What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ?
Whenever you enter a search query into a search engine (e.g. Google) and hit ‘enter’, the search engine will return a list of websites that contain your search query term. Most internet users will now ‘click through’ to one of the websites that has made it onto the first page of the search results. In fact 62% of internet users will only consider the first page of the search results and 90% will go no further than the third page of results. So based on this sobering fact, you can see that it is vital that your websites appears as high up the list as possible with the first page being where you really need to be.
So the question you should be asking yourself now is why does one website appear higher (rank) than another?
Well, this it down to a powerful web marketing technique called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is a technique which helps search engines find and rank your site higher than the millions of other sites in response to a search query. SEO thus helps you get web traffic from search engines.
To understand the basics of SEO, you have to understand how the search engines work.
The Search Engines base their results on two factors:- relevance and importance
Relevance: Relevance is based on the content of your website. If you operate a ‘pet grooming’ business and wish to publish a website – then you must make sure that the text content contains lots of useful information about ‘pet grooming’. This may sound a bit obvious but very often the text content of websites is poorly written and is too generic. Know what your market niche is and build your web content around your niche.
The relevance of your website is closely connected with the keyword research process. This process will identify which relevant keywords and phrases people are using to find ‘pet grooming’ websites. Once you have identified the keywords that you wish to target, then you can include these within you web page titles, paragraph headings, general text content and meta information (meta information = part of the website code). This process is sometimes called ‘on page SEO’ as it mainly concerns the way your web page is written and constructed.
Importance: The search engines also consider the importance of your website. They do this by assessing how large your website is in terms of quality pages and how many third party websites are linking to your website. Reciprocal links and back links are the main ways to build importance and authority for your website with back links being the most useful and easy to manage (a. reciprocal links = when you link with a third party website and they then link back to your website | b. back links are third party websites linking to your site without you linking to theirs). Link building has become an essential element of the Search Engine Optimisation process. This type of SEO is sometimes called ‘off page SEO’ as this all occurs away from or ‘off’ your web pages.
For small business it is often the ‘importance/authority factor’ that holds the website back from achieving high rankings within the search engines. This is due to the fact that it can take many years and much time to build website authority by way of organic link building strategies. If out sourced to website marketing professionals, expensive fees can also be incurred.
Cedar Tree begin the SEO process by concentrating on the ‘onpage’ SEO. This means that we focus on techniques that identify keywords and phrases that are being used by internet users to find particular business information. This is called keyword research.
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