What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (also known as SEO) is the process of improving the volume of traffic to a website from search engines via what is known as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ search results.
Natural search results are the normal list of search results that you see when you type a phrase into a search engine.
These are also sometimes called ‘the ten blue links’.
See example below of blue links in Google search for the phrase ‘harry potter trips london’
It is called natural to differentiate it from paid for, sponsored or advertisement links.
Many people believe that the goal of SEO is to solely to achieve high ranking for keyword phrases in the major search engines.
At Scoosh we believe this is the wrong approach to take, when considering Search Engine Optimisation, your website and your business.
What is the true goal of SEO?
We believe that to succeed, any business must match its website goals with its business goals.
As an example – most businesses could be described as having the aim of selling a product or service to make profit.
The goal is therefore to generate revenue.
This should also be the goal of your website. Ask yourself what is your website doing to help generate revenue for your business?
Consider the following.
What would you rather see in your Google Analytics?
1,000 visitors to your website, but they leave without any interaction with your business (e.g. buy a product, complete a contact form or make a phone call)
100 Visitors who visitors who place an order or contact you about your product or service.
We prefer option 2 as it will have more impact on generating business.
Option 1, could be viewed as what is known as a ‘vanity metric’.
A vanity metric is the measurement of something that does not actually benefit your business but it could be considered as something to boast about.
Targeted visitors to a website are more likely to buy from you. It is important to get qualified traffic to your website. Qualified traffic are those people that you have identified as your target audience.
Let’s explore option 2 a bit more.
In business there is a cliche that states ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity‘.
This could be paraphrased for online as follows:
‘hits are vanity, qualified traffic is sanity’
Option 2 is more targeted and though 100 is a smaller audience than than 1000 it is more likely to generate business.
How does this affect SEO?
Many SEO marketers concentrate on vanity statistics.
For example they make take a popular search term and provide data that shows that 10,000 people search using this phrase each month.
They may provide a service that helps your website rank high for that search term.
SEO takes time, let’s say after 6 months your website does indeed rank high for that phrase and excitedly you expect the phone to ring – but it doesn’t happen.
This is because the term was chosen for it’s popularity and not for the likelihood that it would generate business.
As SEO takes time 6 months is lost and a further 6 months lost on a new campaign.
It is essential that SEO considers phrases that will convert in to business and is not just a vanity metric exercise
It is more productive and beneficial to your business if your website goals are in sync with your business goals.
What is bounce rate and how does impact on SEO?
Google defines bounce rate as;
the percentage of single page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page
Google defines this further as a method to measure ‘visit quality’; a high bounce rate indicates that your pages may not be relevant to your visitors.
Visitors are effectively ‘bouncing away’ from your website.
The key for any website owner is to understand that the more visitors stay on your website the more likely you are to convert them into customers
You can track bounce rate in your Google Analytics account.
Tips to decrease your bounce rate
Make clear calls to action
You can be so close to your website that you expect that visitors will be able to navigate it as easy as you do.
Remember a website does not know anything about your website and so relies on find clear calls to action.
Google has a great tool – Users Flow Report – that represents graphically the journey that visitors make through your website.
Visitors scan, they don’t read
When we view a web page (e.g. BBC, The Times), we don’t read it like reading a book.
We scan it for interesting text, headlines or pictures that grab our attention – then we delve deeper to those items which interest us.
At Scoosh, we often receive copy from clients that runs to pages and pages, we always recommend that it is edited and reduced, and many times separated into smaller, well linked pages.
We suggest good headlines, ‘pull quotes’ and items that will draw the readers attention.
Keep things simple, with clear headings to attract interest, relevant pull quotes, pictures and don’t forget to use ‘white space’
Help I can’t find it?
It may be obvious to you where everything is, but not to a visitor.
Give them a search box to stop them getting frustrated and ‘bouncing’.
Put it at the top of the website so that it can be found easily, this is especially useful for smartphone users with smaller screens.
It is also a good idea to collect the search phrases that are entered in to the search box on your website. These will give great insight into what visitors are looking for (and maybe can’t find) and help improve your website.
Write great headlines that grab attention
Visitors to a page scan headlines, so consider what the headline is first.
If a visitor’s attention is grabbed by a headline they will read further.
Does the size of a website effect Google ranking?
We are asked this question many times at Scoosh.
First of all there are many factors that determine a websites Google ranking.
There is a perception that a website that has a lot of pages will automatically rank higher than a website with a lot less.
Our view is that quality is more important than quantity.
Matt Cutts explains this in more detail
Does site speed affect my websites ranking?
In a word, yes.
Google announced that how fast your site loads will have an impact on your Google ranking.
You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requestsgoogle
Google is encouraging site owners to consider site speed.
There is no denying that how fast a site loads does affect how a website is perceived by its audience, but now there is an even more compelling reason to start investigating how well your site is performing and to take corrective action.
Whilst site speed is becoming important ‘site relevancy’ is still viewed as being the most important factor.
Duplicate content on websites
It is probably safe to say that search engines ‘don’t like’ duplicate content on a website.
There is every possibility that you have not intentionally created duplicate content on your website, but many websites have been configured in such a way that it can be perceived as having duplicated content.
Any issues that Google has with how your website has been highlighted will be found in your Google Search Console.
Is there a guide to SEO?
Google‘s Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide is an excellent document for those wishing to understand how to improve their websites’ interaction with visitors and Google’s search engine.
Many of the points covered are also useful for other search engines that you submit your website to. (e.g. Yahoo, Bing)
This SEO guide is to help you ensure that your website is optimised for both visitors and for search engines.
It is an excellent starting point for those looking to improve their websites’ performance and a great introduction to SEO.
The guide covers:-
- SEO Basics.
- How to optimise content and images.
- Best practice for site structure.
- How to ensure that Google ‘crawls’ your website.
- How to promote your website and much more.
The guide is ideal document for those looking to get an initial grasp of SEO, and though it is published by Google, what it covers applies equally to other search engines.
If your website has slipped down the rankings or does not do well in search results, the guide is a good place to begin learning about what needs to be done.
Are backlinks important?
Links to your website are important to your website’s ranking in Google search – a popular website is more likely to rank higher in Google search.
Help my website has disappeared from Google?
As Douglas Adams, famously said – ‘don’t panic’
Search engine rankings are constantly moving and changing.
As your website and your competitors websites are indexed, analysed and ranked by the major search engines, they are in a constant state of flux.
Achieving a a high ranking is what we all desire, but what to do when your site starts to drop and is no longer on the top or even on the first page.
The first thing you do is absolutely nothing. That’s right, nothing.
Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and the weighting of ranking factors.
Sometimes a change can occur that doesn’t have the desired effect and penalises sites that were previously well ranked.
When this happens, changes may be rolled back or amended and you may find your site jumps back to its previous position.
Always give it a couple of weeks or so before you start making any major changes to your website.
Perform an SEO Audit
Do an audit of your on-site SEO to make sure you have covered all the areas you can optimise.
Ensure that you are up to date and use best practices (and avoid practices that can get you penalised).
If you contact us we will send you a free audit report of your website with recommendations for improvements.
If you are new to SEO a good place to start is Google’s SEO Starter Guide
Your website doesn’t exist in a vacuum and there are thousands of websites working to take your position.
If you do not maintain your websites position in Google’s rankings it will slip below other websites that do.
Make sure that you complete the SEO Basics
- title tag
- H tags
- image alt tag
- image file name
- internal link anchor text
- internal link alt tag
- site map
- first paragraph of copy
- page URLs
- page descriptions
Avoid common SEO mistakes and practices
- Bought links
- Used hidden text or hidden links
- Introduced cloaking or underhand redirects
- Created pages stuffed with irrelevant keywords
- Added multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content
- Set up a “doorway” page created just for search engines
Review your website advertising
If your website displays a lot of advertising this can count against you.
This is not necessarily a ‘black hat’ technique, but if a larger proportion of your website is allocated to advertising space rather than original copy this can affect your Google ranking.
Update your content regularly
Google ‘likes’ fresh content and sites that are updated regularly.
If you haven’t made any changes for a long time, review your web copy, update it and investigate ways you can introduce regular content to your site e.g. articles, news, white papers, FAQ pages.
How do I add my website to the Google search engine?
Adding your website to a search engine is a simple process and is free.
There are thousands of search engines, but we don’t recommend that you spend all your time being listed.
Many of these websites will in time ‘index’ your website.
We recommend that you submit your website to the three search engines that are most popular in the UK.
Add to the above a simple Search Engine Optimisation strategy and your website will be indexed by all the major search engines. Your web pages will be found by visitors seeking out your information, products or services.
You can also market yourself on the major search engines using their paid for services.
Where can I view my website’s statistics
The most popular statistics tool to monitor your website’s performance and impact of any SEO campaign that your run is Google Analytics.
We recommend all clients use Google Analytics and it allows us to have a meaningful conversation with you about how well your website is performing.
We recommend Google Analytics for a wide variety of reasons but the main ones are
- It is feature rich – maybe too many features
- Reports are excellent and can be customised to your specific requirements
- Goals – make sure you set goal tracking on your website
- Easy to use
- Easy to setup
- It has real time data
As Google say
Improve performance across your sites, apps, and other marketing channels. Google Analytics and related products can help you turn customer insights into actionable solutions for your business.google
Google Analytics is enterprise class which means that it can provide a very detailed profile of all activity on your website, but it is useful for starting out and answering the most basic questions
- How many visitors came to my website last week, month or year?
- Is my website traffic increasing?
- What search terms did people use to find my website
- Which pages are popular and which are not
- Are my sales promotions generating sales
- Which channels (e.g. Web, Mobile, Social) are actually generating sales revenue for my eCommerce website?
- How many shopping baskets were abandoned? How much business did that lose?
- Which towns, cities or countries provide your website visitors?
- Is my traffic from smartphones, desktops or tablets?
What does Google do when it visits my website?
Google will essentially complete these four steps when it visits your website:
It will find your website
Google will ‘crawl’ your website following links to identify your web pages.
Google will analyse your content based in its own criteria – this is sometimes referred to as the ‘Google Algorithm’. Google constants updates its algorithm.
Google will ‘decide’ whether to index your site or not based on many factors. It is not uncommon for a Google not to index all the pages of a website. It is an common myth that if you have a website – that all pages will be indexed by Google.
Scoosh approach to SEO
We provide analysis and reports for all SEO work we undertake for our clients.
We believe in full transparency with our clients.
SEO is a great strategy for a successful business online, but it is important to realise that it is not a quick solution and to be wary of those that say it is.
We cover all aspects of SEO including:
- Keyword Planning
- Keyword Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- SEO Analysis and Audit of existing websites
- Finding & fixing technical errors on a website
- On-page optimisation
- Adding landing pages if required
- Social Media Optimisation
- Off page optimisation
- Content Writing
- Reputation management
SEO Benefits for your business
- Get relevant keywords and best keywords ranking.
- Bring your website higher in Google Search.
- Increase page rank.
- Increase your traffic and quality back links.
- Increase your online sales.
- Generate Sales Leads and Website Enquiries.
Apart from the big three are there other search engines that I should consider?
We use Google so much that we forget there are alternatives.
The phrases ‘to Google’ or ‘Googling’ have become part of our every day language and ‘just Google it’ is a common response to many questions.
The following are some ‘search engines’ that take a different approach to search and can provide useful results.
Many have argued that Google has ‘pushed’ its content to us to such an extent that we are not seeing a ‘natural’ result to our questions or searches.
Duck Duck Go
Bills itself as the search engine that does not track you.
The ‘computational knowledge engine’, Wolfram Alpha suggest that you search for ‘what you want to calculate or know about’.
Duck Duck Go
Duck Duck Go bills itself (sorry for the pun!) as the search engine that does not track you and so maintains your privacy.