An introduction to SEO

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Date: 19 November 2020

Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is a marketing buzzword that you may have heard lots about. But if you haven't got a clue what SEO is, fear not, you can learn more about it in this article.

When you run your own website, you will want to attract visitors. There are several ways you can do this. You could bring people in through social media, through word of mouth, through your reputation as a well-known brand, or you could bring them in through organic searches on search engines. To bring people via search engines, you will need to optimise your website and all of the content on it. This is where search engine optimisation comes into play.

But what does search engine optimisation entail?

There are many facets to SEO, and it's important you utilise as many of them as possible to improve the ranking of your website in organic search results.

What exactly is SEO?

Whenever someone makes a search request on Google, Bing, or any other search engine, there are quite literally billions of websites that the search engine needs to look through to rank your website. In fact, there are over 1.7 billion websites online. It takes some powerful algorithms to rank all of those in terms of relevancy.

Where your website ranks in the search results page is significant. Ideally, it will be at the top spot where 31% of all users click. The remaining 69% of users will click further down the list. However, by the time you get past the tenth search result, you are into the territory of getting less than 1%. Pass onto the second page of results and each result is worth a fraction of a percent.

To make sure that your website is going to rank on the first page of the search results page, you need to ensure you are optimising your site. This means making sure that you are utilising keywords, using backlinks, and that the site loads quickly and on any device.

What are the different types of SEO?

There are several types of SEO including:

  • on page SEO - this relates to the content that you have on your site
  • off page SEO - this relates to the measures that you take outside of your own website to promote the page
  • local SEO - this relates to the practices that are used for driving business websites within your local area
  • technical SEO - this relates to the technical aspects of your site and how they can be improved to boost your ranking

Making use of keywords

To make sure your website ranks for the search terms that you would like it to, you will need to use keywords within your content.

Make sure you research the keywords you use using keyword tools. Ideally you want to use keywords that are not too difficult to rank for, and that there isn't too much competition for. At the same time, you want to use keywords that sufficient numbers of people will use. This keyword data will be very important in making sure you rank for these terms.

When adding keywords to your content, you should always ensure that you place them naturally. Don't stuff keywords into your posts and don't use them in a repetitive fashion.

Many website owners and content creators are inclined to believe that if you stuff keywords into your page you will get to the top of the search rankings. What they forget is if they reach the top of the search rankings people will be reading the website and its content - and if it has been written purely in order to stuff full of keywords it  won't read well.

Google and the other search engines understand this fact. For this reason, sites that make use of keyword stuffing don't rank as well as they make sure they recommend good quality content first.

Page loading speeds

The speed at which your website loads is important. When people make a search, they expect to receive results instantly and any pages they click on to load just as quickly.

If your website doesn't load within three seconds, there's a good chance the visitor won't hang around. They will click on a competitor's link instead.

So, you need to make sure your site is fast. But how exactly can you do that?

There are several things that you can do. Firstly, you should remove any plugins from your site that you are not using. Secondly, compress the images on your site so they don't take a lot of data up. Finally, you should look at using lazy load images. Lazy load images will only load up when they are in view on screen. This is instead of having to load up all the images on the site before you can use the page.

If you want to know what might be slowing your website down, you should look at Google's Page Speed Insights. This handy tool will tell you exactly what you can change on your site and how much faster the changes will make your website.

Optimise your site for mobile devices

Over half of all searches on Google are made using mobile devices. The number is rapidly rising. There are billions of smartphone users on the planet and mobile devices are one of the most popular ways of accessing the internet. Despite this, many websites are not designed to be viewed on a smaller screen like this.

Make sure that your website is designed so that it easily loads on any device.

Have a backlink strategy

Your site content should include some high-quality links. There are two types of links: internal links and external links.

Internal links should link to another page on your own website. External links should be to other, reputable websites that will add value to your content.

In addition to internal and external links, you should also have a backlink strategy. A backlink strategy is about getting links to your site from other websites.

The reason you want other websites to link to you is so that search engines see your site as being an authority. To get your links included on other sites you should work on building relationships with other site owners, bloggers, and social media influencers. You could also provide guest posts on sites that have a good ranking themselves.

Create in-depth content

Search engines want to take users to the site that is the most relevant for their search. They also want to take them to the place that provides the most comprehensive response.

The length of a post will be significant. Longer posts are seen to cover more ground. 

For this reason, you should always create posts that are as in depth as possible.

Aim to create posts and pages that are at least 1,000 words long. Take care to ensure that these are all unique and go as in-depth into the subject as possible.

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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