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Optimising your Website for Search Engines

If you own a website or manage your organisation’s website, chances are you’ve heard about SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. There is a common misconception among marketers and business owners that it is complex, however, that is not the case. Yes, search engine marketing is a competitive space. However,  you can still carve out your success by using proven strategies and principles.

By the end of this article, you will have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimisation in terms of structure, content and the importance of having an effective SEO strategy, more importantly, optimising your website for search engines. We will look at SEO’s fundamental components; on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and content, and how you can optimise your site for search engines.

As a matter of interest, here is an interesting fact about search traffic;

From the above, it’s obvious that a majority of people are using search engines as the first port of call to identify service providers. When you understand how SEO works, you can use different tactics to increase your site’s visibility in search engine results. For a business owner, understanding the fundamentals of good SEO is vital in guiding your SEO agency or in-house SEO team to achieve success.

So What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is the practice of ensuring that your website ranks high in search engines for words and phrases (known as keywords) relevant to your business. From a strategic viewpoint, it is about positioning your website to rank high in a search engine’s unpaid section.

From this definition, we can see that;

SEO is ongoing. Search engines are always changing their ranking algorithms and introduce new features from time to time. Hence, you need to keep abreast of these changes and adhere to them to maintain or improve your rankings. When your ranking improves, it doesn’t end there. 

SEO is about studying what your ideal customers are searching for online. This involves studying what keywords or phrases they use and the type of questions they are asking (known as search queries). In short, it’s about understanding the problems your ideal customers need to solve, through the products and services that your company provides.

The components of SEO

Content:

You need to answer this critical question. Does your content have relevant and best answers to a prospect’s question?.

Search engines look for your website copy, keywords, articles, images, and videos. The more relevant they are to users’ search queries, the better the chances of your website ranking higher. Content on your website must also be structured according to good on-page principles.

On-page SEO:

Can search engines read and understand the contents on your website?.

On-page SEO covers everything on your website that could affect your search rankings. This includes technical aspects such as website architecture and navigation, sitemaps and other factors such as site speed, HTML code, meta tags, optimized images.

All this is within your control, meaning that you can work on and improve these factors to the required standard to improve your rankings.

Off-page SEO:

The question to answer regarding this component is;

How many links from other credible pages point back to your website?.

This is important because off-page SEO covers everything that happens outside your website. For example, backlinks from quality and reputable websites, social media engagement. You have limited control over off-page SEO as it depends on external parties. They could either share your content, link back your website on their platforms, or they could do the opposite. When other parties consider your content useful, your build authority and credibility. This improves your ranking position.

Optimising Your Website for Search Engines

To effectively optimise for search engines, start with an audit of your website to identify technical SEO issues. There are tons of free SEO tools, such as Website Grader, Ubersuggest, Google Search Console, etc. to get you started. These should give you a good starting point and can highlight critical areas on your website that you need to address. Analyse your website’s content hierarchy from a prospective customer’s vantage point. Is every page unique and properly optimised? Can customers find what they are looking for? Addressing these concerns will go a long in improving your site’s ranking.

A quick tip: Always drill down your analysis to the single page level. Make sure that you choose unique title tags, metadata and different keywords for each page.

Final Thoughts

When you understand how Search Engine Optimisation works, you can use different tactics to increase your site’s visibility in search results. The goal of SEO should be to fulfil the needs of your prospective customers. Your content should be able to solve their search queries, and this requires a better understanding of who they are. For SEO to work, it requires one to get the basics right. i.e. search engines should be able to crawl your website with ease. Also, you must ensure that the right audience (relevant traffic) visits your website.

Hopefully, this piece of information has shed some light on SEO and optimising your website for search engines. If you need help with your SEO strategy, a digital marketing agency like us can help you get started.

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