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SEO: a ten minute guide

09 Mar 2016

SEO ten minute guideSearch Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of positioning a company's website as high as possible in the Google, Yahoo and Bing rankings, for terms that are most likely to bring the company good quality business leads.

What's the SEO secret?

Google keeps its algorithm a secret, in order to stop cowboy SEO companies 'gaming' the system, instead of focussing on good user experiences. However, the things you need to do to get good rankings are widely known and accepted.

Many SEO cowboys claim to know secrets to getting good rankings, but there is no magic button, and not even Google can guarantee specific placements. So wild claims that seem to good to be true should be filed in the same place as any other spam or con artists.

Those of us that are immersed in the world of websites and SEO know that there are no magic secrets to success - just like anything else it's a balance of skill, experience, understanding of the concepts, keeping up to date with new developments - but mostly just a lot of hard work.

How to improve your website's Google rankings

These are the things you need to do to get your website to the top of Google:

  • Provide lots of good quality content
  • Get lots of other trustworthy sites to link to your website
  • Focus on highly efficient keywords
  • Use a high quality fast server to host your website
  • Make sure the content on your site is correctly tagged
  • Ensure your site structure is logical and straightforward

If you do all these things better than your competitors, then you'll get to the top for the searches you want. But if your competitors are working harder than you in the areas above, they are likely to be ahead.

Why use professional SEO services? Why not just do it yourself and save money?

Of course, anyone can learn SEO, just like anyone can learn to be a plumber or fly a plane. But just like those other professions, it takes a lot of time and dedication. Those who think dabbling a bit in SEO will be easy are mistaken.

It can take months, or even years to get to grips with SEO, and the landscape is changing all the time. It's a very opaque area, so often it's hard to tell what you're doing that is having an effect, and what is just a waste of time.

People who work in SEO all the time have a greater body of data to work with, and when they learn a new trick which works on one site, they can apply it to all the others they're working with.

What makes SEO smarter?

As well as doing all the usual SEO work, it's important to carry out a Keyword Analysis to ensure money and time are being well spent. This involves analysing the data associated with various search terms and working out a Keyword Efficiency Indicator.

In this way you can target terms that you might not expect people to use, but in fact they are, and also focus on terms that are not being targeted by huge numbers of companies.

For example, say you have ten hours to spend on SEO - which of these terms do you think has the most searches?

  • web designer
  • web designers

You might decide to spend five hours on each, or just pick one to spend ten hours on and ignore the other. But in fact (on the day of writing) the search volumes were like this:

  • web designer = 49,500 searches
  • web designers = 550,000 searches

(data is in the last month in the UK)

Now, with that information, how do you think you'll spend your ten hours?

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and you can also look at synonyms, misspellings, location based terms, phrase strings and competitor volumes.

 

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