What does Search Engine Optimisation mean?
Last week we discussed how imperative a digital strategy is to ensure your website it actually found on the internet and doesn’t get lost in the abyss.
While PPC advertising is one way to get your website up and seen on search engines, another one is SEO.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving your website’s ranking within the search engines for specific keywords. There are many factors that influence how well your website will rank for your targeted keywords.
The Search Engines all have their own ranking algorithms. Algorithms although they sound complicated are sets of rules that determine how the search engine ranks different websites for search queries. No one knows what they are as they are not made public and they are constantly being altered by the search engines themselves. We have a good idea by testing and analysing, what works and how it ranks and by making sure the websites are built according to the best practises.
The point of using a search engine is to provide the searcher with the most relevant website for their query.
Why use SEO on your Website?
So why should you use SEO or basic SEO on your website? How will it help you? The reason you have a website is to get people to find out more information about your product or service or even buy online. There are millions of websites on the internet. SEO ensures that they will find yours quicker and more often.
A potential customer may type in the URL of your website and go directly there but what if the don’t know your website address?
This is where keywords come in. When your site has basic SEO, keywords will be built into the copy and the backend or code of the site to make sure that the search engines can read your site and its content and categorise your site accordingly.
Then we use search engines, we type in keywords that describe the website or information we are looking for. So using SEO techniques will help your website get found for the correct keywords. This will then lead to people who have never heard of your website before, finding it and fulfilling whatever purpose your website has been created for.
If your website has been designed badly or without SEO in mind, then there is a strong possibility that no new visitors will ever find your website through the search engines.
SEO basics that you can do to your site:
There are a few basics that you can do to your website to ensure it is easier for the search engines to find.
- Meta Titles and Descriptions: Meta titles serve two purposes; they form the text that appears at the top of your browser when you visit a site or page and the piece of text that appears in Google when you make a search. The Meta description is a small description of each page that sits within the html code. The main use for this is to be the source of the description Google uses for its results. If you do not provide a Meta description, Google may use some text from your page or just not give you one at all.
- Image Alt text: Google cannot tell what is in a photo or image so we need to tell it via the image alt text.jpeg. Make sure that all images on your website are labelled and where possible relate to relevant keywords. This means that if your image isn’t loading properly – the viewer will still know what it’s meant to be.
- Onpage Copy: Make sure your copy on the website is interesting and also includes the relevant keywords as often as possible. This will ensure highest optimisation of your sites searchability.
- Headings: Whether they are H1 headings or just bolded text at the top of your page, try to include your keywords into your headings where they naturally fit. This is important as headings are picked up quicker than site copy.
- Page Names: To help your pages rank for appropriate keywords, you can include your keywords in the page names.
- 404 Error page: Many sites are set up so that if you click on a broken link within a site or mistype a page name you will receive an error message or a 404 error page. These pages usually are not SEO friendly, so if you set one up you should include some links to your main pages while including your keywords.
- Html Sitemap: Create an html sitemap page that links to all the pages on your website, this will allow visitors to see all the pages on your site and help them get indexed in the Google Index.
- XML Sitemap: Using free tools, you can create an xml sitemap that will list all the pages on your site in a format that can be read by the search engine spiders. This file should be placed in your site’s root folder.
- Google Webmaster Tools: To help you discover problems about your site and help understand how Google sees your site you should register for a Webmaster tools account. By adding a piece of verification code to your html you can access detailed information about your site.
- Fresh Content: Content is key in any online or digital marketing space and with Google it is no different. New content ranks higher than old content – very simple. One of the best ways to add new relevant content to your website is through a blog or news section that can be easily updated.