Search Engine Optimisation

SEO in a Nutshell

In a nutshell Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the process of setting out a website and each of its pages to be as effective as possible in search engine results.

Search engines are asked by their users to return a list of websites which are the closest matches for the search terms entered, and successful SEO on websites and individual pages will allow them to stand a better chance of being listed amongst the top search results.

Frequently asked SEO questions

  • Why is SEO so important?
  • Why is my website not listed in search results?
  • How do I get people to visit my website?
  • Do I need to spend money on pay per click (PPC)?
  • Are organic search results sufficient?
  • How can I improve my search results?

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Is SEO it important?

Absolutely, but just how important will depend on what you want from your website. 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!

So if you want your website to be seen (and who doesn't?), 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, as any newcomer 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.

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What does SEO involve?

Ideally your website should be built from the ground up with usability and SEO in mind. Some of the specifics are explained further down this page, but let’s just say at this point that SEO should have been a key consideration right from the start of the development of your website, and not just an add-on at the end.

But what if it wasn’t designed to be effective? Is it too late?

The answer is no. Things can be done to improve your effectiveness with search engines, but how much can be done 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:

  • Page 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 investigation.

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What impact does SEO have on design?

In many ways styling shouldn't be affected, but what the content on your pages say and how they link and reference to other content and pages on your site is very important.

But you shouldn't overdo it.

In the early days of the web, success with search engines was often achieved by cramming as many keywords and key phrases on a page as possible, sometimes to a point where it would look excessive and repetitive.

For example it might have looked something like:

Targa Web Design is a leading web design agency in Lincolnshire. Our 25 years of web design experience speaks for itself, and we are unbeaten in the Lincolnshire area for building quality websites. You will find that our website design services are amongst the cheapest and best value in Lincolnshire.

That is NOT how I want to portray Targa, but you get the idea? It was very much a case of how many times the same thing can be said in as many ways as possible, and hope that you had managed to cram in more than your competitors so that you appeared higher in search results.

It is also known as keyword stuffing and some websites still operate on that basis to gain an unfair advantage, but the search engines have become increasingly aware of this practise and can either penalise or block any pages found to be keyword stuffing.

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Thankfully things are continuing to change

For example Google places increasing importance on meaningful and relevant content, and discourages any form of keyword stuffing in the way described above.

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What does meaningful and relevant content mean?

Well in our case, we are based in the UK and we design websites mainly for the trades, motorsports and small businesses. We also provide a number of web related services. Our website and its pages should reflect that. But if we were to try and attract web traffic by using keywords for things we don't do (graphic design for magazine adverts, for example) that wouldn't be relevant.

But how meaningful is it? Does a website, for example, portray the company as being experts in their field, and from all of the other options of similar companies in the area, do you get the sense that this company is the one which is most suited to your needs?

Google tries to determine just that, by evaluating the nature and content of a website against criteria which assesses the credibility of a website and its owners. Google calls this process E-A-T which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness which is derived from Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines.

I won’t go any further into E-A-T for now, but you can clearly see that it is a far better approach than the old method of working out the proportion of keywords on a page and delivering search results on that basis.

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What are SERPs?

SERPs is a term which you may or may not have come across, but you use them a lot... probably every day.

SERPs simply means Search Engine Results Pages. Google it, then look at the list of search results displayed on the pages in front of you. Those are the SERPs!

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Get in touch

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

    Phone: 01406 373511

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