Search Engine Optimisation

What is SEO? How does it work?

SEO in a Nutshell

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the process of using strategies to get more people to visit your website.

When somebody uses a search engine, they expect to see list of results which are the closest matches for the search terms entered, and with some order of relevance.

Successful SEO on websites and individual pages will allow them to stand a better chance of being listed amongst the top search results.

This can be achieved by using a variety of methods to determine how a website and each of its pages should be set out to be as effective as possible in search engine results.

SEO - strategies to get more people to visit your website

  • Keyword research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Meaningful and relevant content
  • On-site and off-site strategies
  • Website structure
  • Internal and external linking
  • Targeted meta-content

Is SEO important?

As a business it is no longer enough to just be online because to succeed, you need to be found.

Even if you have the most incredible site but no one ever gets to see it, then what is the point of that website? Worse still, if your business depends on it, then you’ve got a big problem!


There was life before Google!


Back in the 1990's when I first started building websites, we had a number of search engines such as AltaVista, Lycos, Excite, Infoseek, Hotbot and Yahoo.

Their methods and criteria for accepting and ranking websites were not fully aligned with each other, and success with these search engines was a slow process requiring plenty of patience, constant monitoring of results, tweaking code and content and then trying again.

In the 90's the impact of updates could take a couple of weeks or even a couple of months to show up, and it was a long, laborious but essential task.

It still is.

So what's the plan?

You can't just leave SEO to chance. You need a plan... a strategy!

SEO retainer plans

Due to the nature of SEO, you will SEO specialists offering monthly retainer plans, which can cost upwards of £100 and run into several £1000's depending on the size, effort and other factors such as whether paid advertising and pay-per-click strategies are required.

I still recall my first SEO retainer contract: Sleeperz Hotel in Cambridge.

After I had build their first website in 1998, the owner at the time actually said to me I'm going to need you to spend a few hours a week getting my website high in the search engines, otherwise I'm going to struggle against the other hotels in the area.

And so we agreed on a retainer plan, and he was very happy with the results.


Getting seen requires a strategy

If you want your website to be seen, being as close to the top of the list of search results as possible should be your goal. Done correctly and consistently, SEO can make this happen.

But this won't happen overnight, and it will require a lot of attention, monitoring and analysis.

It WILL take some time....

Any new business offering services within a geographic area will need to earn the right to be amongst the existing well established websites for those same search criteria.

As a business it is no longer enough to just be online because to succeed, you need to be found. So even if you have the most incredible website, you could have a big problem if nobody sees it!

To succeed it is no longer enough to just be online

SEO for WordPress, Wix and SquareSpace

SEO is equally relevant to those of you who have sites built on WordPress, Wix or SquareSpace, as it is to business who have bespoke websites.

Some platforms are easier to work with and adjust for SEO effectiveness than others, but the end goal is the same... to get your website seen.


What does SEO involve?

Ideally your website should be designed with SEO as a key consideration right from the start, but many people make the mistake of treating it as an add-on at the end.

But what if your website has already been built? Is it too late? What can be done?

Things can certainly be done to improve your effectiveness with search engines, and this would need to be assessed on a case by case basis.

Some examples of what should be reviewed would include:

Competitor analysis:

  • Which of your competitors are appearing in the top search engine results?
  • What are they doing to give them such a high position?
  • What can be done with your new or existing website to enable you to get amongst the top search results for the services you provide in your area?

Checking for website errors:

  • Checking for broken links
  • Checking for missing images
  • Fixing any website errors found.

Review for improvements to your website:

  • Website content review and enhancements.
  • Keyword research analysis and improvements.
  • Checking how the major tags such as <title>, <h1> and <h2> etc are being used.
  • Page load speed analysis.
  • Website architecture analysis.
  • Page structure validation using the W3C validator.
  • Internal links - analysis and review of existing internal links and identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • Improve Inbound linking (also known as backlinking)
  • Improve outbound linking
  • Determine strategy for the use of landing pages.

Google submissions:

  • Google validation and submitting.
  • Google Analytics tag installation, validation, analysis and monitoring.
  • Google My Business listing to help your business to stand out when people are searching in your area for the services you provide.

Bing submissions:

  • Submission to the Bing search engine
  • Submission to Bing Places which will help potential customers find your website when searching for businesses like yours on Bing.

Our free website health check would be a good place to start the initial review and analysis of your existing website.

Free website health check!


You are unlikely to see results straight away

I realise that is not a positive headline, but it's the truth...

Success in organic searches can take weeks or several months, depending on your sector and the level of competition.

That IS the reality, and so anyone who claims that they can get you to the top in search results may very well be exaggerating!

Also remember that your competition will be working hard to get to the top and stay there.


Patience? What about news and sports updates?

Now you might be wondering why I say that SEO takes time and patience, yet Google can display up to the minute sports scores or updates on major news stories which happened earlier that same day.

Well Google has a way of categorising certain search topics and search terms, and it can make use of different features based on industry and, in the above examples, news and sport.

This special ranking feature is called QDF, which stands for Query Deserves Freshness and aims to serve up to date information in its search results.

For the most part my business and your businesses are unlikely to get the QDF treatment, and therefore we have to compete in a much broader arena, where updates to our website content will take much longer to take effect.

"We can get you to the top in Google"

An ambitious claim that you will hear a lot from people offering SEO services.

A reality check is needed, and expectations need to be set.

An ambitious claim that you will hear a lot from people offering SEO services.

A reality check is needed, and expectations need to be set.


An SEO reality check

Claims by SEO agencies to get you to #1 in Google for organic search can be exaggerated, and should usually be taken with a pinch of salt.

SEO is an ongoing process. It is competitive and requires effort, analysis, frequent monitoring of progress, and tweaking of pages and content.

And if you're expecting to display right at the top of the search results when those who are already at the top have paid to be there, organic search won't get you to the top.

The best you could hope for without paying for Google Ads is to get as high as possible AFTER the paid search results.

We can certainly help!

Paid search results in Google

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss anything further, feel free to reach us by email or phone as follows:

Email: daron@targaweb.com     Phone: 01406 373511


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