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Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?

You’ve been told its important and more than a little bit worth getting good at, but do you really know what search engine optimisation is? SEO is about not only improving the amount of traffic directed to your site, but also the quality of that traffic (where it comes from). It’s worth noting here that the term ‘quality traffic’ refers to visitors being directed to your site because they have a genuine interest in what you have to offer. It seems fairly obvious to state that the more traffic the better, but it only really matters if you have the right people clicking through from the search engine result pages (SERPs) in the first place. You might have also heard the term ‘organic traffic’ floating around, this is what we call the friendly visitors who have gravitated towards your site via non paid means, and they’re worth hanging on to.

In a nutshell, when it come to search engine optimisation the aim of the game is to get seen, quickly, by those who matter.

How does it work

Starting with the very basics here, a search engine is a platform (think Google & Bing) from which you can find the information on the internet you are looking for. You tell your lovely search engine what you want to know and it feeds you back a list of links that, hopefully, tell you what it is you want to know.

Search criteria in tow, a piece of inbuilt software known as a crawler (or spider) goes about its mission to gather all the information it can on that subject. These stealthy little creatures work at great speed, and in what seems like the blink of an eye, the information is returned back to the search engine in a series of 1’s and 0’s and built into an index from which it can rank its importance. This index is then passed through an algorithm, whose job it is to match this data with the query you originally submitted. The most relevant and important appear in the list you are provided, leaving you happy and satisfied in how jolly helpful the internet has been for you today.

The word ‘algorithm’ is a fairly important one when it comes to SEO but don’t let it stump you. In short, it is a set of rules that need to be followed in order to solve a problem, the problem here being able to find the most relevant search results possible. These ‘rules’ are a set of factors (with varying degrees of importance) that are taken into consideration when trying to work out if the information is relevant enough and worthy of your time!

There are a number of these ‘factors’ to consider and as such, many opinions as to which play the biggest part, but it has been suggested that the 3 most important could well be:
  • Domain-level link authority features - this involves looking at the number and quality of links back to the domain as well as the page rank at domain level.
  • Page-level link features - primarily assessing the quality of link sources and looking at anchor text distribution amongst other things.
  • Page-level key words and content features - this is largely about assessing the quality and relevance of your content.
Of course these are only a handful of SEO factors, there are a number other things playing a part in that useful list of links your friendly SERPs puts before your eyes. Length and quality of content, social metrics and user data (amongst others) are thrown into the mix too.

Why is SEO so important?

Search engine optimisation is worth paying attention to because of the very reason you have a website in the first place; to open your services out to a wider audience than would be possible without one. How does that look? Lots of (genuinely interested) people visiting your site. This is largely where the optimisation part of SEO comes into play, the big chance for human beings to have an input. Once you have an idea of how the algorithm is seeing your content you can perform a few alterations (or optimise) it to give it the best chance at success.

How do I get started?

If you’ve been tasked with search engine optimisation, you’ll need to be working hard to make your website and is content attractive to search engines and their crawlers. There are a few things to think about when it comes to effective SEO and if you’re new to the game, you can expect to put in a fair amount of learning and practice before you start getting it right.

In the first instance you’ll need to get yourself a website that appeals to search engines, whilst a web design agency can help when it comes to making your site work for your users, you’ll need to be getting things such as effective domain names and internal links right to get those visitors there in the first place. You’ll also need to build a catalogue of fresh and relevant content written with SEO in mind, getting things such as metadata and keywords working for your site is the key to success here and can be where an SEO copywriter comes in handy.

Whilst it might be possible to learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to search engine optimisation, it can pay to hire a specialised SEO service to help you get it right. Without optimising your site for search engines effectively, investing in your website and in turn your business’ online presence, can seem a bit of a fruitless task.
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