Search Engine Marketing (SEO) in a nutshell is about building, ‘optimising’, and updating your website and content in such a way that makes it easy for Search Engines (most notably Google – holds 89.16% global market share as of Oct 15) to read, index and catalog it so that they can later display it when someone searches for something that closely matches your business product and services and or the content on your site.
Why should you care about SEO?
81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. 60% begin by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61% will read product reviews before making any purchase. (Adweek.com Nov. 28, 2014)
What does SEO really involve?
I like to divevide SEO into 3 parts – technical and contextual (on and off-page). Let’s have a quick look at each of these parts and how they can be digested in terms of website structure, website content and connectivity.
This is the use of correct header tags (H1-H6), keywords, bolds, internal page linking, page titles, page URLs, file names, meta tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags etc. This could all be considered technical SEO, but when you start implementing it you’ll realise that it’s all very self explanatory and necessary in order for search engines to be able to read and understand your page.
If you’re unsure about what all these things mean and how to update/use then here is a simple explanation of the basic elements I’ve mentioned above.
Website Content (On-page)
This is everything on a website that is viewable and readable by a visitor or search engine. The arrangement of your content is part of the sites structure and is important in its own right, particularly when it comes to user friendliness and site performance.
But the structure of your content is what’s going to help you rank well in search engines. Therefore sites need to provide good quality information tailored to the reading habits of search engines and users.
- Provide subject focused text repetition of keywords. Now don’t over load your page with your keywords. If you do, then google will no doubt penalise you for ‘keyword stuffing your page’. Instead naturally filter your keyword(s) throughout your content.
- Use text-based links to other relevant pages on your website.
- Use clear and descriptive headlines.
- And more --- There is a mountain of information out there from research done as to what is the optimum word and character count of a page or blog title, use use this to help you when writing your content.
Website Connectivity (Off-Page)
This is where your social media strategy comes in. This area of SEO is concerned with how many links from other sites (blogs, forums, social networks, websites etc) are coming into your website. Natural links (we say this as in the past people have engaged in link farming, a link building strategy) from popular and authoritative sites help give you want Google refers to as ‘link juice’, which is like a vote of confidence that your content is relevant and of value to readers and so Google will reward your website accordingly when it comes to listing you in the search results for a particular search query.