Employees of the digital marketing world are constantly fighting against the argument that ‘SEO is a dying art’. Its popularity has decreased over the past few years, but I would put this down to it becoming more difficult, not less important. It is still a vital tool to increase your search rankings. This blog post aims to show you the basics of SEO and how you can implement it into your website.
What is SEO?
For those outside of the digital marketing world, search engine optimisation is, in the broadest terms, a marketing technique that aims to increase your organic search results, be that in Google, Bing or any other search engine.
Achieving a higher organic ranking for your website should result in increased visibility, more site traffic and more income.
SEO or Digital Marketing?
When people claim that SEO is dying, I think what they really mean is it is becoming broader. The term ‘digital marketing’ is growing in popularity, which seems to include SEO; amongst other services including paid advertising and social media marketing. This is where the confusion seems to lie – with so many ranking factors, including social media, backlinks and site traffic, where does the phrase SEO stop?
The Basics of SEO
Although it will vary depending on who you ask or which article you read, basic SEO, for me, revolves around the simplistic ranking aspects of your website only.
- META data
- Alt tags
- Heading tags
Despite there being hundreds of techniques that could be classed as SEO, the aim of this article to give you some hints and tips that you can actually use. Whether your website is built on Wordpress, Magento or any other platform, it should be straightforward to alter the above features.
META data generally involves the ‘title tag’ and the META description. They are an essential element SEO as they explain to search engines what will be found on the website and also encourage click-through rates.
Using Eyeweb as an example, you can see how the META data appears in a Google search:
This is essentially your first attempt at generating site traffic. The META data should contain keywords and keyword phrases that assure the searcher that your website will contain what they are looking for.
As you can see from the example above, the title tag contains information about the services we provide, a location and our brand name.
The META description also contains our services, but provides further, in-depth details to support the title tag.
A similar style should be followed for your own website.
Alt tags, or ‘image tags’ as they are often known, are essentially short descriptions of what a picture shows. Search engines cannot view an image and they, therefore, use them to understand the contents of an image.
Using targeted keywords within an alt tag helps search engines to understand that the image provided is relatable to the content of that specific webpage.
Heading tags work in the same way a category header would work within a document. It explains what content and information will be found below it.
Not only does a heading tag improve the user experience by directing your users straight to the information they are looking for, it is a ranking factor. Using keywords is again an important feature of this, explaining to search engines that the content you have provided is relevant and worthy of ranking highly.
Take a look at how we used heading tags effectively in our DIY Marketing blog post:
The introduction of a Google algorithm, Panda, dramatically changed the way content was used to rank your website highly. Beforehand, website owners and developers would ‘keyword spam’, which simply aimed to include the targeted keyword phrase as many times as possible on the page. Using black hat techniques, such as making the font the same colour as the background, thousands of keywords could be typed on a webpage without anyone realising.
It is because of this that Google introduced ‘Panda’, and now the art of ranking through your content is made more difficult.
However, the good news is that Google Panda is so sophisticated; you shouldn’t need a great deal of marketing knowledge to increase your rankings. Introducing the other SEO techniques mentioned, as well as having well written, keyword focussed content should do the trick.
Basic SEO is certainly something that you can implement into your website and positive movement within the search rankings is achievable. Sticking to the basics is essential though – follow the advice we have given and don’t expect instant results.
Remember, SEO is a profession and knowing your limits is important. Anyone can paint a wall, but it wouldn’t get the same finish as a professional doing it. SEO is very similar – Do your research, don’t over-do it and talk to the professionals if you have questions.