Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
What is it and how can it help my business?
Simply put – SEO is optimising your website to appear higher in search results.
SEO is a complicated topic that has a lot of business owners stuck on the technical aspects and jargon that come from trying to get an understanding of it. This page is going to simplify it and focus on what you can do as a business owner to improve your own website without having to get too technical at all.
Quite a few sources focus on editing a lot of obscure factors, but as Google becomes better and more natural, the websites it places at the top of its searches are becoming more and more based on having the absolute best and most relevant content for what is being searched (see Keyword Research for more information on this).
And whilst there are technical aspects that are very important, such as page loading speed, formatting, mobile compatibility (called ‘responsive’), etc – technical “tricks” are becoming less recognised as good content by Google’s ever-improving bots.
Google have never officially stated what they rank websites on, and they never will. It’s common belief that there are dozens of contributing factors, all with different levels of importance. This is because they don’t want people trying to game the system to hit top spot on search results. Websites using non-reputable methods to rank (often referred to as black-hat SEO) are getting penalised heavier all the time, and jumps to the top of searches are not lasting as long as they used to in such cases.
This is great for business owners. This means that if your website is genuinely fit for purpose then it will get ranked fairly, and this is improving all of the time. It also means that you can focus on the things that really matter, which is providing the best user experience rather than the best Google experience, because that is exactly what Google want to show at number one spot – the best website for the user.
What Benefits from SEO?
Search engines list the pages of your website in the results it shows to the user.
SEO can be used to optimise product listings, getting you to the top of sites likes eBay and also showing your product in Google search results.
Your blog posts can be ranked in search engines too, this is why content strategies are popular.
Your YouTube vidoes need to be optimised too! Description, title, link backs and social media shares all go towards this.
With that in mind let’s move onto some of the main SEO factors that will make sense to you as a business owner, not an IT whizz.
1. Top Content
Content is your entire website and all of the pages. Content is by far the biggest factor for getting your website to the top of Google. Your content is what separates you from all the rest. The difference between good quality content and poor content can be the difference between page 1 and page 5, and I can’t remember the last time I went to page 5 of a Google search, can you?
So what makes content good or bad?
Aside from the obvious of how well it solves a users problem or query (making it most relevant), content is usually well researched, lengthy and easy to read and look through. This can often be hard to do with some businesses, but a well-thought out website can lead to many new customers from having a strong position in search results.
It is said that around 63% of all website traffic comes from ‘organic’ searches, which means, search engines like Google and Bing. [Source]
Fitting content in needs to have a natural feel about it. ‘Niche Affiliate’ web sites use this type of strategy extensively, and build their affiliate links around content related
For example, if you have a website selling your own private labelled kitchen products, you could put a collection of recipes you’ve put together that fit with your products. Not only will this make your site more than just a shopping experience for your usual customers, but you may also end up selling some kitchen products to people who were just looking for a recipe.
It also gives you more share-worthy content, another massive ranking factor. Why? Because people are more likely to share a recipe on their Facebook wall than the cheese grater they bought from you. The same rule applies to every little combination like this that you can think of. People are going to share the content that’s helped them and can help their friends. Once you figure out how you can implement this into your own business, you’ll be creating content that will naturally be getting shared around social media.
2. Fresh Content
Google likes to show fresh content, this is why you’ll see so many websites adding a blog and keeping it updated. It keeps you competitive, and it keeps your website fresh. Ideas for posts on a regular basis can be hard to come by for a lot of people. Keep an eye on your competition and look at what they’re doing. There will be more than a few ideas that you can make your own without treading on anyone’s toes.
3. Don’t Place Too Many Adverts!
Having advertisements on your website can be a good way to bring in some extra money, but it won’t score you many points with Google. Of course, don’t let this worry you too much, but if you can sacrifice the income that they bring (and they’ll only bring a lot in if you get a lot of visitors on your site anyway), then you’re likely to place better with Google.
The most sensible advice is to avoid having many adverts ‘above the fold’, where adverts are on the top half of the page, the initial viewing that a visitor has on your site should be full of your content, not advertisements.
4. Domain Name Lifespan
Your domain name, your .com or .co.uk, is very important and the longer it has been around the better. The same also applies for the time remaining – the longer it has left on it the better. If you buy and renew your domain each year, considering buying a few years at a time. It says to Google that you intend to be around a long time.
No one factor will fix low rankings but the more good factors you have on your side the better.
5. Don’t Pay for Poor, Cheap Traffic!
You’ll find many sites you’ll have never heard of before offering you “Real UK traffic” to your website.
Unfortunately most of the time this traffic is computer generated by someone operating a “bot” – And Google doesn’t like it one bit when it comes to placing your website high in search results.
If you’re buying traffic, stick to the safe routes such as Facebook ads, Google ads, Bing ads, and other well-known reputable sources.
The damage this can do to your website is not worth it, especially when NONE of this traffic will result in sales or custom for your business.
These are just some of the many aspects of SEO and their basic meaning. The information on this page is meant to give you a basis in which to do more research.
We do however have some more marketing information and know-how you may be interested in: