Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Hot Lemon search engine optimises each and every website it designs and builds from the very start, from the code upwards.

We don’t consider search engine optimisation as a separate process or service to the design and development of a website – we consider it an integral part of our service.

We spend a lot of time discussing search engine optimisation with our clients, and explaining how search engines index and then rank websites and web pages. We don’t make empty promises, and we are open with what is realistically achievable for our clients.

Our SEO process

Research

Research is critical for good search engine optimisation.

The keywords that you want your site to need to be identified. This is usually a process of assessing your business and assessing your competitors.

These keywords then need to be researched both in terms of popularity (how many people actually search using those keywords) and also competitiveness (how many other businesses / websites are targeting those keywords).

Whilst it is tempting to target the most popular, more generic, keywords - these are often the most competitive and therefore the hardest to rank highly for. In many cases it is more effective to target more specific "longer tailed" keywords and phrases.

Objectives

It is as important to set objectives for search engine optimisation – either on a site wide or page by page basis – as it is to have an objective for the website itself.

Having ascertained a target list of keywords through research - each and every page of the site should be given a keyword(s) objective. This allows for the content of those pages to be structured around those keywords.

The setting of objectives can also identify where existing or planned content does not meet the SEO objectives of the site. These objectives can then be used to monitor the site on an ongoing basis and to amend and adapt content and other SEO strategies to increase the performance of the site.

Content

Content is what drives SEO.

It is the content of the site that is indexed by search engines and this is why having the right keyword focused content on your site is so important - and why research and objective setting is critical.

Good, well written and structured content is key. It needs to be contextual, relevant and written for a human audience (with one eye on search engines). Long gone are the days of "keyword stuffing" - search engines are incredibly good at indexing "natural" content and equally (if not better) at identifying "black hat" techniques.

Focus

Focus is key. It's very easy to write about divergent subjects on a web page - to the human reader this is perfectly natural. However, to a search engine trying to index a particular page, divergent subjects can cause issues.

Therefore, it is much better - where possible to focus the content of each page to a particular subject. This allows the content of that page to be relevant and contextual to the keywords that are being targeted.

If divergent subjects are to be used, these should be coded appropriately to let the search engine know they are not the main focus of the page (for example using "section" / "aside" / "article" sectioning elements).

Code

The coding and structure of a site (and all the gubbins that aren't necessarily visible) are as important as the content itself.

Firstly, certain content using certain technologies are "search engine invisible". For example, any Flash based content as well as certain JavaScript generated content (be that animated menus or Twitter feeds).

Secondly, search engines cannot "read" images and pictures - unless they are appropriately described using "alt" and "title" tags and relevant file names.

And, thirdly - page titles, page file names, "meta descriptions", "alt" and "title" tags are all important in developing good SEO. All of which are generally not visible to the average visitor.

Links

All things being equal, a search engine will usually rank a site with links from other websites to it higher than one which doesn't have any.

Therefore, for competitive markets, it is critical to build links to a site in order for it to rank highly.

However, due to the level of abuse of the link system. It is the quality and context of the links to a site that are important rather than the number. Search engines will now actively mark down (if not completely remove) sites that have dubious links.

It is important to build links to a site - but to do so ethically, ideally organically and from trusted sites.