The Do's & Don'ts of Search Engine Optimisation

Rachael Smith - Monday, December 14, 2015

In our last blog, we established what Search Engine (SEO) is and how it works. Like with most aspects of designing and maintaining a website, there is right way and a wrong way to do things.

When it comes to SEO, here are a few Do's and Don't s that will hopefully help you tackle the ongoing task of performing SEO on your websites. 


DO - Use image ALT tags

Not only is using image ALT tags important for users who require accessibility assistance (i.e. using a text-reader), search engine bots read your image ALT tags and take them into account when placing your website on their search results. Let’s use our fictional company Bob’s Bouncy Castles again. Bob has what he believes to be a fairly unique inflatable – a bouncy castle of Queen Elsa’s ice place from the Disney movie Frozen. He could use “Queen Elsa’s palace bouncy castle” or “Frozen palace bouncy castle” as one of his image ALT tags. This will not only tells a person using a text reader what the image is, but can also incorporate his keywords for the search engine bots to pick up on. In addition, using image ALT tags can cause your images to appear on an image search, potentially sparking a user’s curiosity and making them visit your website to find out more information.

DON’T – Spam
Keyword density is an important aspect to take into account when performing SEO. While it is easy to not include enough keywords on your website, it is also easy to include too many. For example, try not to stuff all of your keywords into one page – spread them out across all of your site’s pages – find the most relevant ones for each page. Bob’s Bouncy Castles could focus on “bouncy castle hire Darlington” for their homepage, but use “Hello Kitty bouncy castles” for their products page. Limit your keywords to 1-3 per page, as using too many in one page could be regarded as spam by the search engine bots – and will also be difficult to balance, as some keywords could override the others. Using “Hello Kitty bouncy castles”, “Peppa Pig bouncy castles” and “Frozen bouncy castles” all on one page means you are using both ‘bouncy’ and ‘castles’ too many times, making the keyword density too high.

DO – Phrase your keywords correctly
Let’s say you were going to search for a bouncy castle hire company in Darlington, like Bob’s Bouncy Castles. What would you type into a search engine? Probably something short, sweet and to the point – “bouncy castle hire Darlington”, for example. Thus, your keywords need to reflect what your customers are going to search for. Writing “bouncy castle hire IN Darlington” won’t work, because the ‘in’ has changed your keyword phrase – thus the keyword phrase needs to be posted somewhere in your website as written. The best places to do this include your tab title, meta description or inside an image ALT tag – because writing “bouncy castle hire Darlington” in the middle of a sentence of your body text will potentially look unprofessional and could affect your site’s readability – another component your site is rated on when it comes to SEO.

BEWARE OF – Spam backlinks in comments
If your website contains a news page or blog where visitors can leave comments, some people use this to their own website’s advantage by leaving a slew of URL hyperlinks to their own site or somebody else’s. Having lots of these on your website can negatively affect your page’s ranking, as it may be viewed as spamming. Also, don’t be tempted to engage in this practice yourself – both the search engine bots and other internet users will pick up on this practice as spam and may report your website to search engines, potentially removing your site from search results altogether.

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