03 Oct SEO for Beginners.
Do you hear the term SEO and your eyes start to glaze over? What even is SEO anyway and why do you need it? SEO is Search Engine Optimisation and believe me, your website needs it!
I’ve summarised the main terms below for you so you can start to make sense of what it means, how you can use it and why it’s necessary for your website.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Imagine the internet as a vast library with billions of books, and search engines like Google as the friendly librarian helping visitors find the right books. SEO is the art of making your website the most alluring book on the shelf. It’s about strategically sprinkling breadcrumbs (keywords and content) so that Google’s librarian-bot (crawler) guides people to your digital bookshelf.
Keywords are the magic words you want people to whisper to the librarian (search engine) to find your book (website). Choosing the right keywords is like picking the most enticing words for your treasure map. These words must be strategically woven throughout your website’s content, without being overused – you can’t just write a list of the sae word and hope that helps – it needs to make sense in terms of what your customers are looking for.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
When someone asks the librarian (search engine) for book recommendations, the list of suggested books (websites) that appears on their screen is the SERP. It’s like a menu of options. SEO strives to get your website listed at the top of this menu because, let’s face it, most people don’t venture past the first few pages. In fact, according to an analysis of 4 million Google search results, just 0.63% of people click on the second page of Google search results. So if you’re website is currently sitting on page 4, it’s time to do some serious work.
Backlinks are like testimonials and referrals in the digital world. When reputable websites link to your site, it’s as if they’re vouching for your expertise. Google views these backlinks as votes of confidence, which can boost your site’s credibility and authority. Pro Tip: government backlinks hold a special significance due to their high authority and trustworthiness. Focus on those with high authority and relevance to your niche.
Think of meta tags as the neatly printed labels on library book spines. They’re your website’s way of telling search engines what each page is about. Titles are like book titles, and descriptions are like blurbs on the back cover. Well-crafted meta tags are essential because they entice readers (searchers) to pick your book (click your link) from the shelf (SERP).
Are you still with me? If this is all getting too much, consider getting in touch with us instead and we’ll take care of it for you!
Crawling and Indexing
Search engine bots are like tireless little detectives, crawling around the web, and collecting clues about websites. Crawling is akin to exploring your website’s nooks and crannies. Once they’ve gathered all the info, your site gets indexed, much like a book being officially added to the library’s catalog.
Google’s algorithm is a closely guarded recipe that determines how websites should be ranked. Think of it as a cookbook with hundreds of secret ingredients. It’s the secret herbs and spices of the internet! It considers everything from content quality to mobile-friendliness. SEO experts are like chefs trying to decode this recipe to make your website taste better to Google.
On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
On-page SEO is like fine-tuning the details of your book. It involves crafting clear chapters (content), an easy-to-read font (user-friendly design), and well-structured book summaries (meta tags). Off-page SEO is the promotion part; it’s like networking with other authors (getting backlinks and social media love).
Meta descriptions are the enticing sneak peeks you give to readers on the back cover of your book. They’re brief, engaging summaries that appear below your website’s title in search results. A well-crafted meta description can entice searchers to click on your link, so make it snappy and captivating. It also must be between 155-160 characters. Anymore than this and Google will cut it off.
Title tags are like the captivating book titles on your website’s shelves. They tell search engines and searchers what each page is about. Each title should be unique, relevant, and contain important keywords to help your book (page) stand out.
Broken links are like torn pages in a book; they disrupt the reading experience. When visitors click on a link, and it leads to an error page, it’s frustrating. Search engines dislike this, too, as it reflects poorly on your website’s user experience. This in turn leads you to lower down the rankings – remember my earlier point about how many people go past page 1 of Google??
Think of 301 redirects as friendly signposts in the library, pointing readers to a new location when a book (webpage) has moved. They ensure that if someone clicks on an old link, they’ll be seamlessly redirected to the new, relevant page. This keeps readers (and search engines) happy.
Why Google Penalizes Poor SEO Practices
Google is like a vigilant library manager. It wants to ensure that its patrons (searchers) find high-quality books (websites) on its shelves. So, it penalizes websites that engage in shady practices or fail to meet best SEO standards. Here’s why:
– User Experience: Google wants its patrons to have a great experience. Websites with broken links or poor content make the library less enjoyable.
– Relevance: When Google users search for something, they want results that are relevant and useful. If your website doesn’t offer that, you’re not helping Google serve its patrons well.
– Trust: Google values trustworthiness. If your website is filled with spammy backlinks or low-quality content, it erodes trust in the search results.
– Fair Play: Google plays fair. It rewards websites that follow the rules and offer genuine value. If you try to game the system with shady tactics, you risk being penalized.
SEO is like optimising your library book’s visibility and appeal so that more readers can enjoy your literary masterpiece. But remember, playing by the rules, offering quality content, and ensuring a seamless reading experience for your audience is the way to win the librarian’s (Google’s) heart and avoid those dreaded penalties.
SEO does matter for your website – maybe more than you thought! If you’d like an SEO audit or help crafting your website’s SEO, click here to get in touch with us today.