Are you feeling a bit SE…NO? Well, get SEO!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – the marvellous online marketing tool that is used all around the globe. However, many outsiders that aren’t familiar with the wizardry involved are still confused by what SEO actually is, and what the heck it does.
There is so much information to take in and just when you think you have it sussed – it changes! Luckily, there are loads of SEO agencies (hint: US!) who can give you a helping hand up the SEO ranking ladder.
Before we begin, let’s get some of the jargon out the way.
COMMON SEO TERMS
• Search Engines – These are the search programmes you would use to look for information. The main ones are Google, Yahoo and Bing but there a lot more.
• SERP (Search Engine Results Page): These are the listing results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword.
• Keywords – These are words that should be optimised within your website via human (e.g web copy) and code elements (e.g titles and metas). These words are what online users input into search engines to find results.
• Human Elements – These are the bits you can see on a website: the copy or text, keywords, links etc.
• Code Elements – These are the bits you can’t normally see and are hidden behind your website; titles and metas, image alt tags, keywords etc.
• Titles – This is where your keywords should appear. This is the title of your page that you see at the top of your browser or tab.
• Metas – These are the mini advertisements that appear when users input a keyword and your site shows as a result.
• Image Alt Tags – These are the coded names we give to the images on your website.
• Landing Pages – These are the pages that an online user will ‘land’ on following the use of a keyword that has been optimised.
• Rank/Ranking – This refers to the level or score your keywords or website have based on certain criteria (search volume, competition etc)
• Page Rank – This is a weighting that each website is measured against, running from 0 -10. Most companies are 0-4, larger companies like Twitter is 10.
WHAT IS IT?
Well, firstly the clue is in the name: search engine optimisation.
Sites are optimised via various techniques including using keywords throughout the Human Elements (copy/text/images/videos) and Code Elements (behind the scenes code stuff). This, along with a nifty thing called back linking (generating content on other highly ranked sites that link back to yours), means a website will receive good rankings on Google and other search engines.
WHY DO I NEED IT?
Not having an optimised site is like hanging a beautiful painting in a cupboard. Nobody knows it’s there and nobody can find it. Optimising your site with the best keywords will give your website the boost it needs to be found in search engines. After all, your website is your key selling point for your services and products, so show it off!
Think of it as your 24-hour, 7 days a week selling tool. It’s quietly working behind the scenes ensuring that your website appears in search results. After all, if someone is looking for ‘wedding flowers in Hampshire’ and your floristry website is one of the top results, that’s a warm lead!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The more important Google grades your website, the higher it will rank it and you want your website to appear at the near to or at the top. The number one position in Google gets around 25% of search traffic, anything below this and your percentage is down into single figures.
Keeping Google happy is key when it comes to SEO, if they don’t deem a site to be SEO friendly then they will push its ranking lower. Think of it as a popularity contest, the more votes the more popular you become.
WHAT IS GOOD SEO PRACTICE?
This involves so many things that could hurt your brain, so I’ll introduce some of the basic things search engines love…
1.Good quality, unique and engaging content
This goes without saying. Search engines want to see content that isn’t duplicated else where on the World Wide Web. It’s good SEO practice to have high quality copy too.
2.Regularly updated websites
Websites need to have frequent and fresh content for it to be ranked highly. Having a blog or social media feed can help with this rather than updating your actual website regularly.
Having a website that is frequently mentioned elsewhere on the web (via back linking) is very good for SEO. Ensure your back links have a high page rank and is relevant to your industry
Using social media can not only influence your rankings but will promote your business and increase user engagement. Post links back to your website to increase ranking, but don’t post too many as you may end up in Twitter jail!
5.Play by the rules
Google has guidelines to stick by in terms of SEO and it’s important not to violate them. And finally, just be patient, good things will come!
This is just some of the information surrounding SEO, there is a whole different dimension to it, but we’ll save that for another time!