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THE BASICS OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO)

Design, Social Media and Business Marketing Blog

These days, the term “SEO” is getting more and more publicity. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it getting so much press? In this article, we will explain what Search Engine Optimisation means for your online business presence, and why it’s important to your marketing efforts.

SEO is the process of developing a strategy in order to rank high in search engines like Google in order to bring in site visitors. Essentially, understanding Search Engine Optimisation is critical to the success of a website, and is especially important for owners of websites and those using their business website to promote a service or product.

Search Engine Optimisation Blog

Website Indexing explained

A website is indexed based on its relevant keywords, and how well these are positioned within both the code and content of the site. Search Engines like Google use something they call a ‘spider’ to crawl through millions of websites, and they use the keywords within the site in order to determine exactly what your website is about, and how relevant it will be to certain search terms.

This process of Spidering will essentially ‘index’ the websites into the format you see each time you type a term into a search box. Ideally, you want your website to be on page one for maximum exposure, however where each website appears in the list will depend upon how well the site has been optimised for the keywords which you would ideally like your visitors to be finding you for.

Search Engine Optimisation priorities:

Optimising your Business Website can generally be achieved by running through the following key steps:

  • keyword research and analysis
  • the on-site coding of your website in a way which the search engines like and understand
  • adding content to your website pages and keeping it fresh, and
  • building a network of off-site links which will send visitors from third party websites to your own.
1) Keyword Research and Analysis

Keyword research is incredibly important to the success of your site and should be undertaken as the starting point for your SEO process. There are a number of keyword research tools out there, both free and paid for, however the best starting place is Wordtracker which offers a free 7-day trial - plenty of time to get you started. They have videos and tutorials available to view which will show you exactly how to use their analysis tools.

Once you have identified your target audience you can really begin to look at which phrases they are most likely to be searching for in order to locate a site like yours. These can of course vary depending on the services you offer, and your location. If you are business that can only generally serve a limited area, it would be best to use region specific keywords so that you are reaching the people most likely to convert from a website visitor to a paying customer.

2) Website Design and SEO Working in Partnership

SEO should be kept in mind from the very start of your website build, and when writing the content that will eventually be published there. In order for Spiders to fully index your site, you will need to make sure that your pages all have varied titles and descriptions, relevant meta tags, image ‘alt’ descriptors and title tags where appropriate.

Attempt to keep these short but descriptive and try not to “Keyword Stuff” which can at best be considered as Spam, or at worst can get your site barred. Although not all of these criteria are taken into account for page rank, these will all build a full picture for the likes of Google to decipher what you website is about, and send the correct visitors to the most relevant page.

3) “Content is King”

You’ll hear this phrase more and more as Search Engine Optimisation becomes common practice. Over the years, the likes of Google have altered the conditions a website needs to fulfil in order to rank highly. At present, the search engines like to read informative content, and having plenty in place will better the chance of your page being ranked more favourably.

It’s therefore important for you to ensure that keyword laden, well written content has been added to all of the various sections of your site. This could mean adding an ‘FAQ’ section, testimonial area, or news and blog feed like this one. If your company has a product to sell, you could ask customers to review it, or post detailed manufacturing information to bulk out the content.

4) The Importance of Backlinking

Backlinks (or Inbound Links) are important because some search engines, but especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality incoming links. The important word here however is ‘Quality’. Having large quantities of inbound links is much easier to achieve than having links which come from reputable websites that are relevant to your own. The higher the relevance of the inbound link, the greater their quality.

Search engines want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time. While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on your own web pages in order to achieve a higher ranking, it is obviously much more difficult to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor so highly into a search engine’s algorithm, and why inbound links are now considered to be one of the most highly regarded factors in SEO.

You can easily start this process by ensuring that your website has links from all of the main business listing sites such as Yellow Pages online and BT Tradespace, most of which are free to regsiter with and use.

Next, get yourself some good online social media profiles such as a Facebook Business Page and a Twitter account.

Finally, you’ll get to the trickier part of finding relevant websites to provide links to your own, or perhaps look into the possibility of some ‘link-swapping’ deals. Essentially, once the other parts of your optimisation have been completed, this should be the focus for your ongoing SEO marketing efforts.

 

Hopefully this article will spike your interest in the Search Engine Optimisation of your website, and arm you with the knowledge you need to improve the traffic, get the right people visiting the right pages, and most importantly to improve the success of your business.

If you require further information on this, or would like an SEO consultation for your own website, please get in touch with us.

Search Engine Optimisation blog

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Search Engine Optimisation Basics

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