SEO - Search Engine Optimisation
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of writing web page content that search engines will find relevant for a particular topic. I.E The Google search engine will compare content for different web pages and will return what it considers more relevant pages, higher in search results.
The importance of good SEO is increasingly important for most businesses. In particular a new business would find it helpful, especially in a local business area, to have web pages properly optimised for search engines. (See below)
Organic Results (The results you see when using a search engine)
Search engine results and 'find-ability' in the search engine, are often referred to as 'organic results'. i.e results that are returned naturally in search engines, without having to pay for adverts to boost visibility. It's worth noting that paid adverts are not organic. i.e. it is your payment to the search engine provider that increases your visibility in a search engine, not your page content.
Local Area Organic Results Search Results
How SEO might benefit a local business
SEO for a local area (e.g. a particular area that a business operates in) refers to optimising web pages with the aim of having your web page return higher in results than your competitors. e.g. an electrician's web page that details a particular service, might potentially be returned higher in results than a similar page on competitor's website.
An analysis of business web sites in a particular location will usually reveal a mixture of levels of optimisation. These can be loosely divided into three categories:
- Web sites with no attention to SEO and are not performing well in Google
- Web Sites with no attention to SEO that are performing well due to content that is more extensive than their competitors.
i.e. a search engine will find the former more attractive than the latter.
- SEO has been applied to the web site and the site and it's individual pages are appearing higher than it's competitors.For this last category, if there are two similar companies with services applied to their site, they may both appear on page 1 of Google results. Appearing on page 1 is usually enough for most businesses. However , if one business wanted to appear consistently higher in results, they may then embark on other SEO strategies to further boost their search engine positioning. One such strategy is article writing or blogging.
SEO - Basic Principles
At it's heart, SEO relies on:
- choosing key words, or key word phrases that you imagine someone would enter into a search engine
- inserting these phrases into key positions on the web site. Examples of these key areas are meta title tags, heading tags, meta description and also in the web page itself
- ensuring the page has extensive enough text i.e. often quoted rules of thumb here are a minimum of 300 to 450 words for the web page. I'd regard these as minimums. If you are going for 450 take that extra bit of time to break the 600 mark
Article Writing as an SEO strategy
Article writing refers to a strategy of writing regular articles on topics that relate to your business or industry. The purpose of article writing is to further strengthen a search engine's perception that your web site is an important source of information for a particular topic.
- a car loan web site might start writing articles on cars in general.
- a curtain web site might write some articles on general interior design principles and how they relate to choosing the right curtain.
- an electrician / heat pump specialist might write an article on insulation heat pump benefits.
Conclusions on SEO
This article covers all the basic "secrets" of SEO. They're not really secrets, but you'd sometimes think they are! There's a surprising amount of people out there whose businesses could reap some pretty big rewards if they invested some time in SEO. I often refer to SEO as "foundation SEO" - if Google can't properly 'see' and assess your web site, then chances are none of your potential customers will be able to either. The basic foundation for visibility simply doesn't exist.