Digital MarketingSEO

SEO – What is it, how does it work, why is it important?

By February 16, 2016 No Comments

It surprises me when website owners value Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as more of a “nice to have” over a must.

As a web surfer, we all know how crucial search engines are for getting us where we need to go online. The internet has recently surpassed 1 billion websites! Search engines have the not so easy job of identifying every single website so when we search for something, it can give us a list of sites which resemble what we’re looking for. For a search engine, this means learning about the content on every page of every website and how different pages relate to each other.

Why is it important? Search engine traffic makes up for around 65% of visitors to a website. Setting up your website to play nicely with search engines means more people will be able to find you. Put simply, higher search rankings = more traffic to your website.

Every search engine has a complex algorithm with many factors to determine how results are ranked and displayed. The big search providers don’t publicly share their algorithms and have been known to change them frequently, but through research there are hundreds of factors people have proven or strongly believe influence search rankings. Backlinko recently analysed over 1 million Google search results to learn more about which SEO factors matter. Here are some key factors effecting SEO:

Inward bound links (Backlinks)

The amount of other web nodes providing a link to your website improves your reputation and is one of the most important factors used to determine your SEO ranking. Quality over quantity matters, a link pointing to your website from another high ranking website like news.com.au gives you a much greater rank over a link from a small time blog like this 🙂

Page Content

A page containing content covering a particular topic or message in depth, ranks better than content covering several different topics. Longer content also tends to rank higher, with the average first page result containing 1,890 words.

Site Performance 

Paying a few dollars a month for minimum spec hosting? You may want to consider upgrading because speed matters. Search engines don’t want to refer their users to sites with long load times (we’re talking more than a few seconds). The study found fast loading sites rank significantly higher than slow loading sites.

Bounce Rate

A lower bounce rate, which is people visiting one page of your site and navigating to another page within your website (low bounce rate) or away from your site (high bounce rate) has an impact on search ranking.

Images

Content with at least one image performed better.

Keyword titles & anchor text.

Having the keyword (like Search Engine Optimisation for this blog) in the title, URL and meta description has an influence on search rankings.

You can check out the full report over here at Backlinko.

The great thing about SEO is you don’t need to engage one of the many ‘SEO experts’ to achieve some quick gains on your own website. Next week, I’ll be providing a basic SEO checklist you can use to SEO healthcheck your own website and improve your search rankings.