A Very Brief Guide to Search Engine Optimisation
Recently I been singing the virtues of search engine optimisation to anyone who will listen. To help explain matters I have written a short intro to the subject to explain the basic concepts
Online search is growing massively with users increasingly relying on the main search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN to find information and inform purchasing decisions. Optimising your site so that it appears highly in the search engine results for searches relevant to your business is a very cost effective way of marketing. If your business cannot be found by the search engines then it is invisible to a huge potential audience.
What is Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines can find information quickly as they build an index of a huge number of web pages and their content. When a web search is performed it is this index and not the internet which is searched.
When a search is performed, the search engine searches its index for pages containing the search word or phrase and it will return a list of results displayed in sequence according to its ranking algorithm.
The method for achieving a high placement on the search results page is called search engine optimization (SEO). The objective is to gain a high placement for searches which are relevant to your website.
What should I do to?
Step 1: Research Keywords
Web surfers search on keywords and so it is important to establish the words and phrases for which you would like your site to be found. If the words are not there, you will never appear in the search results. You can do this by looking at search popularity tools such as http://inventory.uk.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ or by looking at your web logs.
Step 2: Eliminate barriers to indexing
Step 3: Get Indexed
Search engines are constantly scouring the web for new pages. If, after you have solved any technical issues, your site is still not being indexed, most search engines have a site submission page which you can use. Google also has a tool called Google sitemaps (https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemap ) which helps Google index sites.
Step 4: On Page Optimisation factors
Search engines assess each web pages and assign importantance to the words and phrases on it. It is therefore vital that you optimise your page for the words which you think are most important. Think of a search engine as like a person. When you read a document you pay most attention to the words which are in the titles, near the top of the page and in bold. Here is a quick list of areas of your page to optimise for your chosen keywords
- Page meta tags such as and
- Pages titles
- Your first and last paragraph
Each page should be treated individually with different keywords relating to the content of the page. It is no good giving each page the same treatment.
Step 5: Off Page Optimisation factors
Search engines use the number of links going to a page as an indication of the importance of a page. All other things being equal, for a given search phrase, the page with the most links will get the higher position in the search engine results. It is therefore important to build the number of links into your site to increase your rankings. This can be done by having quality content to which people want to link, asking for links from your business partners or buying links.
Step 6: Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
It is important to monitor the traffic to your site to see where your visitors are coming from and what search phrases they are using. This information can then be used to refine your site. Google provides a free tracking system called Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics) and there are also other free services such as Statcounter (www.statcounter.com).