SEO is a vital component of every project we have undertaken at BCS Web Design, whether it be Building Websites, creating content or PPC Management, everything you build, needs to be found. So, we often get asked how SEO works.
Search Engine Optimisation techniques evolve and change all the time, mainly thanks to Google frequently rolling out new algorithm updates. In addition to this, Google and in fairness, other search engines, (although Google do manage 94% of all organic search) suppress organic search results in favour of drawing attention to paid ads.
Not only do the rules change regularly, the rules are often ill-defined, contradictory or SEO agencies or consultants expressing predictions or trying to analyse the current industry trends.
Back in the mid-1990’s Web managers and content creators only needed to submit the URL (address of a page) to the search engines of the time, which would crawl the page, identify the links and then index the page accordingly. Today’s SEO landscape has developed into something a little more sophisticated and complex however.
Core components of a good SEO strategy:
Links have been a fundamental part of SEO from the earliest days and are remain one of the key measurements of a website’s performance to Google. The more high-quality, relevant and properly implemented the links you have are, the higher your search engine results will become.
Content is king, (mostly). Bill Gates made this prediction back in 1996, and it still holds true to this day. Quality, original and optimised content that people want to read is still one of the most powerful ways to attract visitors to your site and increase your Google rankings.
SEO really is a mix of ‘art’ and ‘science’ and content is a great example of this fusion. Ultimately, content needs to be both written for humans to read and enjoy, but also formatted and optimised appropriately to maximise search engine rankings.
The regularity of new content being uploaded to your site is another factor that is analysed by the Google algorithms and can improve your rankings. (Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to write a 1000 word blog every week, keeping your existing posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information works just as well.
However, with there now being over 1 billion blogs in existence, there is a move towards content that is different and which also promotes return visits and longer time on site. Tools and Calculators embedded into your website are a great addition to regular content. Think about any simple and repetitive tasks that your customers may be undertaking regularly that are relevant to your industry as these will help drive core SEO metrics on your site. (I.E. if you work in Finance, a Loan or Mortgage Calculator would be the perfect example).
Keyword research is critical in knowing what your potential website visitors are searching for, as you will want to include these in your post’s headers and throughout the article. (Although be warned, ‘keyword stuffing’ is seriously frowned upon by Google and can result in your search rankings dropping, if not worse). Google’s website crawlers are now so clever that they can not only analyse the wording of your content, but also the context and related terms that match the searcher’s goals.
Website’s contain many SEO related settings and sections that need to be completed correctly when being built or up-dated. Integrated components such as meta descriptions, ALT attributes, H1 (header) tags, titles and URLs are all important. To maximise the SEO impact of your website, include relevant keywords in these elements.
In Google’s search quality guidelines, they state that “the amount of content necessary for a webpage to be satisfying, depends on the topic and purpose of the page.” In short, research what your competitors have written on a particular topic and then create your own content that goes into more detail, is more helpful or that is more up to date.
Mobile SEO is more important than ever and will only increase in significance. Google is determined to push ahead with its mobile-focused index to rank website search results across all devices, so now is the time to ensure your website is fully optimised to run responsively on all device formats.
Whilst Google’s mobile move makes sense with more than 50 percent of worldwide website visitors now using mobile devices for search, optimising your site to perform smoothly on both mobile and desktop devices is not as simple as it may initially seem.
To start with, you need to have a ‘responsive website design’, (since Google recommends it) that will enable you to make your content load and display consistently across both desktop and mobile devices. You also need to ensure your website is fast, so every single image and video needs to be analysed and optimised for speed.