What is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization

SEO consists of a series of actions and modifications made to a site to help with its position in the search engine results pages (we call these SERPS) on Google.  In other words the site is ‘optimized’. The aim is to get your site coming up on the first page for any keyword (see below) you choose to target. For example if you search for ‘web-ink’ our site should come up on page 1 in Google as that is one of the keywords we have used to optimize the first page of the site.

SEO is neither a magic bullet nor a fiction designed to extract money from you. The truth lies somewhere in between. It won’t bring you overnight success but without it you risk being pushed to the back of the queue.

SEO can be compared to garden design. First you have to put in the structures and make sure the soil is good and then you add your plants. Websites are very similar. You build your site and add features and content, all aimed at attracting customers and drawing people in to explore further. Your site should also be well constructed and easy to move around in. Google likes sound sites with well thought out navigation that deliver relevant information.

Once the site is up and running it needs constant care like any garden. Just as plants need to be fed and pruned, dead plants removed and new plants added, and attention paid to what your visitors like and don’t like, so your website needs to be cared for. And like any garden it takes time to mature, so be patient.

A well-kept site keeps people coming to it and Google likes popular sites.

The initial actions and modifications that need to be done to optimise a site are:

  • Keyword research. This is the very basic essential for any SEO activity. Simply put it goes like this:
    •  How does anyone find a particular website? They type in a word or phrase into Google.
    • Google then gives them a selection of sites to match that word or phrase. The selection is based on the information Google has collected from all the sites on the Internet.
    • If you want to be in that list you need to know what words are being used to find your type of business
    • These are your keywords, and you need to add them to the content of your site (see next) so that Google knows what your site is about.
  • Optimization of copy using keywords. Whatever keywords you decide to target, these have to be added to your copy in the right numbers to be recognised by the crawlers and the page logged as being about that word or phrase. This is a delicate operation as too many repeats of a word can make Google suspicious and your site will be ignored, and too few will fail to flag your page as being about that keyword. This concentration of keywords is known as Keyword Density (KD).
  • Site analysis. This simply means looking at your site from a number of angles to see where there are weak areas that can be improved to make the site more competitive.
  • XML Sitemap. This is a page that is added to allow crawlers to find all your site pages easily. Crawlers are the pieces of code that crawl from site to site collecting data and sending it back to the search engines.
  • Business listings. If you are a local business you need to be sure that local people find your site and adding it to Google, Yahoo and Bing business listings helps your site visibility locally.
  • Submission to directories and search engines. The big search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo will normally find a new site in the course of time but submitting it to a number of directories and search engines can sometimes speed up the process.

There are many other things that can be done to improve a site’s position on Google, but these are the very basics that should be in place before you do anything else.

The competition out there is enormous, so you need to keep ahead of the game to survive in the Internet market. Just remember that like any garden time is needed for it to grow and flourish – SEO is not an overnight solution but in time you will reap the rewards of a well optimized site.