What is SEO?

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.  [Wikipedia]

i.e. the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic to a website.

Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site via social media to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

SEO is a step in the RANKING process. If a website has not been properly optimised, then they cannot even think about improving their website’s ranking. There are many that offer SEO products and processes, but before you choose a SEO expert to optimise your website, make sure you know exactly what it means.

The success of any SEO website project depends on:

  • having many good “content rich pages” on a website;  and  The “content” of your site consists of all the words, pictures or photos, videos, and links. There should be more words than images. Content should be original, informative and interesting;
  • having at least 5 quality incoming and outgoing links to and from the website;
  • continually linking and sharing to social media (one a week is tops, but one a month will also be effective.!);
  • relevant keywords used in title and descriptive tags, and/or underlined words, lists, image text, bold text, link text, and headings.
  • having no coding errors or penalties.

Due to the number of websites from competing industries and services on the World Wide Web – we are talking millions, and at lest 1’000’s in SA alone –  it is virtually impossible to guarantee which website will get the best viewing from search queries.  This is an “art and a science” that changes, as competition changes and as Google (and other search engines) refine and redefine their search criteria.

Without a doubt, SEO gives any website the best foundation in the complex science of ranking, and a fair chance at being found by the very keywords Google has indexed in the process.

SEO is both a once-off optimisation process to cover the basic on-the-page technical as well as content stuff, and an ongoing enhancement process with some on-the-page stuff but mostly off-the-page stuff.

The ONCE-OFF on-page & technical stuff:

  • ensuring that the most effective and valid keywords are present on your website so that they can be indexed by Google, based on their stipulated guidelines, in order to receive traffic that is directly related to your keywords and thus also directly related to your business / services offered via your website.
    Many websites are indexed with non-relevant keywords. For example:   keywords like “welcome”, “contact us”, “products”,  “telephone number”, “address”, “business”…. etc. often end up being the popular keywords indexed for a website by Google, because the web owner / designer did not know better. These words do NOTHING for the company or business or services that are on offer. It happens when those words are the most common ones used in headings, page titles, tags, alt tags, image names (the criteria that Google use to index keywords);
  • adding new paragraphs of text, or even add new pages of text (content) if the original text did not include enough of the relevant keywords;
  • modifying title tags, description tags, alt tags, image text and tags, URL, Headings, lists, bold, underline and link texts – to be search engine compliant and to contain one or more relevant keywords;
  • an XML Sitemap feed can be created and submitted to ensure that all pages are found;
  • registering the website with Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics;
  • adding quality incoming and outgoing links to and from the website;
  • adding social media links or buttons on your website;

The ONGOING on and off-page stuff:

  • technical on-the-page optimisation is recommended for all new content you add to your site ;
  • continually adding relevant news or articles and images to prevent your website from becoming stale and keeping regular visitors interested;
  • adjust to changes that Google make to their indexing processes (when required);
  • continually building trust with customers/clients / site visitors through interacting with on-line social media, and/or blog pages, and/or news feeds;
  • keeping with trends, like following supply and demand and advertising and sharing those with visitors to your website;
  • keeping links to and from your website relevant and current (to avoid broken or bad links).

Here is a fabulous chart explaining these facets….

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

SEO Optimisation, can and does prepare your website – i.e. build a good foundation –  for effective advertising campaigns. With an effective advertising campaign one can guarantee a huge improvement RANKING in Google searches, and with careful planning one can have one’s website feature on the first page of a search query. But that’s another step ahead of what we are doing here.

With proper Search Engine Optimisation done, it is then possible to address Ranking – web-page positioning on Google search. But understand that no-one can guarantee a website a no.1 position. No-one.!

SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors.  Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website’s placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. According to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, in 2010, Google made over 500 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day.

It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.

If you like you can read “Google Basics”. In that article, Google explain how they look for content, and how they index keywords based on the content. You can then move on to more articles on Google Webmaster about SEO.  Click here to read Google Basics.

Should you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to add it to a “comment” box below, or go to the “contact” page.

Thank you.!
Liliane

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