What is SEO and Link Building?
Advice on Search Engine Optimisation and how it applies to your website
Search Engine Optimisation is the fancy term for ‘getting your website higher up on search engine results’. Because new customers often come from internet searches, the higher up you are on the results, the more customers you’ll get. This is a beginner’s guide to understanding SEO, link building, and how it can benefit your new website.
Why do I need to be found in a search?
As mentioned before, a lot of new customers come from web searches. To be seen high up on Google, Yahoo! and Bing results makes potential customers think ‘Now there’s a company that knows what it’s doing’. It makes you look trustworthy and professional. It not only drives your sales online, but offline as well. It’s also worth being aware that it’s not easy to appear on page 1 in position 1 for a keyword. Companies invest thousands in SEO to help boost their listings.
How do search engines and keywords work?
Search engines are designed to search for information on the web and present a list of relevant pages back to the user for the given search term.
Search engines use a web crawler (you may also hear them referred to as a ‘spider’ or a ‘robot’) to crawl a site, retrieve web pages and store copies of them in their database. When a user searches for a keyword the search engine searches its database of pages for results relevant to the search term and presents the results back to the user in a list, the most relevant first.
How does a search engine work out relevancy?
There is no hard and fast answer as the search engines don’t disclose the exact criteria they use. Search engines use algorithms (or complicated equations) to work out how relevant a page is based on a number of criteria. We know that links back to your site are important, as is including relevant keywords and phrases on your page.
The best thing to do is to create really relevant and useful content for your audience. If you do this your customers will like you and will find you for the relevant search terms and other websites may want to post your link somewhere else online. The more this happens, the more likely you’ll be found on a relevant search.
What is link building?
If no one links back to your site, it could be overlooked in a search. So, you need to get your links out into the World Wide Web, and that is link building. There are three types of links in a link building campaign:
These are links that have been made by other people. By simply creating worthy content on your site, others want to share it and link back to you. This is the best way to link build
Natural is not easy to achieve, especially for new websites or businesses. By contacting bloggers, you can get guest posts on their blogs that promote your chosen keyword and link. This also includes being listed in online directories.
This involves going onto forums and comments sections and posting links back to your own website. The problem nowadays with this method is that many forums and blogs have “no follow” links meaning you won’t get any value from that link, so this method is unadvisable. You may also be reported for spamming comments. Doing this on irrelevant pages can lead to your website being penalised and can lead to your site being rejected from the search results.
Social media channels are some of the best ways to share your link with potential customers. Professionals have researched how effective these are in terms of link-building. Although they may not have the same effect as a link on a trusted site, social media is still one way to reach potential customers.
How can I get more links to my site?
Guest blogging does increase link backs if the content has interested readers. Start off by making sure the content on your own website is good before writing for other people. Make your readers want to pass it on. It’s all about trying to tell them something they don’t know.
Take it slow. SEO isn’t an overnight process, so you don’t have to rush into guest blogging and link building straight away. There isn’t an off-the-shelf SEO marketing plan to apply to your business. Working on your content and sharing it with your customers is the best starting point, before taking up the more difficult strategies.