Search Engine Optimisation is essentially the design and configuration of web site pages to rank as highly as possible in search engine results.
Google and other search engines send out 'spider' software that regularly copies web sites to their servers for indexing. This information is used to generate the results you get every time you search. To decide which results it feels are most relevant Google will analyse the elements that make up the pages in its index using a complex and unpublished formula.
The challenge of search engine optimisation is to control these elements on your web pages so that Google will see them as highly relevant to their subject matter and rank them well.
So what are these page elements and how can you control them?
The web page you see in your browser is actually constructed from a large number of different code elements that contain words and graphics. The text content of each of these - titles, headings, links, image names etc. will be evaluated by the search engine when it 'reads' your page. It will look for the 'keyword density' of 'search terms' across different areas as well as for associated words.
Here are just some of the 'on page' elements the search engine will look at:
- Web site URL - www.katalysis.net
- Page URL - /search-engine-optimisation-defined.html
- Page Title - Search Engine Optimisation Defined
- Heading Tags - What is Search Engine Optimisation?
- Page copy - should include references to the search terms
- Link text - Search Engine Optimisation Defined
Is that all there is to it?
Unfortunately no, while optimising your pages will certainly boost your search engine ratings, sometimes this is not enough to reach page one of the Google results. Search engines will also look at 'off page' factors when deciding where to rank your site. Among these factors are the number and quality of other sites that link to your site, the age of your domain and the geographic location of your web host. We'll be taking a look at these aspects of internet marketing in another blog article soon.
When should we start the process of search engine optimisation?
The short answer to this is as early in the development cycle as possible. Given the importance of search (In July 2007 UK web users clicked on over 1.3bn search results) it makes sense to think carefully about structuring your web site with search in mind. For businesses that are particularly focussed on the internet search engine optimisation should form an essential part of the business strategy.
How can I be sure my site is optimised for search and where can I get advice about including search engine optimisation in my strategy?
This is the easy bit. We have a lot of experience not only in developing search optimised web sites but also in thinking and talking to businesses about search engine optimisation.
Call us on 01582 715130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your project and we'll let you know where we can help.