What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (also know 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 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
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.