Have you ever wondered how the results of Google are selected from all the websites that are available out there? There are a number of factors that Google takes into account when deciding on where your page fits in the results. The process of ensuring that your website exploits these factors to give you the best possible results is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. There are a number of people who sell SEO services. Many of these people offer a brilliant service and our aim is not intended to teach you how to do their job. We want to give you some of the terminology and processes that you need to go through with your SEO consultant, so that you can talk their ‘language’. It should be noted here that the algorithms used by Google and other search engines have not been published and change regularly so these suggestions are just a starting point.
If you want your website to be found, you need to understand what your customers will be typing into Google to find you. The first thing you should do is think about all the keywords or phrases that are applicable to your service(s) and each page of your website (if your site already exists)
Remember you need to think about your customers – consider how expert at searching they will be: will they know to put phrases in quotes, how to use Boolean AND /OR terminology or use clearly defined terms?
Methods to help you find your keywords include:
- Look at the statistics of your current site if you have access to them – we will be exploring how to use Google Analytics during the coming months.
- Brainstorm with friends and colleagues – I find the juices flow better over a glass of wine or two!
- Look at your competitors sites. If you access your competitors site, from the menu click View > Source or View Page Source. Using Find (Ctrl F), look for the word ‘Keywords” you should see a list of keywords. This won’t work for all sites as some will be coded differently, but it is worth a try.
- Don’t forget to ask your customers what keywords they would use to find you.
Now you have a long list of keywords, you need to refine it slightly to make sure that the keywords you use are not being used by loads of people so that there is too much competition. Your SEO consultant may well be able to suggest a tool, but Google’s Keyword Tracker is free and a good place to start.
Enter your keywords into the Google Keyword Tracker (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to identify how regularly keywords are used in search terms and how many websites are returned. It is based upon paid searches (as part of Google Adwords) but should give you a good idea which keywords to focus on. Global monthly search volume is given as well as advertiser competition. You have a choice to allow Google to suggest synonyms for your keywords which may produce words that you haven’t thought of. You can also get the Google Keyword Tracker to analyse what keywords you are currently using on your website – an enlightening exercise.
Once you have a shorter list of your keywords – don’t forget that not only should you be using them in your website, but you should also be using them in your social media content. Google Search now includes Twitter postings in its results – make sure some of your Twitter postings include your keywords.
You probably have chosen your website address based on your company name and I’m not suggesting that you change this. Do think about the url of each page though and how you can use your keywords. I’m in the process of rethinking the structure of my own website. Currently all my courses are on my course booking page with a url of www.concisetraining.net/course-booking – not too many keywords in that. I’m going to split my courses into separate pages with a url of perhaps www.concisetraining.net/office2003training – which is hitting my keywords somewhat better and should be featured higher up in Google’s results.
Hope this helps you to understand more about how SEO works.