Do you understand search engine optimisation (SEO)? In basic terms, SEO is used to help websites rank higher up in Google and be found by searches.
Some people don’t understand SEO probably the same way that I don’t get tax returns and get stressed about filling them in.
SEO is essential if you want your website to have any hope of being found in Google. For those people who are confused about SEO, here is what an SEO specialist might do to your website to help.
They might suggest an SEO Audit on your website. An SEO Audit is explained in this post. But essentially, the SEO consultant will analyse the titles of your website, URLs, and tags to see that they are being optimised in order to be found in Google. Google looks for clues in these things before it starts checking out your webpage, so giving Google information about what your webpage is about is good. The SEO expert will review your keywords and do more research to ensure that all your landing pages are optimised and do not cannibalise each other. (Cannibalising is when you use certain keywords on one web page and use them again on another web page. Then Google doesn’t know which web page to show in the search results and that isn’t good.)
Action: Make sure that all pages have unique meta titles and meta descriptions
SEOs will look at your navigation menu to see if visitors can access information easily. If they can, so can search engines. Sometimes information is not in a place you’d expect so an SEO might suggest changes to the navigation in order to create information silos. This helps Google understand topics better and can show that you are an expert in what you do. What you don’t want is for important pages of your website to be hidden deep in the structure. If they are so deep that you need to click several times to find them, it might mean that Google won’t find them either.
Action: Make sure that your important pages are near the root domain (basically your home page).
SEOs will look at whether you have pages that have been published but are hidden from view. Sometimes you might have created a new copy of a page, published it, and then left it in the background whilst you think about it. In this case, you have two published pages dealing with the same topic. Only one might be visible but the search engines can find the two copies and that can cause issues if the content is similar. If you are creating test pages, make sure that you set the meta robots tag to noindex. I discuss this better here on TikTok.
Action: Make sure that any new pages aren’t sitting around available to search engines. Use the noindex directive to stop Google from indexing this content until you are ready.
During an audit, SEO’s will look at your internal links. The number and the spread of these. Internal links are really important for helping visitors find more information, and they also help search engines understand the relationship between pages and posts. If you are discussing a topic on one page and it is relevant to link to another page, then do it using relevant anchor text (anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink that provides context and describes the content of the linked page). For example, a blog post describing what SEOs do may link through to a page about SEO Audits. In this case, the anchor text is “SEO Audits”.
SEOs will also look at the links coming into your site from other websites and analyse them and your competitor’s website. Links are very important in helping you rank higher on Google. They are “votes of confidence” on your website. The better the quality, the greater the impact on your ranking. If you have a bunch of low-quality spammy backlinks, this could be a problem.
Action: Only acquire links from good quality websites.
These are just a brief overview of what an SEO specialist will look for. If you really don’t understand search engine optimisation, it will be hard to choose a specialist and know what they are going to do and how much time they will spend doing it. This is the same in every industry. I don’t know anything about cars but have to find a garage to fix my car when it is broken. It is always good to have a little knowledge of SEO so that you are not completely blind when finding the right company to do the work.
Caroline Phillips is the owner of Alba SEO Services which offers quality SEO services to SME's. Established since 2013, Alba SEO has a track record of success.
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