SEO Stands for Search Engine Optimisation and according to Wikipedia the definition is:-
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results
Basically it’s about being found online for keywords or phrases that describe what your website or business does when some does a search. For example, if you were a florist in Sheffield. You would want to appear on the first page of results when someone does a search for “florist Sheffield”.
SEO’s, the guys that help you gain better rankings, have been called dark artists, white hat, grey hat or black hat but the truth is after eight years of doing this it’s just a process or a system. Follow the system get the results.
So what is that system?
Keyword research is the first part of any successful SEO campaign. This should be ideally carried out before the website is even built, however what normally happens is the website goes live and the site owner scratches their heads as to why they aren’t getting any traffic. Here you want to think about what it is you do and what people will type into Google to find you. Think about synonyms, industry specific terms and any location filters you want to apply. For instance, do you cover only a certain geographic area or are you after nationwide presence.
Look at your competitors and jot the down the keyword phrases they use, look at the pages of their website for inspiration. You can also ask your customers direct. Once you have a list of keyword phrases you can use tool like Google’s own keyword planner to get an idea of the monthly searches done on the keywords and also get other keyword ideas.
Onpage Optimisation is the second part of the foundation work of SEO. This process can be split into two the technical aspects of making sure your web site is search engine friendly and optimising your site to take into account your keyword research to send a signal to Google that these are the keywords you want to be found for.
The technical aspect will often involve:-
- Measuring and improving the speed of your site, now considered a factor for being found in mobile searches. See Google’s page speed test to test your site speed.
- Checking there are no issues with Google crawling the site
- Mobile Friendliness – Check Google’s mobile friendly tool to make sure your site is mobile ready.
- Duplicate Content Issues – Make sure you have unique content on each page of your site
- Broken Links – Making sure there are no broken or dead links on your site
Onpage Optimisation will normally involve
- Meta Tag Optimisation – Making sure your keywords are place in the title tag and meta description tag mention your keyword phrases. This is the information Google pulls into it’s search engine results pages, see below.
The first bit is the title tag, no more than 64 characters long, The second bit is the meta description and should be no more than 160 characters long and should be a sentence or two to describe your business.
- Content – The text of your website should feature your keyword phrases. Google is getting very clever at picking up related keyword phrases. Your main keyword phrases should be featured one or twice every 300 words
- Headers – Like in a word document header tags are considered important to Google. Only use one H1 tag and other heading should be H2 or H3
- Navigation – make sure your site is easily navigated, try and make sure you can get to any page within at least three clicks maximum
- URL’s – Make sure your pages describe the service/product/category for instance http://www.example.com/123?=content=3%sid=7 is not very search engine friendly and content management systems such as wordpress make it easy to change these, for example http://wwww.example.com/blue-widgets
The final part of SEO and this should be done on a monthly basis is link building. Think of link building as a bit like a vote, from one website to another. The more quality and relevant links you get the higher up the rankings you go. Types of quality links are:-
- Niche Directories or Trade publications
- Supplier links – Are you a supplier or distributor does the manufacturer have a links or supplier page
- Local Citations – local directories see http://www.nexuswebsites.co.uk/top-15-free-uk-business-directories/
- Editorials or guest blogging opportunities – Are there any places you can share your expertise or knowledge
- Exhibitions or Conferences – If you are exhibiting make does the event organiser have a website you can have a link from
- Referral Links – Are there any sites that link out to relevant websites as sources of information. Write up a post and ask them to link to it as a source.
- Competitor links – Use tools such as Majestic, Ahref’s or Open Site Explorer to see what links your competitors have.
Link building has been rumoured to be dead but it is still the only way to get to build up the trust and authority to warrant a first page on the search engines result pages for your keywords. When linking back to your website only use the company name or website URL, don’t use keywords.
In summary, SEO isn’t dead it has just evolved into a more grown up version of itself. As long as you promoting your business and not trying to manipulate the search engines, you can vastly improve your visibility online.