The majority of online experiences start with a Search Engine, e.g. Google, Bing, and Yahoo. SEO is about optimising your website for search engines so that your website can be found using their search function.
Having a website is the first step, but how do customers find you online?
If your main source of traffic is from search engines e.g. people searching for your product on Google, then you will need to make SEO a priority. Consider referring to a web designer who is experienced in SEO or make use of SEO specialist services.
However, if your main traffic comes from referrals i.e. people know your domain name and browse directly to your site, then SEO won’t need to be as much of a focus, though still important.
Search engines perform the following activities in order to deliver results:
Crawlers are programs that visit your website, read your pages and other information and create entries into the search indexing system.
After they have “fetched” all your website pages they start indexing them into a giant database from which they can later be retrieved. Essentially, they are identifying the words and phrases that best describe your pages and assign them particular keywords.
When a search request comes, the search engine compares the search string in the search, e.g. “Web hosting companies in South Africa”, with your indexed pages.
The search engine then retrieves the best-matched results, displaying them in the browser.
To increase the likelihood of your website being found and ranked well by the search engines, you will need to consider factors like:
- your choice of keywords
- keyword density
- the placement of your keywords in the title
- use of headings in your post or page (h1, h2, h3)
- use of images and how they are labelled
- URL format
- page title
WordPress makes SEO implementation easier: if your website is WordPress based, then using an SEO plugin will help you add relevant keywords and excerpts. Refer to WordPress.org for these useful plugins.
Google Webmasters provides a very helpful range of tools and tutorials to help you. Use these resources to better understand how to improve your site’s SEO.