What is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making a website more friendly for search engines with the goal of achieving high rankings. For example if we have a website to do with “Health” then we need to do everything that we can to convince the search engines that our website is fully focused on the subject of health.
Further to this, and to rank well we need to convince the search engines and our audience that we are the absolute best authority on all aspects of health. This is the basic starting point for optimising a website so if you don’t have a real passion for health ( or whatever your’e website is about ) then chances are that you may never rank well. The reason I say this is that if you are really passionate about a particular topic then usually it will show in the quality of your articles.
The ultimate outcome of all of this is that over time you will be considered the expert in your field and the result will be that many other sites will link to your article in forums and social media. The process above is what is known in the SEO industry as “Link Baiting“. What this means is that the articles that you have posted are so well written that people are compelled to link to them. The more sites and social media links that are created then the more authority your site will have in the eyes of the search engines. Each link is counted as a vote for the authenticity of your website.
Although the content is only the very basics of the SEO process it is a great starting point that can form the foundation of the overall optimisation procedure. There are literally dozens of other factors that come into play when getting a website to rank well in various search engines.
Site Structure for Good SEO
Site structure is one of the very first things to consider when starting a website. A good site structure helps the search engines and the user to easily navigate your site and to let them know exactly what the site and various categories are all about. Proper site structure also helps you to obtain sitelinks in the Google search results. The sitelinks are the typical 6 category links which show up under your listing when searching for your site on Google.
Sitelinks in the search results are a huge bonus as they can point the user to where they want to go on your website before they even get there. By having good site structure you are much more likely to get your most popular categories or pages listed under your Google search results.
Below is an example of good site structure. In this case we are looking at a printer cartridge website. The top hierarchy link displays” Cartridges by Printer” and when hovered over the sub menus are displayed showing each manufacturers category of printer cartridges.
In some cases it may be necessary to add a further sub category to each manufacturer such as genuine, non genuine, toner and inkjet. By having this very easy to navigate but comprehensive site structure it is both easy for the search engines to index and also user friendly. Remember that even more important than the site being SEO friendly is the usability of the site. It is of utmost importance that the site structure makes it simple for the user to find whatever they are looking for or else they will soon leave and find another site that is easy to use.
As far as the URL structure of the last category page or product page are structured I personally always prefer the following: “www.your-domain/product-name” rather than “www.your-domain/category-name/product-name“. Many marketing experts prefer that the category is added to the URL however this is debatable and up to the individual to set the structure they prefer. In regards to the SEO advantages of the URL I haven’t really seen any difference in the way pages rank by using either URL structure however some prefer the category in the URL as it allows the user to see more accurately where they are within the site.
Keywords and Semantics
The next step in optimising a website is to research what keywords to use and where and when to use them. In the early days of SEO it was simply a matter of stuffing as many keywords as you could into the title and content and whammy you were ranking well. Nowadays the search engines are very good at analyzing the content of a site and if the keywords are used too much or not in a natural way then the site is instantly penalized.
This is the reason why you must carefully chose your keywords and use them naturally rather than just stuffing them in wherever you can. The general rule for keywords in content is to sprinkle them at the start of your content but be sure to use no more than 2 percent of each keyword throughout your content. Google’s algorithm is now also able to detect semantics which are words that are related or have similar meanings. An example of semantics is for example “a man”, “a male” or even “he”. They are simply all similar versions of the same thing and the search engines love them but once again don’t over stuff them in your content.
There are websites that you can actually input keywords into and they will output a heap of keywords that are popular for your own country. One of these is the Keyword Generator Tool. Another way to find keyword suggestions and related search terms is to enter a search term into google and scroll to the bottom of the page. As seen below we searched for “Goldfish” and all of the related searches are below.
These related search terms are great to use for article writing ideas or even to use when appropriate throughout your content. Check out the following site for more information on keywords and semantics. If you want to get even further into semantics, keywords and content writing then take a look at the SEO PowerSuite. I’ve used this software before on other sites and although it’s expensive it is extremely powerful and worth the investment.
Depending on what your website is about or what service you provide will determine whether Local SEO is for you. If for example you run a bike repair shop in Adelaide then you would definitely need to optimise your site for local SEO, in this case for the city of Adelaide. Local SEO involves local focused content, links from relevant local businesses and citations from both local and other authoritative directories and related sites.
Citations are an online, accurate collection of your businesses details. Often this is referred to as the businesses “NAP” which stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. The “NAP” is very important in the eyes of search engines as it gives them an accurate record of the validity and authority of the business and it’s relevancy to the local area.
Obviously the more listings that are seen by the search engine and the more accurate the “NAP” details are then the higher your site will rank in that given location. This however is only one aspect of both your local and overall rankings however it is highly recommended that some time is spent to get this right. Another aspect of local SEO is to register with ” Google My Business” and create the most comprehensive and accurate overview of your business that you possibly can.
Once you have created your Google My Business page then if you have the time write regular articles and post them on Google, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. I have personally experienced better rankings that always coincide with the writing of fresh articles on my blogs combined with posting them to the various social platforms on a regular basis.
Once your site has everything in order and has a reasonable amount of high quality content then the factor that will boost it’s rankings the most is Link Building. The process of getting links pointing to your site is perhaps the hardest and most time consuming task of all SEO processes.
There is however one method that automates the link building process and it’s what’s known as “Link Baiting”. Link Baiting is basically done by creating content or articles that are so informative and so well written that other people simply have to create links to them.
Many of the big time bloggers actually hire copywriters who are trained at producing amazing content. Usually the content is intermingled with beautiful info-graphics and maybe graphs with statistics etc and it is so well written that people just have to link to it. This is why it’s known as link baiting, it’s kind of like fishing using the absolute best of bait that is irresistible to fish.
You must be very cautious however as not all links are the same. Anyone who has been into the SEO game for anytime understands that a handful of amazing links are worth more than 10,000 low quality links. You must look for links that have a high DA or “Domain Authority“. Domain authority is basically a ranking score that was produced by a company known as Moz.
The higher the “DA” score then the greater the sites ability is to rank in the search engines. The DA scores start at 0 for a new site with little or no links through to the maximum score of 100 for the perfect, highest ranking of sites.