Welcome to my guide to SEO for dummies!
This guide is designed to describe and explain all major aspects of SEO in the simplest way possible.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation and is a complex, ever-changing form of digital marketing.
However, it can be easy to get your head around the basics, and once you understand that and combine it with some practice, you are well on your way to becoming an SEO.
The world of marketing, in particular – search engine marketing, is one that many people over-complicate and make it seem as complex as quantum physics. In reality, it’s not, and I hope that by breaking it down as simply as I’m about to, I can help some of you reading this.
A Google crawl is the terminology used by SEOs and Google for when Google’s algorithm reads your website in its search engine. There are two basic points to make here:
- If a website cannot be crawled by Google, it cannot rank in search engines.
- If a website provides google with difficulty when crawling, it will struggle to rank.
It is possible to tell Google not to crawl your website – this should be done in certain situations such as when your website is being built and developed and not user-ready. However, if it’s ready, and you want users to find it, if it’s not crawlable, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
It is also possible to tell Google to crawl certain pages and not others – this should be done for pages such as the login page to your website, as you don’t want people stumbling across that in Google. For reference, this can be done through what is known as a Robots.txt file.
The main rule is: if you want someone to find it, it needs to be crawled by Google.
Google may struggle to crawl your website efficiently if your website is slow and clunky. Page speed and response time is an extremely important SEO factor due to this point.
Informative, well-written content.
As the age-old cliche goes, content is king. I’m tired of hearing it, and I’m ashamed of myself for saying it, but it’s true.
As the graph displays above, the average content length of web pages that rank position one is 2450. There are no doubts around the fact that content-focused websites rank better than any other websites and this figure is likely to top 3,000 in the near future.
Compelling content is crucial to ranking well in search engines due to the simple fact that, once a user completes a search, Google’s job is to provide them with the web page that answers their query best – the way to do that is with content.
We’ve often been asked “What are the key benefits of using long-form content?”, and we have a great answer – targeted visitors from organic search traffic gained from ranking improvements. That’s the aim for your online presence, right?
Keyword potency and strength.
This is an easy one.
Content is great, but if you’re a website selling washing machines in London, but your content talks about ironing boards in Cheshire, you’re not going to rank for what you’ve created your website for.
Weird example, I know, but I’m sure it made sense…
The keywords you use and how you use them are very important to SEO and how you rank due to the fact that everything regarding content goes back to the fact that you are answering a user’s search query.
With anything in business and marketing, the most important metric is user happiness, and with websites, this can be gained through providing great user experience.
This can be broken down into:
- Fast load speed.
- Ease of use.
- Compelling user interface.
- Optimised designs for all devices.
- A good user journey.
Google understands that its job is to place a user that searches a query to the website that will provide the user with the most value. So, if you make it your website, it’s more likely to send users to you.
If your content is good, it will become share-worthy, which means it will be shared.
Through being shared, your website gains natural, high-quality links from other websites. This amplifies your website to Google and tells its algorithm that you are a trusted hub of content.
Again, content is king…
Optimisation of metadata.
SEO metadata is what appears on search engine result pages when a website comes up for queries. The pieces of data you need to worry about are title tags and meta descriptions.
Not only should these be optimised for rankings, but they should also be optimised for the user.
The content that appears in search engines dictates the click-through rate of the user and how many people will ultimately see your content, so it’s very important.
Rich snippet optimisation.
Rich snippets, also known as schema markup, is a piece of HTML that you can upload to your website to change how you appear in search engines.
This is an important stage of optimisation that can be difficult but ultimately reaps amazing rewards.
Through using schema markup, your website can take up more space in search engines, which can lead more users to your website.
SEO is complex and very in-depth, but these points are a great place to start with and become familiar with the world of search engine optimisation.