Welcome to part one of our guide to SEO.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is one of those “dark art” type subjects that tends to be shrouded in mystery like a Scooby Doo villain.
So how do you cut through the smoke and mirrors and unmask the the villain to reveal what you really need to know?
First let’s talk about what search engine optimisation is.
What is SEO
Search engine optimisation is the act of creating a website that is relevant to your target audience. The web site and its content has to be informative, good quality and relevant for your line of business.
The aim of all of these steps to optimise your website (apart from having a quality site) is to rank highly in the search engine results.
Your content must be relevant!
So for instance if you own a florist in Glasgow but have information about sea fishing on your store this would be seen as irrelevant to the subject of floristry. Relevance is decided by the search engines algorithms, through keywords and also site analytics.
If people visit your site looking for flowers but instead get info on how to best catch a sea bass then they are likely to come off your site quickly, this in turn will affect what is referred to as your bounce rate.
If your bounce rate is increasingly high this is a sign to Google’s spiders (we will talk about them more in part 2) that your sites content is not relevant to the search term “florists in Glasgow” and as a result your page will fall from the SERPS (search engine results pages).
There are many other reasons for a high bounce rate and low ranking pages such as slow loading or uninteresting landing pages, high keyword density, large unoptimised images and many more variables that we will cover in later blog posts.
First lets look at the main areas of search engine optimisation.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO
Not all SEO methods are the same, most are broken into two areas,white hat and black hat, or at least lie between them in various shades of grey.
White Hat is all your Google recommended good practice like having high quality optimised images, relevant well written content, fast loading well designed web pages. (More on Google’s good practice guidelines)
Black Hat SEO is about using various methods to artificially climb Googles serps, for example buying multiple links to your site known as backlinks or stuffing your content with keywords that don’t add to the how the content reads.
In this series of blog posts I will only be discussing white hat SEO methods, as the black hat methods available tend to only give short term gains ultimately leading to penalties from the search engines and reduced site rankings.
In my next blog post I will discuss the steps you can take to get your web page ranking using online and offline SEO methods.