How to search engine optimise your web site.
UK-Disco Home About UK-Disco List Your Details Other Links Frequently Asked Questions Contact Us Bookmark Us
UK-Disco : The Mobile Disco Directory
 

Basic Search Engine Optimisation for DJs

This article was first published in issue 11 of Pro Mobile and has been reproduced with permission.

Basic search engine optimisation isn't rocket science, but all too often, it's a task that's overlooked or tackled after a web site has been produced. Done properly, your site should attract quality, targeted traffic that should ultimately convert to bookings.

Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls that can result in a site being poorly listed or not listed at all. If you're new to web design, don't panic! Even the most experienced web designers regularly overlook search engine optimisation during the design of a new site.

The more obstacles you put in the way of the search engines, the less likely you are to get your site properly listed. Hopefully, this brief article should guide you through some of the common mistakes that are often made.

Purchase a domain name and get some business grade web space

There are many hosting companies that offer so-called 'free' web hosting. Often, the free web space is littered with banner adverts and pop-up windows, or the web address you receive is a sub-domain of their web site http://www.youraddress.hostingcompany.co.uk).

Due to the often poor quality of web sites hosted on 'free' accounts, the search engines regularly view such sites with low importance and give them low placement. Domain names aren't expensive and should be purchased through a reputable registrar.

The bottom line, as with most things, is that you get what you pay for. Professional web hosting won't break the bank and shouldn't cost more than £120 / year.

- You should be supplied with an acceptable amount of web space (25MB is usually more than sufficient)

- Check for bandwidth restrictions. If your service provider imposes a monthly limit and you exceed it, your web site will become inactive until the start of the new month's allocation.

- Your e-mail account should also have adequate storage space. If you regularly sail close to, or reach your mailbox limit, you obviously run the risk of loosing valuable client enquiries. Also, check that your hosting package allows you to send e-mail through your new domain name. Many hosts set-up simple mail forwarding accounts that require you to send your e-mail through your existing ISP account, which can look unprofessional.

- Make sure your hosting package comes with some sort of statistical reporting system. A good stats package will give you lots of useful information about the number and type of visitors to your web site. Information can include which search engine they came from, the keywords used to find you and, if they followed a link, the web site they were previously viewing.

Your web site is part of your business image or 'brand' and you have one opportunity to make that all important first impression.

As a professional DJ, you wouldn't consider performing a gig in pair of old jeans and scruffy trainers, would you? Your web site is often the first contact your client will have with your business and it's therefore of equal importance that the site reflects the correct image. If you don't think your web design skills are up to scratch, consider investing in having your site professionally designed. A
well designed, optimised site will pay for itself many times over.

Avoid creating a site that uses framesets

Although it is possible to get high placement for a frame based web site, it takes more work and extra coding, compared to a nonframed site. It's therefore recommended you avoid framesets, unless you understand the complexities they introduce.

Avoid home pages with opening 'Flash' animations, or pages that contain no textual content

Your home page is the most important page of your entire site. Search engine spiders can't index the content of Macromedia Flash animations or read the text in graphic images.

When a search engine spider visits your site, it'll look for HTML text on the index page and if it fails to find any content, the chances are the spider will leave your site and not bother looking any deeper.

You should aim to include between 150 - 300 words of readable copy on your home page.

Also, don't try to artificially inflate your search engine placement by stuffing your pages with lists of keywords and pointless
content. As a general 'rule of thumb', if a page contains content that is meaningless to a human visitor, it shouldn't be there!

Make use of the HTML <Title> tag

The <Title> tag places text in the top bar of your web browser. Although not particularly useful for a typical visitor to your site, the <Title> tag is very important to the search engines. It's one of the first things a search spider looks at when determining the content of your site and a powerful factor in its placement.

The most common (and worst mistakes) are to title your pages as 'Page 1', 'Page 2'…etc or just plain 'Untitled'. This tag is an excellent place to display your company name, along with a brief description of your services and maybe even your geographical location. Keep the text concise though, as the search engines are unlikely to look at more that the first 100 or so characters.

Create a heading for every page, using the <H1> tag

The <H1> heading tag is another important element of a web site and should include important, key phrases. As the heading is
going to be read by real visitors as well as the search engines, make sure it makes sense and keep it to around 10 words maximum.

By default, the font size of the <H1> tag is rather large. To control the way text looks on your pages, use a style sheet.

Create a meta description tag

When you perform a search in your favourite directory, the results displayed will include an abstract description of the listed web site. This text is often derived from the meta description tag which appears in the <HEAD> section of your HTML code. This text also influences your search engine placement so make sure you write a sentence or two of keyword rich copy that concisely describes your services.

A quick note about the meta keywords tag. All the main search engines dropped the use of the keywords tag, due to widespread abuse and attempts to cheat the system. Whilst most of us still include the tag in our web pages, it is in reality virtually redundant.

Create a robots exclusion file

The robots exclusion or robots.txt file is a simple text file that tells the search engine spiders which parts of your web site it should and shouldn't index. Every site should have a robots.txt file as it's the first thing a spider will look for when visiting your site.

Submit your site to DMOZ

DMOZ (aka the Open Directory Project) is a human edited directory of web sites, sorted by geographical location and topic. Google derives a large quantity its search engine data from this directory and a good listing is therefore crucial if high search engine placement with them is desired.

Before submitting your site for review, you must read their submission guidelines so you understand the whole process. Don't be tempted to submit your site until it's complete and make sure there are no 'under construction' messages on any of your pages.

Spend some time creating your application, taking care of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Make sure you submit your site to the most relevant category, otherwise your submission is more likely to be rejected.

A DMOZ submission can take anything from a couple of weeks to many months to be approved. Once you've submitted your site,
don't ever be tempted to re-submit it. Assuming you've submitted a quality site and it hasn't been rejected, the submission system operates on a cueing system and resubmitting simply bumps you back down to the bottom of the list.

Seek out good quality reciprocal links

Search engines like Google use inbound links as an indicator as to the popularity of a web site. Each link to your site is viewed as a 'vote' and helps push its placement higher up the listings.

When seeking reciprocal links, make sure the 3rd party web site is of good quality. Never, ever be tempted to sign-up with 'link farms' or web sites that allow un-monitored, free-for-all link swapping. Such activity will get your web site excluded from the search engines!

Summary

Don't expect overnight success with your SEO efforts, you need to be patient! In the case of Google (which currently accounts for 35% of all search engine traffic) you need to allow between 6 to 9 months before your site will be properly listed. Providing you've obtained at least one inbound link from a quality 3rd party site, the search engine spiders will start crawling your site and indexing the pages they find.

And finally, don't be tempted to sign-up to services that offer to submit your web site to X thousand search engines for free. Such sites are of little value, the main purpose of which is to capture your e-mail address and fill your inbox with spam!

About The Author

Jon White is a web designer and search engine optimisation consultant. His company, I.T. Magic (UK) is a full Internet domain registrar and offer professional grade web hosting services from just £60 + VAT / year.

Mobile dicso companies who have their sites hosted by I.T. Magic receive FREE upgraded premium advertising on UK-Disco.

References

Information about the robots exclusion file
http://www.robotstxt.org

DMOZ - The Open Directory Project
http://www.dmoz.org

I.T. Magic (UK) - Web hosting
http://www.itmagic.co.uk

For Advertisers

New 'First Dance' Wedding Song Survey
PAT Testing Directory Launched
Pavillion Insurance Launch DJGuard PLI
Favourite 'First Dance' Wedding Songs
Thumbshots Added To UK Disco
Web Hosting Through UK Disco ~ Get Free Upgraded 'Silver' Listing
Mobile Disco Companies Targetted with Email Scam
UK Disco Launches PLI Validation Service
How To Improve Your UK Disco Listing
UK Disco to sell Glow Sticks
UK Disco Launches SMS Service
UK Disco News 03 Aug 2005
Basic Search Engine Optimisation

Useful Articles

The MCPS PRS ProDub Licence
Top 10 First Dance Wedding Songs
Channel 4 Just Married… Again
The National Association of Disc Jockeys
Making Sure Your DJ has Public Liability Insurance
PAT Testing and Portable Appliance Testing Information

Need a DJ? Search the UK's largest mobile disco directory!