What is Search Engine Optimisation?

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Put simply, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to the various techniques used to put your website higher up on the search engine rankings. Every search engine (Google, Yahoo etc) ranks websites for their content and relevancy when a search is made. You might notice that if you search for a particular topic, you get 8 or 10 pages of results if not more. Most people will only look at the first one or two pages – chances are that they have found the product, service or answer they are looking for by that point. This is why it’s important that your site is as close to the top as you can get it. So SEO refers to the various techniques you can use to make sure that you get there.

So, how does SEO work? Most companies that work in the field play their cards pretty close to their chests as far as divulging how they go about their work. But there are some fundamental principles that they all use, and that you can also bear in mind when you are putting your site together.

The best way to approach this topic is to have a think about how search engines work. In order to provide a credible service to their users, search engines need to make sure that as much as possible they are directing users to sites that match their search terms as closely as possible, that are secure and safe to visit, and that are regarded as credible and popular. So the first step in this process is to pay careful attention to wording on the site. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and have a good think about what people would be entering into a search engine to find you. Then make sure that you use those terms in the text on your site frequently.

Another thing to consider is the meta-tag setup on the website. Embedded underneath the human-readable content on every webpage is a machine-readable string of code that tells the search engine “what is this page about”. It’s important that you set these tags up as it will make it easier for the search engine to direct people to you.

One of the major things Search Engines look for is popularity. To put it simply, they operate on the assumption that the more people visiting your page, and the more other websites linking to you, the better your content must be, and therefore the higher you go on the page ranking. This may not help you much when your page is new, but it gives you a good indication of what you need to be doing to get a batter ranking. The more you can do to advertise your page in order to drive visitors to take a look the better. The same applies to cross-linking – if you can get other sites to link to you, the search engines will view this as an indication of the quality of your page.

Another aspect to consider is your competition. The difficulty of getting a high ranking is directly related to the number of other sites competing with you for that top spot. If your site is about something obscure, you might not have too much competition and will find it easy to get up the rankings. But if you are competing in a crowded marketplace against sites who are commissioning 3rd party SEO providers to help them, you will probably find this more difficult. In these cases, it’s worth getting some quotes to have a SEO campaign of your own. Google provides a free keyword tool that you are able to use to check your keywords and keyphrases. The tool enables you to determine the level of competition, other keyword ideas and global and local searches, find it here.

SEO is a very wide topic, and there are hundreds of pages on the web offering various opinions on how to proceed.  The strategies listed above are very basic and are really “best practice” for anyone launching a website. If driving traffic to your site is important to you (and it should be!), you should consider SEO work as part of the promotion budget for your business and engage a professional. Melbourne IT offers comprehensive SEO services, please give our expert Sales team a ring on 1300 654 677.


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