1) WHAT IS GOOGLE SEO?
To understand the various SEO techniques (search engine optimisation), you should first appreciate how a search engine works. Search engines are programs that search through database information for keywords that relate to relevant possible answers to search questions. Whenever you enter a search term into a search engine (for example Google) these programs will use the keywords in your search term to pick out thousands of web pages that contain the required information.
Of course, nobody is going to look through thousands of pages for their information so the next important thing a search engine does is rank these web pages according to popularity (how often each page has been looked at) and relevance (how many times and the ways in which keywords have been used).
This is where on page SEO comes in. The better your website’s SEO (i.e. the more relevant it is to the search terms), the more likely it is to appear at the top of a search engine’s results list. The aim for anyone designing a web page is for it to appear on the first page of this results list. This first page gets 92% of all web traffic simply because most people are too busy to search beyond to the second and third pages.
2) How do search engines work?
The work of searching through the World Wide Web to find relevant web pages isn’t done by people (this would take far too long) it is done by pieces of computer code that interpret the language in which your website is written. A website may look like English to you but behind it there is a markup language, which is readable but contains little markers or tags that do two jobs, they tell your computer how to lay out a web page on your screen but they also provide indicators that search engines can pick up.
3) Does my web page need to look good to be picked up by search engines?
The short answer to this is no. Search engines focus on the content (the writing) on your web page and the way that this content interacts with the markup language tags. The markup language will contain lots of meta information (information that isn’t seen by your readers). That said, it is still important to have a layout that makes accessing information attractive and easy for humans once they have clicked through to your website because the amount of time people spend on a web page will affect its SEO.
4) How does Google understand language?
Google is developing new techniques for interpreting human language all of the time. At the moment there is very much an emphasis on artificial intelligence and Google’s algorithms (small pieces of program code) are developing techniques to ‘learn’ about human language from what we write on social media and websites. This means that the way content is written for your website is very important. Keywords matter but so does sentence structure and where these keywords are positioned.
5) What is a web crawler?
In order to gather information about web pages, search engines use pieces of code called web crawlers (also known as bots and spiders). These visit all of the websites on the World Wide Web and collect information about the content of these websites. The web crawlers make these visits automatically and in a methodical manner and index pages according to their content and relevance.
Which SEO techniques will increase your web traffic?
6) Include Titles and Meta Titles.
Ensuring that you have a relevant title is one of the most important SEO techniques because not to have one would constitute poor ‘grammar’ and render your page unpopular with search engines. One of the first things that search engines consider is whether or not keywords are contained inside the title tag. Writing a title that suits human as well as computer readers can be tricky and additional information that will not be seen by human readers can be added inside a meta title tag. Whilst your human readers might value a quirky post title, the search engine algorithms are not that clever yet and if you use one you risk reducing your website visitor numbers.
7) Choose your keywords carefully.
By choosing the right keywords to include in your web content you will not only ensure that many visitors view your site but also that the type of visitors who are looking for your products or services view it. There are keyword research tools available but these can’t necessarily tell you which keywords will be relevant to your target audience. There are three key steps you can take to judge keyword relevance for your site:
8) How to judge keyword relevance.
Look carefully at what your site is offering and consider a variety of keywords. Ask yourself which questions and search terms will bring visitors who will be happy with what they find.
Try a search term in Google. If you find that there are a large number of results and advertisements then this will be a popular search term. Of course a popular term does mean more competition for that particular keyword.
Test a keyword on a particular page of your website through Google AdWords or another keyword diagnosis tool.
9) Distribute keywords carefully throughout your content.
Once you have established which keywords are going to be most relevant to your site, it is important to understand that the way that you distribute them will impact on how they are viewed by search engines. Having keywords in titles, meta titles, the first paragraph, sub headings and image titles is important as is the way that you use them throughout your content. Google’s algorithms will not rank highly content that is copied, poorly written or does not sufficiently engage readers.
10) Add internal and external links to your web content.
Other SEO techniques involve adding links to other web pages and links from other websites that lead to your page. These are acquired in different ways with some methods (white vs black hat techniques) being classed as a lot less safe to use than others. Looking at the relevance of the content on a particular page, Google will analyse the content inside the links as well.
Internal links go to pages within your website, these links provide corridors along which the web crawlers can travel and will strengthen your website overall. External links to other websites that are also relevant to a search term will improve your ranking, they will also get your site noticed by other site owners, this is important because having links through from other sites (backlinks) is a key factor in SEO strength.
11) Make the most of RSS feeds for SEO.
An RSS feed is a way that interested users can sign up to receiving little snippets of information from your website as content is updated. Whilst the RSS feed itself does not have a direct impact on search engine optimisation, this is a good SEO technique because it increases visitor numbers to and time spent on your site, both of which are popular with Google.
This article will have helped you to understand which SEO techniques will increase your website visitor numbers but maybe the most important thing to remember is that SEO requirements are always changing. As search engine companies like Google develop ever more sophisticated methods of analysing web content, and as user expectations and demands change, there will be a need to tweak SEO provision on your website. Keep up to date with all of the significant changes by subscribing to the Flycast Sales Blog, your website’s success depends on staying ahead of the SEO game.