What is SEO? And why is it so Important to get it right?
by Will Moody
Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
This sounds simple, but there is far more to it than first meets the eye, it's really not a case of adding lots of keywords.
Google and other search engines have complicated algorithms that determine where your website ranks in their search results, amongst other things the algorithm takes into account, quality content, quality links to your website and the number of links to your website.
Why is SEO important?
To convert browsers to clients If your content and links have been optimised well, then you stand a great chance of ranking higher on the SERPs (search engine results page), which means you have a greater chance of people visiting your website, which in turn means a greater chance of a sale or someone using your services, exactly what you want.
How to improve your SE ranking
There are several techniques that can help with your SE ranking, these include:-
- Having a SE friendly domain name
- Good quality original content
- Good quality links (both internal and external)
- Social media coverage
- Secure domain
- Mobile-friendly website
- Fast Pageload Speed
- Well written Metadata
Choosing a SE friendly domain name is a simple yet effective way of improving your SE ranking if, for instance, you have an e-commerce website selling frozen yoghurts, it's not much of an indicator to browsers if your domain name is www.123.co.uk rather than www.frozen-yoghurts.co.uk and the same goes for search engines.
Good quality original content is a must if you want to improve your SE ranking, the content of a page is what makes it worthy of a search result position. It is what the user came to see and is thus extremely important to the search engines.
Good quality links are both important factors in gaining a higher SE ranking, again it's important that internal pages are given relevant names, internal links which point to 1.html rather than about-frozen-yoghurt.co.uk will confuse both people and search engines, so think about page names.
Meta tags help establish how web pages are unique, which is why they've always played important roles in SEO. But have you realized how social media platforms put meta tags to work? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms display meta titles and descriptions when websites are posted or shared. In some cases, your website's meta tags might be your first interaction with new potential customers, so it's important to get it right.
A 'https' or secure domain will aid your Google ranking as of October 2017 when Google increased the overall importance of this aspect in their ranking algorithm. Some hosting companies such as Siteground now offer a free SSL certificate service via 'Let's Encrypt' which is straight forward to add to your website.
As with 'https', Google has also increased the overall importance of having a mobile-friendly website in respect to their ranking algorithm.
Google now also places some importance on your page-load speed when considering your SE ranking, so it's all-important to reduce your pages load time to a minimum. If you are running HTTP1 it's well worth minifying your CSS and js, this isn't such a concern with HTTP2. Other factors to consider with page load speeds are:-
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Optimising Images
- Reduce server response time
- Enable compression via your .htaccess file
In reference to Perch CMS built websites I have used a great add-in called Chirp, this has a traffic light system which aids clients in optimising content and metadata, so simple but brilliant. I'm sure there are alternatives available for other CMS systems.
It is well worth the time and effort involved to increased your websites SE ranking when such simple things like correctly naming pages and links can help.
It is advisable to keep up to date with the latest techniques for SE ranking as older techniques can harm your ranking.