Experts around the world love to tell us that “SEO” is crucial to your success on the web. Chances are you’ve received countless emails claiming revolutionary ways to “get you on page 1 of Google” but do little to explain how any of it actually works, beyond “because SEO”.
It sounds tempting nonetheless – at least, you think it might, if you knew what SEO was. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to appear on the first page of a Google search?
So you go ahead and Google “what is SEO”, in the hope of finding some vague clarification. Only to be met with a long winded definition that doesn’t really explain much either: “Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” organic,” or “earned” results.”
It’s a path that can be a tad frustrating, one that ultimately leads to misinformation, and adopting bad practices on poor advice. So let us put an end to your frustration and Googling.
SEO isn’t a single, tangible thing. It’s a discipline. A bunch of processes focused on increasing visibility in organic search results. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just the technical side of things. It is heavily influenced by every aspect of your web page, from design and content, through to data markup.
In a super simplified nutshell, SEO is the process of making your website more appealing to search engines. Thanks to the evolution of search engine algorithms, this means making your website more appealing to people too.
Taking control of your SEO is the difference between showing up or not showing up in a prospective customer’s search result. It’s that simple (though, of course, if your goal is not to show up in Google, don’t worry about it!). Here are a few things you need to know before starting with SEO on your website or landing page.
Check your keywords and stop stuffing
Keywords are the words and phrase that potential customers search, to find your web page. They are also, arguably, the easiest, and most important element of SEO.
There are heaps of tools designed to help you figure out the right keywords for your business. From Google’s own free Keyword Planner, to paid tools such as Long Tail Pro. Implementing keywords in your copy is also simple. But make sure you focus on quality and relevance, over keyword density.
The myth of keyword density suggests the more times you use a specific word, the higher your page will rank. This is not true people. If it were that easy, everybody would do it.
The truth is, stuffing your copy with a particular word for the sake of it, is just a waste of words, and might be doing more harm than good! Search engines look for relevance and quality. Pages that read well, and define keywords within the context of relevant copy, will rank higher than those that focus on density.
Backlink quality matters
Backlink building is exactly as it sounds, and involves creating links to your web content from third party domains.
This element of SEO has come under scrutiny, as many exploited the system in search of a quick fix. Self-proclaimed gurus would post vast amounts of poor quality backlinks throughout the Internet. You’ve likely seen spam comments on trending posts or landed on pages plastered in outbound links. These “blackhat” tactics are frowned upon and penalised, as search engines instead look for strong links, from domains with high ‘authority’.
Duplicate content is ok
Duplicate content refers to repurposing blog posts between social media, or third-party blogs.
This has become common practice, as it can open up a completely new audience to your content. But it has become quite the controversial topic in SEO circles.
Confusion lies in whether the original domain suffers badly as a result of duplicating content to a domain with higher authority.
Search engines only list one version of a post. If 2 identical posts exist, the post on the highest ranked domain will surface in search results. As such, the remaining domain can suffer a penalty for copied content.
To combat this, search engines look for canonical links. These links direct search engines to the “right” result. This helps avoid any search penalties for the less authoritative domain.
So although the less authoritative post might not show up in search, you can avoid penalties by highlighting the right post to list in search, and still enjoy a wider, more authoritative audience.
Good luck, and if you get stuck feel free to give us a call.