Search Engine Optimisation, SEO, is a method and procedure that you apply to a website to improve the websites industry authority, its rankings for targeted keyword terms and traffic from organic search engine searches. The procedure targets the free organic search, where people use any of the thousands of existing search engines, but the main ones being Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to search and find information, a service or product.
SEO is the method and procedures of optimising web content first started around 1990, after search engines first started indexing websites’ content. Back then it was much simpler than today, where just submitting your website to search engines was good enough to get you on the top of the ranks. Search engines started and continue to employ software programs called spiders or crawlers to crawl over website’s pages and index them based on the website’s industry sector and Keywords found. Back then SEO was as simple as adding Titles, Meta keywords, Meta descriptions and Meta tags, being HTML code that included information about a website. Different from ‘Paid Search” which is Adwords (Advertising) and appears at the very top of search pages.
With the beginning and development of the Google search engine, the SEO procedure became more difficult and complicated. It was designed to return better and more accurate indexing as well as identify those abusing search engine optimisation strategies such as keyword stuffing, which was a practice of including multiple keywords on a web page to mislead the search engine crawlers. Google began and still does refine the search technology (Algorithm) by adding more metrics, calculations, factors for indexing and ranking websites. These include such as Off-page optimisation metrics including external links (they are like a Referral/Recommendation) to the website, and On-page optimisation factors relating to how the website is structured, the value and volume of content.
Applying SEO to a Website
White Hat SEO is the communities term for applying the best, the correct and the standard methods of SEO – ensuring it has the greatest opportunity to place your website at the top of the search engines organic results.
Conversely, Black Hat SEO pertains to using inappropriate, short term gain and negative techniques to impact on a websites rankings but will in turn cause that website to be banned, de-indexed from search engines.
Before building a website SEO should be on the top of the TO DO list, as the sheer volume of websites and content on the internet continues to grow, making it more competitive to achieve and retain top rankings within search engines. With this ever increasing competition, optimising your website for search engines becomes a prerequisite to assure the best possible indexing and highest rankings.
Why Employ SEO Techniques
Getting traffic (Visitors) from search engines is in general one of the main factors in the success of your website, as within this traffic are your potential new customers and website followers. Running parallel to your traditional marketing initiatives, SEO techniques will move your website to the top of search engine rankings and drive those Visitors (Traffic) to your website for converting into new business.
You can turn this traffic into potential clients or website followers.
The SEO process includes a number of methods;
Apply Onsite (or On-page) SEO
The Onsite SEO procedures when applied to the website makes it friendlier and easier for the search engines to identify , correctly index and therefore improve the potential for the highest possible rankings.
Onsite SEO methods and procedures include selecting a suitable domain name for the website, which is what users will type in their browsers to reach your website, however some of the most successful website’s have domain names that have no reflection on what their products and services are! Onsite also includes addressing and creating the meta tags added to the HTML code within the website, such as its;
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Images and
- Site content loading speed
- Site navigation
- Site design structure etc.
Unlike Off-site SEO methods which we will discuss shortly, the On-site SEO does not drive traffic to your website, however, it constitutes a significant part of SEO over all. It makes the website easier for search engines to crawl and correctly index the site compared to those websites without On-page SEO.
Apply Off-site (or Off-page) SEO
Off-site optimisation procedures relates to the methods applied outside the website to improve the websites visibility, via traffic and rankings within the search engines.
The methods employed can have either a direct or indirect, immediate or longer term impact on the website’s rankings and traffic in the search results.
The actual Off-site work may employ the use of third-party tools and/or websites such as;
- Search Engine Directories
- Business Directories
- Press Releases
- Article Directories and
- Social Networking
These websites contribute to the building of links (being akin to receiving a Referral, Recommendation or talking about you) to your website and improves the generating of traffic.
Link building, which pertains to increasing the number of links that directs or points to your website content.
Both the On-onsite and Off-site SEO methods and procedures are important to take into consideration when you are building, developing, promoting and optimising your website.
That in a nut shell is what SEO is all about everything else are extra bells and whistles to make it appear more complicated that what it is;
A) Make the website easier to read by software… the crawlers
B) Promote the site so other websites recommend your website… building links
The actual techniques to do the above needs to be left with a knowledgeable and competent SEO professional….. leaving it in their hands means that you get to focus on what’s more important and that is working on your business.
Ben Miranda, Web Strategist