If you’ve ever looked into anything to do with online marketing, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO”. This term permeates every aspect of the online marketing experience; it’s what businesses strive for, because it makes them significantly more visible to search engines and allows them to reach more customers.
If you’re just getting started in the world of online marketing, you might be wondering why SEO is so valuable and how you can start to implement best SEO practices yourself. From finding a great SEO link building service to writing the best content, here’s our rundown on what SEO is and how you can use it to better your business.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation
First, the basics. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, refers to how well a page is optimised for search engines. In practice, this means Google, since that’s the search engine used by around 92% of the market. Essentially, SEO refers to how well search engines can find your page when they trawl for user queries, and how likely they are to display your page in the first list of results when users Google something.
As you can imagine, it’s extremely important to have good SEO; most users don’t click beyond the first page when they’re looking for something, so being on that first page is of paramount importance for your visibility.
What is the most important thing to get right with SEO?
Most online marketing experts agree that the most important thing to get right when it comes to SEO is how accessible your page is to search engine crawling. Each search engine first crawls the web to find relevant content to the user’s search, then indexes that content and ranks it based on the pages it thinks will best answer the question.
If Google can find your content and your page easily, then you’ll rank higher when users ask something you can answer. Getting this right involves a lot of different steps. Primarily, this will revolve around SEO keywords, which are vital words you need to include in your pages and content to get people to see them.
How do I find SEO keywords?
To find the keywords that best suit the content and pages you’re trying to create, there are a number of different tools you can use. The most popular and easiest one to utilise is Google Trends, which will show you how searched-for a keyword is, as well as other terms related to that keyword.
For example, if you input “fashion” into Google Trends, it will not only inform you how popular “fashion” is as a keyword, but it will also tell you what other adjacent terms people are searching for. You might find “fashion 2021” as a keyword, for example, or perhaps “fashion trends this season”. You could then use these keywords to inform the content you create, thereby possibly improving your ranking.
Does content matter for SEO?
In a word, absolutely. Your content is one of the most important things on your site when it comes to SEO. There are several factors that go into whether your content is well-optimised for SEO or not. These include length (longer articles are better), readability (keep your sentences short!), and keywords, as we’ve already discussed.
You also need to consider formatting, which will help search engines understand your content, and links, which Google will use to improve your ranking. Internally linking to other pages on your site is a good idea, as is linking to authoritative sources outside your site.
How about site design?
Just like with your content, you need to optimise your site design and other ancillary factors if you want to rank well on Google. If you have images on your page (and you should), then getting your alt attributes – that is, the text people see when they hover over the image, as well as its name and description – right is important. You should also consider the meta description of each page, which is what Google will show when the page shows up in search results.
Sometimes, Google won’t display what you’ve written for this value, because search engines work in mysterious ways. However, writing a good meta description will still stand you in good stead for SEO.
What about my competition?
You’re right to think about your competition. If there’s a competitor who consistently ranks higher for SEO keywords than you do, then you don’t stand a chance competing with them. It’s better to find SEO keywords that serve a chosen niche and use them to rank higher than it is to fight against the big guns. This isn’t always easy, but one way to do it is to use long-tailed keywords, which are lengthier phrases that people use for more specific searches.
If you can “corner the market” on one of these phrases – “how to slow cook a curry” might be one – then you’ll see big returns in terms of SEO. It’s all about finding those niches and understanding them.
Is SEO all that’s important?
Absolutely not. While SEO is a great way to rank higher on Google, it doesn’t mean people are going to like your page or remain browsing your website for long periods of time. Getting people to stay with you and trust your brand should be the name of the game, and just having a page rank highly on Google isn’t going to accomplish that.
There’s a reason Google strongly discourages “black hat SEO” techniques, which websites sometimes use to rank highly in a dishonest fashion. Through a combination of keyword research, page optimisation, and good old-fashioned great content, you can get your page to rank highly in an organic way.