SEO is one of the most notorious buzzwords in the digital marketing industry. Yet so few people outside of it know what it means, or why it’s one of the most important aspects of your website to get right.
What’s more, the nature of SEO is an ever-changing beast – constantly adapting and evolving to the changes of search engines and their requirements.
So what is SEO?
In a nutshell, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation (avoid saying SEO optimisation as you’ll hear a foghorn sound in the distance and the Hounds of the Baskerville fast approaching).
Anytime you search for something on Google, and other search engines, you’re presented with thousands of results based on what you typed. The order in which these results appear aren’t by chance. The better a website’s SEO score, the more visible and therefore higher in the results they will appear.
SEO is all about organic traffic, which means traffic that you didn’t have to pay to receive (as is the case for PPC).
Great. How do I get to the top of the list?
This is where things become more complex. In order to appear on a search engine’s results page at all, your website needs to be indexed. Each search engine will use what is referred to as a ‘bot’ to crawl millions of pages across the web and their unique algorithm ranks them based on a number of factors.
These factors can be quite volatile and change depending on factors that are sometimes out of your control. However, for the most part you have the capacity to improve your ranking significantly.
Is my website indexed?
Finding out if your website has been indexed is fairly straightforward. One easy way to check is by going to the search engine and typing in either site: or info: followed by your website’s url.
For example if I type ‘site:https://www.enotions.co.uk/’ into the search bar I am presented with the following:
These results show that your website has been indexed by Google and you can proceed to the next section.
If nothing comes up in the search bar then don’t fret! It can take over a week for search engines to discover your new website and crawl the pages. If after a week you still don’t see your website, or only a few pages appear, you may need to create a sitemap to help search engines find you.
It is also worth checking you haven’t recently restructured the pages on your site as this can also cause redirecting issues.
If you’re not familiar with using content management/e-commerce systems, then it’s better to ask your developer to help you with this, or alternatively contact us and we’d be happy to troubleshoot your site and get you indexed.
Now can I get to the top of the list?
You’ve confirmed that your website has been indexed and the search engines are showing your website regardless of where it ranks. This is just the beginning!
At this stage we perform a site audit using the tool Semrush. A site audit involves crawling every page on your website to determine the critical errors that will hugely impact your SEO ranking, warnings, and notices that won’t affect your ranking as much.
In the old days of Google, the most important element for high rankings was using keywords. Websites would pack each page to the eyeballs in keywords to ensure that they were getting the most visibility. Now Google and other search engines are much more intuitive and can detect when a site is ‘spamming’ keywords, which results in sites being blacklisted from organic listings.
Search engines now take a much more holistic approach to rankings with much of the focus being about user experience (UX) and how accessible a website is.
So what falls under the ‘errors’ category? Things like 4xx errors, broken url links, sitemap issues, slow loading speeds, and duplicate content. As you can see, it’s not just keywords that will cause your site to rank low on search engines.
Warnings are given to pages that have too little text, uncompressed HTML/CSS files that can also impact loading speed, and not having appropriate H1 and H2 headings on a page. Subsequently notices are minor things like external links having nofollow attributes and orphaned pages.
Are we finished?
Not at all, but that isn’t a bad thing. As I mentioned earlier SEO is a constant work in progress and something that needs to be monitored consistently especially if you’ve restructured your site or are adding much more content.
At enotions we start with the site audit, and then move on to optimizing the content on each page including keyword research, competitor benchmarking, backlinks, and image optimization. Feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk you through our full list of services.