What Is SEO?
If your website fails to be ranked in the top 20 results for your industries’ keywords (search queries) you might as well forget about receiving significant traffic from search engines and their users. Due to the fact most Internet users rarely travel beyond the first page for a search result, it is essential to be found in the top 10.
Page 1 of Google:
1st place: 30%
2nd place: 15%
3rd place: 7%
4th place: 5%
5th place: 4%
6th place: 4%
7th place: 2%
8th place: 2%
9th place: 3%
10th place: 5%
Page 2 of Google
1st place: 6%
2nd place: 4%
3rd place: 2%
4th place: 1%
As demonstrated, if your business does not feature on the first two pages of the major search engines, it is almost impossible to generate substantial, if any traffic whatsoever. In your own experiences, when was the most recent time you ventured to the third page of Google for your search query?
Search engines use a sophisticated and secretive algorithm for ranking websites that utilises more than 100 different criteria in the calculation, each of which receives a particular weighting that can vary over time. Due to the fact the algorithm can change, certain SEO techniques that may have worked well in the past, may no longer work as well in the future. This is an important factor to consider when your sites ranking appears to change for no apparent reason. Due to the ever-changing nature of the web and search engines in particular, optimising your site should not be considered a one-time effort. Successful search engine optimisation requires ongoing monitoring, research and refinement.
Google constantly looks for links that direct to your business’ site, from other websites, believing that a link from website A to website B is a “vote” of confidence for website B. In a similar fashion, other websites add votes for your website, which in turn increases a page’s rank value on your site. Every page of your website has PageRank (PR) value, which demonstrates a level of expertise to both the search engines and users alike. A higher PR value suggests an authority figure in your niche market, and thus will see your website climb higher in the search engine results. In most cases your home page will have the highest PR value, as most people will link to your home page than other page that makes up your site.
The more web pages that link to your site, and the more important those particular pages are, determines how important Google perceives your site, increasing your PageRank value and your standing in the search engine results page. It is the quality, not only the quantity of links your site receives that will establish your position in the online world.
To put it simply, Search Engine Optimisation, and ranking well on Google, comes down to optimising your site for the best possible keywords, obtaining as many significant and appropriate sites to link to your site as possible, and most importantly, having unique, informative and indispensible content for your visitors.
The more refined and particular your chosen keywords are, the better chance that visitors to your site will find what they are looking for. The goal of any online presence should be a high “click-to-sales” or high “visitors-to-customers” ratio. To do so, it is important to start thinking like your customers. Establish what it is they want, what complications they may have, and what solutions you can offer to benefit them.
Keyword selection is a vital aspect of a successful search engine optimisation campaign. Selecting your search terms (keywords) is not difficult, but it can make or break the overall success of your marketing strategy. Simply think about what you would like users to type into Google to make your website appear. Some things to consider when selecting your keywords include:
- Natural language- What would I search for to find my product?
- Other perspective- What would someone else call what I have to sell?
- Customer mindset- How do regular people talk about my product/ service?
- Industry jargon- What do experts call my product/service?
The slogan “content is king!” has been defined, and redefined in every blog, forum, conference and seminar that has anything to do with search engine optimisation or online marketing. Content includes all the information that makes up your website, everything from the information you read, to the pictures and video you view. Content is one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign, maintaining a visitors attention long enough to read your page, and hopefully, converting them to a satisfied and returning customer. Content gives your site credibility, not only with visitors, but other sites and the search engines themselves. It tells an audience what your business is about and proves that you’re and expert in your chosen field.
High quality, relevant content is the single most effective SEO tool, allowing you to achieve the following:
- Differentiate your site from the masses
- Attract expert links to your site
- Develop a loyal site following and brand
- Launch your site higher in the search engine rankings
In order for your intended customers to find your website ahead of the competition, every page of your site must be concentrated on delivering comprehensive, worthwhile information that a consumer would search for in the process of making a buying decision. With rich, informative content and appropriate text, you prove to both a prospective customer, and the search engines that your business is a subject matter expert. Increasing your knowledge and trust factor will force users to stay on your landing pages longer and eventually convert them into customers.
Search engine optimisation is ultimately based around the content of your website. Stimulating sites will increase their recognition on their own. You can notify visitors of the remarkable benefits you have to offer, and inspire other websites to link to yours considering your business to be an authority on a given subject. Combining your sites content with all other aspects of SEO, you have the foundations of a fruitful web presence and a healthy return on your marketing investments.