Search Engine Optimisation
Whilst there are some arcane and even underhand techniques which large sites use to improve their rankings in search engine results, for most smaller sites SEO is pretty simple.
- Ensure the page titles and text content on your site contain the words and phrases your potential customers/visitors are likely to search for.
- Choose your domain carefully when first registering it, and use your page addresses to help.
- Add lots of text - this might be in News stories or Calendar entries which will be archived and rarely seen by human beings, but nevertheless get indexed by search engines.
- Try to get inbound links from other sites.
If you'd like some proof that Spanglefish sites can do well on Google, see this page of search ranking examples.
Page Titles and Content
Search engines pay a lot of attention to page titles, and they are often the first thing someone sees about your website when they carry out a search on Google.
The Spanglefish system will generally create very short page titles for you when you add a new page or news story, but spending a few seconds improving it is well worth your while. On any page, click Page Settings and enter a short (8 to 15 word) description of what the page is about, ensuring you use some key words or phrases which people are searching for. Make sure the title really does tie in with the content - you'll get penalised if you are spammy. So if your page or news story is about a job you did it might look something like:
Grommet installation in Sometown, Somecounty using our new ACME gauge.
You don't need the identical phrase in the text of the page, but it should contain the important words. Once your page is indexed if someone searches for 'grommet installation somecounty', or 'sometown acme gauge' you have a good chance of being high up the list of results they see.
The more text content you have on your site the better - every paragraph on your site will have a useful mixture of key phrases. This doesn't have to be on your main pages though - you can keep them short and punchy if that's what you prefer - it could be in sub-pages or older news stories.
You only really get to have one domain for your site, so (if you haven't already registered it) then think carefully to ensure that it contains a main keyword in it. xavier-smith.com may be your name, but xavier-plumbers.com is much more useful to search engines (if you're a plumber!).
Whether you've been able to choose a suitable domain or not, you can still tailor individual page addresses to match search terms. So, for instance the address xavier-plumbers.com/page3/ is a lost opportunity when it could be xavier-plumbers.com/kitchen-installation/. Just make sure (as mentioned above) that the address you create is relevant to the content on the page.
Getting other websites to link to your site is hugely beneficial to your SEO, but unfortunately it's also really difficult. The best method is to link to them and ask that they link back. For instance, if you do a job for a hotel write a short news story about it including a link to their website and draw their attention to it, asking if they'll link back. Maybe only one in ten will, but it's worth the effort.
Search engines may ask you to supply them with an automated list of all the pages on your site. This needs to be in a format they accept. Your Spanglefish site provides one which you can see by typing /XML/ at the end of your domain.
You can view the one for this site here. Although it may look like gibberish depending upon the browser you use, search engines will understand it.
Verifying your Ownership
Some services you may want to use to promote your site will ask you to verify that you are the site owner. One way you can often do this is to add a meta tag to your site which you can do in Site Settings --> Advanced Settings.
For more detailed instructions visit the Verify by Meta Tag page.
This is a file on your site which asks search engines NOT to index parts of it. You don't have control of this, and in effect it just asks search engines not go show your admin login page in their listings.