Previously, in our first blog post, we attempted to explain SEO in simple terms.
This post continues this with the explanation of the on-site and off-site factors that are involved in Search Engine Optimisation.
First of all we have:
These are SEO factors relating to the website itself – generally speaking we need to ‘optimise’ individual web pages to help them rank in Google for the keywords we want them to rank for.
There are a number of ‘best practice’ elements relating to the site itself that will help achieve this, and whilst they are best done during site development, it’s certainly possible to install retrospectively. Remember that the site needs to have high quality content as this will be the most important factor.
Techniques will include these elements – optimising content, URL-structure, H-tags, page titles, page descriptions, meta-data, etc. Okay, these might not be ‘plain English’ terms, but these tactics are mainly web development requisites, and mostly consist of words placed around the site to describe the site’s pages.
Next we need to consider what needs to be done away from your own website that will help with SEO efforts.
Separate to on-site optimisation, the other primary factors to influence search results are referred to as ‘off-site’ elements.
Primarily this relates to generating in-bound links to the webpages from credible, high authority websites.
The overall practice of increasing in-bound links to a website is known as ‘link-building’ (and content marketing!) and effectively involves the following (amongst other things):
- Researching relevant ‘link placement opportunities’ – these are external websites, forums, blogs, directories, etc. in associated disciplines that carry authority with Google (you can tell this by using online tools to check a site’s page rank and authority) – this is an on-going practice as you need a continuous flow of potential link opportunities.
- Once relevant link opportunities are identified, there are a number of tactics employed to generate inbound links – usually it involves reaching out to real people and concentrating on distributing quality content – which effectively means building relationships with owners/authors of external websites and liaising with them to ‘place’ content from your website (i.e. blog posts, Infographics, research, videos, etc.) on the external sites with a link back to your site. This is why it’s always handy to work with specialists that have people skills – this is not about being technical, it’s effectively about good PR conducted online.
Other tactics to increase links involve creating profiles on business and industry sector online directories as well as distributing online press releases and articles incorporating back-links also.
There are other slightly more technical factors involved, which include using the correct anchor text, deep linking and more, but let’s leave that to another day.
Just to note that when creating more link opportunities, remember that the activity needs to be continuous and consistent. For example it would be detrimental for a site to generate 25 new inbound links one month and then nothing the next. A steadier build-up of links is more ‘natural’ and will pay greater dividends in Google rankings. If in doubt, ask yourself, will this appear as a natural build-up of links to the ever-watchful Google machine?
Quality is usually far more important than quantity in link-building. It is wiser not to keep going for the easy option, but instead think about how you can appear on very relevant sites in your sector. The ones with higher authority and page rank will certainly be the ones to concentrate on.
So here endeth the explanations. There are other practices involved but hopefully the above provides some level of clarity and context to the activity required. We’d love to answer any questions you may have, so please shout.