What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
If you have ever built a website or read information about building websites you will have heard of the term SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. However, many people are unsure of what SEO actually is.
In a nut shell it is techniques or methods of creating your webpages so they rank higher on the search engines results. SEO in itself is quite easy to explain and to show you the methods, however getting the high rankings can be more difficult.
The two sides of SEO
There are two parts or sides of SEO:
- Onpage SEO
- Offpage SEO
This Blog post looks at onpage seo.
This is elements on your own webpage or pages that you can control. Let’s take examples:
Keywords – keywords are very important. You need to think about what people are looking for and write your content based on those keywords. However you have to realise that if you page is on dog training you can’t just repeat dog training 100 times and expect to get ranked highly. Search engines will determine how important your keyword is based on the keyword density (amount of times keyword is repeated in relation to amount of overall words on the page). If the search engines determine that the keyword is repeated too many times you will be penalised.
Title tag – every page should have a title – much like the title of a book – it should give an accurate name to the page. For example the title of this page is What is SEO. People straight away know what the page is about. The title will appear at the top left hand side of the browser bar, and also will appear on the search engine results.
Description tag – this tag is very important, although many will say it is not! It is the description that appears in the search engine results when someone does a search. You can force the search engines to use this description. If there is no description tag set then the search engines will use the first 160 characters of text that it finds on your page.
Headings – a page can have headings of varying sizes to denote the importance of a piece of text. These headings range from H1 to H6, largest to smallest respectively. If you want to emphasis some text as important you put it in a H1 tag. Smaller text is not as important (think of the fine print on ads and forms!). Search engines will pay particular attention to headings and the text within them.
Content – content is really important, the old cliché of “content is king” is still relevant today as it was 10 years ago. Search engines want to deliver good content to their searchers. Therefore search engines will look at the search term entered and try to deliver the most relevant content to the searcher. This means you need to take great care in the content that you create, by making sure is is quality content and delivers good and concise information.
Page name – when saving your pages make sure you give them descriptive names and use the – symbol to denote spaces. For example what-is-seo.html makes more sense than page1.html
Other onpage seo elements
There are other elements you can control which are important:
Images – you can save your images with the keywords you are targeting, for example, dog-training-image-1.jpg. When the image is inserted into your webpage you can also put in Alt text. This is text that describes the image. This is used for people who are visually impaired so that the image can be described to them, however it’s a great place to optimise your keywords
Link text – consider the text you use when creating links to other pages on your website. For example instead of saying click here and having that text a link, put in a descriptive text for the link.
Tags – if you are using WordPress (which you should be!) then you can “tag” your posts with keywords which can help in your search engine rankings.
In my next post I will be looking at some offsite methods you can use.
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