What Is SEO? Why Is It Important And How Does It Work?
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process by which websites are optimised to improve their performance in a search engine — essentially improving their position in the search rankings to increase website traffic and conversions.
Why is SEO important?
According to Statistical – In 2019 UK e-commerce sales reached £693bn. With B2C website sales hitting £197.1bn and B2B and B2G website sales reaching £159.3bn (Statista) If you want a slice of that pie, you need to compete with about 1.2 billion other websites with 252,000 joining the race every day. That’s 10,500 an hour, 175 a minute and 3 a second (Siteefy). That’s a tough race to be in. So without good SEO practices, there’s no way your website will be seen amongst the crowd.
If you’re still not convinced, take a look at 10 benefits of SEO Management Services to see what SEO has the power to do for your business.
How does SEO work?
Magic. That’s the easiest answer and also what keeps us in the job and makes us feel cool.
Before we get into how SEO works, it’s important to understand how search engines work. Think of a search engine as a giant filing cabinet managed by an army of spiders (or something fluffier if you prefer). So this army of spiders scuttle forth and start crawling websites. Following your links and gathering all the information they can about your site. Then they file that information away in their big cabinet, labelling and organising these websites in the best way it can based on how it has understood your page. Then, when someone searches a topic, these spiders scurry back through the cabinet and search for the websites which are most relevant to that search query. Websites that contain the same keywords have lots of other websites linked to them etc. They then present these pages to the searcher in order of relevancy to that search. Clever spiders, right?
Now then, to grossly oversimplify the whole SEO process, it’s essentially the process of telling these spiders that your website is the most relevant to a given search. So since it’s not easy to communicate with spiders, especially robotic ones, Google has over 200 indicators which we refer to as ranking factors. These are what SEO specialists use to get your website to the top. Here are the most basic and widely used factors;
- Keyword optimisation – finding a keyword you want to rank for and ensuring its used an appropriate number of times and in the right places within your content
- Meta optimisation – This goes hand in hand with keyword optimisation. Meta descriptions and titles are what you see when you search the web and encourage you to click on a particular link.
- Backlinks – These are like little votes of confidence between websites. They tell the spiders site A thinks site B is cool.
- Web Core Vitals – This is a measurement used to determine the general health of a site; focusing mainly on load speeds. Nobody wants to visit a poorly site.
Those are the big four. We’ll talk about the other 196 in more detail in a later article.
How do I do SEO
Here are 5 quick tips to get started on SEO for your website:
1) Keyword research
Keyword research is the foundation of your SEO strategy. It’s what tells you what keywords you need to be focusing on and what guides your content and copy. You need to Identify relevant keywords with good traffic volumes and low competition and assign each keyword to a page on your website you want to rank for it. This is so you can avoid pages competing over the same keyword. The trick here is to focus on high relevancy and low competition keywords with good traffic; rather than just on keywords with the highest traffic. This means you’re more likely to get high intent, high-value traffic with a better chance of conversion.
2) Build the right URL
Your URL is the first thing Google, and its spiders, look at when they crawl your site and when they decide whether to present it to a search query. Ideally, you want your chosen keyword to appear in here somewhere while making sure the URL is still relevant to the page contents. This shouldn’t be too hard as your keyword should be highly relevant to that page anyway!
3) Create The Right Page Title
After your URL, the page title is the next point of contact for Google. Again, you want to have your chosen keyword appear at the beginning of your page title. You want to make it obvious what your page is about and you want to make it obvious as quickly as possible.
4) Optimise Your Metadata
Metadata is what appears on the search results page. Although it’s not an official ranking factor for Google, it’s what impacts a searchers decision as to whether to click into your site. There’s no point in ranking highly in Google if nobody wants to click on your site. So your metadata needs to show what your page or site is about and entice users to click through. It’s advisable to use your chosen keyword here, but more to show users that your site is relevant.
5) Use Alt Text
Image alt text is a vital and often overlooked element of SEO. It’s an easy win for website owners if correctly done. The purpose of alt text is, first and foremost, to describe the image. This is because search engines aren’t able to understand images. They need text for that. So you need to tell them exactly what your image is. Not in huge detail. You don’t need to channel your inner Dickens. As always, you want to include your keyword in here but only if it makes sense to do so and is relevant to the image itself.
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