What is SEO?
A quick Google of the term ‘SEO’ will result in over 372,000,000 hits. That can be intimidating to anyone, especially those businesses who want to be “found on Google”. With many articles awash with abbreviations, algorithms and acronyms, they don’t make it easy for you to comprehend the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). We’d like the change that! Here’s our simple What, Why and How of SEO we hope will remove some of the questions you may have on this topic, in a way that is most beneficial to your business.
SEO? S – E – WHAT?
SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation is simply a term used to describe how to grow your web sites visibility. It’s primarily a marketing discipline that comprises of both the technical and creative elements needed to drive traffic towards your site through improved search engine rankings…or to break it down further, it’s a strategy to make your website appear on the first page of Google for the products/services you offer.
Why is it so important?
With fewer and fewer individuals using services like the Yellow Pages or Telstra’s 1234 to find what they’re looking for, it’s now, more than ever, imperative to make impact online.
Google has now become the ultimate know-it-all for all questions, queries, desires and wants for any person. With Google processing over 40,000 search queries every second – they are unequivocally the master of the internet. To enhance your SEO is to appease Google. If people are looking for a business such as yours (ie. hammock merchant) and they type in ‘hammock’ into Google – you want to be on the first page of listings, where the customer can very clearly see your business name, description and web page. Ease and accessibility is very important for consumers on the internet, very rarely if ever do you scroll through the thousands of possible page results to find what you’re looking for. So to be on the first page, front and centre is absolutely optimum for your business.
Why does it get so complicated?
Search engine ranking is not as cut and dry as many may think it is. With complicated algorithms whittling out the useful from the useless, it can be challenging to define the most advantageous way to apply SEO to your business.
Combined with competition and the confusion born out of differing agendas (customer, search engine and business), it’s no real surprise at the lack of understanding surrounding the process. Let’s use an example to talk you through this, imagine you sell hammocks.
- Agenda 1 – The customer, wants to find the perfect hammock for them.
- Agenda 2 – The search engine, that wants to provide the best, most useful results (so that you will come back and use it again).
- Agenda 3 – The businesses that sell hammocks that want to be the first result the customer sees when commencing their search.
Combine those competing agendas with the different characteristics that create a uniqueness behind each and every search. Each buyer may have different wants, needs and desires to the last; and Google’s algorithm needs to cater for each possible option.
For example, depending on the individual demands of the customer, the certain characteristics that the hammock needs to meet can vary wildly. Length, width, resilience, materials used, colour or manufacturing location can all render separate results.
I bet you’re confused from just reading that paragraph, right? Just think about all the data Google’s algorithms have to fish through to get you the best possible result for your query. That’s why you, as a web site owner have to lend them a helping hand by optimising your site as best you can!
How do they find the best results?
First things first is to understand the logic behind the madness. To produce the top results, Google sets out correlating information based on the keywords searched, let’s say ‘hammocks’ again, and then they begin collecting data that relate directly to that keyword. They search the entirety of the web far and wide for results that fit in with their current algorithm. The titles, keywords and reputation of your website all play an important role when it comes to satisfying Google.
Let’s work through them one by one:
Official titles are incredibly important in defining what each of your individual pages on your site is about. Even if it is not visible, the code is still read by Google, and by matching your title pages (eg. ‘hammock buy’, ‘hammocks sizes’) with the words that customers may search for you with (‘buy hammocks’, ‘sizes hammocks’), you are helping create an understanding of what pages are the best to display depending on their requirements.
As Google accounts for every single word on the web, it’s incredibly important to be using the exact keywords you would like to be defined as over and over again on your site. By using ‘hammocks’ on your home page multiple times, and throughout your other pages, Google will be able to narrow you down to one of the specific pages that related to that topic.
Google loves pages that keep their site fresh, original and updated. By building a reputation for yourself through a constant supply of new content, it shows Google that you’re an active contributor on the web.
So, how can I improve my business’s SEO?
You don’t necessarily need a convoluted algorithm to start developing an SEO approach for your business. There’s some basic fundamentals that you can apply RIGHT NOW – so you can stop looking at your local community center’s adult-learning courses in code development…
Firstly, the key is in the name – you want to optimise your site to make it easier for search engines to find and ‘crawl’. You can help this process by making sure your web page is as technically sound as possible.
This can be as simple as making sure:
- you have a sitemap available (that is a page that correlates and lists all the separate web pages of your site);
- your site is securely hosted and loads quickly, that it is built with clean HTML code (that it’s simply not ladened with errors or unnecessary code);
- that your domain name contains the keywords applicable to your business.
A great resource for your website and Google is Google’s Webmaster Tools.
The other equally important aspect in revamping for greater search engine reach are building links to your site. When other highly ranked sites link back to your web page it lets the search engine know that you are respected and can be trusted. One of the best ways to do that is by creating quality content that can be shared around through social media, on blogs, directories and reviews.
Making sure you’re active through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, don’t just drive traffic but also increase your businesses’ visibility online. Take some time out to submit your website onto the many online directories available as well as creating a profile to respond to inquiries on forums, answering with a defined signature containing your web address.
These are just some simple ways to help develop an SEO strategy for even the most apprehensive IT novice. Of course it gets much more complicated than this and the above tips need refining when dealing with highly competitive keywords.
If you wanted to take your approach a step further, we have developed our very own tried and tested method when it comes to achieving the most out of search engine optimisation.
To find out more on how to do SEO the Intuitive way, click here.