SEO Guide

At Your Web Design Shop, we provide quality and affordable SEO services to help you rank higher on Google and other search engines.

To help you get started and to demonstrate our SEO knowledge, we have created a short guide on SEO below.

What is SEO?

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Search Engine Optimisation is the act of improving your website rankings in search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other Search Engines.

For example, if your website sells weight loss services, you want your website to be the highest possible place when someone searches for ‘weight loss’ in Google or Yahoo.

How Search Engines Work

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The basic mechanism of the search engine is to compare the user entered term (e.g. ‘weight loss’) with that appearance of that term on webpages around the internet and return web pages that are judged to be most relevant.

So what determines relevance? A number of factors.

How Google and Other Search Engines Determine Relevance

Search terms and keywords

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Your webpage content needs to include the keywords that people search for in Google. This is important to keep in mind for businesses that sell technical products.

For example, the technical term for advertising on Google is SEM (Search engine marketing). But customers are not searching for SEM. They are searching for ‘Google Adverts’ or ‘How to Advertise on Google’. So rather than have a page titled ‘SEM Services’, you should have ‘Advertising on Google’ as the page title.

As well as having relevant keywords in the copy of your webpage, you also need to include them in key areas, especially the title / headline. It is especially important that the main heading on your webpage is properly marked up using the <H1> tag and not simply bolded and contain the keywords.

On the other hand, you do not want to stuff the webpage with the keyword. Search engines are getting smarter and do not reward keyword stuffing.

Conclusion: Ensure the keywords users are searching for are appearing on your webpages especially in page titles.

But how do you know what keywords users are searching for?

Keyword research is an involved process and part of the service a SEO firm provides.

Unique content

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In order to have keyword rich website, you need content. But not all content is useful for SEO.

For example, there are a number of companies out there that will sell you bulk content for your market niche. That content is useful for your human visitors but does not help much for SEO.

Why? Because if the same article / page appears on 10 other websites, that is duplicate content. Search engines do not want their search results page full of copies of the same page / content. So they usually pick the one that was first published and discard the rest.

In other words, bulk, copied content does not benefit your search results much.

You need unique content. That does not mean you have to write about topics that are not covered elsewhere. It means that you write about similar topics but in your own words. Alternatively, you can hire a writer to write for you, also part of the service a SEO firm can provide.

Incoming links & Google’s strike of genius

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Before Google came around, search engines mostly looked at keywords to determine relevance and search engine rankings.

Google’s strike of genius was to include webpage popularity in determining relevance and ranking. Google argued that if two websites have similar keyword density then the winner should be the one that other websites are linking to most. That way Google harnessed human judgement in providing its users with better search results.

So how does Google judge popularity? By looking at how many other websites are linking to you.

Therefore, in addition to having relevant and unique content, you also need links from other websites. These links are called incoming links or backlinks. The good news is that when you create and publish useful unique content, other websites will already have an incentive to link back to your website.

Quality of Incoming Links

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The problem with the original search engine algorithms for determining popularity was that they were open to abuse. People would get 1,000 backlinks from generic free directories or classified ads websites that had no relevance to their niche. Some would set up websites as outgoing link farms for other websites they wanted to promote.

Soon Google caught on and plugged those holes. So when you see an ad for 1000 backlinks for $50, you know that’s not going to be of much help.

Thus, you need links from websites that are related to your website and have a good reputation (non-spam websites). Also, it is better to get the link from the body text of the referrer’s website than the comments section of a blog. The higher up on the page the link to your website is placed, the greater its importance.

Also, having keywords in the anchor text improves SEO. When someone links to your website, they can either use your website name as the link / anchor text (Your Web Design Shop) or a keyword (Web Design Canberra). The latter is preferred for SEO.

SEO Frequently Asked Questions

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How does video fit in with SEO?

Video is great for SEO. People love videos (not everyone, but enough people). Videos make people stick longer to a page which helps SEO. Also, there is less competition for video in terms of content available. For a number of reasons that are too detailed to discuss here, video is great for SEO.

What is the difference between SEM and SEO?

SEO is about getting free / organic traffic from search engines. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is about getting paid traffic from search engines via adverts that are displayed when people search for terms on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. SEO takes months to show results, while you can start your Google adverts tomorrow and get traffic coming to your website within hours.

Should you use SEM or SEO?

You should be using both. SEM for speed and predictability. SEO for long term free traffic.

Does paid advertising affect SEO?

No, paid adverts do not improve SEO. However, having a website that is SEO optimised will probably help you get better conversion rates from SEM as a number of factors that optimise your website for search also optimise it for adverts.

Do you need to submit your website to the search engines?

When search engines first started, you had to submit your website to Search Engines. Not only do not have to do that anymore, it is virtually useless to do so. The best way to get indexed is to get a link from another website.

So if a company is charging you $100 for submitting your website to Google, then you may as well flush that money down the drain.

What Does a SEO firm do?

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A SEO firm provides a variety of services, each of which may or may not be relevant depending on client’s situation, budget and participation level. These include:

Designing a website that is technically SEO friendly

SEO starts with website architecture. Having a well coded website is important for SEO. Also, if your website features rich media such as video and images, a SEO firm will help you create good metadata so that search engines can use images, video and audio for search results.

In summary, a SEO firm will help you create a website that is accessible and meaningful to search engines so that your content gets the visibility it deserves. This may require slight website tweaks or a complete overhaul depending on the state of your website.

Keyword research

A SEO firm will research the keywords people are searching for. Moreover, they will help you identify the keywords you could or should compete on and which ones are too competitive.

This includes identifying the long tail and local search keywords which may be the key to competing in the more competitive markets.

Creating Keyword Rich Pages

Once they help you identify relevant keywords, they will help you create pages focussing on those keywords. This may include adding images and video if relevant.

 Assist in Building Backlinks

Once you have the core content, you need to build links back to your website. A SEO firm can help you identify websites from which you should / could get backlinks and ways in which you get those websites to link to you (e.g. guest posting).

Provide training for ongoing SEO

Most businesses cannot afford to take a passive approach to SEO. If they left everything to the SEO firm, they would be paying thousands of dollars a month. For most businesses, it is more feasible to hire a SEO firm to help put together the base strategy and core content and then manage the SEO ongoing with some support from the SEO firm.

This involves being trained on key SEO activities and principles. So a key part of what a SEO firm does is providing training to its clients.

Finding a Reputable SEO Firm

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As the guide above highlights, SEO is an involved process that takes time and commitment. Hiring a good SEO firm can prevent you from wasting your time and effort and get results faster.

The main thing you want to avoid are firms that promise overnight results or tons of back links for little money.

You want to find a firm that shares their knowledge on SEO. That is a strong indicator that they have expertise. You want a firm that offers training as part of their SEO service as that is a more affordable way to achieve SEO.

Most importantly, you want a firm that has proven results. At Your Web Design Shop, we rose from page 8 of Google to page 1 of Google for the search term ‘Web Design Canberra’ in only 6 months. That is a big SEO achievement given the high competition in the market. We beat most our competitors who have been around for a lot longer and also provide SEO services.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you rank higher on Google, please get in touch today for an obligation free consultation.