SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process of trying to optimise a website to be ranked as highly as possible in a search engine for particular search terms. It is an organic (free) type of internet marketing.
For example, a web design company in Poole or Bournemouth may want a high ranking when a user searches a search engine for ‘Web Design Poole’ and optimise their website so the search engine rates it highly for that term.
The search engines use algorithms known as spiders or crawlers to investigate a website and evaluate how well it meets the criteria determined by the search engine for a high ranking.
One of the key objectives for the algorithm is to determine how likely a website is to contain what a user is looking for and how good quality the content is.
A high ranking is important because studies have shown that the higher the ranking a website has the more traffic it receives.
A study last year discovered that the best ranked site received 33% of traffic, the top 3 results received over 60% and websites on the first page got 91%! In the UK, Google handles nearly 90% of search enquiries so there is a huge benefit for websites to get their SEO right, particularly on Google.
No. 1 Position in Google Gets 33% of Search Traffic:
SEO comes in two forms. What’s known as white hat and black hat strategies.
White hat SEO is considered the good type, where optimisation focuses on improving the website for human users and follows search engine guidelines.
Black hat SEO focuses on optimisation that doesn’t improve a human’s experience but rather improves how the website appears to machines and spiders. These strategies are undesirable and only work on a short-term basis because once the search engine realises they remove the website from rankings.
White hat examples
- Link building or backlinks.
The search engine rates the importance of a website on how many websites link to a website and the SEO quality of those websites.
- Keyword analysis and use.
It is important to identify what words and phrases a user will use to search for a website. Once this has been done the terms must be used throughout the website.
- Optimise HTML tags.
Following on from the last point, search engines consider content in certain HTML tags more highly than others. For example content in <h1><h2><title> and the alt & title tags on links <a> are considered important.
- Unique content writing.
Including copy that is high quality, unique and what a user was expecting to find. A popular phrase in the SEO community is “Content is King”.
- Signing up to webmaster tools.
The search engines provide tools for evaluating and improving a website. This includes features like an XML map for displaying a website’s hierarchy.
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