What is Search Engine Optimisation?

The phrase search engine optimisation (SEO) has been thrown around a lot recently and with good reason. It should be important to anyone with a business to run, a product to promote, a website to maintain, and especially if you’ve got to deal with all of these at once. An online presence is crucial to a successful business, but sometimes just being at the party is not enough. Simply having a website doesn’t mean people will find it, read your content or use your services, and here’s where search engine optimisation comes in. 

Search engines have the power to save or bury your website, and there have been instances where websites who were removed from Google’s index lost the majority of their web traffic. For a business that relies heavily on the online markets or simply needs to attract new customers, a positive presence in search engines can make a world of a difference.

Understanding how a search engine determines which pages to show on their results page will explain your web page’s rankings and performance so far. We can help improve those results by working towards understanding your target audience, the way they search on the web, and what you can do to give your website a lift up the results page. Whilst everyone with an internet connection can assess the relevance of web pages to their needs, the algorithm a search engine uses to determine your page rankings works differently from human perception. An inexperienced webmaster might let things slip through the cracks.

Search engine optimisation or SEO is a big part of online marketing, and experts have figured out after years of practice which techniques are more likely to yield results and which ones are dangerous for your business. With each algorithm update search engines release, the game changes ever so slightly, which is why it’s important to consult on such matters in order to stay on the right side of the practice. With internet users rarely reading past the first page of search results, one must get to the top and stay there.

One technique which can be a slippery slope is the use of keywords. Webmasters must know what potential customers or web users in their field search for, and optimise for the most popular terms. However, you might have a better chance of getting your website on the first page of results by considering and including niche keywords or phrases. There would be less competition and it would be easier to stand out as an expert source of specific information or professional services. The number of websites online these days makes it hard to get noticed when users search for very broad topics. Identifying a very specialised area your website fits in while optimising for the right keywords will help you get ahead.

However, an overabundance of keywords on your site will do more damage rather than help you out. Changes in search engine algorithms throughout the years have made sure that simply stuffing your tags or text with words people search for online will not do much to help your rankings but it might get you penalised. Clean copy and quality content are a must, especially in the age of social networking. Updating regularly will send search engine crawlers around to index your page more often, but relevant and informative content will keep your audience interested and might even get them talking to their friends.

Word of mouth has always had power, and it has even more now. A great example is the way Google uses localised search results and takes into account the “trustworthiness” of a page. A few years ago this may have been determined mostly by the number of websites which linked to your page, seen as a mark of interesting copy. Not any more. With the social network Google Plus around, the number of times your article has been endorsed by users who pressed the relevant +1 button on your page or shared it on the site has a lot to say in Google’s perception of the quality of your content.

It’s important to recognise that good search engine optimisation practices, also known as “white hat” SEO, are not about tricking the search engine. The algorithm has learned from years of dodging “black hat” SEO practices and can tell if something is wrong. People who choose to use black hat techniques should be well aware that they will eventually be caught and the sites they work on will lose out in the rankings and could even be removed from the index altogether. Tricking the algorithm might deliver quick results, but it’s just not worth it in the long run, so it’s important to know what your webmaster is doing, choose wisely and be clear what your expectations are when looking to hire more help.

Legitimate search engine optimisation practices have the readership in mind first when constructing the website, and making sure that what they see is the same as what the search engine spiders see. Content comes first, but making sure it’s accessible to the crawlers is an important follow-up in order to ensure that your page gets the attention it deserves. It’s not about bending the rules and cheating, it’s all about showcasing your creation in the best light possible so both your customers and the search engines can understand why your website shines above all the others.

Contact us now to find out how we can work together to improve your website’s rankings and how search engine optimisation can help your website get ahead of the competition. There’s a lot of ideas thrown around about keywords, links, the good and the bad. Some even say that search engine optimisation or SEO is all about spam and bothering people with irrelevant comments or badly written, keyword stuffed text. Don’t let it confuse you into hurting your business. It most certainly is not.

We believe in working with Google not against it. We can deliver results by following the search engine guidelines and understanding both what your customers want and what the engines want from you. Most importantly, we’ll listen to what you want from your business and from your website.