Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is one of the buzzwords that nearly all website owners will have come across - and there's a good reason for that.

If nobody can find your website in Google, you may as well not have one.

What Is It?

When somebody searches Google for a particular phrase, there can be many  millions of websites / pages that are relevant to the words entered.

Search Engine Optimisation is the art of getting your website at the top of the list for particular search terms. The words / search terms that you'd like to be found for are referred to as "keywords" or "keyphrases".

As the internet expands exponentially with user generated content on forums and social media sites such as Facebook, getting to the top of the list is becoming harder and harder!

How Do Search Engines Work?

Google: Power + Money

With a 65% share of the search market, Uncle Goog exerts a MASSIVE influence on what the public views on the internet.

This power is worth a LOT of cash. In 2011 Google earned $37.9B in revenue, 97% of that from advertising (source).

Search engines use a (presumably) complex "algorithm" to decide which websites to serve up in response to a search, and in what order.

The inner workings of Google are an ever changing and well kept secret. However there are 3 factors that consistently prove influential:

  1. Links in (a.k.a. inbound links)
  2. On-page factors
  3. Off-page factors
  4. Fresh content

Links In

Inbound links, links from other websites to yours, are THE most critical factor in your search engine ranking. Its importance cannot be overstated. In the eyes of Google, each of these counts as a 'vote' that the content on your site is worth viewing.

The words that form the link are known as "anchor text". Ideally this will contain your key words or phrases.  The anchor text of the link in this current sentence is "anchor".

On Page Factors

<Metatags>

Metatags are information about your HTML page that supposedly indicates to search engines like Google what words your site should show up for. However, abuse (e.g. keyword stuffing) has led to them being ignored by major search engines like Google and Yahoo.

The <title> tag is still the most influential in deciding which keyword your website shows up for.

The <description> tag is mostly irrelevant to your ranking. But because it usually appears underneath your Google result, it has a strong effect on whether or not people click through to your website.

The <keyword> tag is no longer relevant. Search engines may as well ignore it.

Research your keywords using tools such as Google keywords and Market Samurai (pc based keyword research tool), look at your competitor’s keywords and research words which are searched for frequently by your user but are used less by your competitors.

On-Page factors include the content, structure and metatags (see box on right) of your website page.   For example, the number of times a certain phrase appears on the page and whether it's contained in any headings or links.

If you wanted to be found for "lace wedding dress", you would want to have this phrase in the <title> metatag of the page, in the page's <h1> tag and a quite a few times in the text of the page itself.  Ideally the page would be on a URL like www.yourwebsite.com/wedding-dresses/lace.

In general, on page factors help to decide WHAT keywords you get found for. Off page factors are key to HOW WELL YOU'RE RANKED.

It would also appear that the "freshness" of our content can have a positive effect on your Google ranking. Well managed sites tend to have regular updates, new products, services and information.

Off Page Factors

As stated above, the most important factor in how highly your website gets ranked is the number of inbound links it has. Links from "expert" sites count the most. For example, if the BBC links to you, that's a pretty good sign you're a company worth doing business with

The age of your website shows a certain amount of stability. Some suggest the length of time a domain name is renewed for will also have an effect.

They deny it.... but we suspect that having an account with Google services such as AdWords, WebMaster Tools and Google Analytics also helps, as only a serious webmaster will take the time to do these things.

We're guessing that social media accounts with Facebook and Twitter can do no harm for the reasons above.

There are certain online directories that inclusion in can have a beneficial effect. DMoz is one, and Yahoo is another.

How F&P Can Help You

At Fresher & Prosper we invest our expertise and resources into achieving a great result for your business in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

  • Regular research and reporting of your company's position in relation to specified competitors
  • On page development - site structure, keyword density, meta tags, quality of content, etc.
  • Off page development - inbound links, directory listings, social media, promotion etc.