What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the quality of your content so that it ranks higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). It's different to Google Ads because you're not paying for your content to rank highly, it's there organically.
There are two types of Search Engine Optimisation:
- On-page SEO which is all about improving the content on your website to help it rank higher in the SERP.
- Off-page SEO is using optimisation techniques (like backlinks) outside of your website to impact your rankings.
Let's give you an example. Imagine a friend is planning to go on a city break to Spain.
They'll search for flights, hotels and activities to do while they're in Spain. If you write a blog about the best hotels in Spain, you'd want your friends to find it. In order for your friends to find your blog though, your web content needs to rank above all other websites that write about hotels in Spain.
So how do you get your web pages higher in the rankings?
First things, first. SEO is not a quick fix. Walk away from anyone that promises to make you rank higher overnight. It's just not possible. It can actually take six months before you begin to see the benefits. Also, walk away from anyone that promises to make your content reach page one. While this is possible, there are absolutely no guarantees.
In order for your content to rank higher, the search engines need to determine how 'useful' your content is based on the accounts authority, how relevant the content is to the search query, how fast your pages load and much more.
An easy acronym to remember is EAT.
Expertise. The creator of the content is considered a credible source.
Authoritativeness. Demonstrate how your site is an authority in your chosen field through backlinks from other authoritative sites.
Trustworthiness. Demonstrated by having a secure domain and through customer reviews.
Google puts the user and their experience at the heart of everything. Make sure you only use white hat SEO techniques. These are tactics that improve your rankings that work within search engines guidelines and focus on the delivering the audience the information that they need. Black hat techniques like keyword stuffing, or using invisible 'white' text should be avoided.
There are lots of factors that helps Google determine where your content is placed in the SERP. Here's just a few of them:
- Page speed. The quicker your website loads, the quicker your audience get the information they need.
- Page size. How much information is your page trying to load? The more content, the larger the page size and slower the page speed.
- Requests. How many round trips to the server does it take to load everything on your website. The more requests, the slower the load time.
- Robots / sitemap. A text file on your website that instructs search engines how to crawl your pages and access
- Indexed pages. How many pages of content from your website is Google and Bing finding.
- Schema. Adding Schema mark-up to your HTML improves the way your pages display in search
results. Its sole purpose is to aid conversion.
- Google Analytics and Tag Manager. Google Analytics needs to be present on your site to collect data and track your visitors behaviour. Having Analytics and Tag Manager installed allows you to also track the goals that matter to your business like conversions and newsletter signs ups for example.
- Content. As Bill Gates once said: 'Content is king'. It's what the user comes to your website to see so content is extremely
important. Good content is unique to your website, keyword targeted and above all- high
- Keywords. Are you using the best keywords and are they embedded in the best places.
- Call to actions. What's the aim of your website? Is it to drive enquiries, or perhaps sell a product? Your pages should take users on a journey with the sole purpose of achieving your website's aim(s).
- Responsive. Mobile usage has overtaken desktop so your site needs to have a responsive design. If it's not responsive, Google will penalise you.
- Meta titles and descriptions. Accurate and concise description of the page's content. They're displayed in
search engine results and they're what a user sees before
clicking on to your website, so they need to set the right first impression.
- Page titles and URLs. URLs should accurately reflect the website hierarchy, and are important to help search
engines understand importance. URLs should be meaningful and contain relevant
- Internal links. These are hyperlinks that point to another page on your site. They allow users to navigate,
but also establish site architecture and allow Google to crawl over your site. If a page
exists on your website, but there's no link to reach it- then Google can't access it.
- Image optimisation. Optimised images create a better user experience, faster page load times and have additional
ranking opportunities. Images should be as low file size, with a keyword rich
That's a lot to think about isn't it. That's just scratching the surface too. Luckily these are just some of the points we can check for you as part of our SEO audits. Our audits also provide you with a list of recommendations on how best to improve your content in order to help it rank higher.
You can find out more about our SEO services here. Also, feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like my help to conduct an SEO audit.