Besides asking me what SEO actually is I get asked by many people how they should go about to increase the number of visitors to their websites and who they should request assistance from. Many website owners and businesses fork out a lot of money to obtain the services of SEO Companies. Others simply indicate that their budgets will not allow the services of a SEO company or guru.
Let’s deal with what SEO really is. The term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) refers to the optimisation of a website to the extent that it gets noticed by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, to name but three. Although SEO aims to establish a higher ranking for your website it will be wrong to see it simply as a tool to gain more visitors to your website. Do you agree with me?
Let me explain my last comment. It is one thing to get a visitor to your website. It is a totally different matter to give the visitor the actual information he/she wants. Search engines in the past looked for a number of different features on a website to afford it a ranking. It will be safe to say (without going into too much detail) that many websites were desperately manipulated to please the search engines’ criterion. What was left of the website was a visitor’s nightmare. Search engine giants such as Google realised that the websites were created without keeping the visitor/customer in mind. What appeared as a perfect website to a search engine was not user friendly at all.
To my mind, as well as many others in the field, SEO should be seen as a “tool” to assist a website owner or company to offer his visitor meaningful and relevant information. This view is echoed by search engines which continuously change their approach to website recognition and ranking. Google couldn’t be clearer when it stated in its webmaster guidelines that: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” Google explains this position by stating: “Create a useful, information-rich website, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.” Although links to and from a website will still increase a website’s ranking much more attention is given to what the website actually offers to potential visitors. In other words the emphasis has moved to the actual content of the website that the visitor will experience.
It is not my intention to draw up a guideline here. I think it will however be proper to refer to just a few considerations when it comes to the value and use of SEO. Back to my initial question. SEO: Is all the hype really worth it. Yes, yes and yes again. Just as long as it is done properly with the visitor in mind and not the search engine. Silly statement? No, I don’t think so. Let’s see why.
HTML5, which is being used by web designers and developers as the building blocks for the website, allows for specific semantics which in turn allows the developer/designer to classify important content. Search engines just love clear semantically defined webpages and is able to properly index this HTML5 created content. It is therefore clear that SEO should be in the designer/developer’s mind from the moment the website is conceived. The point is that SEO is not something that should be considered after the website has been built. SEO should be part of a website and not as a rescue attempt or an addition to it
We have seen that the semantical structure of the webpage is important. Now that the structure is created it should be filled with relevant well written content. Content writers can play an important part as they have the skills to not only keep the reader’s attention, but use specific words which are very descriptive. Once again, the more value to your visitor the more it will contribute to positive search engine rankings.
There are many more considerations when considering a SEO strategy for your business or personal website. It is however important to realise that SEO is not a massive unknown monster that cannot be tamed. It cannot be clearer. Keep your visitor your priority and the rest will fall into place.
Please feel free to add or even share opposing ideas.