SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process in which a website is optimised for search engines in order to improve the visibility of a website in search engine natural search results. There are many ways that an SEO consultant might achieve this, which are discussed here.
Essentially, the aim of SEO is to increase the chances of one or more of the pages of the website appearing in search engine results pages. This would be in response to an internet user typing “keywords” into the search box of their search engine, such as Google.
Why is being at the top of Search Engine Results important for a website?
SEO is all about getting a website to the top of search engine results, which will result in the website seeing an increase in visitors, and more visitors means more customers, which means more money.
If a website appears in the top three positions in a search result page, the page is likely to receive more than 58% of all clicks from users (results of an Optify study). Basically, being in the top three could increase your website’s visitors threefold.
It is believed that surfers click on the top results because they will usually see these results first (it is easier) but there is also an underlying assumption that the sites at the top of the list are likely to be the best ones (it will get you what you need).
It is also important to remain in the top three positions for visibility purposes. The higher your website ranks, the more people will see it, recognize the name of your business and therefore promote your business.
How does SEO actually work?
Keywords – Keywords are central to SEO. Search engines use keywords to rank websites. The keyword terms or phrases that you would expect someone to search for to find your website are firstly determined. (For example, somebody looking for a place to eat might type, “restaurants in London”) Then, the SEO consultant optimises the website with a focus on these keywords.
On site SEO – Onsite SEO is focused on your website. It uses various techniques to make it more search engine friendly, as well as keyword rich.
An SEO consultant will also ensure that the website is full of relevant content. This ensures that Google and other search engines can “see” and “read” the content to determine its relevance based on the keywords the surfer has typed in.
Some techniques concerned with onsite SEO include well optimised title tags, plenty of content, the page URL, and internal anchor text links (keyword links within the content connecting pages of your site together.)
Off site SEO – Offsite is an important part of the SEO process. Offsite SEO is concerned with everything you do off the site, which essentially involves building links to your website that acts as “votes”. Put very simply, the more votes you have, the more Google can “see” your website and will rank it higher. This is also known as back links.
There are many techniques involved with offsite SEO. These include acquiring back links through social forums, back links through social bookmarking and writing articles with back links in for other websites or bloggers.
Back links will vary in value depending on the authority of the site, the topic of the page on the site and also what “anchor text” the back link contains. The anchor text is the text that you see in a hyperlink. If the hyperlink is similar to the SEO keywords, then this will be far more beneficial for SEO purposes.
What should I expect from SEO?
You shouldn’t expect instant results, but the results will show in time. SEO is an ongoing process, so a gradual improvement in your website’s visibility will be seen. Sometimes it can take weeks, even months, to see major results in the search engines.
Also, remember that your competitors are also likely to be conducting SEO so ranking number one in the search engine won’t be seen straight away. In addition, rankings constantly fluctuate so don’t be shocked to see your website move up and down in the list. Your SEO will be measured and monitored to track progress and continual improvements.
In summary, SEO encompasses a wide range of techniques, some of which have been discussed here. It involves changing the way your website works, and how search engines see you, to enable maximum exposure and self promotion.
There are many reasons why you should conduct effective SEO. Firstly, it is an investment in your business. With the world moving to a more digital age, online marketplaces are very competitive and a website needs to do everything it can to be seen.
Without SEO, your website will do nothing for you. No one will know your website is there apart from you, and the money you spend designing and building it will be in vain.