The role of search engine optimisation (SEO) is to make your website rank well for relevant search terms. There are a number of principles that if applied will help you to outrank your competitors in Google and other search engines. Following is an outline of the core ingredients to proper SEO….
Good Keyword Research
This is integral to any search engine optimisation campaign. If people aren’t looking for something who really cares if you rank number 1 for a certain keyword phrase in Google? You need to identify keyword phrases that have people looking for them and that you have a chance of ranking for.
Optimise For Search Engines One Page at a Time
Search engine “spiders” crawl the internet indexing individual pages for the content they contain and rank them according to their relevance to search terms. If one page talks about bananas while another talks about fruit including apples, oranges, pears and bananas it is most likely that the one that just talks about only bananas would rank better when someone searches for bananas.
When planning your website it is important that you have one page per keyword phrase that you are targeting. This page may include secondary keywords and synonyms of the primary keyword but the goal will be to make that page the most relevant page on your website for the primary keyword phrase you are targeting.
As part of this optimisation you would include the keyword phrase in your title and description meta tags (this is what Google displays in their search engine results), in h1 tags, in your first and last paragraphs and throughout your content.
When writing content for your website write it for a human and then go back and optimise for Google. Search engine optimisation means nothing if you get people to your website but the quality is so poor that they immediately click the back button.
Google’s algorhythm is now smart enough to recognise when people are trying to “game” the system by writing content specifically for the search engines…they also recognise when a large people are immediately clicking the back button to find a more relevant listing to their search query. Poor, spammy content will have a negative impact on your search engine optimisation efforts.
Internal linking between pages on your website helps Google and other search engines index every page on your website. As a general rule it should not take any more than 3 clicks from any one page on your site to another. If your website is properly structured it also allows authority that an individual page has been given by search engines to flow through to other pages that the page links to
Once you have everything else right, the most important factor for ranking your website is going to be links from other websites (external linking). Every link to your website from another website is like a vote of confidence for your sites content…but not all votes are equal. The authority and relevance of the third party website will determine the value that is ascribed to a link, e.g. an industry body website with an article about irrigation with a link to your irrigation business is going to count for more than a link from your mechanic friend’s website.
If you are to rank well you need to identify the keywords that are relevant to you and that you can compete for. Once you have this list, write content for each of the keyword phrases to be placed on individual pages of your website, adding links to other pages where appropriate and incorporate these pages into your main site navigation. If you can set appropriate meta tags for the title and description (you may need the assistance of your webmaster).
Once your site is properly optimised it is then a matter of getting links to the pages you have created. This may be through asking associates to add links from their websites, paid advertising, posting in forums, commenting on blogs, creating other web properties that you can link back from…..There are numerous ways of building links to your website and the amount that will be required depends on your competition.
This article is meant only as an overview. Search engine optimisation is quite a complex skill that in most situations will require experience to outrank your competitors. It is often worth consulting with a search engine optimisation specialist to determine the viability of a search engine campaign.
Search engine optimisation services that may be offered include keyword research, content writing, onsite optimisation of your current website and external link building. An initial analysis from an SEO professional should give you an idea of what you may do yourself and what you will want to outsource and you can then determine the best way forward.
If you have a more specific query about search engine optimisation then please contact us. If you have a more general comment or question about your own experiences ranking your website in Google then please leave a reply below.