What are the key elements of SEO?

As with all things technical, there has been some evolution in how we optimise websites to maximum effect.

However, there are still only two core elements of SEO.

One is the technical bit – the backend of your website and your website structure.

And the other element is people – what do they think about your website and the content they find there?

Businesses that invested their time in search engine optimisation right from the start are the ones that are ahead of the game today. Sticking to the SEO fundamentals is how they achieved success.

The technical side - basics first

The technical side - basics first

The Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Starter Guide is easily available from Google.

It’s a straightforward and informative guide to help you understand what you have to do to get your website recognised by Google.

This includes simple things, like making sure you have the right extension on your URLs … making sure your website is well structured… building a site that loads fast… and beginning your website name with HTTPS://.

Google doesn’t like HTTP:// anymore – it marks it as unsafe and stored data is less secure on these sites.

These things may sound easy but they’re fundamental to SEO success and you have to do them well – make sure whoever builds your website understands this guide.

Beware of chasing Google algorithms

Beware of chasing Google algorithms

When we first started working with search engines 20 years ago, you could manipulate the algorithms.

You could stuff in keywords and do other bits of technical tweaking… and this would get your website to rise up to page one. But those days are over.

Technical tinkering in the backend is a smaller part of SEO these days. You have to get the basics right, sure, but don’t pay thousands for someone to focus on trying to beat the system – it won’t give you the results you’re after.

Give the people what they want

Give the people what they want

The most important part of maximising SEO is to pay attention to what the end user thinks of your website and your content.

Boring and same same is not going to cut it in today’s market. Give them something different, something exciting.

Google is going to track human behaviour and interaction very carefully. And based on that analysis, it’s going to reward websites that visitors love.

Websites that are engaging and that your audience appreciates will go to the top of the page.

Content is king

Content is king

Yes, we’ve all heard that before… but your content really is the power player in the SEO game.

So, when you build your website and start to create the content, you must have your visitors at the top of your mind.

Put yourself in their shoes – what are they looking for?

If you are a dentist, an accountant or a distribution company, your market is looking to be informed about something. So, make sure you inform them!

Make sure they come away from your website with the question they asked answered clearly and succinctly in language that they understand.

Keep it interesting and engaging. Don’t waffle. Keep the quality high.

Well written content pages with great diagrams and images – and ideally with embedded video – that is the type of content that Google is looking for and wants to rank.

Video - the new kid on the block

Video - the new kid on the block

If it suits your business and style, you can consider entertaining your audience.

Really cool videos that catch people’s attention or make them laugh can be a sure-fire way to get people to your website.

Just make sure the videos are consistent with your brand message.

Video is now a key component of the digital marketing kit bag and a growing factor of SEO. And the appetite for it is just getting bigger.

Using video embedded in your blogs and articles, alongside well chosen, original images, is exactly what people are looking for. And optimised video on your YouTube channel is great for your Google visibility, too.

Quality above all things

Quality above all things

The SEO strategy of a lot of businesses is to play the volume game, pumping out article after article without much thought about what’s in them.

Over the years, they have managed to generate so much content that Google has concluded that they must be good websites and ranked them.

Those days are numbered.

The shift is changing to focus squarely on quality. It is better to write one well thought out, rich and informative article than a dozen quickly thrown together pieces that don’t have any value.

Think of recipe websites for example. The one that you get at the top of the page is the most interesting article with a great story behind it and beautiful images… it’s not the straightforward recipe.

So, don’t be distracted by shiny new SEO fads – keep it simple. Apply the technical basics. Have your audience front and centre when you create content. And go for quality every time.

Be consistent, genuine and helpful. And your website will be the cream that rises to the top.

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