Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving where your website shows up in search engine results such as Google or Bing. Generally the higher in the search results a website is the more traffic it will get. More traffic means more business. Whether you can reach the top spot also depends on your market. If you’re not in a niche then it can be hard to reach the first page of results, never mind the top spot.
One way in which Google and Bing decide your rankings is through the use of “spiders”. A spider is basically a piece of software that crawls along the web, searching websites for keywords and phrases. The data collected by these spiders is used to determine how relevant your website is when someone searches these keywords and phrases.
It becomes important to also think about the searching habits of your target audience and how these keywords and phrases appear on your site. So if you run a physiotherapy website you should include keywords related to physiotherapy in your website. Common keywords there are “massage” and “lower back pain”. Also keep in mind that the text included in images can’t be read by these spiders, but the alt-text of an image can.
One great way to identify the keywords you should be using is the Google Adwords keyword tool. This tool gives advertisers a list of keywords related to their market but it can also provide copywriters with keywords they should be using. You can also put in any site, and get keyword ideas related to that niche. For example, if I was looking for keywords in the showering space, I would plug in a currently ranking site like Showerheadly.com and get the necessary keyword suggestions.
After you know which keywords you’ll be using you should make sure they are inserted into the body of your pages and the metadata of your page too. This is information that users won’t see but spiders can. You can do it yourself or ask your web designer to do it for you.
PageRank is a ranking out of ten that search engines use to decide how trustworthy your website is. Building up links between websites improves the score of both sites and linking to and from sites with a high PageRank is the most beneficial.
While you can’t control all of the links to your website (and Google tends to punish people who use link farms and generate artificial links) you can take some steps to improve your PageRank score. You should link your website to your social media accounts and try and get it listed on free open directories such as DMOZ. Also try and get your website linked in professional bodies that are related to your market.
You need both inbound and outbound links to improve your SEO. If you ever mention a website you should ideally create a hyperlink to it. Setting up internal links to other pages on your website means that the spiders spend more time looking through your site. One step you can take here is to insert a quick links footer so that each page is linked to another page.
You can find out the PageRank score of your website by using a browser plugin like PageRank Status.
How often spiders crawl around your site is partly determined by how often you create new content on your pages. So you should always change the text and images on your pages, or add and remove pages, at least once a month. That way your content stays fresh and spiders keep coming back.
Another solution that more businesses are adopting is to create blogs and spend time writing or curating content that your target audience will enjoy and find relevant. It might sound like a daunting task but it quickly becomes second nature and shouldn’t take up more than half an hour of your day to do. If you’d like some material to blog about then consider setting up Google Alerts for news and information about your keywords.