[How-to] Get to Grips with SEO
SEO’s been around for a long time and has seen many changes. It’s still a fairly cloudy subject that’s full of jargon, so what is SEO all about?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to various techniques that ‘optimise’ your website and your content, so that it performs well in search results (for search engines such as Google).
Let’s briefly stop there and rewind though. SEO requires a lot of effort – so why even bother trying to rank highly in search results in the first place? Well, Google alone handles over 3.5 billion searches every single day. So people (and potential customers) are clearly online. It’s estimated that at least 80 percent of internet experiences start with a Google search.
But human behaviour after a search is just as important. After they’ve searched for something, most people tend to choose an option from page one. And if they don’t choose the top result, the chances of them choosing the second drop dramatically. Even more so for the third, and so on.
If you’re not at the top of page one, you’re almost certainly losing out on a lot of potential revenue. And with there being close to one billion active websites out there, competition to get to the top of page one (and stay there) is tough.
So I think we can agree, SEO is important for any business.
What SEO techniques should I employ?
There are a lot of SEO tactics to try out and some are more important than others, but to keep things simple, I like to divide key SEO strategies into four areas.
Metadata: Create metadata in your website’s CMS. Metadata makes it easier for Google to find your content. The titles and text also show up in a search result, so it’s actually a crucial sales tool, because it’s your last chance to convince someone to click on your link rather than someone else’s.
Keywords: It used to be the case that you’d get a high search ranking if you crammed your copy with relevant search terms. But not anymore. Google will penalise you if you appear too spammy, so only have a natural smattering of keywords in your content.
Backlinks: These are like virtual references, just like the ones on your CV – they’re external links to your website. The emphasis here is on quality, rather than quantity. It’s better to have one very respectable, well-ranked website pointing to your site than it is to have 100s of links on shoddy sites.
Content: Google is a business too and they care about pleasing their customers. They want to return quick, accurate and useful search results. That’s why their clever technology is built (and continually refined) to reward original, authentic and quality content. Write ebooks, craft blogs and create infographics, videos and the like in order to gain Google’s respect.
Matt Press is a marketing specialist at Splash Copywriters