SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot on the internet. If you’re starting to poke around in the digital marketing sphere, it can seem a little complicated, but when you break down SEO into the basics, it’s not as daunting as you might have thought.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. When typing a keyword or a phrase into Google or another search engine, Google orders the millions of websites surrounding that keyword to give the user the best results based on what they searched. In the business world, if your website is at the top of that list, the more likely users will click on it, and the more users who visit your website, the more potential clients you have.
Ranking in the top spots in Google can help boost your sales and get your business noticed, and so every company wants to be in the number one slot.
How do I get my website to number one?
There are many different ways to rank a website using SEO. Some focus more on the search engine, and these techniques tend to involve paid ads, hidden text, and duplicating content. In the SEO world, this type of SEO is called black hat, and it tends to go against Google’s guidelines and suggestions. Black hat may gain quick wins in the short term but can damage your website’s trust in the long run.
Other techniques focus more on the user, ensuring that the website is optimised specifically for their ease of use. White hat SEO, as it is called, can take more time than black hat SEO but ultimately focuses on the user experience and assisting clients who visit a website. White hat techniques can include adding enough content, including alternative text for images, and improving page speed.
The majority of SEO, however, is a mix of the two: grey hat. It focuses on user experience while also optimising the website for life in a search engine and includes paid and organic techniques. Of these, the most important are keywords, content, on-page optimisation, and buying links.
When you type ‘SEO’ into Google, it automatically directs you to websites with information on SEO. Those websites will have written that keyword into their content so that when ‘SEO’ is entered into a search engine, their website will appear. Keywords are essential to getting your website noticed on Google or any other search engine.
Getting the first couple of keywords is easy. Your website will already have essential keywords on the home page or in the title of your business. An SEO manager will then use specialised web tools to find more niche keywords – and the quality of those keywords. Keywords with a high search volume mean that many users are searching for this keyword every month, but it also means the competition will be increased. Finding the search volume for a particular keyword will also tell an SEO manager how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword.
Ranking for ‘SEO’ is challenging but ranking for ‘SEO Cannington’ is much easier. Using specific keywords can improve your chances of breaking above the swarm of websites in Google, but it is also essential to make sure that users are still searching for your keyword. If you’re running a business, try searching for keywords relating to your company and see what comes up. The key to keywords is seeing exactly what your clients are searching for, and with some SEO work, those keywords will lead straight to your website.
Content is what makes or breaks your website. A website with no content is not worth visiting – by clients or by Google. If your website doesn’t have enough content, Google will not view your website as trustworthy, and therefore won’t rank it high in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). On the other hand, too much content can bog down your website and impact your readability and user experience.
Finding the balance between too much and too little content is the key to content-based SEO, but for the most part, adding more content is always better. Adding quality content is best.
You may have the perfect amount of content on each of your pages, but if the content isn’t readable or hard to navigate, users will have a hard time viewing your site and will be less likely to continue reading.
Make sure you have plenty of breaks between paragraphs and include headers to break up chunks of text. Images can improve your readability as well and can also demonstrate your product or services to your clients.
It’s the little things that count too. Your website’s page title, URL, and headers are significant in telling Google what your website is about. optimising these three aspects with important keywords will let the search engine know what keyword you want to rank. They also need to attract clients, so having a catchy heading is also important.
Your headers should also be structured according to the HTML format. Your H1 is a crucial header, followed by h2, h3, etc. H1 should be the main header of the page, while H2 is perfect for section titles or subheadings. If you have further headings within your subheadings, h3 – h6 can be used here.
Images are also crucial for on-page SEO. Including alternative text for each image helps Google to identify and correctly categorise the images on your website. Alt text can also be used as captions for images, which helps in readability and user experience.
Backlinks are one of the top ways to improve your SEO. Some may consider buying links to be a black hat practise, as it solely focuses on improving SEO from a search engine standpoint. Still, as long as the links are of good quality and don’t involve spammy or inappropriate material, they are considered suitable to use. Google listed backlinks as one of the top three ranking factors were used in its algorithm in 2016.
Backlinks are any outside links that lead to your website, and it’s easy to see why they are so important. Any link that points to your site will encourage users to visit, but there are other factors as well. Highly trusted websites such as Facebook, Wikipedia, government or news sites carry with them trust from both users and Google, and when a link from one of these websites leads to your site, it carries that trust and power with them.
As a general rule, the more backlinks to your website, the higher it will rank in Google, but those backlinks must be trustworthy and relevant to your site as well. The quality of backlinks is just as important as quantity. Of course, it is hard to go around asking news sites to link to your website, so many people will purchase backlinks to ensure that they have links leading to their content.
A particular type of backlink that many people buy is guest posts. A website owner will pay a blog to write a post about their website or content niche and then include a link to their website on that page. Google considers guest posting a grey area, but as long as the posts are written on real blogs (and not just blogs set up for the sole purpose of feeding backlinks) and the posts themselves are helpful, factual, and informative, then Google has no problem with allowing guest posting.
SEO doesn’t have to be confusing and overcomplicated. Understanding even the basics can help improve your website’s SEO and boost your ranking.
If you want more information on SEO or want to improve your website’s SEO ranking, get in contact with one of our team members today.