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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is at the heart of everything that you do with your business online. It is the science of getting your web pages to appear on the first results pages of search engines. SEO is a science because we work to optimise the pages in accordance with mathematical algorithms used by the search engines. We do not know the detail of those algorithms, but we do know the rules which they use.

There are 2 types of SEO that will affect how your page is indexed and ranked by the search engines. They are on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation, and both are equally important. We will discuss on-page optimisation first as it is the first one that you will come across when crafting your pages.

On-page optimisation

This is the content of the page, specifically the text content because search engines cannot interpret images, video or audio yet. Your page will have text content that your regular visitors can see and read, and it will have text that is intended for machines and search engine spiders to read. They must be consistent for your page to be properly indexed by search engines.

Off-page optimisation

This is the content and advertising that supports your web pages. It can be published on social networks, other websites or be contained in magazine and newspaper articles on their websites. Where you publish your off-page content depends on many things including your industry, your audience and your intentions for the content. I will discuss off-page optimisation in another post because it is a big subject and opens up more areas for discussion.

Search Engine Optimisation keywords

You do not need to optimise every page on your website for search engines, only those that you wish to be on the first pages of the search engine results. You could go for SERP (Search Engine Results Page) domination but I suggest that you learn to walk first. To begin with, you should decide on 2 or 3 pages of your website that you want to appear at the top of the search results.

Your next decision is to choose the keywords that you think people will type into the search bar to find your page. Keyword research is at the very heart of your SEO efforts and you need to get it right to be successful. Each page should have 1 primary keyword and up to 6 supporting keywords. The primary keyword should appear in your on-page text no more than 6 or 7 times in 800 words of text. Don’t forget about the text that machines and spiders only will read, e.g. image <<ALT>> text. The supporting keywords should appear about the same number of times.

Search Engine Optimisation meta tags

Page meta tags belong to the on-page optimisation part of SEO although they are not visible to the visitor unless they view the source of your page. Meta tell direct search engine spiders what to index and rank your page for and the important ones are “Title”, “Description” and “Keywords”, as well as their Open Graph (social network tags) equivalents. These meta tags should be populated with the information indicated in their names. Each of the pages on your website should have unique Title, Description and Keywords because if they all have the same then the search engines don’t know which pages to serve up for the given keywords and your pages will not show up, probably at all.

Search Engine Optimisation Content

Visible content, that is text content that is visible to the visitor, drives what you put in the meta tags and not the other way round. When you are writing about a subject it must be clear to humans and search engines what the subject is and the detail of it. Therefore, your subject must be in the heading of the page, known as the H1 tag. You page should have only one H1 tag. The subject should also lead the first sentence of the first paragraph so that it is clear to everybody what they are about to read. Your supporting keywords should, ideally, be mentioned in the sub-headings and lead the paragraph that explains or details the subject. You can see this technique being used in this blog post – go ahead and check the meta tags (right click on the page and choose “View Source”).

I have been helping business owners get to grips with Internet Marketing and SEO for more than 10 years and in that time the same maxim has always held true. That your content must be credible, relevant, recent and interesting to read. If you want to know more about how I help people with SEO then please get in touch.