Search Engine Optimisation in simple terms, is a list of things you can do to rank well in Google (& other search engines). This results in more potential customers landing on your website. The most important thing you need to know is that firstly it is not an easy process. There are many other companies trying to do the same thing. Also, it is a continuous process. As websites are always competing to reach to the top of google it's important to stay ahead of the competition.
From anecdotal evidence, I spoke with an accountant who was promised to be ranked top in google for a fee of €120. It was a scam. There is a significant amount of work required to achieve a top ranking in google. If someone is promising a top ranking through SEO for €120 I would be suspicious.
First Steps in SEO
The first step in SEO is to identify the keywords you want to rank well for. Your keywords are your fishing bait. The catch a type of customer and bring them to your website. You want to choose keywords which aren't too broad so you don't bring the wrong people and also face high levels of competition. But you don't want to be too narrowly focused. Even if you get to the top you won't attract much traffic.
So instead of trying to compete for "accountants", you should try to rank well for "accountants Dublin". Google trends is a very useful tool to identify what keywords people are using. Also, Google's keyword planner will give you an indication of search volumes.
Content is king. Creating unique and relevant content for specific keywords is one of the most important things you can do. Having great content will affect a number of key numeric indicators. The first being your bounce rate.
Your bounce rate is a number which in simple terms tracks how frequently people leave your website after they arrive. If your content is irrelevant for keywords then you will have a high bounce rate and your rankings will fall in google. To track this number you should add Google analytics to your website.
The next key figure to track is back links.
Back links are links from other reputable websites linking back to your website. A back link is like a vote of confidence from a third party. The more reputable the website the greater the value a link will be worth to you, similar to a celebrity endorsement.
Back links can be a side effect of having great content. But you can have great content and few back links so it's important to promote the content you've created. The more reputable websites you have linking to your website the better will be your ranking.
There are a lot of other factors to consider. For this introduction article we won't go into detail but they include:
- Keywords in page names
- Keywords in H1 tags
- Keywords in page titles
- Domain extension for local results
- Age of the website
- Time until the domain expires
- Overuse of keywords
- Site speed
- Mobile enabled