29 Nov What is SEO and how does it work?
If you have come across the acronym SEO before and not really understood what it means, then hopefully we can shed some light. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Put simply, it is about improving the visibility of your website on search engines. For instance, if you want to be found for a particular search term on Google then you’ll need to ensure you make the necessary modifications to your website to allow your website to be ‘found’. And by found, we are referring to page one of Google. According to Forbes, 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results. So, if you want to get noticed then you’ll need to put in the hard work to not only get on the front page, but also to maintain your position there.
How does Google rank your website?
Before we look at some things you can do to improve the SEO on your website, it is useful to understand how Google ranks your website. First of all, you can’t fool Google. Gone are the days, when a ‘search engine specialist’ could help you fake your way to the top of search results. Google uses web crawlers, also known as web spiders, that search content on the entire internet. During the crawl process, Google’s algorithms use over 200 factors that helps them decide where to rank your website based on the information your site provides. Unfortunately for most part these factors are a a well kept secret. However, we do know some areas that Google favours most (see the next section).
If your website scores well then it will be stored (indexed) in a huge database and ranked on Google. It is worth noting that Google updates its algorithms regularly with the big updates approximately twice a year which can affect your website ranking, so you’ll need to stay on the ball and adjust your website accordingly.
How to improve your website SEO?
There are number of modifications you can take to improve the SEO on your website which we know Google’s web crawlers will approve of, and most of these revolve around what Google feels is ‘valuable’ to the user. These include the following:
More content than too little is favoured as you should be giving information to help the user, however, do keep in mind that you don’t want to put off the user by making it pages and pages of undigestible text. The content needs to be relevant, so ask yourself; is this information helpful for your customer? Does it answer a question? Google will analyse and subsequently prioritise websites that are helpful and serve a purpose.
The creation of a blog section on your website is a great way to provide regular new, fresh and relevant content that will get noticed by Google’s web crawlers, so this is definitely worth having. We regularly research and write content for our clients’ blogs so they can be found on Google, which we know works. For instance, between January and November this year, a blog on the website of our client, Stoneham Kitchens was the third highest landing page for the site, after the home page and brochure page. The source of this traffic was Google searches.
Providing useful content, should include keywords or key terms. These are the words that users are searching for on Google. Think about what you want to be found for and research what the user is searching for. There are tools you can use to find out what people are searching for, but make sure you use quality keywords that are relevant to the page content. The keywords should be included in your page content as well in the meta data fields in your Content Management System (CMS).
The famous quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” is now more relevant than ever, especially on the internet. And Google will not only crawl content, but also images. It is important then that you optimise your images as they can also improve the accessibility of your website. Make sure you name the image file correctly based on their location on the site and use keywords to describe the image. You’ll also need to ensure the image is the right size, if the resolution is too high then it could slow down your website which Google does not like. Make sure you also fill in the Alt Text (a description of the image) in your CMS – this will replace the image if the file can’t be loaded, as well as being used for visually impaired users.
Google will rank your website based on whether it is both desktop and mobile friendly. In fact it prioritises ‘mobile’, so you should ensure your website is optimised for all devices.
Does your website have an SSL certificate? If not, then your website will be marked as unsafe to visit, which is a big no-no for Google. Make sure you purchase a certificate to show your website is safe for users.
Adding URL links into your website content is only good if they are relevant to what the page is all about. Therefore, good SEO favours the use of internal and external URL links which are useful for the user.
Do you need help with your search engine ranking? If so, get in touch with us here.