What is SEO?

by | Mar 14, 2013 | Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) | 0 comments

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a process of ensuring that your website is open to being crawled by search engine “bots” and that your website is suitable for a good position on the search engine website results page, i.e. near the top. This is determined by Google, at least, by something they call “page rank”. Page Rank is a number allocated to your website by Google, and how they do it is a jealously guarded secret.

Thus, nobody outside of Google can really claim to know how to do “SEO”. I am always reluctant to take money from a client unless I can guarantee a result, and because nobody really knows how to beat the system, nobody can guarantee results.

However, Google does tell us that content is the primary key, and that links to your website from other relevant websites are also considered. So, bottom line: control what you can control, and make sure your content is relevant to the search terms that you want to be highly ranked for. You can also try and get other websites to place links to your website on theirs, but that will only help if the other websites are relevant to yours – it won’t help an insurance company’s page rank to have thousands of links from bakery websites pointing to it.

SEO service providers normally do one or more of the following:

  • Try to optimise your content by making sure that key search terms are included in the text on your website, and in headings on your website. This makes sense and everyone should be doing that anyway. Your website’s intended audience is a human one, and search engines tend to read like humans.
  • Ensure that searchable content is not presented in images, JavaScript, flash and so on because the search engine bots only read text. This is sensible, and all NettSite websites are designed with this in mind.
  • Ensure that images and links on your website contain “alt” and “title” properties, as this assists search bots in indexing sites. All NettSite websites are designed with this in mind.
  • Ensure that urls linking to your website are sensible and contain keywords, e.g. https://www.nettsite.co.za/index.php?page=Websites is better than https://www.nettsite.co.za/index.php?p=222h3h2h2h3 or something when someone is looking for “websites”. All NettSite websites are designed with this in mind.
  • Meta Tags: These are tags contained in web pages which are not displayed and contain information about a website. The important ones for SEO are:
    • Keywords: Search engines used to use the “keywords” meta tag to assist in indexing websites, but no longer use them, due to the ease with which they can be abused.
    • Description: The “description” meta tag is used by some search engines as the description of the site in the search results – Google no longer does this.
    • Title: The “title” meta tag is used by the browser to place a title at the very top of the browser, and is also used in some search engines as a heading for each result on the search results page. It makes a lot of sense to have a relevant page title for each page of your website, instead of just the name of the company, for example.
    • All NettSite websites include meaningful titles, keywords and descriptions.
  • Attempt to obtain many links from other sites back to your website:
    • Buying links from a “link farm” which is just a site contain thousands of links. This is a complete waste of time and money, and may even result in being penalised by the search engines.
    • Participate in internet forums where you can post your link. This can be productive, as long as the forums you post on a relevant to your website. This practise is also abused by some as “link spamming”, which is the placing of comments on forums just to get a link displayed. This can also be penalised by search engines.
    • Some “SEO” companies offer Google Adwords management as a service, which is the process of paying Google for placing advertising on their website, or on related websites that participate in the “Adsense” programme. NettSite can offer this service as well.

More information on search engines, and Search Engine Optimisation:

Bear in mind that search engines form only a part of the marketing strategy of a website. A high page rank in Google is no guarantee of enormous website traffic.

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