What is SEO? – Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the on-going process of making sure that your website performs as well as possible on a search engine results pages (SERPs), such as Google.
The first part of optimising your web site for search engines is to determine which specific key words or phrases you want to rank well. Only once you have determined these specific key words can you begin to optimise your website.
SEO can be broken down into two key areas – On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.
Outlined below are some of the key ranking factors of these two areas.
On-Page SEO is achieved by using your specific keywords in the following ways:
The page title is displayed and used in the search engine results page (SERP) snippet, the web browser and when a page is shared through social media.
Page URL path
The URL path to a particular page. An example of using keywords in a page URL is for a page on ‘web design’ – it would be better optimised to use a link of https://wellcreative.com.au/web-design compared to a more generic link of https://wellcreative.com.au/design
Page Meta description
The short description as seen in a SERP snippet. Keywords that appear in the Meta description are displayed in bold, this can then also improve organic click through rates from a search engine by enticing people searching with a more hand crafted description.
These are headings that are used to layout paragraphs of content on a page into a hierarchy of importance.
6 heading styles are formatted in different font styles and sizes. Importance is given to h1, h2 and h3 styles.
Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. Keyword density is a factor in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword. Keyword density can be calculated as (keyword frequency/total words) * 100 with 1 to 3% considered optimal.
This is simply having the most important content towards the top of the page. A web page is essentially delivered as a file that is read top to bottom by the search engine robots. Content appearing at the top is considered more important, and therefore use of keywords towards the top is a ranking factor of SEO.
Image alt attribute and filenames
An alt attribute is a few words entered at the time of adding an image to a website used to help describe an image. Search engines can’t see what’s contained within an image so providing an alt attribute and an accurately named file help explain what appears in the image. Utilising both alt attributes and filenames is a ranking factor for results within a search engine’s image search too.
Off-Page SEO is contributed to by the following factors –
The SEO ranking factors of a domain include the age of a domain – how long the domain has been registered for. Also the inclusion of specific keyword in the domain name, and if possible the keyword appearing towards the front of the domain name.
Social shares of a page
The number of times a particular page has been shared across various social media websites.
The more times a page has been shared indicate it’s a useful resource of information.
Organic CTR (click through rate)
The number of times people have clicked through to the webpage from the search engine results page. The more times people have clicked indicate it’s a more relevant source of information.
Without a doubt backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors of a webpage.
Backlinks are a link from another website to your own website. The more backlinks to your webpage the higher that page will rank, as it will be seen as a reputable source of information.
This refers to the domain age (length of time a domain has been registered for) of the website linking back to you. Some domain name extensions carry more authority such as .edu and .gov websites. The other factor of authority is the backlink age, so how long that particular website has been linking to your own.
Unique backlink domains
Different domains linking to you is more powerful then a single domain linking multiple times to you.
Backlink anchor text
This is the text that appears as the hyperlink from one website to another. It’s generally most effective to include the business name + keywords. An example ‘Well Creative – Graphic Designers’.
Securing your website with a SSL certificate has been announced as a minor ranking boost.
Ranking factors are always subject to change as search engines consistently review and modify their algorithms to provide end users with the most relevant information.
As far as the search engines are concerned each individual page on your website is ranked separately to determine its position within the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Therefore taking the time to be search engine optimised for each page on your website is a time consuming process.
The process of your website being indexed (appearing) in the search engines results involves your website being ‘crawled’ by automated search engine software agents commonly referred to as ‘spiders’, ‘robots’, or just ‘bots’.
Because this process is automated, the time frame between when your new website is launched and being crawled by the search engines varies. This can be anywhere from a couple of days up to a month. But generally we see most sites indexed within the first 2 weeks.
With this in-mind expecting instant results such as ranking #1 the day of launching your new website is an unrealistic expectation, and will most likely leave you frustrated with lack of results.
Because SEO is an ongoing process, the best thing to do is to optimise the website using the determined specific keywords, launch the website, and then give the search engines enough time to index the website. After some time has passed you can review how the website is ranked and make optimisation improvements as required.
The main thing that matters is that your page contains relevant and useful information that will address the needs of your users. Optimising your website without providing users with relevant or useful information will only lead to a higher bounce rate and therefore loss in conversion.