Our goal is to demystify SEO for all clients who come to us looking to show up on the Google search rankings and deliver tangible results for them.
What is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a process of making web assets such as websites, videos and social media profiles more visible in organic search engine results. It involves both creative and technical elements that will help improve your website rankings and drive visitor traffic to your products and services.
Using SEO is one of the best ways to ensure that your website ranks well and has a flow of free and targeted traffic. Done well, it means you don’t have to spend money on paid advertising.
Many aspects characterise SEO, ranging from how you design the content on your page to how other sites link back to your website. In some circumstances, SEO narrows down to structuring your website or web properties using the guidelines given by the search engines so that it becomes easy for them to understand the site better and accord it the correct ranking.
It is not just about search engine friendly websites
For a long time, it’s been thought that SEO is all about making your website friendly to search engines. This simplistic view overlooks one important aspect of ranking that major search engines value – user experience. According to Google, the leading search engine in the world, websites are supposed to grant users a great experience as well.
A great user experience is not just determined by terms of quality and shareable content, but also other factors such as the loading speeds, the navigation and the ease of finding content in the page. Search engine optimisation, therefore, should not just focus on making the website friendly to the search engines alone, but also focus on creating a good user experience.
You should be aware that your site will never achieve good rankings if you only think about the search engines and forget about the prospective clients who will be visiting and using your website.
Types of Search Engine Optimisation
Though SEO revolves around achieving visibility for web properties on the internet, there are various ways through which webmasters and SEO experts use to achieve the results they want. Principally, there are two main types of SEO:
White Hat SEO
In White Hat SEO, the techniques and the methodologies used to achieve the search engine rankings are through following the guidelines issued by the search engines themselves. This means there is no underhanded activity (Black Hat SEO) conducted by the web masters or the SEO experts to try and manipulate the search results in any way.
White Hat SEO methods are known to take longer to build and achieve meaningful results, but they guarantee long term and stable rankings, devoid of punishments or penalties by the search engines. Some of the techniques used in this method of search engine optimisation include:
- Development of high-quality content
- Periodic updating of the site with good content
- Optimisation and restructuring of the site html
- White hat link acquisition campaigns featuring high domain authority links
- Use of a variety of content, including videos, infographics, images, etc.
With White Hat SEO, you can expect to see gradual, but steady and long lasting rankings for your web pages.
Black Hat SEO
Just as the name suggests, Black Hat is not the way to perform SEO. Though initially, it will bring in results, these results are short lived, and they come with risks. Black Hat SEO looks for weaknesses in the search engine algorithms which can then be exploited to obtain higher search rankings.
The methods used in black hat SEO are outright violations of the search engine guidelines, and they will lead to your website getting penalised if found. Some of the techniques used with this method include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Link spamming
- Link cloaking
- Use of spam or spun content
- Hidden links
With black hat SEO, you can expect quick and unpredictable results, but the ranking won’t be long lasting, and you will be risking getting sandboxed or even de-indexed from the search engines such that your site may never appear in the search results again.
SEO Success Factors
Success with search engine optimisation relies on a variety of factors, and none of those can be used in isolation. For instance, a great HTML title will be of no use if the accompanying page has poor content. Additionally, having thousands of links pointing back to your website will not amount to much if the links are from poor websites.
Here is a brief look into some of the factors worth considering for success in SEO:
On Page SEO involves the optimisation of individual web pages so that they achieve higher rankings and attract relevant traffic from the various search engines. It is the ranking factor that the publisher or the website owner has total control over, and it focuses on things such as the quality of the code, the visual and textual content of the site, and the user-friendliness of the site to both the search engines and the site visitors.
Off Page SEO involves external ranking factors for which the publisher may have little to no control over. They involve links and other external signals which the search engines use to gauge the relevance or the importance of your site depending on who is linking back to you.
For instance, if your website is getting back links from sites with high authority, the search engines will perceive that your website must also be an authority in your subject matter and the result will be higher rankings for your website.
The science of SEO has changed over the years. Search engines have become stricter and will not hesitate to penalise your website if they discover you are trying to manipulate their algorithm for better results. Algorithm updates are also released on a regular basis to improve the quality of the searches and show more relevant results to the users.
As a website owner, it is imperative to align yourself with a reputable SEO firm that uses white hat methods to bring in good results. Though the results may not be instant, you will achieve a solid foundation that will see your rankings steadily rise and generate long term benefits.
If you have any doubts about your current SEO program or are looking to start SEO for the first time, we invite you to give our Melbourne SEO agency a call.