SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimisation.
In simple terms, SEO is the process of optimising your website to improve its ranking in relevant search results on search engines like Google and Bing. This usually involves changing the design, content or technical aspects of your site so that search engines rank it higher on some specific keywords and queries that are considered relevant.
What are the benefits?
Ranking high on search engines can have a tremendous impact on the organic advertising and branding for your site. Let’s look at some of the benefits:
Increased reputation: Higher ranking on a results page shows users that your site is relevant and of high quality, which increases your reputation and trust in you as a company/brand.
More traffic: One of the biggest and most obvious benefits is that ranking higher helps to drive a significant number of visitors to your website. This increase in traffic can then translate into more sales or leads.
Brand Awareness: Even when a user doesn’t visit your website, having a high ranking makes your brand more familiar and recognisable. This is important because people are more likely to engage with something they are already familiar with.
Free exposure: Whilst other means of advertising comes at a cost, such as pay-per-click media and OOH (excluding setup), SEO exposure is free and can help benefit other means of advertising such as Google Ads and paid search.
How search engines work
There are a lot of processes that go into delivering more search results and achieving a higher rank. These processes can be divided into three main steps.
Crawling: The first step involved is known as crawling. Search engines use programs (called crawlers, bots, or spiders) to periodically find new web content and collect a range of information about them. They also visit previously checked pages to see whether they have been recently modified.
Indexing: Secondly, the search engine uses the gathered information to decide if the web page is quality enough to be added to its database, also called the index.
Ranking: Finally, when a user does carry out a search, the search engine analyses the pages in its index and finds web content relevant to the query. These contents are then ranked based on several factors like location, relevance, backlinks, usability, time, etc.
Search engines rank pages based on numerous factors which are all part of their complex algorithm. Despite this, SEO experts divide them into two categories:
On-page SEO factors: The on-page SEO factors include things on your website that you can directly affect and work on. Some examples are technical factors like title tags, keywords, quality of content, site speed, meta descriptions, image alt tags, internal linking, site structure, mobile experience and more.
Off-page SEO factors: These factors depend on other sites and are not directly within your influence. They help search engines determine if your site is high quality, trustworthy, and authoritative. Some examples are backlinks (links from other websites) and social media elements such as posts and shares, etc.
It is important to keep in mind that it is completely possible to over-optimise your site and this should be heavily avoided. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, may penalize the pages involved or blacklist your website altogether.
Over-optimised pages usually have one or more of the following characteristics:
Lack of focus: This happens when you try to create content for too many keywords at once. Sometimes the keywords are not even related to the content. You should always make content related to your product/brand.
Difficult to read: Over-optimised text is usually unreadable, as the writer goes out of their way to include the keywords in sentences even when it doesn’t make sense. This affects usability and brand reputation.
Plagiarized and duplicated: Not being original is another characteristic of an over-optimised page. Plagiarizing is a serious offense in the world of search engine rules and will get penalized. Even duplicating content across pages can create something called ‘cannibalisation’ and could affect page ranking.
SEO is a crucial marketing strategy and is a great way to grow your site or online business. There are several benefits from optimizing your site for search engines as we’ve outlined.
However, as outlined, getting SEO right requires experience as it could lead to negative or unexpected results affecting site traffic and reputation.
Keep in mind that SEO takes time before you begin to enjoy its benefits. Consistency is key and through time you are sure to reap the rewards of free site traffic and visibility.
For more on how we can help you change up your SEO strategy, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Or keep us in mind for when you need help so you don’t need to search again…