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Published On: Wed, Mar 8th, 2017

An Introduction to SEO

You may well have heard of the term SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) but do you ever stop and wonder whether you should further your skills and knowledge on the matter? If you run any kind of business then SEO will be very important to the success of your business, as it forms a critical string in your marketing bow. If you don’t make the time to understand the principles of SEO, then you risk losing out on a valuable marketing opportunity that your competitors are probably spending lots of time on.

Okay, so are you a bit more interested on what SEO can do for your business? In a very basic description, SEO is the method by which your website and all of its content is rated by search engines. All of the search engines such as Google and Bing have complex rankings defined by algorithms to determine how high up a website appears in the list of search engines. For example, if you are a plumbing business in Bolton, someone looking to use your services would probably type ‘Plumber in Bolton’ into the search to find a local plumber to fix their problem.

If you have a very good SEO strategy, then your website will be one of the very first that appears on the list, and therefore much more likely to get the business than a business found on the third page of the list. Generally, people aren’t going to scroll through the pages of a search engine to find a plumber, they will opt for one that is higher up.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

With the concept of SEO cleared up, you are probably wondering how you can get your website to appear higher up in the rankings. Unfortunately, Google and the others do not give out instructions on how to be number 1 on the list, and to make matters even more complicated, they frequently amend how their rankings are calculated. Sounds impossible to master? Don’t worry, a lot of the main principles stay the same.

Content should be of high quality and useful, so writing pages and pages of content that is irrelevant to the focus of your website is not going to help. It does help however, to keep your content accurate and refreshed, so even if you just do some small page updates on a regular basis, your website will be assessed as recently up to date.

Another big factor is the use of keywords. If we go back to the example used before, “plumber” and “Bolton” are your keywords, and will help your businesses discoverability. There are tools that you can use to discover the most used keywords before incorporating them into your content, but don’t over-do it as you can get penalized.

Lastly, it helps to have links to authoritative websites, as the search engines will associate your website to having reliable, trustworthy sources linked to it. SEO is a valuable part of your marketing strategy but you still need to drive people to your website through techniques such as email marketing.

Author: Carol Trehearn

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