In a world where there will soon be 1 billion websites, rather than getting diverted into a conversation about our favourite spoof spy films (which starts and ends with Austin Powers), we thought it would be more useful to look at 6 key Search Engine Optimisation tips, tricks and tactics to bridge the gap that separates your website from the top of Google*
- White Hat all the way
You may have heard the terms ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ to describe Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics. White Hat SEO essentially mean working within the guidelines that the Google webmasters prescribe for improving the rankings of your website. These focus on offering quality content to users and providing a positive experience for Google’s customers that are doing the searching. Why Google? Because Google is overwhelmingly the most popular search engine used today Why White Hat SEO? Because ultimately, tactics that are not ‘white hat’ can get your website banned.
- Quality (and quantity) counts
Google is very much looking to promote and reward quality content. ‘Content’ is identified by Google as being either Main Content or Supplementary Content. SEO demands that you pay attention to both. Main Content is essentially all about the purpose of a web page. It needs to be well written and relevant, and there needs to be enough of it. Supplementary Content is content that contributes to user experience – for example, navigation links – but isn’t necessarily related to the Main Content. Main Content is more important, but don’t ignore Supplementary Content.
- User Experience matters
While Google is coy about whether user experience has a direct influence on website ranking, it’s clear that a website that offers a bad user experience is unlikely to reach the dizzy heights of Google’s front page. In fact, many of the ranking factors can be brought together under the broad umbrella of user experience – misleading webdesign, poor quality content, unmoderated comments and posts which amount to spam, poor loading times – these all impact on user experience and in themselves will generate low Google rankings.
- Integrate, integrate!
Search Engine Optimisation is just one weapon in the digital marketing arsenal that’s available to businesses and organisations looking to develop their online presence. To succeed online, your business needs a strategy to integrate all online marketing activity, and also to integrate digital with other more traditional marketing tactics. Conversations on your social media channels may flag topics that are driving organic searches. Activity on your website may indicate topics that will perform on social media.
- Embrace the long haul
It is a fact of digital marketing that the landscape is constantly shifting. To succeed online, you need to be constantly evaluating and tweaking. SEO is no different. It’s certainly not something you do once and forget about. Search Engine Optimisation is an ongoing process, an ongoing relationship with your website and the results you are getting. Google ranking factors change all the time. Sometimes subtle, sometimes not, the Google webmasters are constantly tweaking the algorithm that ranks pages, and you need to spend time and effort working on your website if you want to see positive search results
- Measure or die
Well, perhaps not ‘die’ but if you’re not backing up your Search Engine Optimisation activity with data collection and analysis to work out what’s working and what’s not, where traffic is coming from, how your keywords are performing, well, you’re not really getting the full picture. SEO isn’t a one off activity – it’s an ongoing exercise, constantly measuring, tweaking and re-measuring to make sure you achieve the results and the rankings you’re looking for.
Getting noticed by search engines, ranking highly and reaching the front page of Google requires time and effort – it’s certainly not something you can expect to happen overnight. If you’re starting out online, bridging the gap may seem like an insurmountable hurdle. There are many aspects of your website and the content you post on it that you can work on to improve your rankings, and these 6 pointers should get you on the right track – good luck!
*Other Search Engines are available