Demystifying SEO

22 October 2013 | 03:32 am

SEO is not about ‘fooling’ search engines into listing your site above others, it is about writing compelling content that people are interested in reading. Google ranks pages higher if more people link to them. So if your site includes content that visitors want to share with their friends and colleagues, then search engines give you credit for this. They look at who is linking to your page, determine how popular these sites are, then judge your site accordingly. Of course, people have to find your content in the first place. Websites have always included relevant page titles and “keywords” in site information (metadata) to help search engines find them, but it is possible to give false information here, including terms that are popular, but not necessarily relevant to the site. For this reason, Google doesn’t rank them very highly. Instead, it scrutinises your site to work out for itself what you are about. This is where using techniques such as correctly formatting your text and including the right keywords comes into its own. The first thing to ask yourself is: what kind of people do I want to attract to my site? It’s not simply a case of attracting as many people as possible. You need to use SEO to attract relevant people: those who are likely to pay for your services. This is important when it comes to choosing the keywords you want to use in your text. It’s no good littering your articles with “London Olympics”, “free software” and “Gangham Style”, despite their popularity as search terms. Not everyone searching for these is going to be interested in your services. You should also write your content in a way that reflects how your target audience speaks and the words they use. Some marketing people might tell you that you are actually offering an “entertainment solution”, but only marketing people talk like that. Ask yourself: would my mother search for an “entertainment solution” on Google? If not, then don’t use it in your site content. The choice of keywords should be determined by the most popular search terms that relate to you. For instance, CrowdControlHQ offers a fantastic social media risk management platform. But “risk management platform” is a far less popular search term than “risk management software”, so we’d be sure to include marketing software in our online promotional material (“online marketing” is 20X more popular as a search term than “digital marketing”, by the way).