You may have heard techy-folk use the term SEO before, and we totally understand that whenever it’s mentioned your brain switches off! You might have done a quick google to see what it’s all about but at the first mention of search engine spider thought NOPE and clicked away just as quickly. SEO can be a confusing subject, so we’re going to break it down for you in simple terms, and next time you feel flustered around the backend of a website you’ll know what to do.
What we’ll cover:
- What is SEO?
- Why is it important
- How to use SEO
What is SEO?
The S, E & O of SEO stand for Search Engine Optimisation. The term is used to describe a set of rules that optimise your website to get closer to the first page of a search engine’s results. A search engine is a website such as Google, Bing or Ask.com that allows you to search the internet for a particular word or phrase.
Why are people always banging on about it?
As the internet has evolved, search engines have become an integral part of how we surf it. What internet session doesn’t rope in a search engine to find a website that can answer your questions? Whether it’s shopping you’re doing, or furiously researching whether your cold is actually plague, a search engine will always find you what you need.
But which result are you most likely to choose? One-off the first page or one from page 10 and beyond? First page all the way right! So understandably those first page spots are highly coveted and websites must fight for their right to be there. And that’s what SEO is.
The main outcome is to appear as high as possible up the list of search results, but SEO can help your business in many different ways on the journey to achieving that goal.
A Recognisable Brand
As you start to appear for more relevant search terms, search engine users will become familiar with your brand. This consistency lets them know you’re the real deal. Team this with a strong social media presence and these same people will come across you throughout their digital lives.
Climbing the ranks
The higher you appear on the ranking, the larger the number of clicks your likely to earn. According to Advanced Web Ranking, the top three positions receive an average of 60% of all the clicks! So aim high and you’ll see the benefit, as more clicks through to your website increases your chance of a user converting to a paying customer.
Better SEO equals better quality traffic
Traffic is what we call the views coming into your website. As Google starts to learn more about the traffic you get they’ll begin to better understand what searches are most relevant to you. This means that the users who are recommended your site for a search will be more likely to turn into customers or clients.
Learn about your customers
Understanding your SEO and digging deeper into your website traffic’s habits allows you to tailor your website to better serve the people you are targeting. Gone are the days of market research and theory, today we can look at exactly what people are clicking on, how long they spend on a website and what we could show them that might pique their interest.
Spread your wings
Good SEO will mean that you’re no longer confined to your local area. Traditional marketing using radio, billboards and flyers relies on thrusting yourself into the public’s face. Using SEO to increase your website’s traffic will allow people who are interested, and searching for the content you provide, to find you!
Or be a homebody
That’s not to say that local customers will be outnumbered by out-of-towners. Search engines will mould themselves to what you put out there. So if you want local traffic, make sure to include references to local towns and places in your content. Build your content around the search terms you want to rank for.
So, how do you ‘do’ SEO?
As we said earlier, SEO is a set of rules that optimise your website to get closer to the first page of a search engine’s results. So we’re sure that what you’re really dying to hear is how you can use these rules to improve your own website’s rankings!
A keyword is a term you expect your target audience will use in their searches that you’d like to rank for. You’ll want to think about what searches you what to rank for first, then use the keywords in those searches in your website’s content. It’s not enough to just randomly drop this word around the page with no context though, you’ll need to write genuine content about the subject and use plenty of semantic keywords. Semantic keywords are related words and phrases. For example, if you want to rank for the keyword ‘photographer’ you’ll also want to use words like photography, photograph, photographic and so on. Also, words related to photography such as portrait, wedding, portfolio and imagery.
A well-structured website
A well-organised website works wonders on many levels. Firstly, a search engine finds a logical site map easier to understand and will rank you better accordingly. This easy navigation around your site will also improve the user’s experience, extending the amount of time they spend on your site, engage with the content and eventually convert to a customer. All of this tells google you’re worth promoting because users enjoy your site.
Nothing quite puts off a customer than a painfully slow running website. Make sure your website is in peak physical fitness and keep the load speeds short. This will reduce your bounce rate, which is when a user quickly clicks back out of your website. A high bounce rate tells google people don’t like your site and will harm your ranking!
Another thing that can negatively impact on your SEO is site errors. These can be:
- duplicate pages
- images without alt text
- broken links
- bad page redirects
As of 2015 creating a mobile-friendly website can make or break your SEO strategy as Google frowns upon sites without the feature. Mobile-friendly means that your website reacts to a mobile user and resizes the content to suit the device such as a mobile phone or tablet. Since the update, Google looks at the mobile construction of the website first. This means that it ranks the website depending on the mobile device user’s experience before taking into account desktop users. So if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re throwing away the chance of potential traffic and conversion for your business!
We hope that the mysterious world of SEO no longer seems so terrifying and that you’ll be able to use these tips to improve your website’s ranking. At the very least we know you won’t be worried anymore about why you’re not number one on google and be able to take some steps towards fixing that! Now get at ‘em you internet wizz kid let’s work on some SEO!