In its simplest form, the term SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the collective techniques used to improve a website’s ranking in organic search results, therefore making it more visible on platforms such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO has been around for decades, so it’s about time we cracked it- right? Pick a list of keywords, pop them into your website, and voila! But not quite. SEO is evolving quicker than you can shake a stick at, and the SEO that we have come to love today is very different to that just a few years ago, posing the question, what is SEO really in 2017?
"The first results page of Google typically
receives around 95% of web traffic"
Let’s start at the beginning…For anyone using the internet in the days before Google (yes, they did exist!), it was highly unlikely that anyone would ever find your website, unless they knew the exact address. With the later emergence of search engines, users were then given a way to match their specific search terms with relevant websites. Developers quickly caught on to the fact that there were only a very limited number of top spots available on these search engines, and hence SEO was born. Today, the first results page of Google typically receives around 95% of web traffic, so naturally ranking higher on search engines increases organic traffic to your website, therefore generating more leads for your business.
How do search engines work?
Search engines have two principle functions:
Crawl and index documents and data
Provide a list of websites ranked by relevance
To do this, search engines employ algorithms (mathematical equations) which comprise hundreds of variables known as ranking factors.
Technical SEO focuses on how easily search engines can crawl your website and index your content. The most significant technical SEO considerations when building and maintaining a website include:
Formatting of URL’s
Meta-tags & meta-data
Site speed and load time
HTML mark up
Technical SEO should be considered during a website’s construction, as it’s whole purpose is to provide a strong foundation from which to optimise your site’s content.
On-Page SEO & Keywords
On-page SEO is primarily concerned with your website’s content and how well it is optimised for search engine ranking. In the early days of SEO, all a website required to rank highly on Google was a page crammed with relevant search terms (or keywords).
Fortunately, search engines quickly caught on to this trend of “keyword stuffing”, and developed algorithms that take whole sentences into account rather than focusing on specific terms. The result? Search engines are now much more advanced in their capabilities to identify user-friendly, engaging, and relevant content in their rankings.
With the constant development of algorithms and the rise of mobile search, personalised search, and now voice search, it is becoming increasingly difficult to control rankings of keywords. That’s not to say though that keywords have become extinct, rather that there is now a real emphasis on the need for marketers to change their mind set from building a site for search engines, to creating content for real users. Before creating a new site page or blog post, it is still critical to consider how to incorporate keywords into your content, but in a way that is unforced and engaging, and contributes to your post in a way that matters to your audience.
At its core, off-page SEO is concerned with inbound links from external websites to your site. These external links are a search engines’ best way to determine the validity and value of the information on your website. Whilst they are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate, external links provide a significant opportunity for attaining higher search engine rankings. However (and that’s a big however!), the sites linking to you must be relevant, otherwise they will actually harm your SEO. Sophisticated algorithms have made it much harder for companies to manipulate and pay for links, and as such many marketers are preferring to write their own content for a link on an exact match anchor text.
Perhaps the biggest change in the last decade is the way in which social media contributes to SEO. Quite obviously, social media can be used to promote your website, build your brand, and build an engaged audience even before you have a website, but it is only quite recently that it made any impact on SEO. Search engines now take into account tweets, retweets, Google+ authorship, and a number of other social signals.
All of this means that it is imperative to consider how your social approach fits into your SEO strategy.
There are a variety of ways that eWavelength can help to optimise your website for search engine ranking, and we are proud to have delivered successful SEO strategies for companies across the globe. If you need any information about how we can help your business with SEO, please contact one of the eWavelength team on firstname.lastname@example.org.