What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of maximising the exposure of your website to your potential clients by increasing your ranking in search results – for example within Google search. This is achieved by a combination of ensuring that your site has interesting and relevant original content and that it conforms to Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Why is SEO important for my site?
The chances are that the majority of traffic to your website will come via Google search. Google is focused on giving its users the best possible experience by returning the most relevant results to users when they enter a search query. Google’s algorithms decide how to rank websites, based upon a number of factors – the majority of which are documented in its webmaster guidelines. Optimising your pages using SEO techniques therefore maximises the potential number of visitors to your website.
How does Google rank my pages?
Google’s page ranking is described in its webmaster guidelines. It includes a relative assessment of your site’s content, your site’s responsiveness and availability, and its conformity to guidelines to ensure a great user experience. This includes page load speed, render speed, readability on multiple screen sizes (specifically mobile), security considerations and many other relevant technical factors and optimisations.
How can I see my page visitors search queries?
It is critical that you understand what your page visitors are searching for, when they type a query into Google. Use the Google Search Console tools to help you understand the queries that your visitors have used to reach your site. You can see where your pages rank within search queries, how often your pages were returned to users (“Impressions”), and how many times a link to your site was clicked in the Google search results (“Clicks”).
How important is competition analysis in SEO?
Ranking well requires that you do a thorough analysis of your competitor’s sites. To do this, you need to spend some time entering the kinds of queries that you believe your page visitors will use within Google Search. Take a look at the top 5 pages returned. What content to the competitors that out-rank you have on their pages? Do they use tables of data, images, embedded video? How long are the articles? How relevant is the content on the pages to the search query? Most importantly, you need to decide how (and possibly if) you can create a page that is more relevant to users than the existing top ranking pages.
How important is original content to my page ranking?
Never fall into the trap of plagiarising content – either directly or via loosely re-wording existing content found on the web. Not only is this morally (and likely legally) wrong – but Google has algorithms running to detect plagiarised and non-original content. Non original content will be down-ranked in search results (and possibly omitted altogether). This can have a hugely detrimental effect to your website’s ability to attract visitors via Google search.
Publishing original research is a great way to increase your page ranking. Include tables of original data that would be interesting to users entering queries. This could be highly relevant if you are comparing your products with the competition, or providing an analysis of the landscape of related products or services.
How can I understand user behaviour on my site?
Once you have convinced the Google Search engine to send you traffic, by complying with its guidelines and providing great, original content, the next thing you’ll want to do is understand your user’s behaviour on your site. For this, the go-to tool is Google Analytics. Google Analytics requires that you first create an account, and then embed a code snippet within your web pages.
You can get valuable data rather quickly (such as how many users visited your site and which pages they visited) – but Google Analytics offers many more advanced features to enable you to learn how to guide your users to sign up for your newsletters, make purchases, and much more. This kind of optimisation can take a little extra work and some changes to your site – but much of it can be performed through configuration of Google Analytics itself.
If you’d like help to get started on your SEO journey, or if you’d like a thorough analysis of your existing website, please contact Dan Hill. Our expertise is extensive, and includes:
- Keyword and content research, achieving snippet target status
- Technical optimisation, driven by Chrome Lighthouse reports
- Implementation of Google webmaster guidelines
- Site hierarchy, sitemaps, robots.txt, meta data, image optimisation, lazy loading
- Implementation of Structured data
- Google Analytics and Search Console