Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a continually growing aspect of web design and marketing.
“We live in an era where, if you can’t catch the customer’s attention in the first few seconds, you’re already forgotten,” says OneShift founder and CEO Gen George.
If your website is not considered relevant enough, it will have a lower position in search engine results, or it will appear in the ‘hard to do business’ zone, says George, which means being placed on page two or lower.
Rather than blowing your budget on advertising and promotion, you can aim to build your site in a framework that makes it simpler for search engines such as Google to potentially rank your site at the top of their results pages for certain keywords and phrases.
What are search engines looking for?
When someone types a keyword or phrase into a search engine, the results are ordered in terms of relevancy. In this way, it might be useful to think of search engines – let’s use Google as an example – as businesses looking to offer online users the most relevant search results for their queries, says George.
“It is hard to determine how relevancy is calculated as the relevancy algorithm is often changed,” says George. “Only Google knows what it is because it’s one of their secret sauces, but there are ways to become relevant.”
Keeping on top of changes to Google’s algorithms and the latest online marketing trends in general can help, as can understanding and embracing search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques.
Remember, it’s not as simple as cramming your content with keywords, so be sure to avoid making an SEO error.
Here’s a rough guide to how a site’s relevancy is calculated:
Is your content relevant to your business/product/service?
Is the content unique and well written?
Is the content useful – does it answer a question or provide inspiring or informative thought leadership?
Is the content fresh and original – for example, does it touch on or respond to a current subject or trend?
Are you linking to trusted and relevant third-party sites?
Are trusted and relevant third-party sites linking to your content?
Are those links presented in a natural way? Does anything look suspicious?
Google pays attention to the age of your domain. If your site has been active for a long time it probably means you are publishing quality content as opposed to a spam site that quickly comes and goes.
User experience over search engines
User experience affects your search engine rankings, so it’s important to constantly keep the person visiting your site in mind at every stage of the website creation and maintenance process.
The internet evolves as a result of the keywords and phrases people search for. So everything related to your site – from content creation to design and navigation – must be done with users and not just search engines in mind.
“Most of the time, the users are the ones that decide what Google’s next step would be,” says George. Google can change its algorithm based on the way people search, how search phrases change over time and even how users access the internet – whether they use a desktop computer, their TV or a mobile device.
“If users find your pages useful they are going to spend more time on your site, visit more pages, make purchases and come back to the site,” says George, highlighting again the importance of creating your website for users and not for search engines.
Following the guidance above can add value to your site’s overall relevancy, which in time can help it gain a higher position in search engine results pages and create a better overall online presence for your business.