SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the art of making web pages, or websites rank well in search engines such as Google.
Search engines, by default, only show the first 10 search results on the first page of the search results. If you rank at the top of the first page then you have a significantly higher chance of the web user clicking on your website link, if you are on page 2+ then you have a very low chance of a web user finding your site.
The two most important aspects of SEO are:
- Users – They type what they want to find in to search boxes.
- Once you gain first page exposure for your keywords then the potential rewards for this are huge, and if the correct keywords are chosen then the rewards exceed the costs many times over.
Many people consider SEO to be complicated, it is not, however it is very time consuming and it takes a long time to gain the experience in order to optimise a site in an efficient manor. SEO typically involves the following steps:
- Keyword Research
- On Page Optimisation
- Link building
- Monitoring and Tweaking
- Staying up to date with Search Engine developments
The single most important thing you can do before starting a SEO campaign is spend time finding out what people are actually searching for.
The best tool for finding out what level of traffic your keyword is likely to get is the Google Keyword Tool. This allows you to enter your keywords and then provides search traffic estimates, it also gives you keyword suggestions and the related search traffic for these keywords.
Its worth mentioning that any keyword research software can not give accurate levels of traffic for any keyword, when in doubt you can set up a Google Adwords account to test how much traffic certain keywords actually get.
On Page Optimisation
It’s hard to rank for keywords that do not appear within your page content, each page of your website should be organised around the goal of ranking for specific keywords with this keyword included in the on page content.
Unique page descriptions play a very important role in successful SEO campaigns, Page titles appear in search engine results so its important the title not only includes your keywords but is attractive to the web user.
Page description tags are another important factor to consider, these need to be created to complement the page title and reinforce what you offer.
On page content needs to mention your keywords, but ensure the content is written for humans and not search engines. You can use heading tags which feature your keywords to break the content in to logical sections which will improve the structure of the page.
Each website pages needs to be different; you must not have any duplicate content on your website.
Put simply, search engines view links as votes with some vote counting more than others.
Link building is a big and complex subject but in summary you need to participate in the social aspects of your community and give away useful and unique content that people will talk about and share with each other. Other methods include submitting your website to relevant web directories, creating press releases etc…
Link Building Tips
- Try to link to your most relevant page, don’t point all the links to your homepage.
- Mix your anchor text
- Don’t be afraid of linking out to relevant resources
Monitoring and Tweaking
It’s important to monitor the progress of your keywords in the search engine results. Using Google Analytics is a good way of measuring the increase in traffic to your website.
It tends to take time for search engines to find all the links pointing to your site, sometimes up to several weeks. It’s important to remember this because you will not see an instant improvement in rank when starting out link building. Depending on how much competition there is in your market it can take several weeks to a couple of years to achieve high page 1 rankings for your website.
Search engines are always updating there algorithms in order to deliver the user the most relevant result to there search query. For this reason it’s important to always monitor your campaign and adjust your methods as the search engines adjust.
Staying up to date with Search Engine developments
Staying up to date with changes in the SEO industry is a full time job in its own right. The best way to do this is through attending SEO conferences, reading SEO blogs and SEO Forums.
It’s also important to bear in mind that every one has there own opinion on how search engines work and how to rank websites. There is no substitute to doing your own research on live test websites. Here at Web MS UK Ltd we have over 100 test websites we use for continuously testing new ranking methods and strategies. This gives us a good insight in to how search engines work and we are able to apply this knowledge very successfully to clients websites.