Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving organic (i.e. natural) traffic to your website via search engines. Successful SEO increases the quality as well as the quantity of traffic – because attracting lots of visitors is only good if they’re the right kind of visitors, i.e. potential customers. Here’s how to get started with maximising the pulling power of SEO…
Not long ago, people could improve their SEO by ‘hacking the system’ to optimise for Google’s search engines. But search engines and algorithms are getting smarter all the time. These days your SEO will be much more successful if you optimise for humans rather than machines – by creating good quality content that’s accessible and sharable. (This will organically rank well from an SEO perspective, keeping your customers AND the search engines happy.)
The anatomy of SEO
SEO is made up of several elements that work together. The two most important divisions to think about are ‘on-page’ and ‘off-page’.
On-page SEO – optimises your website by making sure everything is easy to find, that you have a site map, that there are no major technical flaws and that Google can access and read your website.
Off-page SEO – positions your website by creating good social profiles, by getting high-quality links to your website from other quality content and by getting good press coverage.
Your on-page and off-page SEO work hand-in-hand: you need high-quality content on your website and high-quality links that lead people to it.
SEO on mobile and desktop websites – your SEO can be different between each of your sites. By default, Google will review (and rank you by) your mobile website first.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – when you search for something on Google, you’re shown ads (paid results) at the top of the list, followed by organic results. The organic results are listed by how relevant Google thinks the content is to the user. The ads are ordered by a combination of factors – for example, which ad has paid the most and how relevant the website is.