What Is SEO? And How Do I Get The Best Search Rank?
No joke, SEO is difficult to fathom. There are so many aspects to it, but by getting to know some of the basics you can successfully manoeuvre this minefield.
Search Engine Optimisation is the use of a blend of methodologies with the intention of organically increasing the number and quality of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking position on search websites – Google, Bing, and others.
Doesn’t sound so bad right? Let’s break the main factors down a little.
- Quality of traffic – it’s important to get the right people to your website; if you’re a website designer then you don’t want someone who’s looking for a dress designer.
- Quantity of traffic – so you have people who are interested in what you’re selling coming through search engine results pages (SERPS), now to increase the number.
- Organic traffic – people who land on your site via a SERP that hasn’t been paid for. Ads make up quite a bit of the results on search sites so gaining visitors organically is always nice.
The SE of SEO – Search Engine
Search engines have what are known as ‘crawlers’ that go out and crawl all of the content they can find on the internet. The information they gather is then used to index a website. The index goes through complex algorithms that results in the websites and webpages being ranked so the most relevant content is given to the user whenever a search if performed.
Numerous factors go in to a search engine’s algorithm. Some of the agreed upon factors are:
- Site structure – a logical map of a website, allowing visitors (and crawlers) to navigate around the site quickly and easily.
- Site speed – no hang time gets a site more ranking brownie points.
- Responsive design – a website that is fully-responsive to whatever device the visitor is using.
- Time spent on site – the amount of time a visitor spends on a website is an indicator to search engines the relevancy of the content to the searcher’s keywords or phrase.
- Keyword usage – keywords that correlate to commercial intent and search volume.
- Regular content – content must be useful and relevant to your business or topic of discussion.
- Backlinks – signal to search engines that other sites are vouching for your content. The emphasis here is quality, not quantity. What makes a backlink high quality is subjective (and we could have a separate article focusing on just them) but generally it can be agreed that if a backlink is from a relevant and trusted source and gained organically (not paid for), then it is quality.
The O of SEO - Optimisation
So now you know what aspects of a website and its activity is assessed for the search engine giants to rank it, let’s focus on how to optimise your site and content.
URL Structure – it’s the web address you see at the top of your browser. Descriptive categories and filenames on your website means you can better organise it but also that the Crawlers are able to do their job more effectively. Long and cryptic URLs don’t look attractive or trustworthy.
404 errors – occurs when someone tries to navigate to a page that no longer exists. This can be purposeful by the site owner (page has been removed or housed elsewhere), but can also occur accidentally, which is why you should always have a 404-landing page. Nonetheless, try to audit your site every now and then to avoid having any 404s. Overall, the aim is to give your visitors’ the best user experience.
Title Tags – concisely tells search engines what your site is about. Any keywords that are in your title tag that are included in the searcher’s keyword or phrase query will be highlighted. Therefore, it’s beneficial to include keywords in title tags, but so they’re still making sense to anyone reading them.
An example of an ideal title tag would be: Web Design – the most professional and affordable websites
Meta Descriptions – is a short paragraph that is displayed under your site’s URL on a search result. It won’t necessarily contribute to ranking but writing an engaging meta description will aid in increasing the number of people selecting your result on their search. And more click-throughs do help your ranking.
An example for you – Need a website, but not sure where to start? We can help with that! We offer beautiful websites at affordable prices.
Alt Tags – describes what the image is and/or the function of it. These tags can include key words to aid SEO but must be completed regardless as screen readers use them to assist the blind and visually impaired.
Keywords – words associated with the industry you’re operating in and the products and services you’re offering that searchers may use to find a company. Using competitive keywords alongside the lesser competitive can attain success, but don’t ignore the middle ground as these words have the potential to achieve more robust results. Google has a great <keyword tool> which will help you find out what words you should be using. Be warned though, cramming as many of the same keywords as possible in to your content will get you some penalty points so best not to do it.
Content – regular and interesting content will attract attention on its own merit and is probably the biggest influential factor to ranking. From conducting your market research and segmenting your customers you should be adept at anticipating how your target audiences differ in their understanding of your product or service, therefore adapting your content to be user-centric, educational and exclusive. Some research suggests that Google may be leaning more heavily towards longer-form content that has greater relevancy to the visitor’s intention as opposed to a load of keywords being stuffed in.
Getting these factors right, or certainly a combination of them, will give your website a greater chance of gaining organic SERPs, therefore getting more credible leads and sales. Optimising your website for search engines is important and it should be considered as a necessary element to your marketing strategy, but providing the most relevant, easy and engaging user experience to visitors should be your overall goal.
We provide regular SEO Health Checks for our clients as part of our ongoing support packages, and we can also assist with Organic SEO as part of any website design thanks to your Advanced SEO service.
If you’d like help with your SEO strategy, simply get in touch
Published on: 22nd January 2018 by Rachel