From Intern to Designer
8 min read
We get asked this question all the time! So here at eJIGSAW, we’ve put together a few pointers to help you understand the world of SEO a little better.
So, what is SEO?
You’ve all heard of Google, right?! Or maybe you use a different search engine such as Bing, Yahoo… maybe even DuckDuckGo. Either way, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that most of us will use some form of search engine at least once per day. You may have also noticed that when you do perform a search, there are so many results to choose from – Probably too many most of the time.
Well, basically, SEO is a combination of technical and creative techniques used to point the search engines in the right direction. With the aim that, when someone searches for a term that is relevant to the services or products you offer, they will (hopefully) find your website in the top page of those results… With the ultimate intention of driving more conversions to your site.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?! Well, we’re going to go through the key points to help you understand SEO a little better, and see how it can benefit your business.
Other than for work, how much do you actually use a desktop computer now? Do you even own one anymore?
If you have a website in this day and age, then you need to make sure it still works well and is still as user-friendly on a mobile device. If you have Google Analytics set up, take a moment to take a look at how many of your visitors are visiting your site via a mobile device.
This is something that Google may (and more-than-likely will) penalise your website for. They’re all about the user-friendliness, and if you’re not providing that, then they’ll eventually rank others who are, above you.
How many times have you clicked a link to a site that has just been far too slow to load, so you’ve decided to move on to another? Well, if your website is one of these slow-loading sites, that’s exactly what you’re customers are going to do.
So, it’s so important to make sure your site is up to speed, and it’s easy to find out if your site is performing well (speed-wise), using Google’s own PageSpeed Insights tool.
When you hear about SEO, one of the first thing that is probably mentioned is keywords.
Keywords are the words, and terms, relative to your product or services, that you may want to be found for when someone performs a search in the search engine.
Keywords are good as a guideline to see where your website performs within the search engines, against your online competition. When it comes to keywords, don’t make assumptions, and don’t just go by your own judgement – to do your research! There are a few tools out there that can give you an idea of search volumes. We like to use Keywords Everywhere, or the Google Keyword Planner.
“Content is King!”
Content is King! I’m sure if you’ve ever done any research into SEO, you’ve seen this term quite a bit. Well, they’re not lying, content really is king!
However, this doesn’t mean just any old content, it has to be relevant, quality, and compelling. Let’s also just get one thing clear, whilst we’re here, the 300-500 words rule is just a guideline!
Don’t get me wrong, you do need to make sure there is enough content, but Google will not punish your web page if you have less than 300 words. It just needs to be good quality – give people a reason to read, become engaged, and then share it with their friends, family, colleagues.
Any pages of content, that you want to be found by the search engines, need to be optimised. This generally includes:
1. Title Tags (or Page Titles)
The title tag is clickable heading that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This should include a keyword that is relevant to the page’s content. Google typically display around 70 characters, so you should try and keep within this to improve click-through-rate.
2. Meta Descriptions
Although this doesn’t necessarily help with page rankings, this can help with click-through-rate. Even if your web page ranks well, a meta description can determine whether or not someone clicks through to your website. So, make sure it’s relevant to the page, but also engaging enough to make people want to click through.
3. Alt Tags
The search engines don’t see a web page how we see a web page, they will see a completely stripped-back version. Because of this, they don’t see images how we see them, so essentially we need to tell them what the images are. This should just be a brief description of what is displayed in the image. This is not only done for SEO purposes, but also for the visually impaired who otherwise wouldn’t know what the image is about (good to keep in mind when adding alt tags).
4. H1 Tag
This should be the title of the page. There should only be one H1 tag per page! If you can include a keyword in there, then that’s a bonus, but generally keep this as the title; after the Title Tag, this is next in line of importance on the page, which will tell the search engines what the page is about.
5. H2 Tag
This should generally be treated as a sub-heading and should include the keyword relevant to the page (the same as is shown in the Title Tag of the page).
The main body of content should be engaging, relevant, and also structured so that it’s easy for the user to read, don’t over face them with huge blocks of text, and don’t force keywords into the content, you will find that you will naturally include the relevant ones anyway.
7. Internal Links
Including links within your content, to other pages on your site, can show the search engines the relationship between the two pages of content, and therefore, strengthens the relevance of your content. This also makes it easier for the search engines to find internal pages of the site. Try and include at least 2 internal links per page.
1. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
This basically ensures that your connection, to a website that uses https (instead of HTTP), is secure and encrypted. In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS is now a ranking signal, which means if you don’t yet have an SSL certificate, you should probably go and do that right now!
There is some controversy surrounding link building (mainly due to old/black hat techniques such as paying for high volumes of low-quality links), however, if this is done right it can have a very positive effect.
This can be done in a number of ways including, building relationships with industry experts/high domain authority website owners within your industry, and asking them to include a link to your website on their website, or by producing consistently good quality, and reliable content that people will want to link to (this can take a long time, so don’t be too disheartened if people don’t think your content is amazing enough to link to straight away!).
Link building can be very time-consuming but can be worth it.
3. Social Media
Some may argue that social media doesn’t affect rankings, and Google would probably agree with that. Maybe it doesn’t directly affect your rankings, however, it can affect this indirectly.
If you’re posting consistent, compelling content across the social media channels relevant to your business then this can build trust, and awareness of your business, therefore driving more traffic to your website. This, in turn, should build your website’s trust within the search engine, which will then improve rankings.
The world of organic search is constantly changing, so it’s imperative to stay on the ball to keep ahead of the game. There is so much involved, which can seem very confusing, and a little overwhelming for anyone outside of the SEO industry, that’s where agencies (like us) come in! We’re here to help you understand SEO, and how it can benefit you and your business online.
We hope this does help to give you a better understanding of the basics (yep, that’s just some of the basics) of SEO, and how you can get started with getting your website ranking within the search engines. However, if you’re still confused (and we wouldn’t blame you if you were!), feel free to give us a call and have a chat with our team… you can even pop into Jigsaw House, we’re always up for a coffee, and a chat!
Hopefully, from this, you have taken away some useful tips on how to improve your SEO. If you are still baffled by the world of SEO (we wouldn’t blame you if you were, it’s taken us years), why not get in touch with our award-winning digital team!