12 things to know about seo.
On-site SEO doesn't have to be complex.
Let’s try and bust the common myths around search engine optimisation. Here’s 12 things to know about SEO.
How do we get our website to appear at the top of Google?
What do you mean when you talk about making my site more 'relevant'?
When a user searches the Internet for a keyword, the search engine will display a list of websites in descending order. These are called the search engine results pages. The search engine will try to list the websites that it thinks are the most relevant to that keyword first (and also the most trustworthy). It’s a good idea to optimise the pages of your website. This is so they are tuned towards keywords that you know people search for regularly.
A search engine will favour websites that have a good amount of high quality content relevant to the keyword. This includes the keyword in the page title, web address, page headings etc. By finely optimising the pages on your website, and tuning them towards specific keywords we can improve your website’s rankings and bring more visitors.
What do you mean when you talk about making my site 'trustworthy'?
Search engines will try to determine how trustworthy they think your site is. The more trustworthy your site, the higher up it in search engine results pages your site is likely to appear. This can be improved by getting other high quality websites linking to your site. Also, by encouraging people to discuss about your site in forums, blogs, articles and social media networks you can improve the trustworthiness of your site. And in turn your rankings.
What do you mean when you talk about search engine rankings?
You may have heard people talking about appearing on the ‘first page’ or even ‘position 1 ‘ of Google. When a user searches the Internet using Bing or Google, they are presented with a list of pages relevant to the keyword that they searched for. These results are displayed in descending order, with the most relevant and trustworthy sites at the top.
One of the main goals of search engine optimisation is to get your website as high up these search engine results pages as possible. Most importantly, for keywords that people regularly search for and that will help you grow your business.
What do you mean by a 'keyword'?
A keyword is the name for the word or phrase that is used when searching the Internet. For example a user searching for dog training services might search for the keyword ‘Dog Training London’. One of the keys to good search engine optimisation is identifying keywords that are both regularly searched for (have traffic), and that will generate business.
A common mistake is for companies to optimise websites for keywords they think people might be searching for. Good SEO requires a process called traffic analysis to determine how many people are regularly searching for a keyword. Read more about keywords on the MOZ website.
Can you guarantee our search engine rankings?
No, it just isn’t possible to guarantee a position in the organic search results. If anyone does guarantee you a position, it should set alarm bells ringing! It is possible to apply extensive SEO knowledge and experience to build rankings gradually over time. This is done by selecting the best keywords through thorough keyword analysis and competition research.
Hand picked keywords that can genuinely rank for help improve the relevance and trust of your websites.
I was told you could pay to appear at the top of Google?
Yes, it is possible to pay for advertising above and alongside Google’s normal search results, known as ‘organic’. These paid advertisements form part of what’s known as Google Adwords.
Google Adwords campaigns aren’t part of organic search engine optimisation. Whilst Adwords campaigns can be successful in the right context, you have to pay each time a user clicks on your link. This this can become very expensive, especially if it doesn’t convert into a sale.
Research has shown that users recognise paid links as advertisements and are much less likely to click on them. In the long-term, a solid ranking in Google’s organic search results is much more valuable.
What do you mean by organic search results?
Organic search results are the search results that search engines display because of their relevance to the keyword that a user is searching for. This is rather than a paid advertisement such as Google Adwords. Organic search results are usually displayed in descending order with the most relevant and trustworthy websites at the top of the results page.
Can we search engine optimise our own website?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible for you to optimise your own website for search engines. However in reality you’ll need to spend a LOT of time learning about SEO. Search engine optimisation is an involved process that means more than a few coding changes. It requires careful optimisation of your website, thorough keyword and competition research and analysis. Also off-site optimisation using proven SEO strategies is also vital. There’s also technical aspects to consider in making a web page or website rank well.
Content Management Systems like WordPress are complex ‘machines’ that process a lot of code in real time to display a webpage. It’s important to spend some time maximising the page load speed performance of your website. Page load speed and mobile usability his is a significant factor in Google Page Rank too.
How long does it take to improve my rankings?
For completely new websites or domains, it’s extremely difficult to say. Search engines naturally trust websites that have been around for longer, making them easier to rank. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy and not about overnight success. You should think of SEO as a gradual process of growth and improvement. After application of a good SEO campaign strategy, you would hope to see positive results in 3-6 months rather than days or weeks.
With highly competitive keywords it can take longer to overtake your competitors as links are built and trust is grown.
What is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank (PR) is a rating that Google assigns to web pages to indicate how important it thinks they are. The rating is from 0-10. In simple terms, it’s a bit like a voting system – Every time another website links to one of your web pages it helps to increase the PageRank. If websites’ linking to you are already highly trusted and highly relevant, the higher the PageRank is likely to become.
The factors that affect PageRank include things like time, content and incoming links. PageRank can be a good indicator of how trustworthy Google thinks your website is. However, it is only one of the factors that Google uses to determine where your website and its pages should appear in the search engine results.
Why is it important to rank in the top five positions of the search results?
The exact figures vary, but on average the top 5 positions get around 80-90% of all clicks. On average, websites in the number one position get around 36% of all traffic. Outside of the top 5 positions the amount of traffic that you’ll get for a keyword tails of considerably.