Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essentially the practice of making sure you have enough quality content for search engines to recognise what your website is all about. Although there are many methods of optimising your website, this is the core principle of SEO.
Search engine robots are constantly crawling the internet and millions of websites to discover what they’re about. They do this so that they can provide people using their search engine with the most relevant results for the words they’re searching with.
How do search engines find websites?
If your website is brand new, one of the first things you can do to get it noticed by search engines is to invite them to take a look at it. You can do this by registering for analytics tools or submitting a sitemap to the search engine. If Google is your priority there are a number of tools here https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6259634?hl=en which will give your site a little boost as you’re starting out.
Another way to get search engines to take notice of your site is to have other websites send a link back to yours. This helps because each link back to your website makes it look more important or popular, which makes it more useful to a search engine than others that nobody is talking about. Be careful with backlinks though. Too many at once from dodgy sources and you could receive a penalty which will send you right back down the rankings.
New to SEO? Be more specific
When you’re just starting with SEO you need to do some research on what your audience is looking for and how you can target that in a more accurate way.
For some search terms there is a lot of competition because there are a lot of companies doing the same thing. For example it would be a very difficult task for a brand new fashion retailer to appear in search results for a phrase such as ‘black dress’. Not only are there thousands of websites which mention black dresses (both ecommerce and fashion blogs) but a number of those sites will have been online a long time and have pages and pages of content on the same or similar things.
One way to tackle this is to change your keywords to be more specific by targeting local areas instead of broad phrases. For example even though as a freelance web designer I can work for people across the globe, I choose to target Liverpool and Manchester because it narrows the number of people I’m competing against.
How to choose a SEO specialist
There’s no perfect formula for getting your website to the top of the list as there’s a lot the bots take into account, but there are a number of things you can do to improve your likelihood of being seen. When you’re looking for someone to optimise your website you need to find someone who can demonstrate improvements they’ve made for previous clients.
An experienced SEO specialist will have had time to try different methods and pinpoint the things which have improved the rankings of their customers. The best SEO specialists will even have experience of failures they have turned into successes which will have given them the knowledge of what not to do with a website, making them a safer pair of hands for your business.
If you’re looking for some recommendations for who to go with, feel free to contact me. I’ve worked with a number of excellent SEOs over the years and I’d be happy to put you in touch with them.