Google processes over 8.5 billion searches every day. The rise of the internet as an everyday consumer tool has impacted hugely on business practices for firms of all shapes, sizes and types, and SEO is just one discipline that most simply cannot afford to ignore.
SEO forms a full-time role and profession itself, but for those who don’t have the time to invest into both the learning and practice of it, it can be a very confusing area.
The Definition of SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation: the process of optimising a website so that the automated algorithms behind search engines are able to understand what they are, who they’re relevant for and where to feature them in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
The exact process of SEO is an ongoing one that is completed continuously in line with all new content published and the updates made to algorithms. For the most part, SEO refers to the optimisation of business web presence for Google’s systems (after all, in most areas of the world Google holds the highest market share for search engines by a long way) but its practices do hold benefits for other search engines, too. For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on SEO for Google.
Two of the main types of SEO activity are on-page SEO and technical SEO.
Does SEO change over time?
Absolutely! Google makes tweaks to its algorithm constantly – and although there are no set public details around every system change, experts estimate there to be between 500-600 changes a year; which is almost two a day. While many of these changes don’t make significant differences to the way businesses should approach SEO, some do.
The sheer volume of change involved in the way Google works is why so many organisations invest in either hiring a full-time SEO specialist or working with an expert external team.
On-page SEO, also sometimes called on-site SEO, is the optimisation of web content through the inclusion and correct usage of specific keywords and phrases. All written content on a web page is scanned regularly by Google and so is constantly monitored for relevance and authenticity. On-page SEO not only makes clear to Google what a website is about and who it’s relevant for, but also helps the algorithm decide where to rank it on SERPs compared to other similar sites – which are likely those of a business’ competitors.
What does On-Page SEO involve?
On-page SEO is primarily the creation of written content featuring the keywords and phrases searched by those relevant to the business, as well as the alignment of page-specific elements such as title tags, headings, content, and links internally and externally to the site.
On-page SEO used to be primarily achieved by the input of as many mentions of keywords as possible in a practice known as ‘keyword stuffing’. This was believed to demonstrate relevance to the algorithm and is still fairly widely practiced. This practice however is now detrimental to SEO performance – the system has evolved a long way since its origins and will websites will be penalised for keyword stuffing and for the production of inauthentic and inorganic content, rather than relevant, high-quality content.
Technical SEO is the optimisation of technical aspects of a website in order to increase the ranking of its pages on SERPs. The elements to be optimised here are still technically ‘on-page’ such as the written content, but these are pillars that aren’t in word format that still contribute to search ranking.
Technical SEO is a fairly new discipline and something that unfortunately many businesses still miss the mark on. The usability of a website now forms a core part of Google’s ‘Web Vitals’ which form criteria a website must meet to rank highly.
What does Technical SEO involve?
The technical elements of a website that can be optimised permit a search engine to ‘crawl’ it faster and more easily, and present opportunities for easier access by users. This includes optimising site load speed, responsive in format to the device on which it is being viewed, that all site content is unique and not duplicated, that all links work and that the site is held securely without presenting any safety risks to users. All of these aspects affect the overall user experience of the site, and contribute just as much to the potential search engine rankings.
How to successfully integrate all areas of SEO into your business
SEO is an important tool for digital marketing and will transform a business’ success online. Its potential is not to be underestimated, and neither should the ongoing effort and work required.
Hiring a specialist SEO agency or expert is a prudent decision and different levels of involvement and activity can be managed depending on budget and the website scale. Woya Digital are an expert SEO team who understand the evolving needs of successful SEO. Get in touch with us to discuss your online business growth.