What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Defined by Wikipedia as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid, organic, results”, search engine optimisation is an important factor for anyone publishing content online.

Having written a blog post about SEO predictions 2013, we’re now in the final quarter of the year and what was covered then is becoming increasingly necessary in terms of maximizing potential for success in Search.

High quality content on website and blog, together with the value of social media shares, creating social signals, have become the driving forces of SEO during 2013. Below are 7 tips to help improve your SEO through increasing the  Search algorithm ‘quality’ scores for use of the following elements:

1. Use of responsive design for websites

In line with the rise of use of mobile devices to access web pages the use of responsive website/blog design is now a scrutinised  element by  Search algorithms. This means that your site should be developed in a way that the layout will be resized to accommodate whatever device is accessing the information, whether desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.

2. Linking

Link farms and link trading are now dead. Back-links from other websites/blogs are now the way to gain authority with Search algorithms. However, it’s not just links from any site that will do, but sites relevant to yours. If those sites linking to you are also considered to be better quality than your site, then all the better for you as that’s an even bigger green tick in the Search algorithm ‘quality’ box.

3. Social media

Getting your content shared across social media is now very important for SEO purposes. Obviously, unless you produce quality content it’s unlikely you’re going to get many, if any, shares to social media. However, all too often I still come across blogs without sharing buttons in place either at the top or bottom of the post. NB Don’t go overboard on sharing buttons, too much ‘in your face’ as it can be off-putting. People will generally be happy to share content and it doesn’t hurt to enable the number of shares alongside the buttons.

4. Keywords

I’ve written a number of posts over this year encouraging people not to get too hung up on Keywords. Google are said to ignore the meta keyword tag (this is a coding element many SEO practitioners used, often misleadingly). Using longer key phrases is a better and more natural method of introducing consistent phrases for SEO. These can be employed to wave the same flags at the search engine robots who crawl web content, reinforcing what your web content is about and helping them categorise accordingly back at Search engine HQ.

5. Length of content

I get asked a lot about this and to be honest there is no definitive answer. Generally I recommend a blog post of between 300 – 500 word should  provide enough substance to engage readers and tick ‘quality’ criteria in Search. NB. Remember to spell-check; correct spelling and use of grammar is also taken into account.

If your content is quality and relevant then there’s no harm in publishing longer items of content. However, while you may please Search you may not keep your user engaged; which is your priority?

6. Use of multi-media

There are so many multimedia options around these days that the problem is less knowing what you could use and more what’s going to be most appropriate for your target audience. Examples of multi-media include:

  • Photos
  • Video
  • Slide-shows
  • Infographics

7. Start a blog

It’s much easier to get web content shared from a blog than a website page. The tone used on a blog is generally conversational, as if you’re talking to someone over a cup of coffee, with the outcome of it being much more likely that social media shares will happen, if you’ve got the facility for that enabled by having social sharing buttons at the top or bottom of your blog post. Each time your content is shared it sends a signal to Google, which helps reinforce the ‘quality criteria’ of the content. Assigning ‘quality criteria’ is how Google ranks web content in organic search.

What next?

If you need help with any of the above you can give me a call for some advice via the contact page

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You could have a read of some other blog posts:

Establishing an effective web presence

Think you’ve got what it takes for the Formula 1 online marketing race?

How to make your website impress Google

Has this blog post helped you? Leave a comment below – it’ helps me to know what areas of online marketing you’d like to learn about.

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