Search Engine OptimisationWhat is SEO, and what's involved?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process that encourages search engines to place your website content as high as possible in their results for phrases that are relative to your industry.
It’s important that your content appears as high as possible in search results because searchers rarely venture beyond the first page.
- Improving your website code and content to help search engines consume your information and allow them to better understand your website’s purpose.
- Raising awareness of your website so that others with an interest in your industry will link to you.
A successful SEO campaign will build more traffic to your website, which will in turn, creates more leads and sales.
Where to Start
You can’t pay search engines to appear in organic search results. So, if you can’t pay search engines to appear in organic results, where do you start?
At one time, practitioners of SEO advocated trying to fool search engines into thinking that websites were relative to search queries. Thankfully things have moved on, and it’s long been recognised that creating a great resource, full of useful, easy to find and understand information, is the best way to attain popularity with search engines.
However, there’s more to it than that…
How Search Engines Work
Search engines place your listing by ranking your pages against other pages that it thinks are relevant to a query that a searcher has used. They do this using an algorithm that is constantly being developed.
For example, Google analyses over 200 signals to rank your page, although Google doesn’t explicitly tell you what they are. There are certain things that Google points webmasters toward, but it is mostly generic advice based on Google’s idea of good web design. It’s similar for other popular search engines.
Aspects of Search Engine Optimisation
There are many aspects to SEO, here’s a brief and simplified rundown of some of the things that can be done.
Technical Search Engine Optimisation
Technical SEO looks at the nuts and bolts of your website and ensures nothing is broken or causing an obstruction when search engines come calling. Search engines need to be able to access your content as easily as possible.
To ensure nothing is untoward, we’d look at things like site architecture, navigation structure, speed, broken links, mobile friendliness, and whether the site is easy to use. Not things that, at first glance, seem relative to SEO, but are extremely important.
Why is Technical SEO important?
Google and other search engines are always trying to improve their search results. It is their goal to present searchers with the most relevant, easy to access, content available. For content to be easy to access it has to be presented quickly and offer a great user experience. Many searches are now completed on mobile devices, so a website must work well on phones and tablets as well as traditional desktop browsers.
Once you gain a visitor, it is very likely that you will want them to browse your website for more supporting information or in the case of e-commerce, to make a purchase. A website that is easy to use is essential.
Content Search Engine Optimisation
Content SEO looks at the text and other content on your site to ensure it’s providing sufficient information about your product or service. It’s also important to ensure that the content is presented in a well-structured and coherent manner. We look at page structure, content tone, spelling and grammar to ensure that everything is on message and unambiguous.
Content SEO also takes into consideration popular keywords that are used by prospective visitors and normally requires a significant amount of research. It also requires some imagination and the ability to place yourself in the user’s shoes.
We also look at content structure. Users must be able to identify what they are looking for quickly and easily and search engines need to have a clear idea of what the page is about.
There are also some tiny bits of content that don’t appear on the website (but are a part of your web pages) that are extremely important to search engines and your visitors, we take care of them too.
Why is Content SEO important?
Visitors, as well as search engines, need to understand what your website is about and they can only do that by assessing your content. Getting your message across quickly and effectively is crucial. Creating focused, well presented content is the key.
Creating a well optimised web site is only part of the battle. You need to let search engines know that your site is available, and you need to show that it holds worthwhile content. You can use such tactics as…
Search engines consider the amount and type of links you have pointing at your website, for a long time this was at the very core of their algorithm – which is the computer program they use to rank your website. It’s still important today.
The higher the ranking your web pages achieve; the higher your website will appear in search results.
If search engines think the website that is providing the link is a reputable source with good authority, it will consider that the link has greater value than a link from a site that has poor authority or is not as reputable. If the inbound link is from a very poor site, it may even damage your ranking. Gaining inbound links is important, but you must be super careful about how you go about it.
Spreading the Word
This is less part of SEO and more about online marketing, but it’s common for it to be thrown in the same pot, so I’ll cover it here. You can use things like Social Media to generate interest in your website or you can engage in discussions online through forums and blog comments etc. It can be a good plan if you have the time.
That’s a summary of SEO, hopefully in language that everyone can understand. Some might say it’s an over simplistic description, but I’ve kept it that way on purpose.
It’s a complex subject that has thousands of articles written about it each year and if it interests you I suggest that you start researching it using your favourite search engine. I say that with a caveat – don’t believe all you read, there is as much misinformation out there as there is useful material.
SEO has changed significantly over time and it can feel like a never-ending job. With search engines holding all the cards and constantly moving the goal posts; there is always something new to learn and address. Keeping on top of the changes can be very difficult for website owners.
No, I don’t provide these. They are often computer generated and offer no real insight into problems, in my opinion they just serve to worry or confuse.
Rather than generating a report of questionable worth, I believe we should start with a conversation where I find out about your business, your website, its goals and your concerns. I will follow up with a customised proposal containing options for the next steps.
I think you’ll find this of much greater value than a free SEO audit.
Contact me today to start the ball rolling.
The Way Forward
It is possible to tackle SEO yourself, but you will need to dedicate a significant amount of time to research before you get around to doing any work. There is software available, much of it of questionable quality, that can help to some extent. However, you need some knowledge of the intricacies of SEO for it to work well for you, and it will only take you so far. Using software can also do more harm than good so I’d advise using it cautiously. After all, if it were that good, we’d all be using it.
The best solution is to get a professional to look after your SEO for you. You’ll be able to spend more time making a success of your business while they concentrate on making a success of your website. In the long run, the benefits will outweigh the costs.
If you'd like help with SEO please contact me to discuss your website