Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a hugely important part of online marketing, and the field’s steady growth over the past decade shows no signs of slowing down. If your company has a website that is underperforming, it’s a safe bet that your site isn’t as search engine-friendly as it could be. Lack of traffic to your site might be severely impeding the progress of your business, and this lack of visitors is an easily-solved problem. All you need is a little—or perhaps a lot, as the case may be—SEO magic to get your site on the right track.
So what is SEO, exactly? Website SEO is the practice of improving various aspects of a site’s different webpages to make it more searchable by search engine bots, or spiders. Depending on the algorithms used by the search engine, web pages are ranked according to certain criteria, including relevance to the search term used, keywords in the page’s content, and the page’s popularity, among many other things. Developing your website with these criteria in mind leads to more traffic, which leads to more revenue for your company.
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One of the most common ways to initiate SEO for websites is to use keywords. Keywords are commonly-searched terms that lead search engine users to whatever it is they’re looking for. For example, if I were looking for a new TV online, I might go to Google’s search page and type “LCD TV.” Then Google would display listings of websites with products or information related to that search term. Chances are, the URLs that come up first will lead me to pages that have been optimised for the keywords LCD and TV.
When dealing with SEO for websites, there are two types of keywords: short tail and long tail. Short tail keywords are broad, and in general are highly competitive, whereas long tail keywords are specific, and are usually less competitive. To demonstrate, let’s say your company sells used books by Mark Twain. Your first instinct may be to optimise every page on your site for the keyword “used books.” While that may be somewhat useful, there’s a good probability that your site won’t come up anywhere near the first page of listings on any major search engine. Why? There are simply too many sites optimising for that keyword. On the other hand, if you were to optimise for the long tail keywords “used books by Mark Twain,” you’ve a much better chance at a higher ranking. And since it’s a universally accepted fact that higher search engine results equal a larger amount of traffic, your sales are almost guaranteed to increase.
SEO for websites isn’t an overnight process. It can take weeks, or even months, to see the results of the work that goes into a comprehensive SEO strategy. However, the results that do come will be lasting, and will also be self-sustaining. However, this doesn’t mean that you should optimise your site once and then call it a day. SEO is a constantly shifting concept, so you must be vigilant about maintaining outcomes. For this reason and many others, it is generally advisable to seek the expertise of a professional.