This guest post went out to our clients several weeks ago, but a few people asked us to make it more widely available, so here it is – thank again to David Howlett for this post!
A Basic Guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
So what does SEO really mean these days?
SEO is something that seems never to be far from the conscious mind of the website owner or manager. In simple terms to them it means coming up top of the search engines, whenever anyone types in any keyword relating to their business.
Wall of confusion around SEO
In my view the big problem with the whole business of SEO, is the wall of confusion that has built up around it. Web site owners often believe it is something that is very complicated and definitly not something they could do themselves.
Unrealistic expectations on both sides
However they often have an unrealistic impression of what an SEO consultant can achieve for them (whether this is engendered by the SEO consultant or not) and the likely cost involved.So I thought I’d write a few words to try help the website owner to understand SEO a little better and also see it in relation to other website marketing activity.
The term SEO has gained a wider meaning
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, but the term SEO really seems to have gained a much wider meaning, and can often encompass a whole range of website marketing activity.I think this actually has some bearing in reality. Traditionally the SEO consultant will be focusing on researching qualified keywords and getting them into the web page text and tags in one form or another.
Difference between on-page and off-page SEO
This is known as on-page SEO and is something that most website owners think is important. What is not so well known is that as much as 70% of your web page’s search engine position can come from what is known as off-page SEO and this is something that the website owner may be much better at than anyone else (to learn more about it read my short guide).
Things you are doing anyway may help SEO
So a lot of the thing you might be doing anyway to promote your business are likely to be helping with SEO as well. For example when you go to a networking meeting, you tell people about you business and point them to the website, often when they get back they will search for your company in a search engine. All these sorts of activities help with SEO and search engine ranking, especially in the longer term.
Search engines are also looking at your social media interactions
Likewise with social media. Obviously there are very good reasons to promote your business through channels such as Facebook Pages and Twitter. You’ll hopefully gain followers, friends and Likes on your Facebook Pages. You might review how many of these you have now and then. But it will not only be you counting these. The search engines are also looking at them and the more interactions you’re getting with social media the more it will be helping with your website’s position.
Could you do on-page SEO yourself?
Sooner or later you will need to think about the on-page SEO, that will involve editing the keywords and then putting them on the page (this is the type of SEO people generally don’t like very much). Is this something you should do in-house, or is it better to outsource? Certainly hiring a search marketing consultant, should get the job done to a reasonable standard. Be prepared to pay for this though as there is a certain amount of skill involved and does take quite a bit of time.
But if either yourself or someone else in your company is willing to learn how to do SEO, there is no reason why you can’t do at least as good a job as the professional, if not better, as you’ll know your products and services very well and will likely have a good idea of the keywords people are going to use. You’ll also save quite a bit of money as well. The difficult bit may be finding the time in a busy day, but you can often do SEO tasks inbetween other jobs.
SEO is not as complicated as people think
The simple truth is SEO is not half as complicated or difficult as people think and more importantly once you learn how it’s done, and why, there is a good chance you can build it into your working day without making any major changes. One this is for sure, not thinking about it at all is not an option.
SEO Lessons coming soon with online support
I’m currently working on a range of SEO Lessons, coming soon in the ReallySimpleSEO E-learning Centre. Access to them will cost just £25/month, with full online support. Visit the E-learning Centre for more.