Very simply, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the chances of your website appearing higher up in the search engines organic* listings.
Why SEO your website?
Essentially when your site has undergone SEO it will be easier for the seach engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc to read your content and more importantly to understand it. If a search engine understands the content of your website then when someone performs a search using Google, Bing, Yahoo etc it’s more likley to display the correct website that correlates to the search performed in it’s organic listings.
Ultimately the only reason anyone invests the time and money to optimise their website is to increase the traffic directed to it from the search engines. For businesses this increased traffic should translate into more sales and/or increased brand awareness, if you are a blogger then you would expect a larger audience and more subscriptions. Whatever type of organisation you happen to be, more traffic to your website is what you’re after.
What is the SEO process?
As with any project then first step would be to create a plan. This will list your goals and also provide the step by step list of tasks that will be performed in order to achieve your goal(s). This may sound obvious but is far too frequently missed resulting in hordes of unmeasurable activity that costs the client money with no decernable results.
Once the plan has been agreed then an action plan should be drawn up. Each action plan will be tailored to match the clients requirements but as a general rule will look something like this.
1. Website Structural Review (WSR) – examine the structure of the pages html, look at how html tags, links, images, css etc are being used and that they are formed correctly. Check the page for errors and load speed.
This is a good time to review and record where your site currently sites within the organic listings as it’s from here that your SEO efforts can be measured.
2. Any work thtat needs to be done from the website structural review will need to be completed before the rest of the SEO work is carried out. The exact strategy and implementation of the SEO will be performed on a customer by customer basis but genrerall most White Hat SEO techniques (as apposed to Black Hat SEO techniques**) focus on making the content of the site very clear to the person viewing it.
Often employed practices such as writing blogs, create rss feed to your blog or articles page, building backlinks, links to and from social media sites, post multimedia content, have a youtube channel, add social media buttons, the list of ways to promote your content is growing all the time.
3. Monitor, measure and review. As with marketing as a whole SEO is not a fire and forget process. The target areas of your SEO activities will need to be monitored and adjusted in order to achieve and maintain a prominent position depending on your goals and what is required for your target market.
*Organic Listings: The natural search result listings shown by a search engine that are not an advert, sponsored link or paid link of some kind.
**Black Hat SEO techniques: Practices that target the search engine itself such as keyword stuffing, over extending page titles, creating micro and doorway sites etc.