SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. In other words, making necessary tweaks to a given website in order to improve its rankings with search engines like Google. Usually for one or more ‘keyword’ phrases.
The above paragraph is a simplistic definition, a dictionary definition which belies the amount of grunt work required in an SEO campaign. Clients can spend anywhere between hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds to boost their website’s rankings. From solid content creation to paid advertising, several ways towards one goal: the all-important first page of Google and other search engines. Then, higher conversion rates spun off from their lofty position and web presence.
The Power of Google
No other search engine has caught the public imagination better than Google. Whether it’s their offices in Stanford, the search engine’s clean layout or authoritative results, for many it is the only search engine many users go to. In the UK, 88.5% of searches are via Google (StatCounter Global Stats, May 2015). Worldwide, this figure is 70.8% (NetMarketShare, June 2015). The phrase “Google It” has entered many web user’s vocabularies.
Many a company directs their customers towards search engines. On the radio, on television, many a commercial imploring them to “type this into your search engine for more”. Likewise in print. Most of the time, the company will have ran an SEO campaign to ensure first place rankings on Google, Bing, Yahoo! et al. Sometimes they say “type this into Google”, which neglects the 0.39% of Britons who prefer Ask Jeeves. Not a most impartial view but also a testament to Google’s market share in the UK.
- Any Search Engine Optimisation techniques performed on the actual website (for example this website, http://http://manchesterseocompany.com);
- Changes to page titles: on the page itself and on the tab of your web browser (on older browsers, usually the top left above the browser window). The title tag is one of the most important assets to a page in terms of SEO;
- Changes to paragraphs with improved usage of keyword phrases (in a natural manner flowing with the text).
On-site optimisation is important as search engines use crawlers or spiders that ‘read’ your website. They cross-reference keywords against search terms and decide upon their relevancy.
Though more keywords and relevance equals better rankings, content is a big part. Back in 2000, hidden text on web pages and the use of ‘spammy’ keywords was common practice among some webmasters. Overuse of keywords, also known as ‘keyword stuffing’, became obsolete a long time ago and will now do more harm than good. Today, these practices will guarantee Search Engine Obscurity instead of tip top rankings.
- Any Search Engine Optimisation techniques performed away from the actual website though instrumental to its success;
- Backlinks: inbound links from other websites;
- Social Media Campaigns: enhancing the presence of your website via social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.
Backlinking entails the process of getting a hyperlink from someone else’s website to yours. For example, an article you may have written on a given subject could be deemed worthy of a link or two from a Wikipedia entry. Search engine directories see this as a ‘vote of confidence’ which has a positive effect on rankings.
The notion of more links = more votes = better rankings simply isn’t the case anymore. It’s much more complex. A site with 750 links – 650 of them leading to questionable sites and/or broken links – would fare worse than another site with 75 high-quality links. Location, PageRank, relevance and other factors come into play, thus stopping link farms from manipulating links and undermining the authority of search engines.
SEO is for life, not just for keywords
Unfortunately, search engine optimisation isn’t just a case of adding keywords and expecting a ranking. It demands your full undivided attention. Over the lifetime of your website, this means ditching outdated techniques, cleaner coding and continuous development. It also means effectively promoting your site on social media, blogging and article creation as well as link building. Google are almost constantly updating their search engine code, meaning different algorithms can be released at will, which can shake up the search results, similar to what happened with the Penguin updates.
If you have no time for any of the above, why not talk to us on 0845 11 22 530? Our fellows at the Manchester SEO Company will do their utmost to get your site up the search engine rankings.