What is SEO and do you need it?

Google M&M's

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to rank better with search engines. The better you rank with the likes of Google, the more traffic you will receive.

There are over 200 ranking factors that Google uses to decide where your site sits in comparison to your competitors and for someone who does SEO for a living, my job is to make sure your website can hook into as many of those ranking factors as possible.

How search engines work

A search engine like google uses thousands of computers often called “crawlers” to automatically scan through every website on the web. 

From there, an algorithm will assess just how relevant those pages are in comparison to the competition and will place you where they think you belong in the google rankings.

The tricky part is that Google doesn’t just release all the juicy details on just exactly what the algorithms are doing. So we have to make tweaks and monitor the results to see what works.

How you can rank better

There are over 200 ranking factors to take into account, which would make this post a bit of a chore to get through. So I will focus in on some of the more important aspects that you can implement to get your site ranking better with the likes of Google.

Crawlability

For you to get ranked with Google, your pages need to be able to be found by a crawler. 

The way a crawler will work is to go from a page it already knows about and follow a link to another page. Hence why the internet is referred to as the “web” because everything interlinks.

Once Google has found your site, either via a link from another website or via you submitting your site. It will check to see if you have a robot.txt file set and if so do you want to allow crawling. 

If it passes those checks, the Google crawler will scan through your site for links to internal pages and from there it can map out your website and figure out how things relate to each other.

Mobile-friendliness

This ranking factor has quite quickly become one of the most important factors because more than half of web users are using their mobile devices. So google will want to make sure those users get an experience that is optimised for their use.

Google moved to mobile-first indexing in 2018, meaning that they now use the mobile version of your page for indexing and ranking over your desktop view.

To find out if your website is mobile friendly, follow this link https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Pagespeed

As page time goes from 1s-5s the probability of bounce increases by 90%… just let that soak in for a second.

No one likes to be kept waiting and Google knows this. Not only is it bad for bounce rates, but it’s bad for your rankings.

If your website takes more than 1-2s to load, then you need to get in touch with your website developer and look at what can be done to bring the load times down.

Content

This is a topic in itself!. 

The basic idea though is that your content will be analyzed against the competition to figure out which is of the highest quality. 

Gone are the days of just stuffing the keywords you wanted to be found for into your content. Yes keywords can still be important, but the quality, relevancy and length of the content have a huge impact on how easily your page will rank vs your competition.

Backlinks

The more popular you are the more people will want to link to you. Google knows this and ranks you accordingly.

It’s not as simple as just going and spamming your website link on a bunch of forums though. The quality of the link and whether or not it is a “dofollow” link is massively important. 

The wrong links can have a negative impact on your rankings, but a link from a large authority site could make the difference between ranking on page 1 and being nowhere to be seen.

A little bit of the authority from every link is passed on and counts towards your relevancy. If the link is relevant to the content it’s linking to, then the authority it passes will give the page a boost. 

Google My Business

If you are a small business trying to rank for individual locations, then you will want to register for Google My Business. 

Google My Business is the listings you find on google maps and at the top of the search results. It allows you to receive reviews for that location from your users and will help you be found for users who are currently near that location. 

If you haven’t already done so then you should sign up and get your location verified so that you can cash in on the free rankings.

There are ranking factors which contribute to Google My Business rankings specifically, but they also work based on your current SEO ranking power for the relevant keywords you are ranking for.

Conclusion

I have only brushed the surface of SEO. There are lots of little intricacies that can when put together can have a large impact on your rankings. 

Some things, like releasing quality, consistent content could be done by you yourself. But when things get a little more technical or you have exhausted your knowledge and want to get further up the rankings, it’s advisable to find a reliable SEO specialist who can work with you on a regular basis to get you ranking higher. 

Feel free to contact me to find out how I could help your business rank better.