A beginner’s guide to SEO

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  • August 28, 2013

SEO.  It’s an acronym you’ve probably seen a lot, particularly in relation to internet or online marketing.  You may have been told SEO is the best thing since sliced bread but do you know:

  • What it is;
  • How to use it, and
  • Its relationship with quality website content?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.  On its most basic level SEO is a way of improving your website’s visibility in unpaid search engine results.

Think of it this way.  You’re moving house and need to hire a local removalist to get your things from House A to House B.  You head to the 21st century’s answer to the Yellow Pages (most likely Google) and enter some search terms – things like removalists, local, affordable and your location.  You’re presented with pages upon pages of results and if you’re like 99.9% of the population, you scan half, or perhaps the whole of the first page of results.  You look for the most relevant links and if you don’t find anything suitable you start again, entering new search terms or keywords.

This is where SEO comes in.  It optimises your search engine visibility, using specific keywords and search terms (as well as other highly technical methods I will confess I don’t understand).  Your website is more likely to be visited, and by extension your services more likely to be employed if your website is highly visible.  This means appearing on the first page or, even better, the first half of the first page of search results.  Your visibility is increased as is the traffic driven to your website.  Such is the power of SEO.

How do I use it?

Running your own business forces you to take on tasks and develop skills you may not otherwise have had.  However, SEO is generally something best left to the experts.  This is because when SEO is done badly, it can have long-term negative repercussions for your website, leaving you stranded in a cyberspace limbo, ignored by search engines and visitors alike.  An expert will do the things you can’t, reviewing your website and researching the ways people search for the kind of business you’re running.  Using those search terms and keywords, they’ll devise a custom SEO strategy for your business.  This often involves the review and subsequent editing or rewriting of your existing web content/copy.  Which is where I come in.

SEO & quality content

High quality content and SEO go hand in hand.  Once your SEO expert has identified the keywords and search terms most likely to lead people to your site, they need to be inserted into your web content.  Sounds simple?  Not necessarily.

Search engines run on algorithms designed to pick up keywords and search terms (hence your appearance in search results).  These algorithms are constantly evolving and are increasingly sophisticated.  So much so that they can tell when keywords and search terms have been overused.  They’ll penalise offending websites, sending them to the outer edges of the search results galaxy – exactly what you don’t want.

As I discussed in my first blog post, web content is like a good conversation.  It flows, engages, encourages discussion and imparts relevant and up to date information on a regular basis.  SEO focused web content does the same thing but utilises specific keywords and search terms in a natural and flowing manner.  A good web content writer can create SEO focused web content for your site without contravening any of the SEO rules.  We can pepper your SEO keywords and search terms throughout your web copy without it sounding stilted or artificial.  We’ll use words in different ways and different forms so that variations of your specific keywords and search terms appear spread throughout your web content, increasing the chances of search engines finding your site.

Like the creation of your SEO strategy, SEO focused web content writing is also best left to the experts.  If you’re currently working with an SEO expert and need SEO focused content written for your site, or if you simply need help writing quality SEO friendly web content, contact me.  Together we can shine a light on your website, increasing your website visibility, traffic and potential business profits.

2 Comments

  • Bill Harper says:

    The other danger of crowbaring* all those search terms into your web page is that even if people do find it they’ll take one look at your copy and run the other way.

    Not only will it be awful to read, you’ll look like a try-hard. And that’s the last thing you want your copy to do.

    Bill.

    * I’m not sure how to spell this, so I took a stab (no pun intended).

    • Shauna says:

      Exactly Bill! There’s also a real danger of sending mixed messages – too many keywords may make people wonder what it is you actually do and what you’re the expert in, potentially destroying the trusting relationship you’ve built up with existing and potential customers and clients.