An Introduction to Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is one of the most commonly discussed aspects of web development. But what in fact is SEO? Why is it important? And, how can you implement a few small changes to improve your SEO performance?
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation – SEO is the process of optimising for a higher ranking in search results to improve, for example, Google’s PageRank. The results that are generated on the first page are the most relevant against the searched keyword/keywords that the searcher is looking for.
Search Engines have schemes based on algorithms that make up the index of web results against the keywords. In order to show a website or blog on the first page with top ranking the SEO Experts optimize the website. The optimization usually requires comprehensive understanding of these algorithms and technical aspects involved in appearance of website in top rankings. SEO is further categorised into 3 sections: On-page, off-Page SEO and technical SEO.
On-page SEO involves improving the content on your web page to demonstrate its relevance. Off-page SEO refers to how often your content is linked to – good content means that more people will share your website, increasing its ranking. Finally, technical SEO refers to factors such as the speed with which your page loads (faster = better), and whether it is mobile friendly.
Why is SEO Important?
The web has made knowledge easy to access. However, hindrances still exist between searchers and the information they seek. This is where SEO comes into play, by ensuring that search engines are able to find your website, when they are looking for relevant and appropriate keywords! Approximately 71% of the searchers land on the websites that appear on the first page of the results. Therefore, improving your websites ranking via SEO allows you to increase traffic to your site.
How to Improve your SEO?
A number of factors are responsible for higher search engine rankings. Systems such as web spiders and crawlers scan the web categorically and index each page of the website based on its relevancy. SEO tools can enable optimisation of website in a way that maximises traffic landing on a website. SEO seeks to build connections between the Search Engines and client for recognition of brand and products.
How search engines rank websites is a constantly changing process, as algorithms are updated. However, a few consistent factors are always a positive influence including:
- Content type
- Usage of relevant keywords
- Imbedded videos
- Traffic landing
- Content that builds up the interest of audience
- Internal and external links (backlinks)
- Page authority
- Authenticity of information
Quantity and quality of information
Content is king. The best practice is to use relevant keyword phrases in the content, whilst writing in an accessible manner, targeting your audience.
Title tags / heading tags:
The selection of title tags for each page of the website must be relevant to the content of the page. The title tag is what the search engine uses to name the page in its results list, and what your browser displays as the name of your page’s tab.
Search Engines crawl the web, where links play role of bridges between pages. The algorithmic analysis of web spiders and crawlers discover the way pages are relate to one another. Through links, search engines analyse trustworthiness, eliminate spam and determine the authority of a page. Consequently, the PageRank of a site increases through links, as search engines consider pages to be more relevant.
‘Uniform Resource Locator’ or Website Address should be kept simple and relevant to the content’s topic, instead of semantically inaccurate URL which cannot be read and users have no idea what they would get when they click the link.
Metadescriptions are snippets that you can provide search engines, as well as social media sites, summarising the content of your page. This is then displayed to their users when they search for information. Including metadescriptions helps drive clicks, as users are better able to tell if the site is relevant to them; search engines therefore reward their use with higher page rankings. It also has the added benefit of driving more traffic from your given ranking.
Add Images and Videos:
Adding images and videos to pages not only generates better user engagement, but is also rewarded by search engines, both directly, and indirectly, as the increased traffic signals direct the search engines to reflect the page as important, authentic and useful for audience.