SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and simply explained is the process of ensuring your website is optimised to rank well in search engines.
Ever changing, the list of requirements to have a great ranking website in Google is always being tweaked.
Google now uses an AI robot called RankBrain to help it organise and determine the order of SEO rankings. This is a computer that can work out if a user is really engaged in a website, and by that I mean found the relevant content and sticking around to read it, or not, and then the AI determines over repeat testing if the website is really relevant or not.
If not, it may end up lower down the Google rankings, if highly relevant it may even get a boost up the rankings.
How is a website optimised?
A website can be optimised for search engines in a number of ways. Google has an ‘algorithm’ powered by the AI called RankBrain which helps determine a number of facotrs and decide upon a ranking for a website.
The exact Google algorithm is of course a top secret and nobody knows the exact set-up however reports suggest that the following factors help give your website a better ranking:
- Domain age – the older, the better!
- Page loading time – The quicker the better
- Header tags – Arranging your content in an hierarchy so Google can decipher whats important and not
- Alt Tags – Search engines can’t read images and so alt tags assist search engines whilst crawling your website
- A sitemap – submitted to your Google webmasters account
- Meta tags – titles and descriptions relevant to your specific page, not stuffed with keywords but written for humans
- Number of incoming links – think of these as votes, the more relevant links you have, the better!
- Content – write for your users NOT search engines. Unique and great content following the skyscraper technique works incredibly well
There are many more, but these are the basics you can manage on your website to start improving your Google search engine results today, without any web development support.
A little bit about backlinks…
For 2019 its not all about the quantity of backlinks as it was back 10-15 years ago. Today it’s more about the quality, relevancy and visibility of the backlink.
Does it come from a resource considered an authority? – There was a gold rush of people spending every penny that they had on backlinks from Forbes and Entrepreneur magazine. Whilst highly relevant, Google knows these links can be brought so the power from them is not what it once was. There will be less popular but still high authority blogs within your own niche that you won’t need to purchase backlinks from, reach out to them with your content and see if they will link to it.
Is the website linking to your content relevant? – If you are an electronics retailer selling iPhones for example, there’s no point having a backlink to your website from a gambling website as it sends all the wrong signals. Let’s say you are a web design agency, then a link from an article related to web design trends from a design blog or even at a push a digital marketing blog would help you more.
Is your website a real website? – There are lots of websites out there with high metrics that on the surface look good but have no real traffic to them. Google and Googlebot has a good idea if a website is jumped full of articles and that the site has no real traffic or engagement. This metric is known as Visibility and offered in most great SEO tools.
There are lots of ways to generate backlinks to your website, from press releases to writing content so incredible people cant but help link to it, check out our link building guide here.
There are some factors you can’t control such as domain age, you could try purchasing an older domain that is for sale to overcome this, but your domain will become more important to Google the longer you have it.
Are meta title tags and meta description tags important?
Yes. Title tags show up in search results and tests have shown that by having your keyword eg “Web Design Birmingham” the first part of the title tag followed by a bit of a description and your brand term that websites that follow this title tag pattern rank very well in Google.
For meta descriptions it also helps to include your keyword. You will see for example for our web design birmingham page that we use the keyword as the first part of the meta description.
This feeds Google what it needs and reinforces the keyword.
What this HAS to be balanced with is user experience. So as well as including your keyword do it as natural as possible and for the rest of the available characters use descriptive text that provides value to your users and not search engines.
What Doesn’t Google Like?
Google doesn’t like the following and WILL penalise your site and could even remove it from search results for a serious breach.
- Keyword spamming – using random words and your keywords too much
- Cloaking – showing Google a page that you won’t show your visitors
- Masking keywords – putting your keywords the same colour as your background so they aren’t visible to the naked eye, but can be read by Google and anyone who highlights the text.
- Article spamming – this is randomly generating articles that make no sense and cannot be read by humans due to their poor punctuation and the fact that they are incoherent but contain your random keywords – Google HATES this and will penalise your website
- Any attempt to deceive or trick the Google search bot by any means!
Google LOVES content, and it loves content that is written logically and for humans, the Google search bot is incredibly intelligent, it can tell when you have written an article that is illogical and it knows when you are trying to deceive it, the Google bot will flag your website if you try any underhand techniques and your website may get removed from Google listings.