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SEO Gloucester guide to optimise your website
Our SEO Gloucester guide will break down the details of search engine optimisation for business owners, web designers, and anyone else looking to learn more about how SEO works.
You probably already know that SEO is important…
Well, today you are in luck because we’ve put together a complete guide to help you understand the fundamentals of search engine optimisation.
You will learn about the following building blocks of SEO:
- Introduction to SEO: Basics of SEO
- What is SEO?: What SEO is and why it matters.
- How Do Search Engines work?: Learn how your website gets discovered.
- On Page Optimisation: How to increase the visibility of your site in the search engines.
- Off Page Optimisation: How to increase the authority of your site using links so that Google knows that your site is more helpful to users than your competitors’ websites.
- Local SEO: How to optimise your website to attract users near the location or service areas of your business.
These are the best practises, along with proven facts as confirmed by Google, and SEO tips to help you get ahead.
Now, let’s get started!
Introduction to SEO
Before we get started with the basic principles of search engine optimisation, it is important for you to understand that you should optimise the individual pages of your website, not your website, in order to get the best results from your SEO website marketing efforts.
This is an important distinction to make because too may people think that SEO starts and ends with optimising the home page. In fact, every page of your website needs to be properly optimised.
If you want your site to appear in the top of the search results, you must have a thorough understanding of search engine optimisation and how to effectively execute it for your site.
Remember, that the higher your site ranks in the search engines, the more free traffic, sales and leads you can expect for your business!
What Is SEO and Why Is It Important?
There are many definitions of SEO. However, SEO, or search engine optimisation, mainly refers to the technical process of improving a website’s visibility in a search engine’s unpaid listings with the goal of driving more traffic to it.
Here’s the deal:
SEO is mainly important because the search engine robots do not see a web page in the same way that humans do. SEO enables the search engines to determine what each page of your website is about and how it might be beneficial to the users that visit your website.
As if that’s not enough, it is also important to note that there is a major difference between paid and organic search listings.
Paid search listings are basically advertisements, meaning that the website owner has paid to have the website display on searches for specific keywords. Organic search listings are the search results that the search engine thinks are most relevant to a user’s search query.
You can typically tell the difference between paid search listings and organic search listings because the search engines typically set the paid listings apart by putting them either above or to the right of organic search listings.
The search engine may also use visual cues, including highlighting, colours and text boxes, to make it clear to users that the paid search listings are not natural results for a particular keyword search.
How Do Search Engines Work?
There are five key areas in how search engines work:
Crawl refers to the process of the search engine robots discovering your website. The search engine robot will determine which pages of your website should be stored, or indexed, in the search engine’s organic results.
After the search engine robots decide which of your site’s pages should be indexed, the search engine makes copy of the web page and stores it on the search engine’s servers. This copy is called the cache.
Retrieve is the process that the search engine uses to find the pages that are relevant to a particular keyword search when a user enters a query.
Rank is how the search engines determine which order the pages should appear in the search engines. The rank is determined by a complex algorithm, which decides which page should appear as the 1st, 2nd or 1000th result.
Although the code of the search algorithm is not made public in order to protect the integrity of the ranking process, it is estimated that Google’s algorithm uses 200 ranking factors in order determine the rank for a web page.
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. A SERP is simply the page that is used to display the search engine ranking results to a user that has entered a keyword query.
The listings that appear on a SERP are typically of two types: organic and paid search listings. Each organic listing will include a title that contains a hyperlink to the actual page on the Web, the full URL of the web page and a short description which is an excerpt of the content on the page.
The Search Engine Web Crawler: How Google Discovers your Site
The search engines use software known as “web crawlers” to discover web pages that are publicly available. The most well-known crawler, which Google uses, is called “Googlebot.” Web crawlers review websites and follow the links found on these pages in a manner that is similar to how humans browse content on the Web. The web crawlers visit these links and return data about these web pages to the search engine’s servers.
But that’s just part of the story…
Web crawlers also rely on sitemaps that are provided by the website’s owners. The crawl process also utilises a list of web addresses from past crawls and simply look for links to other pages to visit as it reviews the websites on this list.
On-site SEO, On-page SEO & Off-page SEO
On site SEO: Website Speed
Website speed is one of the 200 ranking factors that Google uses to determine the SERPs for search queries. As a result, website speed has an impact on your web rankings.
Here’s why website speed matters:
Website speed is important to the search engines because it has an impact on the user experience for the site. There are many reasons why your website may take long to load and these include:
- Unoptimised images
- Too many plugins
- Too many ads
- Browsers, plugins and apps that are incompatible with the devices that users use to access your website
- Bulky code
- External embedded media (i.e. videos, slide shows, infographics)
What’s the bottom line?
To ensure that your website is not impacted negatively by the website speed search engine ranking factor, you should make sure that your website loads in under two seconds.
On site SEO: How Mobile Friendly Is Your Website?
Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal to determine the ranking for your website. Having a mobile-friendly site means that your site will rank higher on Google.
What does this mean for you?
If you want to ensure that your website displays properly on mobile devices, you should use responsive web design. A responsive website is one that can automatically change based on the device that the user is using to view the website.
With a responsive website, text and images may resize on certain devices while unnecessary elements may be hidden so that they don’t compete with the more important elements of the page.
Responsive web design is generally recommended for creating websites that are mobile-friendly because you can achieve customised mobile experiences for different devices. In addition, your website will also use one set of code, which helps to meet search engine’s ranking factors for site speed and clean code.
Now, to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly in the eyes of the search engines, double-check your site’s pages using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool and see how Google Search sees your pages.
The 8 Key Elements of On Page Optimisation (SEO Best Practises)
There are several on page factors that affect search engine rankings. These factors include:
Keywords are the foundation of SEO marketing. While keywords no longer have the impact that they used to, having your keywords appear in the content is important because it helps the search engine to determine how relevant the content of your site is to a user’s search engine query. To find the best keywords for your business start by using Google Keyword Planner.
Page titles are shown as the clickable links in the SERP listings. Writing effective page titles is important because they can skyrocket your click through rate. Make sure that every page of your website has a unique title tag that specifically describes that content on that page.
The meta description provides a concise explanation of the content of a web page. They are typically used in SERPs in order to display a preview of the content for a page.
Do meta descriptions still matter?
The short answer is yes. Although meta descriptions are not an official ranking factor, they still matter because they help users to determine search result listings are relevant to their keyword queries.
Google has also written some pretty extensive literature surrounding the implementation and best practice of meta descriptions which means that you should take their advice and make sure to write quality meta descriptions for every page of your site.
The title tag, also known as a title element, is used to provide a concise description of a page’s content. A title tag is one of the most important on-page elements because it appears in three places, as the browser tab or window name, as a part of a SERP listing and on external websites.
Content is an extremely important search engine ranking factor. The content of the page is what makes it worthy of being included in a SERP. You have probably heard the phrase “Content is King.” This is true not only for marketing your website, it is also true for search engine optimisation.
Alt tags are attributes of an image and describes what is on the image and the purpose of the image for the page. Alt tags are important for SEO because they are used by screen readers, which are the browsers that are used by the blind and visually impaired. Alt tags are used by screen readers to tell them what information the image contains.
What this means for SEO:
Google uses image alt text as a ranking factor in order to determine the topic of the text that surrounds the image. If you want to improve your rankings, use the best practices recommended by Google to optimise the alt tags for all of the images on your website.
Microdata is a feature of HTML5 that provides search engine web crawlers with information about a website’s content. Microdata is important for SEO because it gives the search engine web crawlers more context about the type of information that appears on a web page and the way that the page should be indexed and ranked by the search engines.
Microdata can basically be used to create “custom” elements (sort of), to give a specific meaning to them. Although, the set up is pretty complicated, the end result is that the search engines will be able to extract more data from your web pages to display in the SERPs.
Internal links are links that point to another page on the same website. These links are helpful for several reasons. They help users to navigate your website. They also help to establish an information hierarchy for your website. Finally, internal links are important for SEO marketing because they establish a crawlable link structure for your site, which makes it easier for the web crawlers to find all of the pages on a website.
SEO For Local Businesses
All local businesses need search engine optimisation to improve online visibility. However, local SEO is very different from organic SEO for several reasons. First, the local search results change much faster than organic search results. Second, organic SEO is about optimising your website and its content to establish trust with the search engines, while local SEO is actually about managing your online reputation.
Local search engine optimisation also isn’t just one tactic, it involves on page optimisation for local keywords (i.e. “Gloucester SEO”), local business listing optimisation, the solicitation of genuine reviews, localised link building, optimisation of your search engine snippets, ensuring the consistency of your NAP (name, address, phone number) listings across the web and more.
If you run a business that sells a product or serve in a particular geographical area, local search engine optimisation is a must-have addition to your online marketing plan.
Do you need an SEO specialist?
If you haven’t got time to learn and implement SEO for your business, let the SEO Gloucester experts at Softdata do the hard work for you! We’ll help rank you highly on Google’s search engine with an affordable SEO plan.
We’ve proven our expertise as the leading SEO specialists in Gloucester by securing our number one search term (“Gloucester hosting”) on Google for more than 5 consecutive years!
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