How To…Maximise Your SEO

Search engine optimisation, or SEO as it’s better known, is vital for any business. James Reynolds, founder of SEO Sherpa, explains how to maximise search results.

SEO is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing so that when your
prospects search for the products and services you offer they find your website first and not your competitors.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s important you act now – 59 per cent of internet users submit a query in search engines at least once per day, and 76 per cent of users use search engines to find local business information.

The prime real estate on a search engine results page is top spot – the website listed number one will typically receive three times more clicks compared to the number two ranked site.

Those sites appearing in the top spot on Google are listed there because Google sees them as being the most relevant result based on over 200 different ranking factors. Some factors such as domain age and the number and quality of links to a website are very difficult to surpass over time. The sooner you act to implement your SEO the less time, energy and resource is required before you prosper. Fail to act and you risk a future at the bottom of the results where nobody will find you.

In order to gain ascendancy in the search engines you must first understand that Google, Yahoo and Bing want: to deliver the most relevant, high quality and popular search results to their users; they want to place the best possible content at the top of the results.

Your website must be compelling and it must stand out. Also ensure that your site has up to date content. A website that has not been changed for a month or more is out-dated and will appear lower in the results. A blog or news section is a great way to serve fresh and valuable content to your visitors and Google.

In the same way that a verbal endorsement from a trustworthy and high authority individual would positively influence someone’s decision in choosing your business, endorsements from high authority websites online will increase your search engine ranking. Online endorsements come in the form of hyper links from one site to another. Hyperlinks (or backlinks as they are otherwise known) can be obtained by announcing the content you place on your own site by placing more content on other websites and linking back to yours.

Whilst backlinks bear the greatest influence on where a website will appear in the results they should be created with extreme caution. Google recently made two large changes to their algorithm code named Panda and Penguin in order to improve search results and remove websites that were overtly gaming Google by over optimisation and the use of spam links from paid “link farms”. Many website owners who had been doing their own SEO or outsourcing their link building to small time SEO agencies were negatively affected, some were even removed from results entirely.

I recommend using a trusted SEO agency with a strong research and development team and their own private website to better insulate your results.