For a start, it's a terrible name. We don't optimize search engines, so there's that. Actually, what SEO does (Search Engine Optimization) is to shine the best light on your website for Google to like it and rank it higher in its search results.
Google is the undoubted king of Search Engines. Bing, Yahoo are search engines, but they are minuscule compared to Google, especially in the UK. So if you want your website to be found by people specifically looking for your products or service you are going to have to do it with Google.
The search engine is an algorithm, it has a bunch of signals it measures each website with, then decides which it thinks is a better value website for a searcher. Its ultimate goal is to deliver the best search results. The most accurate. Otherwise, people will start using other search engines and their global domination comes to an end.
So what are the signals Google uses to decide which website should rank before another? This is the essence to SEO. Google won't tell you, it's a secret. But they do give us hints. As a community (the SEO community) we take those hints and we trial a whole bunch of things and come up with our own interpretation of Google's algorithm. Here's what we know.
Google checks to see your website is built well. The idea being, if you're website is poorly built the user doesn't get a very good experience and therefore your site shouldn't be found higher than a website that does offer a good user experience. How fast the website is loads, whether or not it fits nicely on the tablet or mobile devices. This is called being responsive.
Then, every website has titles, descriptions, and tags. No one really sees these besides Google, but it helps Google to understand what your website is about and who might benefit from finding it. If your website is a local cafe in Lincoln, you need your meta descriptions to tell Google that so when a searcher types into Google “cheap cafe lincoln” they know it might be a good idea to show them your website because it could be of interest to them.
You might as well forget everything else if you don't have this right. It would be like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
This is a new change. Google has decided that the more content there is, probably the more value there is to the reader too. Not as a 100% rule but as a general rule. But when you see content, don't just think the words on the screen, content can mean images or video. In fact, Google likes images and video too because it's 'interactive' or 'dynamic' and the visitor is going to have a better experience.
Something technical, that I've put into the content section is what is known as bounce rate. It's how long someone stays on your website. The general idea is, the longer they stay the better experience they have. Having content is going to help. So will having videos. But it has to be good quality, with the goal of keeping people reading or watching.
Google thinks this. If a website links to your website, it is a recommendation. But not just any recommendation. It's better that the recommendation comes from either an expert or someone who understands the subject well. So, in website terms, it should come from either a website that Google sees as an authority. A well-respected website. Or a website that is about the same subject as yours. A relevant website.
We want to go out and find other websites to connect to us, websites that matter. The better the connection and the more we have, the more Google will see us as valuable to the viewer and push us up the rankings. (it's very much quality over quantity)
So this is SEO, in a nutshell. Make sure your website is well built and well labeled so Google understands what you do. Make sure you have great content, both for Google and for your visitors. And finally, get links (connections) from other websites that are either relevant or authoritative.
That's the idea, but Google is always moving the goalposts slightly. Part of our job will be to deliver these things and also keep an eye of Google and adapt the strategy accordingly. To find out more about how we can help you, get in contact for your free, no obligation consultation.