What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
And why do you need to know about it?
SEO helps your website to be found on the web by search engines (mainly – Google). SEO is sometimes referred to as a ‘black art’ because most people don’t understand it and it’s continuously changing. Plus, some shonky SEO operators charging a lot of money for not a lot of results have made many people shy away from thinking about what needs to be done for their website to be found on the web.
But, you can’t afford to ignore SEO. Here’s our guide to SEO. It will help you to commission SEO work and know the kinds of questions to ask.
What is SEO?
SEO expert, Rand Fishkin defines SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines.” Organic search means results that come from a search engine query – that is, not a paid ad or sponsored search.
The goal of SEO is getting the right visitors to your site.
How do search engines work?
Search engines use robots, also called spiders or crawlers, to collect information about every page, image, line of text on the web. Then they sort it to display relevant search results for search queries.
Search engines use a four step process –
- They find – the robots take note of every bit of information they find as they crawl your site and the web – this includes search terms, images and videos.
- They index – the information collected is organised into databases so it can be retrieved and delivered to answer a search query.
- They rank – and deliver results based on relevancy and popularity. Each search engine uses a different method to rank sites.
- They answer – they deliver the best results to answer the search query.
Steps to maximising your SEO
Step 1 – get your keywords right
These are the words people will use to find your site, products, services. Consider the following to come up with the right keywords and then use them throughout your site.
- Identify your target audience and the words or phrases they use to search for your products or services.
- Look at the competition – who’s ranking well in your industry? What words are they using?
- Identify what makes you unique and different to your competitors – are there keywords related to this?
- For help with planning your keywords you can use these references – adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner or kwfinder.com
Step 2 – write valuable, relevant and unique content
Here are a couple of our previous articles on creating good content for your website.
And keep it up-to-date – publish a blog with useful information, write about your latest project or products, news or trends or new technology in your industry. Change and update your content regularly. This gives the robots a reason to re-visit your site.
Step 3 – create SEO friendly web pages with the right tags
This is a bit technical so you may need some help from your web developer or an SEO expert but somethings to know about are –
Title Tags – this is clickable text that displays on the search engine result page. This is a short description of what people can expect to read or see when they click on the page.
Meta Description Tags – this is the text that is displayed right below the Title Tag. It has a 150-word limit. You need a Meta Description Tag for every page on your site and be sure it is worded to attract people to your site.
Header Tags – these define the important text and headings on your page, using a hierarchy. All pages should have Page titles.
Step 4 – Optimise images
Every image should have an ‘Alt image tag’ that describes it in words. This is essential as search engines cannot identify content in images without a description in words.
Also, make the size of your images small so they load fast. People searching don’t wait around for slow loading content.
Step 5 – Make sure your site is optimised for viewing on mobile devices
This is an absolute requirement in 2017. If your site doesn’t work on a mobile, you need to update it or your SEO ranking will slip!
Step 6 – Use social media
This will help increase the reach of your content and help your site to be found through links from social media. You should include links to your business social media pages on your website and ask people to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ you or to share (re-post) your content on their social media page.
Step 7 – Build links into your website
Having links to your website from other sites, especially credible ones like industry bodies, signals to Google that your site and content is valued. The more links the better – BUT be sure they are legitimate or you will be penalised by Google.
Step 8 – Register with local business directory
This includes ‘Google My Business’ and directories like Yelp. Encourage people to review your business as these reviews will influence other customer decisions to buy from you.
Did you know that 90% of online shoppers say they are influenced by reviews by other customers?
Step 9 – Measure results and keep adjusting
Set goals for your website and use Google Analytics to track the results. Look at conversions, new leads/contacts, organic traffic, keywords that are working and ones that aren’t.
With Google Analytics you can measure things like –
- Your visitors – where they live, what their interests are, their demographics, their behaviours – this can help you hone your message.
- Where traffic comes from – have people found your site from a search, an ad or another site – can you focus more effort on some of these sources?
- How people move through your site – which pages are popular, what do they interact with – this will help you make improvements to their experience.
Keep adjusting your SEO activity. SEO isn’t something you do once and forget – it needs a consistent, regular effort.
By Tangelo Creative on June 2, 2017