What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimisation. When we talk about SEO, we develop and grow a website to help it rank well on search engines like Google.
An SEO strategy should involve tactics that are both on-page (within the website) and off-page (external to the website itself).
On-page and off-page tactics work together and are umbrella terms for essential SEO techniques that help the success of a website.
Be honest, trustworthy and conscientious.
How SEO works
The responsibility of any search engine is to look after its users. If a search engine sent us to slow loading websites that were full of errors, outdated and hard-to-use, we wouldn't use that search engine.
Google is widely successful because they take care of users and strive to cater to the needs of all humans, especially those with difficulties.
Google sets quality guidelines that website owners must follow to be competitive online.
Reasons that SEO is sensitive
Dishonest website owners use Black hat tactics to fool search engines into ranking them well.
Search engines maintain a penalty system for websites that don't follow guidelines. Horrible websites are not indexed at all.
Some common black hat techniques you might have heard of are keyword stuffing, adding too many irrelevant internal links, and meta-data unrelated to page content.
Illegitimate websites will avoid displaying contact details; they’ll copy content from other websites and over-use internal links.
New tactics are developed all the time. These websites want to be at the top of a search engine result page to take our money.
Search engines fight back
Search engines take action to weed out these websites - algorithms are changed and matured to keep the good guys at the top. That’s us!
Online reviews and backlinks have become incredibly important in SEO because they provide integrity.
Search engines merit links between credible websites with historical value.
Reviews provided via social accounts and trusted websites have a traceable history, so search engines can assess if a real person leaves the review.
On-page SEO is the art of continuously refining a website so that search engines understand it, engage with it and rank it.
Google looks for quality page content with good structure, making it easy for users to find what they are looking for.
Each page on a website should use clean code, markup and correct tags so that search engines understand what is on the page.
Dud links and missing tags can negatively affect rank.On-page SEO
Off-page SEO, or off-site SEO, refers to activity outside of a website to help it gain rank.
Backlinks, social media alignment, social shares and online reviews all come under off-page SEO.
This approach helps the user and the search engine fathom that the site is trustworthy and active, determining if it deserves to rank well.Off-page SEO
Search engine friendly definition
Search engine friendly is a term that describes a website optimised for search engines, such as Google.
Nowadays, search engine friendly can refer to several things.
In the old days, search engine optimisation was simply a matter of making it easier for search engines to understand the page.
A web developer could use keywords within tags to tell search engines why the page exists.
Because of those black hat tactics and advances in technology, Google and its counterparts have to react and create more intelligent systems known as algorithms.
These days, to be search engine friendly, a website must be informative, provide instant information, be easy to navigate, fast, mobile-friendly and visually pleasing.
All the above give the user the best experience so that Google will reward these types of websites.
Many other technical techniques can help a site become search engine ready, such as using microdata (Schema) to improve pages.
What effects SEO negatively?
There are lots of factors that can harm the rank of a website. Some are easier to fix than others.
Search engine bots crawl billions of websites each day. Websites are created using code that displays beautifully on a browser. Google rewards clean code with correct tags and markup because the bot can more easily decipher the content of a page.
CMS website builders inject code into pages enabling non-professionals to put a website together. WordPress is one of the best at keeping this under wraps, but plugins and themes can create unwanted lines of code. Googlebot must sift through all this code before it can understand the content.
Slow download times.
Unwanted code takes time to download. Large images and other media bloat the website and slow them down. Google looks to provide its users with answers fast. Any page that takes a long time to download will immediately get penalised.
Because so many users search using smartphones or tablets to search online, Google rewards websites that are easy to read and navigate using a mobile device.
Dud links are links that lead nowhere. These are undirected links within a page or from other sites, including Google. Google likes to see well-maintained websites so that users aren’t faced with the 404 error message.
Google penalises websites that overload pages with keywords. Pages, posts and articles should include key phrases but never overpower the content. Always have humans in mind.
Put time and effort into adequately writing a website and don’t repeat the same paragraphs on pages or e-commerce products. Google will only rank one of the duplicate pages, losing rank power.
Google likes web pages to be informative. They rank content that gives a great explanation to the user. There are no rewards for content reaching 600 words. Bad spelling and grammar will also have adverse effects.