SEO – what is it all about anyway?
Online business is now the norm with the bulk of consumers partaking in the on-line shopping experience. IBIS World Research forecasts an 8.6% per year increase in online revenues over the next five years. This Indicates’ a change in consumer behaviour giving preference to on-line purchases over traditional shopping centers. So then, if the consumer prefers to shop on-line, businesses must meet this challenge by optimizing their website in search results so that they can be found before their competitors, which makes a powerful case for understanding how SEO works.
Since Google own about 90% of the search engine market share n Ireland it makes perfect sense to understand their algorithms and how websites are ranked. The former is a secret, although many campaigners are attempting to legally force Google to reveal their algorithm enigma. Similar to the recipe of Coke, I suspect it will always remain un-published. Google update digital marketers on changes that may affect SEO and what techniques will bode positively for highly ranked search engine results pages (SERPs).
There are three main areas to consider in SEO:
Content, back-links and popularity all contribute to your page being ranked highly. I will discuss the area of Content in this blog and will endeavour to cover the other two areas in later blogs.
The saying, “Content is King” is perhaps a little deceptive in that it dismisses the importance of the other two areas. Back-links and popularity are just as important, which is why I designed the above picture in a triangle – “The power of three” = SEO! Good relevant content alone will not suffice for SEO. All three must be optimized to improve SERPs, although I acknowledge ‘content’ is currently the most important out of the three.
In short content should always be relevant to your products and services and it should be engaging to your audience. On-line content involves a little more than just good relevant writing and images. Keywords should be researched before developing content.
What are keywords?
Keywords are the search words a user types into Google. The keyword is then interpreted by Googles algorithm process and the most relevant websites are displayed. Google has these websites already indexed in a cache. A Google spider (or bot) crawls the web indexing and storing content from websites.
There are many ways for a digital marketer to research keywords. The most obvious way is through Googles’ Keyword Planner. To do this you need a Google email account. Another way is to go to www.google.com/trends . Google will display some nifty graphs that provide a time line of keyword usage. For instance; when typing in Botox (not that I get botox, of course) in Google Trends, I noticed this keyword was most searched for in 2011 and Brazil entered this keyword the most! Go figure, I thought they were a nation of naturally young looking beauties!
There are many companies that offer a free service to research keywords, for instance: www.semrush.com provides nice looking graphs and gives an overview of your competitors using same keywords.
So you have researched your keywords – What do you do?
Simple, you make sure they are included in your website for content optimization. This is done through using the keywords in the website domain name (if possible), URL, page titles and headings. Keywords should also be included in your paragraphs – but be careful not to practice in keyword stuffing (using the keyword too much). Google frowns on this type of black hat SEO practice. An example of using keywords is illustrated below. I Googled Botox (for a change – and still maintain I never use the stuff):
Let’s discuss the ‘second listing’ in the above search result. The domain: www.beaconfaceanddermatology.ie has a relevant name and uses Botox (or Botulinum) in the description. The URL, which is an extension of the domain name (a page of that website) also displays relevant content, i.e. anti-wrinkle-botulinum-injections. The paragraph below continues to utilize the keyword ‘Botox’, but is careful not to use it consistently.
I will finish up by noting there is an awful lot more to learn about SEO and it is an area that needs constant attention as Google frequently changes its algorithms. These updates will affect a company’s SE O strategy. The above should be considered as a brief of the area and if you want to know more, try reading bruceclays blog which explains how back-links support the SEO equation.