If you have a website, or know others that do, you have probably heard a lot about SEO. SEO this, SEO that, Google this, Bing that, page ranking, key words…
It sounds confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take the world’s most popular search engine: Google. If you’re looking for a doctor in your area, you might type in “GP Auckland City” and hit search. A page of results comes up, you select the one that looks like the best fit for your needs. Easy. On the other side of the search process we have the Auckland City doctor who wants to attract new patients to his practice. He has a website, but it appears on the fourth page of Google so it gets very few visitors. This is where SEO comes in.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a continuous process of altering a variety of elements to improve a website’s visibility in search engines like Google or Bing.
Can I do it by myself?
Yes and no. These days, SEO has become a science. There are screeds of official rules and even more that are unofficial. If you want to appear towards the top of search results, it’s hard work that requires a lot of trial and error.
So what can I do?
The basic steps are simple. You need to meet all SEO and web standards. The title and description of your website is the most important part of SEO. This part is visible in search engines and is always indexed by them. It’s essential all of your main pages have a different title and description. If you’re using CMS, in most cases all articles or blog posts will have a title and description filled in automatically.
Bear in mind, there is a character limit. The title can contain up to 65 characters, including spaces, and the description up to 150 characters, also including spaces. That goes for Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask. But remember, your title and description have to make sense! The description is not only for Google engines, it’s also seen by users interested in your website. If you fill it only with keywords, it won’t attract many visitors. Would you go to a website described as “designer,seo,it,web,auckland,php,html,css”? Doubt it.
CMS provides a lot of opportunities to control your website and that includes SEO. But that’s just a small percent. You need a developer who understands html. It’s like a language in itself, and an experienced web developer will be able to apply SEO tactics without breaking any rules.