Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, has rapidly become the holy grail of online marketing and an entire cottage industry has grown up in response to the needs of over-stretched marketers intent on keeping their brands at the height of public awareness.
It’s a scenario familiar to PR and marketing experts across the Process Industry, so we’ve compiled some answers to frequently asked questions that surround the shadowy practice of SEO.
FAQ’s on SEO[togglegroup] [toggle title=”What is SEO?”] SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s essentially a host of clever marketing techniques to boost a website’s rankings in search engines.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How does SEO work?”] There are tons of variables involved in SEO but the basic building blocks involve identifying good keywords (centred around your core focus within the Process Industry), developing high quality and original content, being linked to by other sites and a modicum of coding nous.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Do the rules of SEO ever change?”] Google has adapted and evolved its ranking criteria as the web has developed. Stuffing a page with keywords like ‘valve’ or ‘pump’ may have led to modest success in the past but nowadays it’s more likely to do harm than good. The big push now is for meaningful content that’s original, timely and useful. Keywords are still relevant, they just shouldn’t be forced.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Is SEO still relevant?”] Absolutely. SEO has become more sophisticated, with a view to improving the end user’s experience. There is no quick fix. It is at it’s essence the art of creating high quality content that’s easier to find.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How do search engines work?”] Search engines build an index of all web pages using crawler bots. These wee beasties follow links and index the resulting files, which are then sorted and ranked depending on their relevance to a search topic.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Which factors affect the ranking of my pages?”] It’s an ever-changing playing field but some of the most common factors have historically included keywords, title tags, image tags, inbound links, having a well established domain, high frequency quality content and broader considerations like site structure and subsequent visitor behaviour on your site.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How do I get my website to number one in search engine rankings?”] There are obviously the paid options of Pay Per Click (PPC) or Pay Per Impressions (PPI) advertising through Google AdWords. These methods will undoubtedly bring your business to the fore but they come at a price. If you’re looking for a cheaper, more sustainable, option then there is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work and patience. Thorough keyword research, posting original and engaging content with regularity, and courting some inbound links from authoritative sources can all be effective as part of an holistic approach.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What’s the point of keyword research?”] Keyword research is one of the most rewarding pursuits you can practice in the search marketing arena. A bit of legwork to determine the Process Industry’s keyword demands, to ensure you’re ranking for the right words, not only bolsters your SEO success but also affords some valuable market research in the process.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What makes a good keyword?”] If your target market is searching for a keyword regularly then that’s where you’ll want to focus your attention. If there’s low competition for pages catering for that keyword but a lot of traffic searching for it then that’s even better for achieving a decent ranking.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How many people are searching for my keyword?”] It’s a good question and one that you’ll need to answer using a resource such as Google’s keyword tool or WordTracker.com.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What are long tail keywords?”] These are your more niche searches that tend to have less people searching for them and subsequently less competition in the search engines. So for example “Microfluidics” is a short tail keyword, while “what are the important considerations in microfluidic valve solutions?” is a long tail keyword. Used well, these are prime opportunities to creep up the search rankings.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”How long before I see results?”] Targeting long tail keywords can bring about fairly swift results but it’s always worth bearing in mind that the internet is constantly growing and changing, so SEO is an evolving practice that takes dedicated input over a sustained period of time to really reap the rewards.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”What are meta tags and how do I use them for SEO?”] Meta tags are bits of HTML coding that basically explain a page’s contents to a web browser. Some quarters question the worth of meta tags but if you had to pin your hat on one in particular meta description tags should be used to give an accurate description of each page. Google sometimes uses the meta description of a page in search results snippets, so it’s worth doing.
We will be continuing with our FAQ’s on SEO next week, so stay tuned for more SEO answers. If you have a specific SEO question which you would like answering, please get in touch. Either call us on +44 (0) 8707 66 77 78 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org