It is more than likely if you have a website that you have heard of ‘SEO’ or ‘search engine optimisation,’ but what exactly is it; how does it work and what do you need to do in order to fulfil its basic criteria?
Search engine optimisation is sometimes referred to as search engine marketing and is the method by which websites are ordered, or ‘ranked’ online via search engines. Popular and relevant search engines nowadays include:
- Baidu (in China)
These search engines all have their own ranking factors and general criteria and best-practices. However, with Google accounting for more than 80% of global search traffic, it dominates the search engine industry. Furthermore, those that satisfy Google’s criteria are more than likely to satisfy those of the others, with Google being the industry leader and trend setter.
Choosing Your Keywords and Targets
Before actually taking any actions on your website and before you target rankings on any search engine, Google or otherwise, you will need to determine what you wish to be found for (your rankings.) For example, if you are an online health food provider, you may wish for people to find you when they search for things like ‘vegan protein,’ and you will need to rank for individual products. However, if you are an online casino, you may target keywords such as ‘free no deposit bonus’ or ‘online casino games;’ determining what you target will be key moving ahead.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool to start with and shows you monthly search volumes for your chosen terms. You can create a long list of target terms and then get working on making sure they are found online and how users engage with them.
Crawling factors are one of the first steps you should actively take on your site once you have determined your keyword targets. These factors refer to the settings, build and configuration of your website and without them your site will not rank highly if at all.
These factors are some of the first things that Google, Yahoo, Bing and Baidu look for when ranking a site. They are the first aspects of any website that the algorithms these search engines use will assess and use to decide where your site deserves to be online and on search engines.
Crawling factors to pay attention to and to optimise strongly for SEO include:
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- Page URLs
- Page titles
- Internal links (links within your site to another website page of your website)
After the crawling factors, search engines need some substance to read and ‘crawl’ in order to decipher what your website is about, what it is trying to do and who your target audience are. This is another key element to determining where online you sit and for which keywords and search terms. You will ned to consider both Landing Pages (those which are pushing users to a sales end point) and resource and blog pages (that add an extra dimension and additional supplementations to your website.)
Content will need to target keywords but you should be careful that you do not ‘stuff’ or force keywords into content as this is deemed to be spammy and bad practice which will lead to you falling away online.
Content should be resourceful, innovative and unique and in each content offering’s case, you should offer something unique and new to users, to keep them on your site.
Backlinks are in effect, the links that your website receives from other sources and websites. The stronger your backlink profile (in conjunction with your content strategy and keyword targeting approach), the stronger and more successful your site will generally be. For example, if you get a link from the BBC, this will hold a great deal more clout and strength than a link from a new, spammy and irrelevant blog site.
That said, you should always earn rather than pay for links as paying for links is deemed to be bad practice and may also end up placing your website amongst spammy websites and blogs, which through bad quality links may harm your website and cause irreversible damage.
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