Sports Injury Fix Tech Director James Edgeworth has over a decade's experience in the web industry. His unique talent has enabled him to lead teams of developers, building bespoke projects, fundamentally improving a companies web based systems and presence.
Here James gives his top tips on how you can make some simple tweaks to optimise and boost your web presence.
The web industry is a quickly evolving beast. You could end up spending a fortune on web design, marketing, and hosting only to find you don’t rank well in search engines. There are plenty of reasons why, and they are often discussed from a technical perspective where in reality, all it needs is a human approach.
What search engines want
Search engines are there to make the worlds information much easier to find. They’ve come a long way over the last decade, with Google always leading the way.
Over the years, people tried to “game” the search rankings by exploiting the way Google rates a page based on keywords. Google has adapted to this however, and in most cases, people are penalised for it.
Let’s assume a theoretical business - a sports massage therapist based in Cardiff.
For that therapist to attract the most organic traffic to their site, they want to rank highly for people looking for sports massage, particularly in Cardiff.
So they need content on their site which focuses on “sports massage”, “Cardiff”, and perhaps a number of sports which are common to sports massage. That’s the goal here - all we need to do now is meet the following requirements:
How often does a keyword appear on a page? What’s the “strength” of the word on the page?
The therapist will likely have an “about” page, or even stick this content on their home page. The markup of the page gives you some surprising tools - titles weigh more than body text. You use headings to draw people’s attention to content and to give the page a logical structure - Google in turn uses this to derive the importance of a keyword on the page.
If the keyword appears multiple times on a page, one would assume the surrounding content is elaborating on it. This is good, but don’t be tempted to “spam” a keyword - Google is smart enough to work out how “natural” the text is, and will penalise against the keyword if it doesn’t read correctly for humans.
How far up the page is the keyword?
If a keyword appears at the bottom of the page, it is much weaker than if it was at the top. This makes good sense - if your page is about sports massage therapy, naturally the title will indicate this, and the opening paragraphs of your content will start to elaborate on this.
How much “weight” does the author have?
If you have written a blog post on a subject, Google can go one step further and try to work out if you, as the author of the content, have enough credibility to talk on the subject. A blog post typically has a “by John Doe” near the title, perhaps with a profile image, and how you can contact them, but an often-ignored step is how this simple sentence can boost the content.
If “John Doe” in this case links off to a website such as LinkedIn, and is clearly John Doe’s profile, and their occupation is “sports massage therapist”, this is a very strong start. Any degrees, awards, and accolades certainly help here (if you have a masters in sports science, you’d naturally have this on your LinkedIn profile).
This doesn’t have to be limited to LinkedIn (this would get rather repetitive) but can be a profile page on any high-ranking website - particularly ones Google already sees as a strong point of reference in the same industry.
If you are just starting out, don’t be discouraged by this. Writing regular content on relevant subjects is a much stronger goal.
How often is your website updated?
If someone puts content on their website then doesn’t add more until years later, Google will drop the site. If someone is posting content regularly, it’s taken that the owner cares about the content and are thus rewarded for it.
How unique is the content?
If your content can be found elsewhere, this is taken as plagiarism and you will be heavily penalised for it. Search engines love content, but they want it to come from you. You can have the same opinion as someone else, but your writing style is naturally going to be your own. There a few ways Google can determine this - they know your writing style from other content on your site, so if one blog post suddenly sticks out, and they discover it on another website, it is clear who plagiarised who.
You can have guest writers on your website (which will help you both), and Google is smart enough to know when it’s a different author, providing the guest writer is given the credit for it.
How do other websites link to you?
Another website’s rankings go a long way to helping yours. If you write an article on your website about “sports massage for Achilles tendinopathy”, and someone else links to your page with “read about how sports massage can help Achilles tendinopathy” then Google takes this as “this high-ranking external website is ‘voting’ for these keywords on this page”.
This is the single biggest boost to your search engine rankings, but it is also the most complicated to achieve due to requiring other websites (who have built up their own page ranking) to help you out.
What is the technology behind your website?
Do you have HTTPS forced on? What is the response time of your website? Web hosting deserves a blog post of its own. It’s common for web agencies (of any size) to put potentially hundreds of client websites on one large server and charge a premium for it. Web builders such as Wix spread this out over many servers within their own cloud (good!) but their generalised web components are harder to rank with.
More often than not, Google uses its mobile crawler to fetch pages, so keyword positions need to be based on the mobile view of your website. You can’t “cheat” anything here - if you have Google’s webmaster tools, they will alert you of any broken positionings of elements on your website which will damage your ranking if not addressed.
To rank in a location (Cardiff, for our example), you can setup a Google Business listing and locate your business on a map. This listing allows you to specify your website, which of course Google are going to use to locate you.
How are people sharing your content?
Social media isn’t for everyone, but it can play a vital boost. If someone shares your page on Twitter, and it gets liked and retweeted numerous times, then clearly others felt strongly about your content. Again, Google rewards this.
You should by now see a pattern to all this. The more “human” your content is, the more you respect the user browsing your website, and the better you work with your neighbours, the more Google will help you. Write for the person reading the website is really the best advice someone can give you.
When a lot of people seek web marketing advice, it's because they've put their website live, and want results but without realising that it's an on-going task. There has always been the notion that "content is king", and in recent years, Google has only encouraged this point.
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