PREVIOUS: Part 2: Search Engine Marketing

Now that readers have a little more understanding about search engines, how they operate and the importance of search engine marketing, the next step is to provide some more insight of the basics of SEO and how these search engines react to or identify your website.

So let’s take a step back. From a user’s perspective, ask yourself how you go about using search engines. What do you hope to achieve from your search? Is it a transactional, navigational or an information based search? Everyone searches differently, therefore you should put yourself in other peoples shoes. If you run a business and maintain an e-commerce or service based website, you must ensure that these prospected consumers are directed to, or find your site easily.

SEO Basics

Basically you want the content on your page to be easily identified by search engine spiders and retrieved highly in the SERP. In the scheme of things that’s the goal you want to achieve. The higher you rank in Google, chances are users will click through to your website, right? It’s as simple as that. However ranking in SERP’s in NOT so simple.

When the spiders crawl through countless pages initiated from a keyword search, they can’t identify or won’t understand a lot of the content that is accessible on your site. Search engines see website content differently to the way people do, therefore you MUST optimise your site in a search engine friendly way.

Positive SEO

I am only going to touch on a few points of positive SEO. There are way too many to list, however here are a few that are understandable to most SEO beginners:

  1. You should ensure that your website incorporates important content in the HTML text throughout your site. This will include H1’s to clearly identify important headings and possibly some H2 or H3’s on each page highlighting sub-headings. Search engines acknowledge the HTML on your website, evidently allowing them to be indexed and identified by spiders.
  2. Another priority is to write meta descriptions for all your pages. This can become a tedious task, based on the size of your website, however is highly beneficial from a search engine and user perspective. Meta description tags are identified by search engines and sell the benefits of a page to the user in the SERP.
  3. Your website should include optimised title tags. These are a key ranking signal in search engines and should correlate with some of the keywords searched and HTML titles on the site. If these are optimised correctly, this will have an impact of the final SERP position.

Negative SEO

There may be a number of aspects throughout your website that is negatively affecting your SEO, which can be identified through a number of different platforms, such as SEOmoz. Some include:

  1. 404 Error pages – Users can’t find the page they are searching for any inbound links will be devalued lowering site authority.
  2. Content & page title duplication – This forces the pages to compete with each other, affecting the rankings and confuses the search engine.
  3. No WWW resolve – Your website without www doesn’t redirect to www, or vice versa. This also causes duplicate content.
  4. Temporary redirects – Will not pass any link juice preventing page rank from entering site.

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These are only some of the positive and negative elements found on a website. These will ultimately determine which direction you head. If you need further justification, you should make contact with an SEO agency to discuss or potentially have an audit conducted to identify some missed opportunities.

NEXT: Part 4 – Keyword Research