SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is an umbrella term for techniques that help improve how well your website is listed (called ranking) in the search engines.
SEO is very important for anyone who does business online – without SEO, websites usually end up not being listed on search engines, and without visitors from search engines a website can lose up to 50% of its potential visitors.
Furthermore, SEO helps your website rank higher in the search engines; to illustrate how important a higher ranking is, consider that a website listed in the number 1 position on Google gets 1/3rd of total visitors looking at the search results, 2nd place gets around 18% with the numbers dropping off dramatically from 3rd place. That is some serious business advantage!
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to SEO, however If one was looking to break SEO down into a simple list of best practices, these would include:
What are the goals of your website, eg brand positioning, an online purchase, a lead? You should build your SEO campaign around these goals.
What are your core queries (keywords) that you wish your website to rank for? Remember though, it is not a good idea to focus purely on keywords, but rather keyword themes.
Your competitors can provide invaluable insight into how to structure your SEO strategy – where are the opportunities, what are they doing right and wrong etc.
Ensure your website is free from errors so that the search engines can easily ‘crawl’ your website.
The search engines have an ever-evolving set of best practices when it comes to dos and don’ts of onsite optimisation. Stay on top of these to make sure your website doesn’t break any of these rules.
Slow loading websites often can be penalised, so make sure your website code, images etc have been optimised to load as quickly as possible.
Building Inbound Links
A proven technique to improve the search engine visibility of your website is to have quality inbound links from high authority websites.
Avoid any unnatural link building processes – this includes paying for inbound links, over-optimised link text and a sudden increase in inbound links. Your site would undoubtedly get penalised for this.
Be creative when getting links, but be cautious – play by the search engines rules.
Build great content
Building unique, authoritative content is by far the single most important component in SEO today.
Establish yourself (or your website) as an authority in your niche by writing and sharing nhigh quality content (blog posts, video, infographics etc).
Use your website and other channels, such as social media and email to get your content ‘out there’
Finally ensure that you keep creating great content, either by generating new copy or by updating existing content.
While I have laid out the components of an SEO strategy in a simple list of best practices, in reality SEO is both a lot more complicated while at the same time very simple…It is advisable to get an expert to help you with an initial set up, and you should be able to manage things from there on your own.
SEO should be about your visitors. If you make your website quick to load, ensure it contains good quality information and is easy to use for your visitors, the search engines will follow.
Click Metrics is an online consultancy established by Jason New in 2005, specialising in online strategy, development and marketing. I assist companies in developing successful websites and online projects.