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Search Engine Optimisation demystified

By on Jul 17, 2013 in Search

Search Engine Optimisation with aXentSearch Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to how well your internet based content is geared to the search engine algorithms. Google has set the standards here, and it is to Google we turn to make sure we are doing ‘the-dun-thing’. Following the rules of SEO ensures that you will soon rank well in the search engines, which means being on the first page of an organic search for any of the keywords you’ve used relating to your product or service.

Content is King – according to Google

This quote crops up almost daily in our discussions in the aXent Associates den. Writing exceptional content for our clients is the thing, we know, that will get them the results they are looking for from their online marketing. However, while content is king, without certain other search engine optimising measures in place, even brilliant, engaging, problem-solving content will vanish into the ether of the Cloud. It stands to reason: there’s a fair amount of information out there these days.

Keywords

Taking into account the value of great content, it is no huge cognitive leap to realise that keywords have to be used carefully, so as not to detract from the reader’s experience. Chucking keywords in at every vaguely viable opportunity will only have devastating results on your ranking, since algorithms are designed to pick up on that exact dirty trick. However, using keywords in such a way that works well with your content will earn you the search engine optimisation approval you crave – is it just me who actually craves this? – and get you up on page one of organic search results.

Title

I actually think this needs a whole post all to itself. Titles hold an extremely prestigious position in search engine optimisation, however, when it comes to ‘people optimisation’ titles are the crown on King Content’s royal brow. A well written headline – which can take as long to craft as a whole post – is designed to catch the busy reader’s eye and engage her for long enough to make her want to open the rest of the article. With such a mountain of information for us to wade through, grabbing the readers’ attention is a noteworthy skill. Your title needs to have your keyword in it, preferably at the beginning, in order to help with your ranking. Sometimes that is difficult when considering that you also want real people to open the article. It is worth noting that ‘How to’ articles are the most opened articles online… it is not often that ‘how to’ is your keyword.

Flesch Reading Ease test

Believe it or not, the average reading age for the consumer based population of the internet is 17. The reading age; not the actual age. This means that a multiplicity of extended linguistic communication tools that divagate from a certain vernacular… er… get you nowhere – now, seriously, that was fun to write, but I don’t much like reading it; it reminds me too much of doing a degree. So use fun and interesting, easily understood words, and comfortably short sentences if you want anyone to read anything you write. The higher your score on the Flesch Reading Ease test, the more readable your content.

Links in Search Engine Optimisation

Google is a bit sticky with links as there is a great deal of illegal activity that uses linking, such as spamming and hacking. However, using authentic links to valuable and related content is still very much approved of by the search engine giant. Search engine optimisation must take place through well written content, however there is a place for it in the techie side of online marketing too. Make sure you link to relevant content, written by reputable sources who are seen to be authorities on your product or service. This can mean you link to your own content as long as it meets the above criteria. Yes, you are an authority on your business – even if you need to hire a writer to get your message across clearly.

Meta tags

You should also put meta tags into the pages and blog posts on your website, which will tell the search engines, and your readers what your page or article is about. This makes it easy for people to know if they have found the exact information they are looking for, and it helps the back-end algorithms to find your page among the millions of others in an organic search.

The mention of Search Engine Optimisation often creates a pregnant pause. Everyone’s heard of it, but many have no idea what it really means – and no one wants to feel ignorant. Being an authority on your products and services is your business. Search engine optimisation for your business, is our business.

How do you go about ensuring your online content is search engine optimised and not falling foul of the rules of SEO? Are you aware of the dos and don’ts that Google adheres to?

Jane Hendry is Writer-in-Chief for aXent Associates. Her passion for education has led her to home school her children, and she reads voraciously to quench her own insatiable thirst for knowledge. Follow Jane on Twitter or Google+. Visit her blog to read about content marketing and life-long learning.

Great content writing, combined with a marketing strategy based on decades of online marketing success form the foundation of a potent relationship marketing plan.