An introduction to SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing and configuring your website to be search engine friendly. What do I mean by that? Well, Google wants the internet to be filled with lots of useful, educational and engaging content, that’s easy for users to access and understand. As a user, you can see why – how many times have you landed on a website that had a very promising title, but actually had nothing to do with what you searched for? It’s very annoying and Google is working hard to stop this happening, ensuring that we only get linked through to quality websites.
How does Google assess quality? There are a lot of different components / areas that they look at to assess how good your website is and we will discuss them throughout subsequent chapters. A few of the high level things they look for are: spelling mistakes; page loading speeds and how often your website is updated but rest assured, there are tonnes more considerations than that.
Recently, they’ve even started to take a keen interest in how mobile friendly your website is. That is to say that, if the user has to pinch and zoom to use your website, then it’s not fit for purpose on a mobile device and your search engine rankings will be impacted accordingly – not something you want as a website owner.
All of these checks that Google do are in the best interests of the end user but do cause a lot of headaches and usually incur costs for webmasters. Unfortunately for us, it’s just not something that we can afford to ignore. We need to keep on top of the latest SEO trends to make sure that we are giving our website the best chance of being found by customers.
So, can you do all of this yourself? Absolutely!
There is nothing stopping you managing your own search engine optimization and it can be done completely free of charge. All you need to do is commit time to the project – for a local business, a few hours a week of structured SEO work will probably be enough but ultimately the length of time you need to spend working on your SEO is determined by the keywords that you choose for your website.
Let me give you an example: if you were to choose ‘Plumber in Clapham’ you would need to spend much less time optimizing your website for the search engines than if you chose ‘Plumber in London’. This is because there is much less competition for plumbers in Clapham than in the entirety of London and as with everything, the more competition you have, the harder you have to work to beat them all.