for crawling. It is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL, like when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site.

6. Image Alt Tag

Alt tags on images in your web pages improve your site’s accessibility as these reinforce what your page conveys to search engines. You see, search engines cannot really see the images and can only index them by searching the alt tag. So, using keywords and human-readable captions in image alt tags is a good SEO practice. Also, if an image cannot be displayed due to a wrong source or slow connection, the alt tag provides alternative information.

7. Responsive Design

A responsive design will enable your site to automatically adapt to a user’s desktop, tablet or mobile phone while maintaining the same HTML and URL structure. Media query techniques allow different content to be optimized depending on the output device and this is a must nowadays to make sure your website looks good on all devices and platforms.

8. Robots.txt File

A robots.txt file is a simple text file placed on the root folder of your website to control which pages search engines can crawl and index. Search engines send out tiny programs, called spiders or robots, to seek your site and bring information back so that your pages can be indexed in search results.

However, there are two important considerations when using a robots.txt file. Since the file is publicly available, anyone can see the sections in your server that you don’t want robots to find. Also, robots can ignore your robots.txt files, especially malware robots that scan the web for security vulnerabilities.

9. Working Links

Users expect content to be available when they follow links to or from your website. Google uses crawlers to go through your web pages through these links. If your site has broken links on pages, these will stop the crawler from being able to index the site accurately. Make sure you update any broken links to optimise user experience.

10. Social Media Activity

Integrating social media channels into your website will establish an appealing identity for your company and naturally attract visitors to your site. That’s why we equipped our IRM Newsroom with features that allow you to easily manage your webpage and social channels in just one platform. Click these links to connect your Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn accounts to your website via our IRM Newsroom.

Got all those website elements in place?

Then you’re all set for the starting points of a strong SEO strategy that will ultimately make you easier to find for investors!

IRM can help you evaluate your SEO abilities through a simple test to ensure all these elements are strongly supporting your plan. You can also read about IRM’s 10 Success Factors for Online IR, starting with drawing the right traffic to your website.

Need further assistance? Call our IRM Client Relations Team today at  +61 2 8705 5444 (Sydney) or email us at clientrelations@irmau.com. Let’s get started on a more pro-active SEO strategy for your business!