Search Engine Optimisation – Getting Back to Basics
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a mystery for most website owners and although thousands of articles and posts have been written on the subject, there is often conflicting information about what is an effective SEO strategy.
In an easy to understand video “How Search Works” Matt Cutts, Google Quality Engineer explains how Google indexes pages and then delivers results when someone does a search. The main point Matt makes is that Google asks over 200 questions of each page and then delivers pages that are most relevant.
When deciding which pages to show for each search term, some of the questions Google asks include:
Do the search words words appear in the Title?
Do they appear in the URL (website address)?
Does the page include synonyms for those keywords?
Is the page from a good quality website or low quality?
What is the page’s “Page Rank”?
How many pages link to this page?
Then Google combines all the answers, gives each page a score and delivers the results, which it feels is the most appropriate to what the visitor is searching for.
Over the years Google’s and other search engines algorithms have changed and whilst the exact formula for delivering results is not known, there are basic principles that you should stick to if you wish to rank high for your chosen keywords.
1. Include keywords in the Title of your pages, in the headings of your pages, in the page description and in meta keywords as well as in alt tags of your images.
2. Provide quality, original content in the website
3. Update your website regularly with fresh information
4. Get as many links as possible from relevant websites back to yours
Search Engine Optimisation is not a one off exercise … you need to keep working at it. Whilst many people try to trick the search engines, it is never a good idea, as they ultimately end up being dropped from the search engines and even banned.
Your first priority should be to find keywords which have a reasonable amount of searches each month, but for which not a lot of other websites have been optimised. There are two main tools you can use for this – Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool or Wordtracker. Each works slightly differently, but both will give you an idea on the right keywords to use.
It’s never a good idea to optimise your website for generic keywords, such as “travel” or “cars” for example. You want to optimise your website for keywords that people are searching for, when they are ready to buy, not for keywords that they are searching for when they are doing research.
Ultimately, Google and other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo want to display content that is as relevant to their visitors as possible, so the more relevant content you have on your website, the better.
Remember, when one of your potential customers searches for a product/service you offer, only two outcomes are possible.
1. They find your website
2. They find your competitor’s website
So the more you do, the more chances you have of your website ranking higher than your competitors.
You can certainly hire a Search Engine Optimisation company to do the work for you, but the truth is there is a lot you can do yourself. Just take one step at a time. Research your keywords, then add them to your website and build backlinks from other website to yours.
Ivana Katz of Websites 4 Small business makes it easy for you to get your business on the internet. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, who can also assist you with search engine optimisation, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan.