Update July 2016: We've just released The RapidWeaver SEO Course — 16 video tutorials dedicated to improving your RapidWeaver site's SEO. There's nearly 5 hours of practical RapidWeaver SEO advice to help your site rank higher on google and increase your traffic.

To get your website ranking on the first page of Google is not easy. There are no shortcuts or magic tricks. However, there are some simple rules that you can follow to ensure you're doing all the things that Google wants to see.

On this weeks episode of The RapidWeaver Podcast, myself and Ben discuss some of these SEO techniques specifically in relation to building sites with RapidWeaver. I decided to also write this quick article on some of the SEO tips we covered.

If you listen to the podcast and read this article, you'll be rapidly making your way up the search rankings in no time. Let's get started!

Page Titles

Your page title is one of the most important aspects on every page of your website. The page title is what appears in the title bar of the browser, and in search results. Search engines use this heavily (along with page content) to determine what a page or website is about.

You page title should be anything from 2 to 12 words. it should alway be highly relevant to the page content, and include some of the keywords that you want to be found for.

In RapidWeaver You can change the title for the page you're currently editing in the Page Inspector, under General Settings.

Page Description

Google doesn't really use the description meta tag anymore to work out how relevant your page is. It does however use it as the summary in search results if it deems it good enough, otherwise it takes text from your page.

RapidWeaver Google Search Results
Whatever you put in the description tag, make sure it’s relevant to the page and ideally features many of the same keywords that are in the page, or that you think users might be looking for.

Adding Meta Tags in RapidWeaver

In RapidWeaver you can add a description meta tag in the Page Inspector under Meta Tags and HTML Code. As of RapidWeaver 6.3, we also generate these description metatags in the Blog plugin for you, based on your blog posts!

Descriptive URLs

It’s very important to make sure you have clean, readable page urls. These show up in Search results and Google uses them to help determine that the page is relevant to what they are searching for.

In RapidWeaver you can change the page url in the Page Inspector under General Settings. For example on the Realmac Software site we want RapidWeaver to appear in the url name, so we put “rapidweaver” as the folder name and leave the page name as index.html - By doing this we get a nice clean url, www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/

Alt Text for Images

To let google know what images are on a webpage you’ll need to specify an alt tag for each one. Giving images alt tags also benefits visual impaired users or uses that have images switched off.

You can set alt tags on images in RapidWeaver by double clicking on an image in a styled text area and entering it into the image inspector. If you’re using Stacks you’ll find the “Alt tag” setting in the Page Inspector under Plugin Settings.

Header Tags

Use header tags correctly to let search engines know what’s important. The title of the page for a blog post should be in an <h1> tag, titles for subsequent blocks of contents should generally use the H2 tag.

The “Title” of a page is usually rendered as <h1>, while the slogan is usually rendered with an <h2> tag. This can vary from theme to theme so it’s best to always view source and check.

The Foundation Stacks for RapidWeaver also support this, you just need to drag in the required header stack and choose the heading number required.

Link Building

People who do SEO for a living often talk about how important link building and inbound links are. This basically means Google like to see lots of other relevant, respected sites linking back to your website. For example, our main website ranks highly for “RapidWeaver”, and “Website Builder for Mac” because a lot of decent sites have linked back to us.

You should aim to get relevant, related sites to link back to you. Don’t try and get any old spammy site to link back to yours as you could actually be penalised for it. Authority and site relevance are king here. But best of all, if you have a great product or you’ve written great content people should naturally link to your site. Great content gets shared…

High Quality Content

Seriously, don’t get too bogged down in writing meta tags and link building. The best thing you can do is to make sure your site is full of good, relevant content. Spend time writing useful content. Don’t fill your site with spammy marketing pages, start a blog and start writing articles about every aspect of your business. You’ll soon find you’re getting linked to and turning up in search results.

Responsive Design

In April 20015 Google announced some changes to its search algorithm. The main effect of this update is to give priority to web sites that display well on smartphones and other mobile devices. Apparently, the changes do not affect searches made from a desktop computer.

If you want to rank well on mobile devices, you should make sure your site is responsive otherwise Google will priorities responsive sites over your own. Luckily RapidWeaver now ships with responsive themes and most 3rd party themes are now also responsive. Phew!

We’ve created a collection of the best responsive themes over on the RapidWeaver Community site.

Submit Your Site to Google

While google is always crawling the web for new websites to index, it can often take some time for them to actually find you if you have an entirely new website and domain name. You can speed up this process by submitting your website to Google for indexing - and RapidWeaver also submits the “Search Engine Sitemap” (an XML file, that is used by search engines) on your behalf.

Psst… If your website is built with RapidWeaver you should also submit it to the RapidWeaver Gallery.

Further Reading

I’ve put together a collection of useful RapidWeaver related SEO links to help you with getting your site listed on page one of Google.

Happy Weaving, and good luck!