My thoughts on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of optimising your content so that it will rank highly in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. In my opinion it is the the back bone of online marketing. If you do it successfully you will essentially be getting FREE unpaid traffic and consequently sales or leads!

There are essentially two ways to optimise your website, on-site and off site SEO. The on-page SEO factors are those elements that happen on your website. These are the things that you have complete control over, meaning that you can work to improve these factors over time by following best practices for SEO. This goes beyond just your content marketing to the deeper levels of your site’s HTML.

In addition to the on-page SEO elements that your company has control over, there are also off-page SEO factors that can impact your ranking. Though you do not have direct control over these off-page factors, there are ways that you can improve your chances of having these factors work out in your favour. 

10 years ago it was a lot easier to rank for certain keywords, there was much less competition and Google in particular was not as sophisticated with it’s algorithms. I just want to tell you a quick story of the power of SEO.

Recently I came across a website that was started as a hobby back in the year 2000. The site was all about traditional music and the owner developed it over years and years out of pleasure adding words to songs, audio clips etc. He was not particularly developing the site with SEO in mind but because of the age of the site and the length of time it has been online it is a super power in it’s field. Fast forward 20 years to 2020 and the site has 200,000 pages, gets 50 million hits per year and earns the owner a passive income of 27k per year in advertising.

You see, among other things, time is a factor when it comes to SEO. With time comes backlinks which after keyword research are arguably the most important ranking factor.

If you get the basics right with SEO and give your website enough time to naturally acquire backlinks then you will eventually reap the rewards of free traffic to your website.

Key points of on-site and off-site SEO

  • Title Tag – The title tag on each page tells the search engines what your page is about. This should be 70 characters or less, including both the keyword your content focuses on and your business name.
  • Meta Description – The meta description on your website tells search engines a little bit more about what each page is about. This is also used by your human visitors to better understand what the page is about and if it’s relevant. This should include your keyword and also provide enough details to tell the reader what the content is about. 
  • Sub-headings – Not only do sub-headings make your content easier for visitors to read, but it can also help improve your SEO. You can use H1, H2, and H3 tags to help search engines better understand what your content is about.
  • Internal Links – Building internal links, or hyperlinks to other content on your site, can help search engines learn more about your site. For example, if you are writing a post about the value of a specific product or service, you can link to the product or service page in your blog post.
  • Image Name and ALT Tags – If you are using images on your website or within your blog content, you will also want to include your keyword or phrase in the image name and alt tag. By including this information, you also help give your SEO definition. This will help search engines better index your images, which may appear when users perform an image search for a certain keyword or phrase.
  • Trust – Trust is becoming an increasingly important factor in a site’s Google ranking. This is how Google determines whether you have a legitimate site that visitors can trust. One of the best ways to improve trust is by building quality backlinks from sites that have authority.
  • Links – One of the most popular ways to build off-page SEO is through backlinks. You want to be careful here as spamming sites with your links is a quick and easy way to get your site banned from the search engines. Instead, take the time to build relationships with influencers and fans who create quality content and will link back to your site in their own content.
  • Social – Another important off-page SEO factor are social signals, such as likes and shares. When it comes to boosting SEO, you want to look for quality shares from influencers. The more quality content you publish, the more likely you will be to get people to share your content with others.

Overall SEO Strategy

Keyword Research

Before you add any content to your site you need to take keyword research into consideration. This is the very first starting point. Without this, everything else is useless.

On-site optimisation

There are many things you can do to optimise your website to rank in search engines from alt.and H1 tags to using clean URL structures and making sure your site is fast and mobile friendly.

Off-site Optimisation

This encompasses many different areas from link building to content marketing.

Content Marketing

Creating content is a key part of SEO. Writing articles, shooting videos all help you get traffic to your website.

Link Building

Back links are vital for SEO, end of! Google sees the number of backlinks to your site as a vote of confidence. They will come naturally over time if your site provides true value but there are ways to speed up the process whilst still adhering to Google's Webmaster Guidelines.