What is Search Engine Optimisation and why is it so important?
Search Engine Optimisation is a set of strategies and practices aimed at increasing the visibility of a website by improving its position in the rankings of search engines, in the unpaid results, called "organic" results. When we search for something on search engines, we expect to find the best results first, that is, those most relevant to our search. For example, if I search for "4-star hotel in Berlin", I don't want to find the website of a bed and breakfast in London.
That’s why search engines prioritise relevant content, and that’s where Search Engine Optimisation comes in.
An SEO audit is usually divided into Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO. It involves the processes of analysing and evaluating a website based on factors that affect the organic ranking of the site on search engines.
Evaluating the current state of a webpage reveals what the shortcomings are, and gives you clues on what needs to be fixed.
In this article, we’ll explain how Search Engine Optimisation works. Plus, we’ve put up a downloadable SEO checklist to help you analyse your website.
How search engines “think”?
Before undergoing any SEO activity it is first of all necessary to understand how search engines work. They operate mainly in the following order:
- Crawling, i.e. analysing the pages through the use of robots;
- Indexing, i.e. collecting, parsing, and storing data to facilitate fast and accurate retrieval of the material obtained through the crawling phase;
- Ranking the pages according to relevancy;
- SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is the page you encounter after conducting a search on a platform like Google.
Since Google is by far the most used search engine in the world, most of the SEO activities concern the study of the Google algorithm and its periodic updates. Making the sites more “attractive” to Google crawlers is referred to as Google SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation explained
Website SEO includes several phases of analytical, strategic and operational types. Operationally, many different factors must be taken into account to optimise a site.
An original approach to describe the main among these factors was developed by Search Engine Land, a well-known American magazine in the sector. Search Engine Land has created a periodic table of ranking factors which updates as Google updates its algorithm.
Our 3 steps to SEO greatness
At NIU, we help brands gain authority and visibility, increase customers and enjoy a strong market position in their industry through the power of SEO. Our SEO specialists offer customised solutions and obsess over metrics that help businesses grow.
But what does it really take to get results? Here are the 3 steps we take to ensure high rankings of our clients’ websites.
1. Discovery & Strategy
In this phase, we dedicate enough time to get to know your business, establish short-term and long-term goals, identify, and analyse your competitors. This to ensure that everything we propose is aligned with your business goals.
2. Website Audit & Audience Segmentation
Next, we analyse and audit your website architecture. With the audit results in hand, we will work with your team to refine your target audience by conducting customer insight research and testing. This allows us to maximise your investment and give you the return you’re looking for.
3. Optimisation & Delivery
Finally, we will focus on building an impactful content strategy with high-level messaging, value proposition & social media integration. We will design and implement a game plan that will leverage your brand to achieve maximum potential.
What does “Content is king” mean?
The importance of creating quality content is exemplified by the well-known SEO mantra "Content is King". Nowadays, good content centres around the customers rather than itself.
If you want your website to rank high on Google, it must have content that brings value for the reader. This means it must be relevant, useful and interesting. A site with poor content or content that is not original (i.e. copied from another website) will be penalised and therefore affected negatively.
To ensure the presence of quality content on your site, it is also good to update it by adding fresh texts regularly. The best way to do it is by opening a company blog integrated into your website. One blog post per week is recommended to help you obtain a good long-lasting positioning.
SEO copywriting is key
SEO copywriting is a form of online writing that combines good writing with the elements of SEO optimisation. If done right, it will make your webpage rank better to your target audience and find you quicker. This might sound long-winded for some, especially for companies who don't have the resources to implement this.
If you're an SME and in fact do not have such resources, this is what we're here for and don’t worry - we’ve got your back! At NIU, we have in-house content writers that specialise in SEO copywriting. They’ll make sure to publish relevant, useful and interesting content on your website on time, every time.
Link Building vs Link Earning
In Google's eyes, a link to a page is essentially a "vote" for its content.
One of the main factors affecting Google's ranking is the number and quality of links pointing to a website.
However, Google also considers the importance of the page from which the link comes. A link from a page on an authoritative site is worth more than two from poor-quality sites. To earn links, write useful and interesting content to increase the possibility of users linking to your website.
On the other hand, guest blogging is a great link building tool. It consists of looking for blogs or online magazines willing to host articles written by you. It is a fair exchange where both parties benefit from something: the hosting site gets new content for free; whilst the writer of the article gets a link to their site in return.
Where does your website stand with SEO?
According to the boiling frog fable, if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water it will jump out immediately to escape the deadly environment. Pretty obvious, right?
But as the story goes, if you put a frog in cold water and heat it up GRADUALLY, the frog will boil to death.
Moral of the story? Getting caught up in everyday work, not noticing the slowly (but surely) changing business environment can happen quickly and proves deadly. If you don’t want your site to end up like the boiled frog, paying attention to the ever-changing surroundings is key.
Paying attention to the ever-changing surroundings is key!
That’s why website SEO is extremely important, and audits should be conducted as often as possible to action the necessary website improvements and get you ranking higher!
We’ve built an SEO checklist to encourage you to audit your website and start improving it immediately:
Worried that Search Engine Optimisation is a laborious process? We’re here to help and offer the level of support you need. Get in touch with us to start your SEO journey!