What is SEO?
SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimisation'. This means optimising your website to rank well with search engines. The purpose is to be shown high up on Google's search results and entice a click to your website.
What is involved?
In the 'olden days', when there was not as much competition online and not many people did SEO, it was just a case of getting the right saturation of optimal keywords onto your website. It is WAY more complex than this nowadays.
Competition online is now fierce and everyone has teams of SEO staff beavering away, so how can you compete? The thing to remember is that Google wants to please the user. Google wants to give the user the most relevant match to their search term, but also a fast, well-built, trusted website which has been proven to please the user. So, how can we provide this?
There are so many factors involved with SEO. Here are just a few (in no particular order):
Content is important for Google and the user. A keyword analysis is useful to know what users are searching for. Each page should have its own primary keyword/phrase and a couple of secondary ones if appropriate. Let Google know what the page is about, but make sure the page is easy to read for the user and keeps them interested. Whilst you want to get the keywords in there, user experience is most important. DON'T keyword stuff or Google may spot it with detrimental effects.
Titles and Descriptions should include keywords where appropriate and meet specified character length requirements. They should be unique to each page, be relevant to that page and of course be click-enticing as they are shown in the search engine results. We no longer use 'metakeywords' as they are mostly obsolete.
HEADER TAGS (H TAGS)
h tags are important. Use one h1 on each page, preferably containing the primary keyword/phrase. Don't dilute it with too many other words. You can then use a small number of h2 tags if appropriate. Contain the keyword/phrase if appropriate. You can then continue to use the other h tags up to h6. Think of them as the heading and then sub-headings. ALWAYS use them sequentially. Don't use an h4 if you haven't used an h3, etc. Try not to use the h tags just for styling purposes (a common problem). Try not to have too many.
Images should all have an alt tag accurately describing them to a visually impaired person. Include keywords where appropriate, but it is important that the description is accurate.
This one is huge as there are so many elements to address in order to optimise a website for speed. Optimising your images, especially their size is a common culprit of a slow website. Other areas to optimise include caching, CDNs, Minifying JS, CSS & HTML, Gzip compression & many more. Whilst there is so much that can be done to speed up the website as part of the web build, sometimes it's a balance between what's best to please the user. Some businesses cry out for a big, image-led website. No matter how much you optimise the images, if you have a high number of large images, they will slow the website down. So will a video or feed or a busy, high tech website with lots of funky gadgets.
TECHNOLOGY & RESPONSIVENESS
Again, this is a big area and overlaps with SPEED above. It is essential the website is responsive and works over all popular devices (desktops, mobile phone, tablets) and on popular screen sizes.
The website should be secure and have a SSL certificate so that it's 'https' with a green padlock.
Once someone lands on your website, if they 'bounce off' again, Google will begin to lose trust in you. The more this happens, the less you will be shown on the search results. So, the page needs to look good and be clear & simple to navigate. It needs to clearly give users what they're looking for. This also relates to the metatags mentioned at the start. The metatag shows on the search results. If they don't correctly describe their page, the user will land on you page and not find what they expected to find so will bounce off again.
These help the user navigate the website, but also help Google's 'spiders' crawl the site and find more pages.
Links from reputable, relevant, trusted websites pointing at your website help with both traffic and Google. Note that times have changed and you should not just get your link on hundreds of poor websites - this would go against you.
Social media needs regular, relevant content with good activity from your users.
Third party reviews help both the user and Google.
This one's a bit 'chicken and egg', but the more traffic you get on the website, the more Google will trust you (assuming it is good traffic and the visitors stay on your website).
How to Test/Implement?
There are so many more factors involved in SEO than the ones mentioned above. We specialise in SEO and all our websites are built with SEO and the user in mind. We perform various tests on all our website designs to make sure they're performing as well as they can. SEO changes all the time too, so you have to keep up-to-date with ever-changing technologies & security features.
We also test client's websites which we didn't build ourselves and, depending on how the website has been built, often work on external websites to optimise them as much as possible. This isn't as preferable as making a sparkly new one from scratch, but is very rewarding to us to see the test results change dramatically after we've worked our magic!
We Can Help
For help with your SEO or for a new, optimised website contact us on 01994 484430.