Search Engine Optimisation – The Basics!
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is optimising your website to make them appear in a higher position in organic search results. Organic search results are relating to results which have not been sponsored. There isn’t an advertising budget behind them to make them rank higher. Search Engines, much like social media platforms, use an algorithm to determine how high up they appear in the organic search results.
It should come as a surprise to nobody that the top search engine is Google, with a reported market share of 90% across the globe. But there are other search engines out there to consider when optimising your website. Search engines like Bing, Yahoo and privacy-orientated search engines like Duckduckgo.
How do Search Engines work?
Search engines follow links on the web using crawlers (or spiders or bots – the term differs depending on who you speak to). These crawlers trawl the internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week exploring the internet for content (text, news, images and the likes). Every time the crawler comes across a website, it saves a HTML version of the website into its index (a gigantic library or database of websites). This index is changed and updated every time something changes on your website. So the more content that is added or changed, the more often the crawler will visit your site and make updates to its index.
What is the algorithm?
As with social media platform algorithms, its ever changing and ever evolving. But decades of research and experiences in SEO algorithm has shown that there are two main categories the SEO algorithm looks at.
- On Page Factors. On Page Factors looks at your website structure, the content, readability of your text, accessibility, technical factors such as caching, compression and speed.
- Off Page Factors. Off Page Factors are your backlinks (links from other websites) and the quality of these links. Social Media attention and sharing and other marketing efforts which take place independently from your website.
Does SEO have a place in your digital marketing strategy?
The short answer to this question is yes! SEO algorithms depend on social sharing and traffic from social media platforms as part of the off page factors mentioned above. Creating digital content such as blogs, creating new products to sell, adding new information and pages to your website, not only gives your website fresh new and original content to be indexed by the crawlers of big search engines. It can also provide you with lots of quality content to share with social media followers. In our opinion, feeding SEO into your digital marketing strategy is a win-win!
What are the top tips for creating an organic SEO strategy?
Creating a strategy for your SEO is treating your SEO as a long term goal – as it should be. Short term wins might be tempting, but search engine crawlers are intelligent little bots who are wise to those short fixes such as keyword stuffing (the filling of pages with unrelated keywords) and the process of buying backlinks. While they might get you onto the first page of Google initially, your website will be pushed down the rankings for this and once they do this, finding your way back up is even harder
But instead of focusing on the don’ts, here are the do’s.
- Create an amazing website. An amazing website is a website which has been created with the user in mind. By putting yourself in the shoes of the person you want to actually see your website, you can make sure that the style, design and content is both interesting and engaging.
- Research Keywords – Keywords don’t strictly have to be a word. They can be a phrase too. The person looking to learn more about SEO is more likely to search for ‘What is SEO?’ than just SEO. So the more specific the phrase, the more likely you are to rank.
- Create good technical search engine optimisation but ensuring that your site is well structured and links can be easily followed throughout your website.
- User Experience – Typically, website users like a simple website structure which has easy to find information. Its easy to navigate from page to page. Overcomplicated websites make users switch off and often into the site of your competitors.
- Write Quality Content – Use your website to educate users, ensure it answers their questions in a non complicated way. Focus on how easy your content is to read and remember, not everyone will read every single word. Some people will skim over the content and so they need to be able to take something away from what you have taken time to write. Ensure that there are internal links and high quality and relevant external links in your text. If you are in a position to – hire a professional copywriter. These guys are experts at writing quality content designed for website users.
- Social Media Strategy – this is a big one. Creating a buzz on social media will drive people to want to learn more about you and your business. Where are people going to go to learn more about you and your business? Your website! The more traffic you receive to your website, the more important the crawlers will think your website is, and will be more likely to show it to others searching for similar things. Building a community of like minded businesses which are complementary to yours is also important. See Point 9 for more information.
- Mobile Optimisation – As the way in which we access the internet evolves, smartphones are more in use for web browsing than ever before. So if your website doesn’t display correctly in mobile view, users will go to a website which will. Your mobile version of your website is now as important, if not more important than the desktop version!
- Accessibility – Is your website accessible to all? Could a blind person use a screen reader to navigate your website easily? Do your images have alt tags which explain to those users what the image is and what the purpose of the image is?
- Build a community with other complementary businesses who can provide you with high quality and more importantly, extremely relevant links for your website.
Sustainable SEO is key to ensuring that your website content ranks without you needing to pay for sponsored posts. We create websites for clients with SEO in mind as a starting point, with the option of maintaining their website, content and SEO on a monthly basis afterwards. If you would like to know more about our website design options or you have a website already that you need some help with – get in touch. We’d love to learn more about you, your business and your goals for the future!