SEO or Search Engine Optimisation – what is really involved?

You can never under estimate the importance of SEO or search engine optimisation and here’s why! Most people are aware of the speed of growth of the Internet, but do you really know just how fast? In 2009, there were roughly 3.7 million new URL’s registered monthly, this increased to 4.5 million by the end of 2011. That’s 150,000 new website domains registered every single day of the year. This means that for any business, it is no longer feasible to simply throw up a website in the hope that it will be found. For this reason optimising your website orSEO is vital to your success.

SEO as a practice is sometimes given a bad name by people who are trying to “trick” the search engines. However when done ethically with a view to improving visitor experience and adhere to good practice guidelines – SEO can be a very valuable activity. Google’s own comments on SEO and things to look for/avoid are worth a read.

Regardless of your type of business improved search rankings will increase visitors, leads and sales. So what are the basic actions that you can take that will get your website noticed? In essence, they fall into three major categories and they are:

Keyword analysis

This is the foundation upon which all other SEO work is built. This whole process determines which specific keywords your potential clients are searching for and which bring the greatest value. In addition, the level of competition as well as the conversion opportunities for these keywords needs to be carefully assessed.

On Page SEO

It is important that the keywords chosen are reflected and worded into the site in a natural ‘non spammy’ way. For example just recently I spoke to a prospect who stated that he wanted to be ranked for the keyword ‘employment lawyer in Cork’. I proceeded to get him to show me what page on his site focused on this topic. After some hesitation he stated that this phrase was one of ten specialties that he mentioned on the ‘about us’ page of his site. I explained to him that if he wanted to rank for such a keyword, he would need to have at least one page dedicated to this topic and that the keyword should be included in at least the title, the meta description, and throughout the content. This is not just about SEO, it’s about giving good information to your prospects.

As part of On Page SEO, content does deserve a special mention. All the other SEO tips and tricks are pretty useless unless you have good, fresh content on your website. Google places a lot of emphasis on content, but apart from that even if you get people to visit your site they will be turned off if your content is not professional and compelling. Anyone who tries to avoid the hard work of good content and thinks they can succeed by fooling the search engines will sooner or later lose out.

Off Page SEO

In lay terms, off page SEO is about quality links back to your site. For example if you happen to be an electrician, then getting links back to your site by the Register of Electrical Contractors in Ireland (RECI) raises the level of your site in the eyes of Google, as it sees this as an indication that your site as trustworthy. It is worth remembering that not all links are created equal. Google can identify authority sites to which it gives greater credence. Links from these sites are significantly more valuable. Some companies are offering silly numbers, like 1000 back links for €50.00. The reality is that you get what you pay for and the chances are that they aren’t going to be quality links which is something that Google gives real gravitas to.

Once these three criteria have been implemented it’s important to monitor and measure the SEO results. Doing this means that any keyword or technique that isn’t performing as well can be adjusted. There are plenty of ways to do this using free online tools such as Google Analytics.

If you have any questions about SEO in general or you would like help with getting your website better ranked, then give contact us today.