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Alex Winder
Alex Winder

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So, you have a new website...

You've just finished building your shiny new website and you're ready to release it to the world. You upload it to your webhost or perhaps you change the visibility to public. You then wait for Google to crawl it, or perhaps you submit it to the Google Search Console. However, your website doesn't show in the top result, or even in the first few pages on Google.

You do some research and find that you need to look into something called SEO. There are tools online which show you things you need to improve on, but the reality is the majority of these tools are just making a best guess as search engines don't publish the metrics they use for indexing their results.

You set out to do some Search Engine Optimisations to your site. This shouldn't take long.

You start with making sure that your site is responsive between devices, making sure things are laid out nicely on mobile, tablet, desktops and everything else inbetween.

Afterwards you make sure that all of your assets are compressed, minified and reduced to their smallest possible size to reduce your page load time and how long it takes for your site to become interactive. You install a caching service or CDN to reduce the amount of time spent downloading files from your site.

You then find out that the colour scheme and your choice of page elements are not quite as accessible that they could be, so you spend time tweaking colours to not only match your brand but also to improve on the user experience for those with accessibility difficulties. You resize all of the buttons, headings, paragraphs, images, menus, and everything else to give the best possible accessibility to your users. Whilst you're doing this you remember reading about HTML semantics and so you make sure that the format of your website is built so that screen readers can properly parse the structure.

Your SEO report is getting better at this point and you are rising up the search results, but for results which you didn't ever intend to. So you head back into your content and rewrite pages to target specific keywords, give all of your images the correct descriptions and change headings to better describe the content. You set up some more descriptive URLs but you make sure not to forget to set up 301 redirects from the old URL. You check that your sitemap is correct so that search engines aren't storing incorrect or old data.

After all this you then need to begin writing blog posts to improve on the reach of your site and to show up for more search terms.

At this point you're feeling pretty smug with yourself and your website is finally on the first page, or if you're lucky then you're result number 1 for your search terms. But to your horror after a few weeks Google announces some core changes to their algorithm which appears to completely wipes you off the results page, and so you find yourself tweaking your site more in the hope that it improves your ranking.

The reality is that SEO is a dark art, and website results rankings are dependent on search engines who rarely (if ever) give any indication as to the metrics they use to rank websites. There are SEO "specialists" which claim to be able to guarantee result number 1, but these are often charlatans or will give you results which you never asked for. There are best practices to improve your chances, but only those who have deep understanding of the Google algorithm can guarantee a result.

Here are a few online tools which can aid with your own SEO improvements:

The above links are not a guaranteed way to improve your site, but do aid with some basic best practices.

Discussion (3)

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Cool I did not know about those online tools.

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alexwinder profile image
Alex Winder Author

There are a million and one different tools available - these are ones which I have used which seem to be some of the better offerings. PageSpeed Insights is probably the best one of the list - it gives a comprehensive report but it's also by Google, so if you score highly on there then the chances are you will do well on the Google Search results.

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Cool I wrote an article on SEO ages ago Accessibility best practices, device testing and SEO