SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is a huge industry that the average business with a website may still find confusing, often expensive, or is quickly put into the waste basket because it is difficult to understand. While I am not going to explain it all here (I would never have to work again if I knew it all), I will try and simplify what it means so that you can understand why SEO is in my opinion the most important part of developing a website.
Every person who gets a website wants to know why they aren’t on the first page of Google when they do a search for their product.
- Well the simple answer is that Google generally only shows between 10 and 20 websites per page after you put your search in. (These results are known as SERPs).
- Near the top of the search results page you will see approximately how many results the search engines have found.
- Even the weirdest searches will usually have a couple of thousand results, so for your website to appear on the first page of Google, it has to be more relevant than all those other possibilities!!
- Google measures more than 200 different factors when determining this relevance.
- Some of these factors include things like location, how long you have had a website, how many other sites link to your website, and most importantly the content on your website i.e. what is written.
- While I could expand further, I think this gives you the idea.
Search Engine Optimisation therefore is the skill of creating a website that meets as many good things that Google (and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo) value, so that this in turn will help improve the chances of your website appearing on the first page(s) of searches by people looking for the product or service you are supplying.
So what are the Google factors you need to consider?
Their are two main factors in Google’s algorithm which together determine the ranking of your website. You have varying control over how you can influence these.
On-site SEO factors
SEO factors that are on your site are all those things you can influence from within your actual website. There are numerous technical aspects of your website that are important in improving your website ranking (on the SERPS) in the search engines. Medlicott Design build 95% of new websites using WordPress which is actually a fairly good SEO-friendly platform to start with. Combining Wrodpress with a good SEO plugin, means that most technical challenges can be overcome.
The structure of your website, your site speed and the content of your site are all vital SEO factors. Things like optimising images so you pages load faster may seem over the top, but it isn’t. Making sure your website has a clear structure/layout so that Google also knows what are the most important pages also helps.
It’s important to make sure every page of your site has decent content, at least 300 words. You can’t expect Google to see you as an expert on a certain topic when you have only written two sentences about it. This indicates to Google that your page probably isn’t the best result to match the search query.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to think of Google as your audience. You write for your visitors and not for Google. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and provide the best answers possible. Therefore, writing quality content for your audience is also something that will immediately lead to Google’s approval.
Writing quality content means writing original content. This is also important to avoid duplicate content with other sites. And it means that sites have to stop stuffing keywords into their texts. Your text has to be easy to read for your visitor. Obviously, your visitor doesn’t benefit from a keyword stuffed text, because this decreases the readability.
Off-site SEO factors
These off-site SEO factors are rather more difficult to influence. The most important of these off-site factors is the number and quality of links pointing towards your site. The more quality, relevant sites that link to your website, the higher your position in Google will be.
However the important word here is “quality”. While in the early days of the web people used to trawl the web getting links, or reciprocating links, many turned into what were known as link farms and Google caught up and made sure you were almost penalised for having them.
So gaining “organic links” is the ultimate aim. Those are links where people think you have supplied something if value so they share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, their own website or some other social media outlet. All this tells Google you may have something of quality and this increases your importance, andthus gives a better ranking.
Gaining these links isn’t easy so make sure you tell your friends about your website, or make it easy for them to share or pass on the information.
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