Basic Search Engine Optimisation for DJs
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
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
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
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>
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
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
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
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!
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.
Information about the robots exclusion file
DMOZ - The Open Directory Project
I.T. Magic (UK) - Web hosting