The theory behind search engine optimisation (SEO) is simple; make your website as easy as possible for search engines to find, understand and evaluate. When search engines can see how useful your site is to your audience, using their various algorithms and taking many factors into account, they choose how to display your site in their results when people search for queries and terms related to your business. The higher in the search results that websites are displayed for relevant searched keywords, the bigger their bite of the relevant organic traffic and online market share.
The ways in which you try to accomplish this end goal are many and varied. Search engines each use their own set of algorithms to determine a website’s worth and relevance to the human users searching for your services, and are constantly evolving these to provide what they see as better results. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because of potentially hundreds of different ranking factors for every engine, coupled with the fact that every industry has its own levels of competition. Your competitor’s websites will all be at different optimisation stages themselves, and are giving varying levels of resource and attention to their own SEO efforts.
The 3 key areas for website optimisation
Whilst there are hundreds of things that you can do to help optimise your firm’s website for search engines, this activity is usually split down into a few distinct areas.
- Technical SEO mainly consists of tweaks to the site’s structure and code, to ensure that it all meets the latest best practice guidelines published by Google and Bing etc. The extent of work required will depend on many things, which include the size and history of the website, and will involve a combination of one-off and on-going activity.
- Your website content is a vital part of showing search engines what your business is all about, as well as becoming a valuable information resource for your potential online audience. Ensuring that your site content answers the needs of your target market at every stage of their buyer journey will not only go a long way to help them become future clients, it will also be a strong signal to search engines that your website is worthy of a high ranking position for relevant search terms. This includes everything from optimising static web pages and blogs, through to visual content such as images, videos and interactive tools.
- An important sign for search engines that your business website is useful and authoritative, is the number and nature of other sites which link to yours. A link from another highly relevant and well-established site can be thought of by search engines as similar to a recommendation or a seal of approval from that site. However, websites won’t link to yours unless they see that doing so will be beneficial to their site users too, so producing great content which appeals to this wider audience can be a great way to encourage this.
Optimising a website for search engines can be a complex process, and achieving improved organic rankings will take time, but the rewards are very much worth the effort.