SEO, which stands for search engine optimisation, is a topic that hinders many first time website owners, and even long time users. The big problem with SEO is that it needs to be continually adjusted and checked to ensure your website is getting maximum results.
What is SEO?
SEO basically informs search bots from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo what your site is all about. These search bots will read content on your site, starting from the top to try and get a topic for your site, and establish an audience for it. Using keyword recognition as well as backlink checks, the search bot will categorise and rate your site on a host of statistics.
What factors affect SEO?
There is a host of factors that will get checked when your website gets crawled by the search bots. Search engines like Google are very thorough with their analysing and also update their check algorithms regularly. Some of the factors they check include:
Keywords (Longtail and density)
Site loading speed
Metadata (image tagging, anchor text and header code)
External Links to your site
Links leaving your site
We can also include social presence in this list, whilst not actually a factor to most bots, it will affect how people find you on search.
Now let’s go through some of these factors.
Keywords. When it comes to SEO, keywords play a major factor in how search engines rank your website. To understand what a keyword is, think about Bob’s Boot Repairs in Blankville. Bob knows his website is all about his boot repairs and maintenance products, but does Google? When the search bots scans/crawls Bob’s website, it needs to find words like Boot Repairs to establish what the site is about. To do this, the word(s) must be used more than a few times throughout the website. When we talk about longtail keywords, these are phrases closer to what people will actually type into search bars, such as Boot Repairs in Blankville.
Site Loading Speed. This has recently become a big factor in site ranking. As people move closer to a non-tolerance level of slow website pages, we need to ensure our websites load fast. Your site might have the best content on it, and be full of the right keywords, but as we both know, you are more likely to click the back button (back to Google search) when the page shows up blank for more than a few seconds. Be sure your site loads fast, especially above the fold content, the initial screen readers see.
Metadata. This is information for search bots. It includes correct ALT tags for images, anchor text for links, titles and descriptions for pages as well as tech info such as language, location and coding. This information needs to be correct if you want your SEO to make any impact at all. For example, your title and descriptions is what usually shows in search result snippets.
Mobile Responsiveness. Another factor that has become super important lately, with a higher number of web search taking place on mobile phones and tablets. We want to ensure our sites look great and are easy to navigate on both a desktop computer, as well as a smartphone. We can do this using a responsive website that adjusts itself to differing screen widths, or we can create a secondary site just for smaller devices. Either way, search bots like Google will favour a mobile friendly website.
Links. Linking and how you do it on your website is super important. External links can be bad as we don’t want the search bot leaving our site and going to another, although if this other site is well ranked and related, it can actually benefit your site. As search engines are looking for the most helpful site for a user, it needs to see that your site is the place to go to find out more about that topic. External links that point to our website are great for SEO! This gives your site some authority in the field. Using our example from above, if Wrangler Boots linked to Bob’s Boot Repairs, it would help Bob’s SEO as the larger site will already have some authority, and is now sharing that with Bob. We can also use online directories and forums to create good links back to our websites. Internal links are just as important. An internal link does exactly what it sounds like, and links between pages on your website. Great to use on blog articles, it is good practice to link to a related article.
Now that we have covered a few basics just briefly, we need to do an audit of your website and see what is missing. There are some great online tools that can help with this such as SEMrush and Majestic SEO. We can also help you to audit your current site and recommend changes and updates to help with your SEO.