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SEO For UK Business – Are You Missing Opportunities?

By 24 October 2020 December 16th, 2020 No Comments
London skyline of business with many missing key SEO opportunities

Overlooked SEO Vitals For UK Business

On-site SEO is vital for websites of UK businesses.  The path ahead for the UK in 2021/ 22 will become ever more digital and your competitive SEO talent as an entrepreneur of a small to medium-sized company needs to focus even more on this area.  

Here we give you 7 bites at the SEO apple, some serious SEO advice that you can control.  If you are reading this then you have experience in running your UK business website, writing blogs, and selling via e-commerce, but you have never employed an SEO expert because of the costs.  

If you read the below for 10 minutes you might save yourself £30 – £50 an hr for an SEO consultant.  Most on-site SEO is simple once you follow the same practices – don’t think of SEO as confusing jargon, it’s easy as DIY, depending on your preparation.

My Web Designer Did Not Code in My SEO

Web design has changed considerably in recent years, especially when you consider that WordPress does all of the hard work for you. This has removed the worry about HTML and so some independent freelance Web Designers put the ownness on SEO plugins.

SEO plugins do not solve your Google ranking, they just direct you, they are a handy interface but certainly are not the winning formula.  Don’t be left thinking the plug-in’s fix past mistakes.

Web Designers should have a basic SEO understanding when setting up page structures and menu’s, but they lack experience with Google savvy Page Titles and Headers.  Our digital marketing agency, Cream Soda Media, goes mad when we review company websites in Surrey and London, who have been ditched by designers and left high and dry with no credible back end SEO code. 

You will notice as a UK business owner, that a huge amount of skill is still required to create websites. The tools available enable ALL developers to fine-tune any design to ensure that they fulfill the requirements of search engines, ultimately enhancing SEO.  Right now you can be the designer/developer – stick with us.

Your Web Site SEO Code Matters

Google considers code to be a crucial part of your web design but there are certain elements that you should consider.  The following bites used to be part of HTML, but all of this can be done from the dashboard of your WordPress site or any other CMS platform.

  1. Title Tag
  2. Header Tags
  3. Meta Descriptions
  4. Canonical Tags
  5. No Follow Links
  6. Internal Links
  7. Anchor Links

1. Business Name – Title Tag

The title tag is the piece of text that appears in the browser and even though many browsers use tabs, it means that the title tag is no longer visible but they are still crucial. Therefore, you should look to consider a title tag that is up to 55 characters and describes the content because this will tell search engines what the page is about. 

Title Tags are the No.1 priority for any website because Google uses this as the main decider as to what the page is about, and ultimately whether it should be included in the results page.

Each Page of your website should have a unique page title, with your main page being the main description of what you offer.  

For example, the Google Search result below for Protein Powder shows the Title Tag for the main page of ‘My Protein.com’ – describing what the business is all about.

SERP for My Protein website showing its Page Title

Title Tags should also be used for Secondary Pages and Blogs. The below shows an example for ‘My Protein’s’ Secondary Pages Page Title “Protein Shakes, Protein Powders & Blends“. Whilst Healthline.com shows a blog Title for “The 7 Best Types of Protein Powder”.

Google SERP showing orange highlighted areas to display where a Website Page Title is positioned

While it’s a relatively small thing to implement, any UK business owner managing their own site can master this as you create a new page.  It is well worth spending time on title tags as they will create context and help to make your page appeal to searchers.

Check right now your Main Page Title and other pages.  Make sure they are descriptive of each page and to the point.  Imagine writing a headline on a poster for your local village fete visitors– use the same thinking.

2. On-Site Page Header Tags

Header tags are also vital SEO elements and these are known as H1, H2 H3, etc. They provide readers with an indication of what each section of your site is about.  These come into play even more if you are an avid blogger.

The headers allow readers to find what they are looking for. What’s more, search engines use them for context and it helps them identify what is included in your web page as well as help to identify important topics. This then makes it possible for Google to provide results that meet the needs of users.

The tags also come with different weights which means that some are more significant than others. The H1 tag is the most important and is considered to be the main heading of the page. H2 tags are secondary chapters within.

A view of the WordPress dashboard showing how to select H1 headers for a page

It’s vital to remember that these headings are useful for both search engines and users. Htags with keywords work as context indicators for search engines while they will catch the eye of readers, luring them into spending more time on your site, certainly for blog writing.

Imagine writing a headline for a tabloid news article, you will require an eye-catching writing style to pull in the reader.  As a business owner, you need your marketing hat on for this.

What Makes H1 Tags So Important?

As clever as search engines might be, one of the problems they have is understanding the context of a page. In order to do this, they need to identify data using different signals and this is where the H1 tag comes in.

Search engines crawl the content on web pages and they read the HTML code in order to identify which sentences are contained with heading tags. As a result, H1 tags can help search engines to determine what your page is about. 

A screen shot of a webpage which as a stand out H1 header on its blog page

Along with this, these tags also make life easier for users as it makes it possible for them to see what a page is about first without having to read too much.  

H2 headers allow readers to skim down a long blog to find a relevant piece for them.  In SEO terms the Header for this paragraph “What Makes H1 Tags So Important?” is H2.

Do not overload any Header with keywords, or your SEO score will be reduced.  Write it effortlessly and naturally in a way that appeals to your target audience.

3. What Are Meta Descriptions 

Many business owners discuss META tags and META keywords with vigorous enthusiasm but there is one thing to remember – META descriptions and keywords held within do not impact the SEO or ranking of your website.

However, they have an impact on click-through rates. Essentially, they become the sales pitch to the reader for your UK business because search engines will use them in your listing. So combined with your title tag, you can lure in searchers to visit your website.

Meta Tags are around 150 characters long and ‘Yoast’ or ‘All in One SEO’ plug-ins, do provide an easy way to write these.  We use both plugins but prefer Yoast.  If you want your business to stand out and rank well on Google in the UK, it’s time to look at this and get in control.

These are not the only tags available because you can also consider things such as link titles and ALT tags. However, getting people to visit your site is about providing them with a reason to do so.

4. Are Canonical Tags Confusing

A canonical tag is a small piece of HTML code (rel =”canonical”) that helps to identify the main version of content when you have content that is similar and available through different URLs.

The content can be duplicate content, near-duplicate content, or similar. A canonical tag can be used to identify which version of content is the original and should be indexed.  It stops the confusion for Google as you may be posting a lot of business articles about similar themes.

Having duplicate content can significantly damage your SEO and can cause problems for search engines as they will not be able to determine which content is the right one to choose. This means that they will not know which page to index nor which version to rank for relevant queries.

They will also struggle to understand whether they should consolidate link equity on one page or split it between several versions.

If you have too much duplicate content on your business site, then this will cause problems for your crawl budget. This means that Google is likely to spend too much time crawling several versions of the same page as opposed to identifying content that is important within your website. 

Using canonical tags, you’ll be able to avoid these problems and inform search engines which page they should index and rank. If you fail to do this then you will find that Google will make the decision and that could mean that they choose the wrong version.

5. Google Don’t Go There – NoFollow Links

Google considers trust to be a huge factor when ranking websites because your UK business & brand has to build trust in order to rank well. However, when it comes to SEO, NoFollow links have been given a bad reputation as they are considered not necessary, but we find this untrue.

Despite this, one of the key metrics that Google uses to identify trust is NoFollow links as well as sponsored and UGC links. A sponsored link will inform Google that you are paying for a link because it is an ad, something which is considered important, and surely if you’re a genuine, trustworthy brand then advertising is something you would do naturally. 

So, with NoFollow links, you’re actually informing Google that you are a legitimate business and the link is your ad copy. All Google has to do is consider the anchor text and determine how it is relevant to your website and credit you for it.

picture of the WordPress dashboard showing a page link being selected as NoFollow

There is proof that NoFollow links are beneficial. Many of the sites ranked at number 1 in a range of niches have an average of around 40% NoFollow links that point to that particular page. In some cases, the figure is higher.

So, NoFollow links were considered to have a negative impact on SEO yet it can be found in a range of sites ranked number one. 

6. Creating a Linking Structure – Internal Links 

If you want your content to rank for UK target consumers, then internal linking is an absolute must.

When you have links within your website, it makes it easier for Google to find your business or brand posts and pages. Therefore, internal links will connect your content and give Google some kind of indication about the structure of your website.

Throughout this article, you will have seen bold blue text and these are examples of internal links to other Pages and Posts.

Internal links allow you to create a hierarchy so you can ensure that important pages have more link value than other pages. Therefore, an internal linking strategy is crucial.

An internal link is a link that goes from one page within your website to another page. These links are useful to both users and search engines as it allows them to navigate around your site with ease. However, search engines also use them to navigate your site and with no links, they won’t find your pages.

In terms of web design, internal links are not just those links that go from your homepage or blog but they are also contextual links. These links are ones that point users to content that might be of value to them.

Along with this, they make it possible for Google to identify what content is on your website and how it is related and they then value the content.

When an important page receives a number of links, it will become more important to search engines and as a result, internal links can add a significant boost to your SEO.

While Google gains an understanding of the relationship between content, it also takes all of the links on a web page and divides the link value. In many cases, the homepage will contain the most links and so, this will have the greatest link value – the value will be shared between every link found on that page. 

Finally, the link value that is given to the following page will then be split between every link that is positioned on that page. So, if you want to increase the link value of your latest blog post, it makes sense to link to it from your homepage. This means that Google will find it quicker.

A solid internal linking strategy can help to improve your site’s SEO. Through the correct internal links, you can ensure that Google understands the relevance of pages, the relationship between pages and the value of pages.

7. Anchor Links Explained

Anchor links or Anchor Text Links will inform search engines about what your business is linking to. Essentially it is clickable text that takes a user to another website but it can have a significant impact on SEO.

Google has clever algorithms that will use the anchor text to determine what the website is about but there are several different Anchor Links to take advantage of. This includes Exact Match, Partial Match, Branded, Naked Link, Site Name, Generic, and Images.

This Anchor Text will help search engines index your pages and they will use it to determine how people visit your page as well as determine the context. 

It’s important to keep Anchor Text and links consistent throughout your page and that means that links should be around the same length while the text should be relevant to the linked page. 

You can improve your page ranking if you keep the text relevant to the page you are linking to. With related content, you can send strong signals to search engines that you are legitimate and trustworthy.

Again, throughout your SEO content, you will have naturally placed keywords that are used to help your site rank well but remember that you don’t have to link every keyword to another website. If you do this then Google will become suspicious and that will mean that you will get penalised. 

Finally, even though Generic Anchor links can be used, it’s best to avoid them where possible. Generic links could include “Click Here” or “Try This”. These are too vague and provide no further information to your users and more importantly, search engines as to what the link is about. So here is an example of a partial match to an authoritative website on Anchor Links.

What Can You Take Away?

SEO coding plays a huge role in the way in which your UK business website is perceived by search engines. We only covered 7 options, but they are the ones reachable for the average website owner.

Making simple coding errors can have a negative impact on your search engine ranking but the good news is that some simple fixes or changes to your coding will ensure that search engines take notice.  

You as a UK business owner can do the majority of what we have outlined.  You can of course speak to our expert SEO team if you need that extra level of help.

CONTACT US

We can give FREE advice to get you going, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

Michelle Goodisson

Michelle Goodisson

Professional and dedicated all-round digital marketeer with 20 years experience in b2b and b2c marketing. Covering retail buying, product development, brand management, digital marketing, licensing, event management, PR & sponsorship.

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