The objective of Search Engine Optimisation is to ensure that a website is as clearly visible to the search engines as possible and returned as high as possible in the search results for relevant searches.
Many people would love you to believe that Search Engine Optimisation is some form of black art.
Don’t believe them!
It’s not. And, in some senses, it’s getting easier as the technology employed by the search engines improves. There is still, none-the-less, a range of standards that you need to adhere to when constructing your website, and the content on your pages, in order to maximise its performance in the search results.
That aside, you’re far better off concentrating on the quality of the content on your site than on whatever the search engines may think of it.
To make your business successful you need to focus on your business. Not the search engines!
The Search Engines’ Mission
The search engines all see their mission as providing the most relevant results possible to people searching for information on the Internet.
Google has been particularly successful in this and, over time, has raised the bar continuously on the quality of search results by focusing on relevance.
Relevance is the term used to mean that a search result is totally relevant to what the searcher was looking for.
In order to achieve high rankings for their sites in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS), many webmasters started attempting to analyse the search engine algorithms and then adjust their websites to meet what they thought were the Search engines’ criteria.
This led to web pages and web sites being written for the search engines, rather than for real people, and many of these sites read very badly to the average viewer as a result.
This desire to rank well in the SERPS also resulted in the development of ‘black hat’ SEO techniques.
These are techniques that are developed in order to deliberately fool the search engines into believing the site in question is highly relevant to the search.
As a result of these two trends the search engines now continually fine-tune and adjust their search algorithms. Their purpose in doing this is two-fold:
- To continually improve the relevance of the search results they provide to searchers
- To negate the efforts of the ‘black hat’ SEO specialists.
Search Engine Optimisation is, therefore, a dynamic, ever-changing environment.
In fact Google, alone, makes between 400 and 500 algorithm updates a year.
Which is why it’s important to focus on your business. If you try to keep up with the search engines you’ll have no time for your business.
Today, the importance of relevance in search engine results means that there are three points it’s important to achieve in optimising a website for the search engines:
- Good quality, frequently updated content that the search engine spiders can easily find and read
- Correct use of the accepted standards (META and semantic tags) to effectively tell the search engines about the site and its content
- A high number of incoming links or social shares from good quality sites in the same or similar industry categories to your site
There are other factors, but focusing on those 3 areas as a starting point forms the foundation of a well optimised website.
Steps that can be taken
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) broadly falls into 2 categories:
- On page (or site) SEO
- Off page SEO
On page SEO relates to how a website is set up, the content it contains and how effectively that content is displayed to the search engines.
Off page SEO relates to what the Internet at large ‘thinks’ of the site. This has traditionally been determined by the number and type of links that a site attracts, but is increasingly being affected by your social media activities.
Any website SEO project must address both on page and off page SEO to be effective.
Martin has written a series of articles on Search Engine Optimisation – you can find them here.
SEO website design
The platform we use exclusively for all websites we build, WordPress, is a superbly coded platform. This is a fundamental requirement for a site that’s ‘well SEO’d’.
In addition, we use the Thesis framework for constructing the design of your site, and Thesis is acknowledged as one of the most SEO-effective WordPress frameworks around.
This is thanks to its clean coding and the built-in controls it gives us over the on-page SEO factors that need to be set up.
All the websites we create are built on WordPress and Thesis, which gives you excellent on-site SEO. That, in turn, will help your site to figure as high as possible in the search results. Do remember, though, that on-site SEO is only half the story – you will need to pay attention to your off-site SEO as well.
For more details on how we can help you improve your website’s performance in the search results please:
Hosting is the foundation on which websites are built – give your site a foundation of rock and get a great performance boost (at a great price!): click here.