So you think that SEO is only about keywords and backlinks?

Google, on average, processes about 2.3 million searches per minute, or over 1 trillion searches per year. That’s quite a lot of questions people are asking every second. Google is only one of many different search engines available to users. Making sure that you’re going to be in their search results is essential. How can you do that? SEO.

What exactly is SEO?

SEO stands for Search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation is about making sure that your website attracts more traffic from, you guessed it, online searches. You might think that the best way of doing this is by making sure that your website has a lot of keywords based around your field, or by having more links from other websites (backlinks). ‘If a website says it’s about something, then surely it is about that something!’.

But this is not always the case. Some dubious webmasters might pack a webpage with a load of relevant keywords, but not a lot else. If users are not receiving the results they want and need, then they are going to use another search engine, so it’s important for the search engines to make sure that your website is relevant. You might wonder how they can do this…

By checking if the user experience and content are of a good quality.

Whilst it is true that no one really ‘knows’ how search engines manage to calculate authority, it likely involves a large range of factors involved in developing ‘reputation’. It certainly does not include check each and every webpage ever created. In a blog post published by google several years ago, Amit Singhal gave webmasters “More guidance on building high-quality sites”. His guidance indicated the importance of factors such as ‘trust’, ‘authority’, ‘originality’ and ‘style’.

These factors are important because if you are developing content which users do not trust or want to see, then they are unlikely to spend as much time on your website. Over at the Search Engine Journal, Neil Patel talks about the importance of ‘dwell time’. Essentially, ‘dwell time’ is a combination of factors which calculate how long a person is engaging with your website, and whether they are actually engaging or mindlessly scrolling.

How does better content mean more ‘dwell time’?

Higher ‘dwell time’ scores are reliant on a combination of the ‘trust’, ‘authority’, ‘originality’ and ‘style’ of your online presence and the user base you attract. Most people are more likely to engage with something if they find it interesting or informative, right? If they do engage, they are more likely to return because they feel that your website provides a higher quality of content than some of the alternatives.

Because of this, ensuring that you are actually optimised for search engines, means that not only does your website have to have enough ‘tags’ to mark it as informative on a topic, but your content has to have an online reputation of ‘trust’, ‘authority’, ‘originality’ and ‘style’. You need to make sure that your content is making something which otherwise wouldn’t be, clear.

Ensuring a good reputation also means being able to find what you are looking for.

Clarity is not just about the content, but also about the user experience. If a user can’t find what they are looking for, then they are probably having a bad experience. It is important to make sure that users can find content with ease.

This means making sure your content has an appropriate layout. Do users have easy access to navigation tools? Can users search within your website? Is the text large enough? All of these factors are important and integral to making sure that your SEO efforts are not in vain and the website keeps people online.

Users have expectations when it comes to formats, so try not to depart from these too much. Loud, over-the-top designs may alienate someone who would otherwise be interested in the content.

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