Improving your Website SEO?
Improving your Website SEO? avatar

Your web developer may have already explained that your website will move up and down in search.  For example, today you may be on page 1 and tomorrow you may find your site on page 3 of a Google search.  Your search results will also vary depending on which search engine you’re using, e.g. Google, Bing or Yahoo

Magnifying Glass

Where your site shows up in search will depend on the specific combination of words you’re using, however there are many other factors.  The movement of your site up and down in page ranking is hard to predict and control, however there are many “organic” things you can do that will improve your site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and help keep you near the top in search results.

“Organic search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements. In contrast, non-organic search results may include pay-per-click advertising.”

If you rely on organic search results to attract traffic to your site, it’s important to aim to be listed in the top 3 pages for a given search term, since most people don’t look beyond page 3.  The good news – there are things you can do to your website that will improve your organic SEO and help it move up in page rankings.

Assess the SEO of your current site:

Before you make any changes to your website to improve SEO it’s best to start by determining how your website is currently doing in search. 

Search engines are sophisticated.  They get to know you through your search history and they will tailor search results to your previous searches.  In most cases, this is very helpful, but in order to get an accurate reading on how your website is doing, you will need to start fresh.

Therefore, it is essential that you clear your cache (aka browser history and cookies).  If you are using more than one browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Explorer, Safari or Opera) you will need to clear each one.  You will also want to clear the cache on your phone before searching for your site there as well.  If you’re not sure how to do this, try searching “clearing my cache” or review this article for an overview.

Search the Internet for your website:

Now it’s time to see how your website is doing. 

Imagine you’re a potential client or customer searching for the very products or services you offer.  For example, our Black Cap Design team might search for “WordPress Web Developer Peterborough, Ontario”.

You can be as methodical as you want by following all or just some of the steps below:

  • Record the date
  • Record the search engine you are using (E.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo)
  • Search for your products and/or services
    • Keep a list of all the search terms (keywords) you used in your search
  • Keep a record of the page and position your site appears on (typically 1 – 10)
  • Watch the “autofill” as you type into the search box
    • This will tell you what other people are searching for, which can be helpful when it’s time to add new keywords to your site

Assess the results:   

  • Where does your site come up in search?
  • Review and analyze any competitors’ sites that come up ahead of your site
    • Look for the keywords they have used on their website
  • Evaluate your website for keywords, keyword phrases and headings that match the terms you’ve searched
    • Are the keywords you used in your test searches included in your website content?
    • What keywords do you think your clients will use in their search?

Make changes to your site:

  • Edit your content to add keywords and/or keyword phrases
    • If possible, use these keywords more than once on a page, but avoid duplicate content (e.g. don’t repeat the same paragraph within your site or on other sites in your network, such as your LinkedIn profile, or Facebook page)
    • Make sure the most important information is located in the top two paragraphs of each page
  • Make changes to the URLs in the address bar of your Web browser 
    • E.g. if you are on the Contact page, the file name should include the word “contact”
    • Note: You may need to ask your web designer to change the URLs for you
  • Add new content to your site on a regular basis
    • You can use a blog or calendar of events to make this even easier
  • Change headings, page titles and sub-headings so they include keywords
  • Add alternate text for images used on your site to make them accessible to screen readers and search robots

Include links:

  • Add internal links – links from one page of your site to another page on your site
    • Note: Linking the actual text is more search-friendly than saying “Click here”
  • Set up links to other websites (reciprocal 2-way links are best)
    • For example, if you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce you could add their logo with a link to their site
  • Add an HTML sitemap (good for people and search robots)
  • Add an XML sitemap (great for search robots)
  • If you have a YouTube channel – embed the videos on your website and don’t forget to link back to your website from YouTube
  • Add social media links (Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube)
    • Note:  Only add these to your site if you’re using the social media actively (e.g., a Twitter feed on your site won’t help if you rarely tweet)

Get a little help from your friends:

Ask friends, customers or clients to give you feedback on your site.  For example, you could ask them what they would search if they wanted to find your services (keywords).


To improve your SEO organically the two most important things to remember are:

  1. Use relevant keywords in your content, headings and URLs
  2. Update your content often

For more information, visit our previous blog posts Creating Effective Web Content, and “What is SEO?  How to Get Found by Search Engines“.

If you can update your website on your own, great!  If not, you can send regular updates to your Web Developer.  Websites built on the WordPress CMS are becoming increasingly popular because they are easy to update, making it possible for you to update your content without the help of a Web Developer.

It is important that your content is written so that your visitors get the information they need; but it’s equally important that search engines find relevant information.  These two “audiences” are very different.  Write your content for your customers/clients before you look at it from the perspective of a search engine, but always keep keywords in mind. 

Never Trick a Robot!
Some people try to fool search engines by duplicating content, or filling pages with hidden keywords – like using white text on white background; Google frowns on this sort of thing and lowers the page rank of sites they catch doing this.

A Few More Steps:
There are a few additional steps you can take if you want to see how your site is doing.  You can create a Webmaster Tools account. You can also test your site for Web Standards compliance.  Web Standards will help ensure your website is accessible to a range of devices – including search robots. For more information, visit our blog post: 5 Reasons Why Your Site Should Be Standards Compliant.

To talk about your site’s SEO, contact us at or call 705-927-2308.