SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the art of optimizing your website so as to appear high with Search Engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo for keywords and phrases that are important to you.

How do Search Engines rank websites?

To understand how to optimize your website, the first stage is to understand what it is that Search Engines look for when deciding how to rank or order the results for a particular search. 

SEO boils down to 2 core factors, both of which are essential in order to appear high with Google:

  1. On-site SEO
  2. Link building

What is on-site SEO?

On-site SEO (also called on-page SEO) is the content and structure of the website itself.  In order to decide where to place your website for a particular search, Google or another Search Engine must first decide what your website is about.

While the technology behind Search Engines is developing all the time, currently Search Engines think in specifics, rather than generalities and in terms of words rather than images. 

This means, for example, that if you want to appear high when someone searches for "Property in London" you've got to use the words "Property" and "London" on your website.  See What website structure makes for good SEO? for more information on on-page optimization.

What is link building?

What is link building?Each webmaster has control over their own website, therefore if on-page factors were the only factors Google looked at, it couldn't distinguish between popular and unpopular sites.

How it makes this distinction is by looking at the links going to your website (i.e. clickable links into your website from other websites).

Google's measure of the links going to your website is called PageRank.

Ways of increasing your PageRank and building more links to your site include:

  • Asking other related websites to link to your site.
  • Submitting your site to business directories.
  • Writing articles and submitting these to article directories.
  • Generating social media links from Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Sending press releases.

In short, the more high quality, relevant links going to your site, the higher you will appear with Google.

Google and other Search Engines also look at the text in the links going to your site and this should include some variety, but with plenty of links that have the keywords in them, as this is another way that Google tells what a website is about.

What are some common SEO mistakes?

We've established that Search Engines look at on-page SEO, i.e. what the content and structure of your website is and the links going to your site, however it's easy to get carried away and make some common SEO mistakes.

We'll therefore review common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Achieving a reassuring balance in SEOKeyword stuffing is where you put the same keyword in your text over and over. 

For example "If you're looking for London property, then our London property service will find the London property ..."

Don't do it!  Search Engines got wise to this years ago and your site is more likely to be penalised than rewarded.

It's important that text is natural and reads well to your real visitors, as well as to Search Engines.

You need to include the keywords, but keep a natural balance on your site too.
 

2. Hidden Text

Text must be visible on the page and readable by humans.  If you hide text (e.g. make it the same colour as the background, a very small font, etc.) then again Google will penalise your SEO, not reward it.
 

3. Only doing half the SEO

For competitive search terms (i.e. those that have a large number of searches each month) it's essential to do both on-page SEO and link building, doing just one of these won't be enough.
 

4. Forgetting where you are

It's important that if you're targeting a geographic area (e.g. you provide a local service, whether it's a museum or a patisserie), that you optimize your website for the town and county + other relevant keywords.

It's surprising how many websites describe the service or product in detail but only say where they're based on the contact page.
 

5. Forgetting your true visitors

What is the point of having a website appear 1st with Google if everyone who visits it goes 'aaagh' and quickly presses the back button?

Sure, SEO is important, however the graphic design, usability and having quality content are all equally important to.
 

6. Overly focussing on Social Media

Social Media links (e.g. from Facebook or Twitter) are a common link building strategy, however all links from both these sites have a 'nofollow' tag assigned to them that tells Search Engines 'ignore this link'.

Any effective SEO link building campaign will create a range of links from different sources and not just focus on one type of link.

What website structure makes for good SEO?

SEO Tutorial

Consistency

Variety

Each page should send a consistent message to Search Engines as to what the page is about, using the same keyword in different places, including:

  • The metatag title (The Title that appears in Search Results)
  • The H1 title (The main Title visible on the page)
  • The URL (address of a particular page)
  • The text on the page
  • ALT tags of images
  • Internal links to the page

Different pages on the site will obviously be about different topics and therefore target different keywords or phrases.  Where there are multiple elements on a page (e.g. 5 sub-headings or 5 images) it’s also important that these elements are varied.  For example, 5 images might have the following ALT tags:

  • London Property
  • London Real Estate
  • Houses for sale in Kensington
  • Property for sale
  • Properties in Central London

 

We hope this tutorial answered your question, "What is SEO?"

Please visit the rest of this website for information on 1 SEO Company's on-page SEO and link building services.