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What is SEO?

SEO

SEO is the recognised abbreviation for search engine optimisation.

But what does it actually mean?

It is about developing your site so it moves up the page (known as ranking) on Google and the other search engines.

Of course the goal is to appear on page one, and the nearer the top the better.

Despite having done some research on Google we can’t find any up to date figures to quote to you. But it is estimated that less than 10% of people bother to look beyond the first page of Google. The inference being if you don’t appear on the first page you won’t get found.

And, by the way, we’re talking about the organic or natural search – in other words not the paid for or sponsored search results. So the results that show up on the left hand side of the page.

OK – so I get that, now what?

Well, we guess you’re not going to be surprised to hear, that getting found on the first page of Google is not that easy or straightforward. After all, if it was, we’d all be doing it!

One of the reasons it is so difficult, is that Google keeps changing the way they calculate the ranking (called an algorithm). They also keep this a closely guarded secret, so whilst they might release tips on how you can improve your position, they don’t give you all the facts.

What is certain, is that the first thing you must do is make sure your website is written for humans, not computers or Google robots. Google has stated this quite publicly. But we would also urge you to do this – after all your prospective customers are human, and it is them you want to engage.

How do I improve my rankings?

You do still need to be aware of keywords – in other words what somebody would type into Google to find the services or products you offer. You need to be sure that what you think they would use, and what they really type in, are the same thing. You can research this in more detail using a tool called Google Trends.

Google suggests focusing on one keyword phrase and one subject per page – but that may be easier said than done dependent on your business. Your keywords will need to appear more than once on a page – but not so often that it becomes irritating. Remember you are still writing for humans.

Never, ever, think about trying to trick the search engines by putting in words invisibly so they don’t show on the site to the naked eye. This is seen as very bad practice, and is likely to get you banned from Google all together.

Whilst many SEO practices have changed, Google still seems to favour sites that regularly offer up fresh content. So, keep your website up to date, and add news, or consider starting a blog. But remember, you do need to keep it up.

Make sure your website is set up properly with relevant headings and page names, and a different name for each page. Add alternative text to all images, so anyone who cannot see the image will know what they should see. Your web developer will be able to help you with some of this. This is seen as less relevant to SEO these days, but it is still wise to get it set up properly.

It’s not clear how much focus Google puts on social media, but you can generate traffic to your website from social media, so it is worth thinking about whether you could start using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook in your business. But remember not to try doing them all at once, and choose the one most of your customers use, as your first dip in the water.

Now, a word of warning…

This is very much a whistle stop tour of SEO – it is not a replacement for seeking professional advice from your web developer. Be very wary of so called “SEO experts” who offer to give you all sorts of backlinks to websites and directories. Again, Google don’t rate these backlinks that highly now.

So, good luck with optimising your website.

If you would like help with getting your marketing sorted, give us a call on 01256 83 11 10.