What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the practice of optimising a website so that it appears higher in search engine results.
This can be done in many ways, some work better than others, but there is no definitive answer.
Engineers at search engines such as Google, constantly change the way process results, which makes buying your way to the top an unrealistic option for most small or medium sized businesses.
So how do you get your site up there in the results?
Different sites require different strategies. For example, a site about football won’t appear in the top pages of Google without an extensive and pricey marketing campaign, because there are already so many sites dedicated to the sport.
Strategies need to be based on the strength of the competition. A site about football transfer rumours is far more likely to appear higher in the results with less SEO because it is a niche, and niche site positioning is much easier to exploit.
Check your spelling – a simple mistake could penalise you. Validate it, valid XHTML code is growing in importance, especially as search engines start penalising more heavily for bad code.
The use of Meta tags enables search engine spiders* to easily index what they find, add descriptions to the results and define what keywords are relevant to content. Search engines are looking for what you have in your page – this is how Google adds a description to its findings.
Although it is possible to rank highly in search engines without them; indeed many ‘professionals deem them to be obsolete; for the easy task of including Meta tags, this is a simple piece of SEO which will make your page appear neater in search engine results, even if it doesn’t have a huge effect on your ranking.
Keywords and Keyword Density
It is essential that keywords are relevant to your content. You WILL be penalised if you ‘spam’ your keywords!
Don’t put keywords that have nothing to do with your content – flooding your site with these will have an adverse effect on your results and possibly get you banned from Google for a few months – not great for your SEO.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Ever noticed that column on the right hand side of search results? This is where PPC sites are placed. Although you’re not guaranteed to get there every time (especially when searching for broader sites) this is undeniably a fantastic way to generate traffic and business.
It can be costly (you pay every time someone clicks on the link) but is a great way to get noticed in the early stages, especially with an e-commerce site.
Emails from companies or individuals promising to get you 10,000 links in 30 days and push your business to the top of Google are link farms. They will get you blacklisted from Google almost instantly – so avoid them at all costs! Linking to sites with irrelevant content will have a detrimental effect on your ranking.
Genuine links have a truly positive effect on your site, especially if they link to similar content. If you can get your site on DMOZ**, then you’re well away.
So, you’ve got a good set of relevant keywords, Google recognises your content and PPC is getting you noticed. Time to sit back and let the hits roll in?
It’s vital that you update your site regularly. Search engines like to see a little change, so keep your content fresh, current and interesting. Out-of-date content is boring for humans and spiders, so stay relevant and update regularly to avoid falling down the listings.
Go organic! Let your site grow. One of the best forms of SEO is organic SEO.
All the ground work that we have put in to coding your site well will do its job. More and more people will discover your site, so keep adding the content, links to similar / relevant sites and you’ll soon find it a haven for your niche at the top spot. And by this point, it might be completely free to be there.
*not actual spiders. Spiders are what search engines use to collect data from your site to compile relevant results based on their findings.
**DMOZ is the single largest directory for sites in the world. All major search engines link into DMOZ, using its database to get return results from searches.