How to use Search Engine Optimisation
Learn why optimising web content is crucial and how you can start to improve your SEO.
The first webpage went live in 1991 and ranking of search results began in 1994 – although in a much more primitive form – but it wasn’t until 1997 that the term “search engine optimisation” was first used. Since then the digital world has evolved and Google must now contend with text, images, news, social media, video content and more when updating and improving its search engine results rankings.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the optimisation of webpages to help them appear higher up on search engine results pages (SERP) and therefore increase their visibility. Google’s algorithm for ranking search results considers a complex index of variables, and crucially it aims to prevent misuse, such as keyword repetition and unjustified link building.
The rankings are based on improving user experience, or in other words, ensuring users find what they are looking for. As a result, each SERP is weighted differently, with varying levels of importance placed on the components depending on the search. This system allows search engines to provide the most relevant and reliable results, with the introduction of machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) now adding more personalisation too.
Indeed, the algorithm “crawls” through websites to assess their content and their digital structure, deciding on a website’s intuitive usability, organisation of information, quality of links and so on. Therefore, when looking to optimise your webpages you need to consider design as well as content.
The importance of SEO
Whether you’re looking to find a capital city, a marketing agency or a takeaway for dinner, search engines are almost always your starting point. As 75% of people find the answer to their query on the first page of results, you need to feature there if you want to increase visibility and traffic.
Furthermore, over 34% of people click on the first position result and most people don’t look further than the third position result. For marketers and content creators, this means that optimising your webpages is more important now than ever before.
All this may seem like a complex code that you need to break, but ultimately Google is trying to provide users with the best results. So, at the very least optimising your webpages should improve the usability and reliability of your webpages.
How to optimise
When optimising your webpages, the basics you should consider are:
• Keywords/phrases in headings and captions
• Simple, descriptive URLs
• Logical, user-friendly structure
• Providing keyword focused meta descriptions
• Optimising image identification using the alt tag (alternative text field)
• Making pages mobile friendly
• Linking relevant posts and pages
As with all marketing approaches, monitoring the effectiveness of your SEO techniques will impact and improve future strategies, website traffic and leads. The most accessible method of monitoring SEO metrics is Google Analytics. This invaluable tool provides reporting, analysis and data management on your chosen metrics – such as user interactions and ad effectiveness – to help you understand whether your SEO strategy is working.
And as Google is constantly working to update and enhance its user experience – including clamping down on misuse – it is vital that you review updates and consult digital specialists and companies with SEO expertise.
Contact us now to learn how we can help with your content marketing and SEO.