Improve Your SEO

What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is a practice of growing your sites visibility via an organic, non-paid way, in search engine results. The key to SEO is having effective keywords (words and phrases that internet users type into search engines) on your site as well as backlinks (incoming links to your website).

Why use SEO?
When was the last time you looked for something online without using a search engine? The answer? Probably never! The vast majority of what is read or viewed online has originated from a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. A search engine to an online business is what a map is to a tourist; helps the user find exactly what they’re looking for. If a search engine can’t find your site, you’re missing out on an abundance of traffic.

At the risk of getting too technical, web search engines work by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query. This therefore signifies the importance of having effective keywords and high quality content as the internet is becoming an increasingly competitive channel for marketing.

How do I improve my SEO?
Both Google and Bing recommends that you make your pages with your readers in mind, and not the search engines. Ensure that what you are adding to search engines in the form of your titles and description is reflective of the content they are looking forward to reading. What would you do if you clicked on a link and didn’t find what you were expecting in the page? I know… leave the page!

Keywords are fundamental to the search process and improving your SEO strategy. For example, if you want to have a chance of ranking for search results for ‘movie reviews’, then it would be clever to ensure that the words ‘movie reviews’ are part of the crawlable content of your page. However, this isn’t all you need to consider. Researching keywords is a very important step in SEO as even the structure, punctuation or spelling of your keywords can play a part in their success. For example, searching ‘juggling clowns’ and ‘clowns juggling’ may well bring up different search results and ranking. The point I’m trying to make is that the more specific you are, the better chance you have of outfoxing your competition.

Because search engines are clever and want to ensure that the ‘searcher’ gets exactly what they are looking for, they can also be fussy. Therefore it’s important to ensure that your site is easy to use, navigate and understand whilst providing actionable information relevant to the query. It’s also important that your site is professionally designed, and is compatible with modern browsers, delivering high quality, credible content.

I believe that there are 5 key steps to improving your SEO strategy;

1. Publish relevant content
The best pages are written for the user, not the search engine. Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which improves your site’s relevance.

2. Update your content regularly
Regularly updated content is regarded as one of the best indicators of your sites relevance, so ensure that you are updating content at least once per week as standard practice.

3. Metadata
During the design stage of your site, be sure to insert metadata. This is within the space between the <head> tags which contains information about the contents of the page.

4. Have rich links
Simply adding ‘Click Here’ to your page will not help the search engines find your content. Try to be more descriptive, using a few words or phrase that best describes the destination of the link.

5. Use alt tags
Always describe your visual and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial – especially for those who use text-only browsers. You will no doubt include images in your pages to get people to read your text and strengthen your message. The alt tag should describe what in the image and as a result, will strengthen the message towards the search engine spiders and improve accessibility of your site.

I hope this helps you on your quest to drive more traffic to your site. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

I wrote this piece for iNeedNI.