Getting to grips with Search Engine Optimisation
Are you a small business or start-up struggling to get your head around Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? You know you should be looking into it but don’t know how to get started or how to find a reputable expert? We have good news for you – freelance Content Strategist Rachel Hodges is here to demystify SEO!
With a wealth of experience working with a range of businesses, Rachel’s guest blog guides us through the basics of SEO and provides expert tips for optimising your website.
So what exactly is SEO and how can it help your business?
Demystifying Search Engine Optimisation
SEO isn’t a dark art or something for the techy elite. Instead, look on it as a useful method to help your business perform online. Allow yourself to understand some of its general principles and your website will start looking like an even better investment.
Being found online is critical for small businesses. It’s been reported that 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results so getting up there can make all the difference and SEO has a large part to play.
Checking off some SEO basics
To get your head around SEO, it’s best to remember how it came about. Effective SEO helps web content be visible to search engines and findable to web users (or people). What you need to do is give out clues to help search engines find you more easily than your competitors. Important stuff, as search engines use computer programmes or algorithms to look for clues to be able to draw up their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when people complete a search online.
In all, there are around 200 factors Google considers when hunting for clues and these decide the order search results are listed. If you haven’t given the algorithm the clues it will struggle to find you. Usefully, clues can be added into many places including, the words on your website pages, how webpages are constructed (including metadata) and which websites are linking into yours.
Getting placed in Search Engine Results Pages
Everyone knows that being first on Google is a great place to be but never think this comes quickly or cheaply. Remember, many of the links on the top and bottom of webpages offered when you run an online search are sponsored. This means a company is paying for them to appear there. This isn’t something you want to consider unless you have a marketing budget ring-fenced for it.
Instead you’re looking to create ‘organic’ traffic for your website – so that it is found online just through being well positioned on SERPs because you’ve supplied the right clues. Organic search, at 47%, is the largest driver of traffic to any website. You don’t want to invest valuable time, money and resources into building a beautiful website and then hinder your chances of maximising possible inbound traffic by ignoring organic search.
First place – guaranteed!
There are plenty of SEO companies out there who guarantee you a first position on a search engine. Now we all remember the saying ‘If it looks too good to be true it probably is’. In this instance, it couldn’t be truer.
Whatever you’re told, no-one can guarantee you getting into first place on Google or other search engines because no one, except Google themselves, knows exactly how the algorithm works to get you there.
SEO improvements come with time
So just how long does it take to move up through the search engine results pages? It’s a bit frustrating but the real answer is that it depends. It depends on a whole range of factors including:
- Just how long your website has been around
- How many SEO improvements you’ve made to it
- The amount of content on it
- How regularly you refresh content
- How much effort you’ve put in into building a robust linking strategy
Remember, no two websites start in exactly the same place, even if they’re in the same industry and competing for the same customers.
Start working on your SEO strategy today. It’s like the biggest jigsaw puzzle you’ve ever worked on but the business benefits can be so rewarding.
Rachel Hodges is a freelance Content Strategist. Highly experienced, Rachel works with start-ups building their first website or established businesses wanting to take their current site to the next level. She offers a complete website optimisation service, content migration planning and has a strong copywriting background. Rachel loves to help others unlock the power of SEO and ultimately learn to love it. Find out more about Rachel and her work at rachelhodges.co.uk