What Exactly Is SEO?

At its core it's about improving the visibility of your website to search engines, Google in particular (though it's important not to forget others, such as Bing and DuckDuckGo), and getting more traffic to your site. In an ideal world, you want your website to appear as close to the top of the results as possible when somebody searches for goods or services that your business provides.

You can stack the odds in your favour by paying for adverts with search engines, such paying for Google Adwords, but here we'll be looking at organic search results, in other words, search results that happen because of the content on your site.

How do you improve your website's search engine rankings?

This is the 'million-dollar question'! There are many aspects to a well-rounded SEO strategy, but a major part of the process is 'on-page optimisation'. This applies to the content of your website, and the way that content is coded. That's what we're going to focus on in this article.

The most effective way to score well for your keywords search term is to write high-quality content about the subject, and break up individual sections of your text with meaningful headings and subheadings. This is something many of our clients struggle with because a reasonable quantity of text is important, and it must be in your own words. Copying and pasting from other websites is frowned upon by Google and co, and will often result in your site being penalised.

Often, we're told by clients that they don't want much text on their pages, but that's not a good tactic when it comes to SEO. Unique textual content is king!

You mentioned the 'way it's coded'... what does that mean?

We won't get into too much detail with the coding because that's very much beyond the remit of an article such as this, but here are some basic pointers to keep in mind when optimising your web pages.

Every web page has a couple of META tags that are worth paying attention to, the Title tag and the Description tag. If you are able to edit your website's content, you will most likely have access to these two important meta tags. The content management systems we build make it very easy to change these, and so do many other systems such as Wordpress.

The page title meta tag should be used as a way to incorporate your main keywords as they relate to your page. For example, let's imagine you run a greengrocer shop and you have a web page all about oranges. You might call that page after your business... "The Greengrocer Shop", but a much better title might be... "Oranges - The Greengrocer Shop". If you have a physical shop that you want to attract customers to, it would be great to include your town in the meta title too, so "Oranges - The Greengrocer Shop of Banbury" would be even better. The main title on your web page should also be similar to the meta title tag.

The Description tag is exactly that; it should describe what your page is about. If we use our previous example, the description tag might say something like "Everything you wanted to know about quality oranges, and where you can buy them in Banbury". Be careful not to put too many words in your meta tags because that will dilute any effect they may have, and in extreme case get you penalised for spamming the search engines.

Target locally

It's important to state which areas you supply your goods and services to if run a local business. If we use the same example that we used above, nobody is going to want to visit a greengrocer in Banbury if they live hundreds of miles away. People looking for our local greengrocer are likely to search for "greengrocers in Banbury" and other similar variations, so make sure your site mentions your target areas.

Fresh content

Google, Bing and others love to see changing content, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to have a blog or news section. If you have access to this facility - use it! Try to write at least one post a month, or more if you can. Google will typically visit most websites about once a month, and if it notices fresh content whenever it visits it can tell your site is active and dynamic. Plus of course you gradually build up a bigger website with loads of relevant keywords and information embedded in all your extra content.

To summarise SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is constantly changing and evolving. There are a few improvements that can be made to websites in one go that will help your rankings, but to be really successful a long-term approach is required.

There are many other aspects to SEO that will also have an effect on your rankings, but we hope this has given you some ideas when it comes to some of the most important aspects.

Naturally, as web designers we offer SEO services to help you get noticed, and not just in our Banbury area. So get in touch if you'd like to become more visible!

Posted: February 2022