SEO – it’s easy, isn’t it?

Somebody asked me recently if their website should have SEO in it. (Or ‘Essy-Oh’ was actually what was queried). My answer was of course ‘Well, yes’ (obviously). After all there’s little point having a website that isn’t optimised (or Essy-oh’d - a term I am now rather fond of); it would be rather like writing a book and not putting it on Amazon.

But the question led me to wonder about the myth behind SEO and if there is a way to explain it simply. My pondering, unfortunately, resulted in the conclusion that actually there isn’t, because it’s rather a complicated process. Which isn’t a bad thing in all honesty because it keeps people like me in a job.

The good news is that there are some simple techniques that anybody who owns a website can adopt to improve their organic listing in search results.

The first point to make is to clear up any confusion between SEO and PPC. SEO = Search Engine Optimisation. PPC = Pay Per Click. They are two separate things and either one, or preferably both, should be taken into consideration in any decent search strategy.

The second point to make is that Google handles around 96% of search traffic in the UK, so if your audience is solely or predominantly UK based, then stick to Google’s algorithms and you can’t go far wrong.

5 tips to help improve your SEO:

The phrase ‘content is king’ is nothing new, but it is true. Content on a site is one of the first things Google will look at and rank it in terms of writing quality, keyword inclusion and user engagement. There are several things to consider; Google is very clever at noticing overuse of keywords, so make sure they are there, but don’t overdo it. Keeping content across your site fresh and topical will engage visitors and reduce bounce rate, so if you have a blog or a news feed then make sure you are updating them regularly.

Build quality.
This will have a definite impact on how high, or low, your site is listed. This is down to the developer and best practice dictates certain requirements. Firstly, a site description is a must but all too often missing on poorly built sites. Pages should be titled sensibly and given meta description tags, and headers and subheads should use header tags with relevant keywords.

Google needs to be able to ‘crawl’ web pages easily so attention should be given to site architecture. Load time and individual page URLs should also be considered, and a responsive site for tablet and smartphone users will rank higher than a desktop-only build.

This is important because things can go horribly wrong if dealt with incorrectly. Links to other pages on your site is good. Linking to other, credible sites that your visitors will also find interesting and useful, is good. Linking to random sites and allowing same random sites to link to you, is bad. Overdoing links is also bad. Be careful, Google is far more intelligent than you or I!

Engaging in social media can positively affect your SEO. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn, make sure you have easily accessible links from your website. Encourage your users to engage with you on these platforms as Likes, Shares, Posts and keyword Hashtags will impact on your site’s trustworthiness and your reputation.

I wish I could tell you that was all there was to it, but the truth is that there’s a whole lot more. And a lot more ‘do nots’ as well, but we’ll save those for another blog!