Today an average of 1,802,330,400 people around the globe use the internet, just over a sixth of the whole world’s population. However, if you ask most of these people what SEO is you will receive a blank stare in response, despite the fact that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is rapidly becoming the most effective online marketing tool and is remarkably self explanatory. Many of us come into contact with examples of SEO every day, but we are just not aware of it. It isnot until you actual start studying the techniques and systems used that you are then able to recognise them in existing sites.
Although SEO can seem a little confusing at first, often it is about just making small modifications to your site in order for it to appear higher up in a search engine’s ‘organic searches’. It is important first and foremost that your site is user friendly; visitors will not want to use a complicated, messy website. This also makes it easier for Google’s ‘crawlers’ to learn what your site is about. Using unique key words and content that differentiates your site from others is also beneficial to Google as it makes their job easier. This is because when Google’s ‘crawlers’ find your site they are able to see what makes your site different to all the others that are also jostling for that top search engine result spot. In many cases the elements are there but are not being used in the correct way, this is where SEO comes in. Using SEO effectively will increase visitor traffic to a site, which is the aim at the end of the day.
SEO is about optimising your website so it gains a better page ranking in the organic search results, however there is no guarantee it will be at the top. Often at the top of popular searches is a section where sites have paid to advertise, this is not SEO but rather PPC (pay per click) which is often used in conjunction with SEO to boost traffic to sites. PPC adverts often appear down the right hand side of results too and attract a lot of clicks, but there can be strong competition for the best search terms. PPC can increase the CTR (Click Through Rate), which is how many people click through on to your site. CTR is essentially the number of times an advert is clicked on divided by the number of times the advert was delivered by Google. The higher the CTR, the more traffic is flowing into your website. Using ‘friendlier’ URLs is also advised so that visitors can see what it is they’re clicking onto, and it is also easier to remember and link to if it is to the point.
One of the most important things when starting out in SEO is to make sure your website is accessible to its users. It’s vital that your site is easy to navigate. This way users can quickly and easily find what they’re looking for and will be more willing to use the site again. This is best achieved by having a clear site map, with a naturally flowing hierarchy so the most important aspects are obvious. Also controlling navigation from page to page with text links makes the site easier for both users and crawlers to use. If you bear in mind all of these SEO basics you will be well on your way to improving the popularity of your site, if it’s easier for Google to use, it will move higher up the organic search results and will ultimately receive more traffic.