Getting Started With Search Engine Optimisation
Have a great website, but struggling to get traffic through to it? Visually it may be great to look at but have you got your SEO bases covered?
If you are not sure what SEO is or you are new to the game, then you’ve come to the right place. SEO (search engine optimisation) is the game changer of all online businesses, it is extremely powerful. So much so that bad SEO can destroy your brand completely beyond repair.
Put simply, SEO is how high your website ranks for certain keywords or phrases on SERPs (search engine result pages e.g. Google).
Below we are going to go through the top 4 questions beginners need to know to comprehend what SEO is and how to utilise it to their advantage.
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
When it comes to long term success for any business or company online, SEO is the be all and end all – without good SEO your brand will suffer at every turn. Good SEO can see huge growth and sales for any business in any niche. It can propel you to a huge audience and open your shop front to the World 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (natural) search engine results. As a general rule the higher ranked a website appears from search results, the more visitors it is likely to receive, mainly simply due to human nature. These visitors can then be (hopefully) turned into real customers.
SEO requires both specialised and innovative components in order to improve rankings and drive traffic, there is no one size fits all in the SEO World. This can make SEO a little overwhelming as there are numerous characteristics that make up its form and learning them all can take many years you probably don’t have. Characteristics of SEO range widely from the type of keyword specific content to mobile responsive search engine optimisation. Think of SEO as a recipe you want to share, it needs to be arranged in a way that the search engine algorithms can recognise, categorise and publish.
There are two methods to acquiring SEO: these are categorised as “White Hat” and “Black Hat” techniques. White Hat being the approved practice and Black Hat the unapproved method (much like the wild west!). SEO is considered white hat practice ONLY if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no disingenuous practices. Black Hat practice on the other hand, refers to techniques that involve aggressive strategies used to improve rankings which disregard the guidelines set out.
It cannot be understated how even using some black-hat techniques can damage your website forever. Many domains and websites have closed due to blacklisting from search engines.
Why does my Website need SEO?
There are various different ways to drive web traffic, including social media marketing (SMM) and paid advertising (PPC). However, by far the most significant way to drive web traffic is through the key search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Whether you like it or not web traffic is most expected to come through search engine results regardless of the nature of your business/service, this is a universal truth that cannot be avoided.
Search engines have advanced vastly over the years in the way they dictate search engine behaviour. The programmed algorithms have progressed immensely in that they can provide targeted traffic whilst filtering out unwanted traffic.
Having content within your site that includes specific keywords is a way of increasing prominence within search results – having specific keywords of relevance that are cross referenced when searched are likely to drive traffic that is extremely targeted. Search engines need to be able to find your website in the first place for this to happen and if they cant your brand is likely to suffer losing out on one of the main opportunities to drive traffic to your business. SEO is a process that takes time and is a mid to long term investment for your company,
Why can’t search engines figure out my website without SEO?
Years ago having a great website with a few keywords disguised on a page used to be enough to get highly ranked from search results on search engines, however, this type of process started to promote black hat practices which led to inception of optimisation in the mid-1990s.Search engines in 2018 are advanced and a tool none of us could live without. They’re not quite perfect though but they are constantly updating their technology and algorithms used to ensure black hat practices are reduced and in turn return better search results. No matter how advanced search engines are they still require guidance in the right direction from websites and they need to know what exactly it is they are looking for. It is very important to have the right type of SEO – it is what drives web traffic and increases your brand awareness – the wrong type of SEO can be harmful you don’t want to be using incorrect and unsanctioned practices, even by accident.
As the world evolves around us so is the Internet and it is getting increasingly competitive, you don’t want to be the one that does not utilise SEO – as those that do will advance past you with ease and take advantage of their increased visitors whilst search results for your website will get buried with no visibility.
Can I do SEO for myself?
SEO can appear to come across as a very complex subject matter but with the Internet and therefore the World as your oyster there is a plethora of information at your hands from unlimited sources. There are guides and webinars going from beginner guides to more advanced information depending on how much you want to learn. Learning the basics is your first step which makes you more knowledgeable than anyone who hasn’t heard of SEO.
SEO does not need to be handled by an expert if you have time and commitment to learning best practices. However, if deciding to go at it alone be sure to learn white hat practices and do not pick up any black hat practices. It is a long journey but one many have completed.