Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process that results in a website
appearing higher up the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) on sites such
as Google, Yahoo etc. As a result of a successful SEO campaign, visitors
who are looking for your products or services will be directed to your
website. SEO refers to Natural search queries as opposed to sponsored
words or phrases.
SEO should be
viewed as a campaign rather than a single event. It takes time for SEO
to work and it has to be maintained thereafter. A successful SEO
campaign focuses on three key areas which are:
– Keyword Analysis
identifying words and phrases that are relevant to your products and
services. The objective is to find keywords and phrases which are
searched for often but have little competition or dont appear very
often on other websites,
– On-site optimization making sure that the target keywords and phrases stand out on your site so that the search engines can see them easily,
– Off-site optimization
– Making your site look more important in the eyes of the search
engines by increasing the number of relevant, quality links to your
website from other quality websites.
is important that a set of Primary and Secondary keywords and Phrases
are agreed which will form the basis of the SEO campaign. Once agreed
these can then be liberally inserted into relevant places on the website
to increase the relevance for those keywords and phrases.
keywords and phrases are those that appear often throughout your
website. Secondary keywords and phrases are those that appear on
specific pages or sections of the website. Generally speaking, the more
words in a phrase the less the competition from other websites. However,
it is also likely that there would be fewer people searching for these.
It is no good being number one on Google for a phrase that nobody ever
searches for and so a balance has to be reached. SEO consultants who
claim they can get you to number 1 on Google arent lying; its just that
the search term will be so obscure that nobody will ever use it. If you
had a website dedicated to purple spitting frogs, you can be certain
of a number one spot.
keywords and phrases have so much competition that it would be very
difficult to appear high up the SERP without a very large budget.
Therefore, finding a niche is very important. It is better to appear at
the top of Google for a Keyword or phrase that only 500 people search
for each month than on position 200 for a phrase that 50,000 people
search for each month.
the right keywords and phrases therefore is the foundation for the whole
SEO campaign. Here, we aim to come up with a list of 50 to 100 keywords
and phrases against which we will analyze both the search frequency and
the competition. From this we can use a statistical method for
identifying the best selection that will give the best results. The
following steps would be followed, some of which are iterative:
– Analyze your existing website to identify words and phrases that already naturally appear,
– Analyze your competitors websites to see what keywords and phrases they use. Tools exist to assist with this process
– Come up with alternative phrases for these keywords e.g. social housing consultants, social housing consultancy, social housing consulting. Once again, tools exist to assist with this process
– Come up with a good mix of 1,2,3 and 4 word phrases
we have the list of keywords and phrases we can then use these to find
out the number of searches made each month and the number of websites
that contain these results. Once again, tools exist that assist in the
process including Googles own set of tools.
the end of this process we should have a set of key words and phrases
that are to be the cornerstone of the SEO campaign but will continue to
be refined over time. For example, to support new articles that appears
on the website.
wouldnt expect to appear high up on the SERP for a word or phrase that
doesnt appear very often or not at all on your website. Therefore, in
order to attract the attention of the search engines, we must ensure
that our key words and phrases actually appear on the website. This will
unfortunately involve some tweaks or even re-writes of pages or
articles in order to thread these keywords and phrases into the website.
There are several areas where these keywords and phrases should appear. Examples are:
– Page Content including articles
Descriptions the text that appears in the top of your browser when
you visit a website. This is also used in some search engines in the
search results. This information is added using meta tags which are
hidden in the page source code. If the page is editable using a content
management system (CMS) they can usually be edited directly
– Keywords Also hidden in meta tags and used by some search engines
– URLs it is better to have a page named /strategic-asset-management.html than /page2.html
again there are tools to help test the relevance of a page in terms of
keywords and phrases. This is an iterative process and to some extent
trial and error. The key thing is to keep the language as natural as
possible whilst using the keywords and phrases as often as possible –
without going overboard. Too much keyword density can result in search
engines such as Google removing a site from their index, if it suspects
uses a voting system to rank websites and pages in order of importance
when deciding which pages to show at the top of the SERP. It is not the
case that the site with the most keywords gets to the top. It all
depends on how important and relevant your website is for those keywords
in the opinion of the search engine. The specific algorithms used by
search engines are trade secrets and are always being refined, but
generally Google works as follows:
link back to a page on your website counts as a vote. You could
therefore argue that the more links you have the better and this is
partly true. However, Google is also interested in how relevant that
link is. It can tell if the website linking to yours has similar key
words and phrases which is therefore more relevant. Finally, if the
website containing the back link has a high Page Rank this also adds
For example, if the BBC or Times Online (High Page Rank) ran an article on Social Housing and had the link social housing to
a website about social housing, this would increase the importance of
that site for that key phrase. Therefore, it is not so much the number
of links that counts as the quality and relevance of the links. That
said, the more quality and relevant links you have, the higher up you
There is one last
thing to say about back links. There are some back links you dont want
to have. For example, just as a back link from the BBC carries weight, a
back link from some black-listed sites will damage your rankings.
Google know that some disreputable black hat SEO consultants trade
links to boost their rankings. Once Google discovers such a site (or
someone reports such a site), the site can be removed from its index.
Permission is granted to publish this article electronically in
free-only publications like a website or ezine as long as the resource
box is included without modifications. All links must be active.