If you have a website for your business, the likelihood of you hearing about Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is high! SEO is optimising your website to make them appear in a higher position in organic search results. Organic search results are related to results that have not been sponsored (or paid for). There isn’t an advertising budget behind them to make them rank higher.
Search Engines, much like social media platforms, use an algorithm to determine how high up they appear in the organic search results.
It should come as a surprise to nobody that the top search engine is Google. Goggle has a reported market share of 91.88% across the globe (figure correct as of July 2022). But there are other search engines out there to consider when optimising your website. Search engines like Bing, and Yahoo as well as privacy-orientated search engines like Duckduckgo.
How do Search Engines work?
Search engines follow links on the web using crawlers (or spiders or bots – the term differs depending on who you speak to). These crawlers trawl the internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Exploring the internet for content (text, news, images, links and the like). Every time the crawler comes across a website, it will follow the links around the site. It will then save an HTML version of the website into its index (a gigantic library or database of websites). This index is changed and updated every time something changes on your website. So the more content that is added or changed, the more often the crawler will visit your site.
What is the algorithm?
As with social media platform algorithms, it is ever-changing and ever-evolving. But decades of research and experience in SEO algorithm has shown that there are two main categories the SEO algorithm looks at.
On-Site Factors looks at your website structure, the content, readability of your text, accessibility, and technical factors such as security, caching, compression and speed. Google’s algorithm now weighs quite heavily on technical factors. Google wants to serve their users with quick, accurate and efficient information and will always rank a website higher that can serve this information quicker than one which may take 4-5 seconds to load.
Search engines work hard to make sure that the information that they serve to their users is relevant and unique. Copying from other websites is one quick and easy way to have your website hidden deep down in search results. This means your website copy being original is a big one.
On-site factors no longer look for reams and reams of content with large amounts of keyword repetition. You need to be demonstrating through your website copy that you know your audience and can fulfill their needs.
Off-Site Factors are actions taken outside your website designed to impact the search engine (and user) trust and authority in your site. Your backlinks (links from other websites) and the quality of these links form a large part of this. Backlinks should be high-value and wherever possible, natural or manually built links. Natural links are links which are given without any input on your part. For example, if you are selling farm food products on your website, a natural link could come from a blog dedicated to food and recipes – linking your page as a supplier.
Manually built links are deliberately built by you or your marketing team. Linking from social media to your website, getting influencers linking to your website on their social media too. Other marketing efforts (such as email marketing) which take place independently from your website feed all feed into off-site SEO too.
Does SEO have a place in your digital marketing strategy?
The short answer to this question is yes! Your digital marketing strategy should always be full circle and aligned. SEO algorithms feed on social sharing and traffic from social media platforms as part of the off-page factors mentioned above. Creating digital content such as blogs, creating new products to sell, and adding new information and pages to your website, not only gives your website fresh new and original content to be indexed by the crawlers of big search engines. It can also provide you with lots of quality content to share with social media followers. In our opinion, feeding SEO into your digital marketing strategy is a win-win!
What are the top tips for creating an organic SEO strategy?
Creating a strategy for your SEO is treating your SEO as a long-term goal – as it should be. Short-term wins might be tempting, but search engine crawlers are intelligent little bots who are wise to those short fixes such as keyword stuffing (the filling of pages with unrelated keywords) and the process of buying backlinks. While they might get you onto the first page of Google initially, your website will be pushed down the rankings for this and once they do this, finding your way back up is even harder.
Sustainable SEO is key to ensuring that your website content ranks without you needing to pay for sponsored posts. We create websites for clients with SEO in mind as a starting point. With the option of maintaining their website, content and SEO monthly afterwards. If you would like to know more about our website design options or you have a website already that you need some help with – get in touch. We’d love to learn more about you, your business and your goals for the future!