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Search Engine Optimisation - Part 1

Unfortunately, for many years business owners have been hoodwinked by unscrupulous search engine optimisation companies offering the world in return for large amounts of money.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is no secret. There is no ‘magic pill’ that will make your site perform better on search engines such as Google. There are however, many things that can be done to a website in order to help it’s search engines rankings. If you want to learn more about SEO then an excellent resource can be found at (formally SEOMoz). When we build a website we always have SEO in mind, this means that your website should be highly optimised from the outset. If you already have a website then you can implement some of the pointers in this guide to help improve your search engine rankings or you can ask us to have a look for you.

Semantic Structure

At Betton Design we build all of our website using HTML5. I won’t go too much in to what is involved as it probably won’t be too interesting but safe to say HTML5 is the newest form of the code that has been used since the start of the popular internet. The great thing about HTML5 is it’s semantic nature. In the past most elements that went to make up a web page were generic tags such as <div> or even <table>. These elements worked perfectly well for the end user (your customer) but when search engines were looking at the page they didn’t know which part was which.

A simple example of how HTML5 has improved this is the <footer> tag. Now, when used correctly, everything within the <footer> tag is the footer of the page, usually containing elements such as copyright and legal information etc. This is a very small example of how HTML5 helps a web site improve it’s search engine rankings but HTML5 enables search engines to crawl through your web pages and have a better understanding of the elements that make them up.

Another aspect of semantic structure are the header tags, <h1> to <h6>. The header tags are used to display page titles. On a given page you could contain the business name inside a <h1> tag. The page title could then be wthin a <h2> and a sub heading within a <h3> tag, etc. Search engines use these header tags to find out which words are more important than others. Header tags are seen as more important than normal text and the order to the tags on the page must generally follow the right numeric order (<h1> should appear ahead of <h2> as <h1> is more important than <h2>).

Some thought should be given to what words to put into the header tags on each page. They should be relevant to the content of the page but utilise key words that your customers will be searching for.

Domain Name

Generally your domain name should reflect your business. For example, if you business was called Emotiv Design then you would probably choose as your domain. Some research has been done into hyphens in domain names which suggest would perform better in search engines but the difference is negligible.

One thing that some businesses like to do is buy more than one domain name for the same website but depending on how this is implemented it can actually have a negative effect.

There are two ways that multiple domains can be implemented, this first is to have the same site appear whenever a user accesses one of the domains. So if a user goes to or they would see the same site but this is bad practice. Unique content is key to search engine optimisation. A search engine would go to the and see the website then it would go to the .com and see another website that has the same content as the site. The search engine would think that these two different websites have duplicate content and the result would be that they are both marked down in it’s rankings.

The correct way to implement multiple domain names is to add a redirect using what is know as a htaccess file. We would choose the main domain name (in this case and make sure that any other domain names such as redirect to the main domain. This means that the user can type in any domain associated with your website but as far as search engines are concerned there is only one site which has it’s own unique content.

That is all for part 1 of this guide. Keep a look out for part 2 which will appear on in the coming days.