What is SEO? Part 1

7 December 2017

A person using a search engine

We get a lot of enquiries about SEO and how the activity can help drive new sales. Therefore in this blog series “What is SEO” we take a look at Search Engine Optimisation, and what activity is required to gain a valuable Page One ranking.

The power of SEO keywords & keyword phrases

When you perform a Google or Bing search, you’ll type into the search box a single word or phrase which best describes what you would like the search engine to find. These words and phrases are called keywords and keyword phrases and are a vital component of Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short.

Why SEO is important

For your webpage to be easily found by a potential customer, your website content will need to be optimised not only for humans, but for search engines too. Therefore a thorough SEO audit will determine the performance of your website and the quality of all the webpage content in respect of relevancy and authority.

The reason for this is search engines like Google want consumers to not only find what they are looking for when searching for a specific search term online, but also have access to comprehensive & engaging webpage content.

It’s worth noting, search engines rank pages not websites. This does not mean your business homepage won’t ever appear in any search results, you just have to remember your homepage is not your entire website.

Search Engine Optimisation is important because Google will always try to provide you with the best possible result for your search. So if the search engine finds (what it considers) a very good webpage which is tailored to your search query, it will deem the webpage relevant and list it higher in the rankings.

How does the search engine find the best webpages

For Google to find the best webpages, the search engine will “crawl” websites including your own. It does this by deploying robots (sometimes referred to as a spiders or bots), across the internet to find websites which not only include the keywords and phrases relating to specific search terms and subject matter, but also which websites provide humans with an excellent user experience.

As a result, the crawling robots will check the quality of each website including the…
– Code the site is written on
– Structure of every webpage
– Content header titles
– Uniqueness of the content
– Website’s backlink portfolio

We’ll cover more about these technical issues in part two of the series.

SEO is not a one-off exercise

Like painting the Fourth Bridge, SEO is on going process. So to achieve and maintain a coveted Page one ranking, you will need to constantly review the position of your webpages and the relevance of your content and the quality of your website.

Of course with an ever-growing amount of website and content competition, a high place ranking is easier said than done.

Plus as your website starts to climb up the rankings, it’s likely your competitors will also start to increase their SEO activity in an attempt to bump you from a high placed ranking.

Quality links over quantity

Quality links are important, especially as great content will encourage other people (including online influencers) to link to your page; and reaffirm to Google you really know what you are talking about.

Therefore don’t be tempted to purchase non-relevant links for SEO, as it’s definitely a case of quality over quantity, especially as linking to poor quality websites can be very detrimental to your page ranking.

Having said that, if your website is considered an authority and you can gain a large amount of high quality and relevant links, then this is very valuable for SEO purposes, especially as the more quality links the better.

Don’t be tempted to overstuff your website with keywords or phrases

Keywords and keyword phrases are very important, but keyword stuffing will have the opposite affect on your webpage rankings. Plus if a customer does visit your webpages, they are likely to be turned off by the repetitive and boring keyword content.
Therefore keywords and phrases should only ever be used naturally throughout your content.

To help you ascertain all the relevant keywords or keyword phrases, you will need to undertake some detailed keyword research. To help with this exercise, we have access to specific SEO audit software which will not only help identify highly searched key words and phrases, but also highlight any broken links or any other website issues which will need addressing, for example slow webpage loading speed.

You can find out more about the problems with slow webpage loading speed here

That was part-one of our “What is SEO” series, so please look out for our part-two, as we’ve only just scratched the surface on what makes an effective SEO project.