So what is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation? It’s a phrase that us marketers use a lot and it’s extremely important if you want to be found anywhere on the internet.
So, to explain a little. It’s Google’s main aim to return the best search results for every person that searches online. To do that, it “crawls” or examines each and every website, blog or
The Google “algorithm” is the formula that Google uses to determine which page is the most suitable match to the user’s search query and where each page will rank in the search results. This exact formula is always changing and is a closely guarded secret at Google. There are hundreds of different ranking factors that make up the Google algorithm but it’s not possible to meet every single one of these requirements.
However, it is thought that the seven most important in 2019 are:
In order for a page to rank well in
For example, if your page is all about pencils then you could describe the pencil, you could write about all the different uses of the pencil, you could feature some images of pencils and some examples of work written with a pencil. You could write in detail about how to use a pencil,
Really good, well-written content will always rank well in Google and is far superior to using SEO tricks and tools. How you lay out the content is also important but we’ll come onto that in another ranking factor below.
Acquiring “backlinks” or links that lead to your site from other sites is another very important ranking factor that is often underestimated. The “higher quality” the site that Google thinks is linking to your site, the better. Links to your site from, for example, the BBC, any university or any national newspaper are far superior to links from less well-known websites.
The other criteria regarding backlinks is that they must be relevant. If you are a website selling pencils and a taxi firm links to you, that will not be particularly valuable. However, if another pencil manufacturer or retailer selling pencils links to you, that would hep to bring you higher up the search results.
Keep thinking “Content” as the main reason why any relevant sites would link to you is because they wish to share your content. They would not do this if the content was poorly written, unreliable or insufficient.
There is nothing wrong with asking companies to link to your site, such as your customers, product advocates or suppliers. This will all help to optimise your site and improve your ranking in the search engine results pages.
With mobile searches now far outweighing desktop searches, it’s vital that your website is “responsive” or mobile-friendly. This means that your website will respond to different screen sizes by adjusting the layout to ensure that mobile
Not only is this important because mobile users will just leave your site if they can’t read or use it
A Secure W
You can make your site secure by ensuring that an “SSL certificate” is added. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and adding one creates a secure connection between the user and the server so that information can be exchanged safely without risk of being intercepted.
Once the SSL certificate is added, your website URL will be preceded by “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP” and your site will be classed as secure.
Not only is this an important ranking factor, the message “not secure” that appears in the URL bar if your site is not protected could well be enough to put visitors off visiting your website.
Often abbreviated to UX, user experience is an important ranking factor as well as an important factor for people visiting your site.
If your site is laid out badly and information is not easy to find, then people won’t hang about. They will move on to another site, in which they can find the information they need to find. Google crawls your site and it is intelligent enough to understand when a site will not be user friendly.
Long sections of text should never be used as studies have shown that people don’t read it. Break up the text with images, different coloured backgrounds, lists, subheadings, anything that doesn’t look boring. You should also ensure that all your key points really stand out.
Remember, it all comes back to content. Google wants to return the best search results and keep people coming back for more. If the pages it displays are confusing, difficult to read, untidy or just boring, then people will lose faith in searching.
So the general rule is, visitors to your website should be able to find every single page on your site within 3 or 4 clicks and it shouldn’t take them very long to get to where they want to be.
Interestingly, most search engines will factor “dwell time”, which is the amount of time a user spends on a website before clicking back to the search results. Sites where users don’t return to the search results, indicating that the user found what they were looking for, will rank better than sites where users quickly return to the results pages.
In the days of wanting everything here and now online, particularly on mobile devices, people have much less patience than previously. If a site doesn’t seem to be loading very fast, people will exit and try another site instead. A recent review by the Telegraph found that a 4 second delay when a site is opening reduced page views by over 11%.
Google knows this and it is less likely to rank slow websites. Remember, it is aiming to give users the best website experiences possible.
There are lots of tools that measure website loading speed for you to test your site on, such as https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Take the advice offered and, if you aren’t a website whiz-kid, get someone who is, to help cut back your website’s loading speeds.
This is where you can use the code in your website to communicate directly to Google and the other search engines. Companies frequently report more than 60% increases in traffic just by changing their h1 headers (the main heading in the code of each page).
Meta Data: In most Content Management Systems (CMS) these days, there are fields in which you can enter meta data. If you don’t have this option, ask your web developer to add it for you.
You can use meta data to tell Google what each page of your website is about. Title tags should be a brief summary of the page and meta descriptions, although not part of the indexing process, are the page descriptions that appear under the title of the page in the search results.
Alt tags are a way of telling Google what is contained in images. All meta data should contain the keyword or phrase you wish your page to rank for.
Schema: Schema markup is another “hidden” element that can be added to a website to give search engines more information about a site’s content. Schema are almost like instructions to a search engine about how to display information in the search results and there is a lot of evidence that using schema markup can improve engagement.
So, there you have it. Hopefully you will understand a bit more about the fascinating topic of SEO. Ensuring that a website’s SEO is as good as it can be is always the first thing we look at. It involves doing keyword research to find out what key words and phrases to target – more about that in an imminent blog post. Once we know which key words to optimise for, we can get everything in place. Google will then do its job and start to display your website much higher up the search rankings, bringing you extra traffic almost immediately while we start looking at other ways of helping!
For more information about how we can help, or for training to enable you to do this yourself, please contact us.