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SEO Explained for the Beginner

SEO Explained for the Beginner

Explanation of SEO

by James McCarthy

The Question: What is SEO?

What is SEO
What is SEO?

The Answer:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the method by which website owners get their websites to rank well on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. There are many different things that affect a website’s rankings.

For example, did you know that just by being popular you can raise your sites rankings? This can be done by radio and television, newspapers and social media. For many years companies have used famous people in their adverts simply because they are so popular and have such huge followings. It has been understood for a long time that companies can use these people’s fame to make themselves better known thus building their own Brand Names. Now you also find out it can help improve your SEO rankings as well!

Backlinks are perhaps the best-known method for improving your rankings. Companies like them as it does not involve allowing a person or company you do not know access to what by rights is your main advertising tool as well as allowing access to your customer information. By exchanging links with companies with a higher Google page ranking than yourself you can absorb some of their online presence (This is true!) Try to limit the number of outgoing ranks on a page, however, as a page should have no more than 5 outbound links or it weakens its page rank.).

The issue about Back Links is they have been overused in the past with companies buying cheap, low-quality backlinks to improve their rankings. Google now checks all the backlinks on a site and if you have even one bad one, your website will be punished with lowered rankings until you remove it. Backlinking is one of the most common forms used in Black Hat SEO. To discourage the temptation of Black Hat SEO, Google has now decreased the influence and effect of ‘Good Quality’ Back Links on your rankings.

The most effective form of SEO is Onsite Optimization. This is where you build certain keywords into your site. This is so when Search Engine robots find them and the way your website has been configured will decide the rankings for each of your keywords. The algorithms that are used by the search engines are now so complex and advanced, its very difficult to trick them.

Another Black Hat SEO method is called keyword stuffing where you keep repeating your keywords in the expectation that your site will rank higher. This is not a good idea as the search engine has a built-in reader and this will get your site penalised (reduced organic rankings that will take a good while to get the rankings back up).

You need to build your keywords into your content in an easily readable and relevant way. People who can write good SEO rich content are in high demand as you have to also be able to understand the subject you are writing about and the keywords your clients will use and how it ties into your overall marketing message.

How important is keyword research?

A client handed me a list of 4 pages of what he thought would be the top searches for his products. Of 80+ keywords, only four had been used in the previous 3 keyword researchmonths. The best had only 40 searches per month and the remaining 3 had about 10 searches a month each.

There would be little difficulty in getting the client to rank for those keywords as the competition would be non-existent, but what would be the point? It is our job to get as many possible customers to the site as possible and to rank for relevant keywords that relate to the clients brand. (The keywords I eventually chose for his website had an average of over 1,400 searches per month.)

Sometimes the keywords the client wishes to rank for are ones for which the competition are so high, that it might take a couple of years before you would be on the first page of Google. When competing against long-established multinationals it can take time to push the rankings for some keywords to the top. This is another reason why the keyword research is so important. By finding keywords with lower competition, yet with a high number of searches each month, you can still bring a large number of customers to clients’ websites. At the same time, be gradually working on the higher competition keywords with the big numbers. (Funnily enough, some of these will have much lower conversion ratios)

Something which clients don’t seem to understand is that with SEO, while you may great results at first and jump hundreds of places in the first couple of weeks. Once you get near the top couple of pages the story changes. The people at the top are actively using an SEO person or an SEO company to get their rankings as high as possible. From this point, every ranking moved up is done by skill, perseverance, and patience. It is very necessary for a client who is serious about reaching the top to keep a steady flow of new content to their website to help improve your rankings.  It is like petrol in a car. You can only drive so long without putting petrol in the tank before the car stops.

To rank well you can never relax.

Another thing to understand about SEO is that a 10-page site no matter how well optimized is going to have serious trouble ranking against a site with 10,000 pages. Sites like Facebook and Amazon can have 10′s of millions of pages and sometimes that is what you are competing against. By using a company such as ours, it is possible to carve out a piece of that market for yourself.

Quick question — how many of the big companies outsource their SEO?

Quick answer — Many!

Here’s why:

If you have a leak, hire a plumber! If you need SEO, hire an SEO company!!

By hiring a company with proven results they know they will get the best ROI. In Ireland especially, it is easy to see the difficulty in hiring Good, Experienced IT staff. By using an SEO company – problem solved.

Social Media

I should mention that in more competitive markets you will have to add Social Media and PPC advertising if you are to rank higher on Google. Both can help to increase your internet presence by improving your rankings.

Unfortunately, as no one knows your business as well as yourself. You have to put a lot of effort in to tweeting, blogging and interacting with people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and every other social media platform you can find.  When planning a social media campaign to help increase your online presence, the person in charge of this job has to decide which are the most advantageous platforms to use in 0rder to reach your clients.

An example would be if it is a B2B campaign you are planning then Twitter is a very good platform while for a  B2C campaign Facebook is better. If its clothes then maybe Instagram or Pinterest would be the best choice.

So to finalise what SEO is and what you are paying an SEO Company for…

SEO – Search Engine Optimization is getting your site seen by the search engines so you are ranking on page 1 when people are searching for your services and products.

Types of SEO:

  • Onsite Optimization: Your website is analysed by the SEO lead. By writing great meta – descriptions, researching and using the best keywords, blogging new posts and making small changes to the pages so that they rank better. Adding photos and the skillful use of internal links should also be used.
  • Backlinks: Used to be the easiest way to get your site ranked but SEO-wise they are of only small benefit now, though in a highly competitive market every little helps.
  • PPC and Facebook Advertising: Google rewards you for using their advertising by improving your website’s rankings. Can be very expensive SEO method. Though by starting off with this you can be getting business in the door almost immediately. Remember organic SEO rankings can take a while.
  • Social Media: Used correctly this can make a massive difference to both your rankings and the way customers find you. Smaller companies find it very hard to give the necessary time to make their social media a success. While larger companies actually have large teams to try and meet the demand for social interaction with the public to make this a success.
  • Advertising: It’s a bit like the old saying “Rich people just keep on getting richer”. It’s a simple fact that if you have more people searching for your site Google makes it easier for them to find you. When you type in ‘y’ in Google YouTube comes up because they are the most commonly searched website starting with ‘Y’. Try it.

If there is any part of the above post you would like to discuss or even argue about with me, you can contact me at james@no1seoireland.ie, 089 479 9227 or through our contact form.

I will do my best to get back to you asap.