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What is search engine optimisation?

What is search engine optimisation?

Search engine optimisation, often abbreviated as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), is a core area of digital marketing that focuses on improving the visibility of a website in search engines. This article takes a deep dive into the world of SEO, explaining its basic principles, why it is essential for businesses and how you can optimise your website for better search results.

What is search engine optimisation? This article will give you the answers about search engine optimisation.
image 18 What is search engine optimisation?

Why is SEO important?

When people search for information, products or services online, most of them use search engines. The goal of SEO is to ensure that your website appears as high as possible in these search results, which will increase your site’s visibility and attract more visitors. Search engine optimisation for your business is a key strategy that can significantly increase traffic and sales.

Basic principles of SEO

Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that describe the content of your website and are also the words that people are likely to use when searching for information on search engines. Choosing the right keywords and using them effectively on your website is the cornerstone of SEO.

Quality and content

Simply adding keywords to your site is not enough. The content must be of high quality, relevant and valuable to visitors. This will not only improve your ranking in search results, but also keep visitors on your site for longer.

Link building

Links are like recommendations; when other sites link to yours, search engines take it as a sign of your site’s trustworthiness and value. It is important to build quality backlinks. For example, a search engine optimisation service can help you with this task.

How to get started with SEO?

If you’re new to the world of SEO, you may feel like you’re facing a steep learning curve. But don’t worry, there are many resources and tools that can help you get started. For example, WordPress search engine optimisation is a great place to start if you use this popular platform.

Technical aspects of search engine optimisation

Site speed

Site speed
image 20 What is search engine optimisation?

One of the most important technical aspects of search engine optimisation is site load speed. Search engines, especially Google, prioritise fast-loading sites because they offer a better user experience. Users are impatient; they don’t want to wait. A website that loads slowly can lose visitors and potential customers. There are several tools and services that help measure and improve website speed, such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Mobile optimisation

The use of mobile devices has exploded in recent years. Many people browse the web and shop on their phones. That’s why it’s vital that your website works well on mobile devices. Responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes is now the standard. In addition, mobile navigation must be clear and easy so that users can easily find what they are looking for.

SSL certificate and security

An SSL certificate, also known as a Secure Socket Layer certificate, is a digital certificate that guarantees the encrypted and secure transmission of data between a website and its users. The role of this technology in website security and user trust has grown considerably in recent years.

When a website is equipped with an SSL certificate, its URL starts with “https://” instead of “http://”, and most browsers also display a lock icon in the address bar. These are signs that the connection is secure and that information such as passwords, credit card details and personal data are being transferred securely.

Why is SSL so important?

  1. Security: the primary function of an SSL certificate is to protect sensitive user data. Encryption is used to prevent outside parties, such as hackers and identity thieves, from gaining access to this data.
  2. Trust: users are increasingly aware of online security. Seeing a lock icon in the address bar can increase users’ trust in the site and encourage them to make purchases or share personal information.
  3. Search engine optimisation: Google and other search engines have started to favour SSL-secured websites in their search results. This means that SSL can improve your site’s visibility and ranking in search results.
  4. Reduce interruptions: many browsers will warn users if they try to access a site that is not SSL secured. Such warnings can scare users and cause them to leave the site.

Summary

An SSL certificate is a necessary investment for any website that handles users’ personal data. It not only protects data, but also builds trust among users and can improve your site’s visibility in search engines. The importance of security and trust in the digital world cannot be overstated, and SSL is a key part of this equation.

Structure of the site

Site structure map
Untitled 1 What is search engine optimisation?

Site structure is one of the key elements of website design and search engine optimisation. It determines how different parts of the site link to each other and how users navigate around the site. A well-designed structure improves both the user experience and the ability of search engines to index the site.

When we talk about site structure, we often mean hierarchy and the organisation of links. The aim is to create a clear and logical path for users and search engines to follow. This means that the main pages should be easily accessible from the main menu, and sub-pages should be organised under relevant headings.

A good site structure also helps search engines to understand the content of your site. When pages are organised logically and linked together in a meaningful way, search engines are better able to identify the main topics on the site and the relationships between them.

In addition, a clear structure reduces user confusion and improves their experience, which can lead to a longer stay on the site and a better conversion rate.

In short, careful design and implementation of the site structure is key to both user experience optimisation and search engine optimisation.

Optimisation of images

Image optimisation is a key part of website design and development. It means editing images so that they load quickly and look good across devices and browsers, while maintaining high quality. Image optimisation has many benefits, ranging from user experience to search engine optimisation.

Why is image optimisation important?

  1. Speed: The speed at which a website loads is a key factor in the user experience. Heavy, unoptimised images can significantly slow down the loading of your website, which can lead to a loss of visitors. Studies show that users may leave a site if it does not load within a few seconds.
  2. Search engine optimisation (SEO): load speed is one of the ranking factors used by Google and other search engines. Faster sites often get higher rankings in search results. In addition, proper naming of images and the use of alt texts can improve the visibility of your site in image search.
  3. Mobile-friendliness: the use of mobile devices has exploded, with many users browsing the web on their phones or tablets. Unoptimised images can look distorted or load slowly on mobile devices, which can degrade the user experience.

How are images optimised?

  1. Reducing the size: reducing the size of images without compromising quality is the first step. Tools such as TinyPNG or ImageOptim can help with this.
  2. Correct format: the format of your images (e.g. JPEG, PNG, WebP) affects their size and quality. For example, photos often work best in JPEG format, while logos and graphics can be clearer in PNG format.
  3. Responsiveness: use responsive images that adapt to the size of the user’s device and screen.
  4. Alt texts: add descriptive alt texts to images. They improve accessibility and help search engines understand the content of the image.

Summary

Image optimisation is essential to improve website performance and user experience. Not only does it speed up site load times, it also improves your site’s visibility in search engines and ensures that your content looks good on all devices.

XML sitemap and robots.txt

There are many technical aspects of search engine optimisation that can affect the visibility of a website in search engines. Two of these key elements are the XML sitemap and the robots.txt file. Both are essential tools for website owners who want to control how search engines index and treat their sites.

XML sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all URLs on a website. It acts as a kind of “map” for search engines, guiding them through the site structure. The sitemap allows you to tell search engines which pages are particularly important, how often they are updated and how they relate to each other.

This is particularly important for large websites or sites that are updated frequently. Without a sitemap, some pages may be missed by search engines. Most content management systems, such as WordPress, provide tools or plugins to automatically create XML sitemaps.

robots.txt

robots.txt example
image 19 What is search engine optimisation?

robots.txt is another technical file, but its purpose is slightly different. It tells search engines which parts of the site they are not allowed to crawl. This can be useful, for example, if you want to prevent search engines from indexing pages that are not yet finished or pages that contain sensitive information.

The file can also direct search engines to specific page maps or give other instructions, such as indexing delays. It is important to note that although most search engines follow the instructions in the robots.txt file, they are not binding. Incorrect use of the file may result in important pages not being indexed, so care must be taken.

Summary

Both the XML sitemap and robots.txt are essential tools for website owners who want to optimise their site for search engines. They allow you to communicate directly with search engines and control their activity on the site. Used correctly, they can improve a site’s visibility in search results and ensure that the most important content reaches its target audience. However, it is important to understand how these files work and to use them judiciously to avoid potential problems and errors.

Best practices and common mistakes in search engine optimisation

The importance of content

In the world of digital marketing and search engine optimisation, there is a saying that has remained relevant over the years: ‘Content is king’. This statement highlights the key role of content in the success of websites and its impact on visitors and search engines.

Why is content so important?

  1. User experience: first, visitors to your site are looking for valuable and useful content. They come to the site to get answers to their questions, to learn something new or to entertain themselves. Quality content meets these needs and provides a positive experience for users.
  2. Search engine optimisation: search engines like Google strive to provide their users with the best possible content. They index and rate websites based on their content. Well-written, relevant and unique content can improve your site’s ranking in search results.
  3. Expertise and trust: quality content can reinforce a brand’s authority and expertise in a particular field. When you provide consistent and informative content, visitors will start to see your site as a trusted source.

Quality of content vs. quantity

While it can be tempting to produce large amounts of content in the hope of increasing visibility, quality is always more important than quantity. A single, well-researched and written article can bring more traffic and engagement than ten hastily produced superficial texts.

Diversity of content

Today, “content” does not just mean text. It can include images, videos, infographics, podcasts and other multimedia elements. Different users consume content in different ways, so it is important to provide a variety of content to meet different needs.

Summary

The importance of content in digital marketing cannot be overemphasised. It is the heart and soul of a website, a tool for brands to communicate, educate, influence and engage their audience. By investing in quality content, companies not only improve their visibility in search engines, but also build lasting relationships with their customers.

Keyword research

Keyword research is one of the cornerstones of search engine optimisation (SEO). It is the process of understanding and identifying the terms and phrases that potential customers use in search engines when looking for information, products or services.

The aim of this study is not only to identify the keywords that drive the most traffic, but also to understand the intentions of the users behind them. For example, is the user buying something, looking for information or comparing different options?

A well-done keyword research can provide valuable information not only for SEO strategy, but also for content marketing, product development and other areas of business. It can help you understand market trends, competitors’ activities and consumer behaviour.

To start research, you often need tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Ahrefs. These tools provide valuable information on keyword popularity, competition and related search terms.

However, it is important to understand that simply targeting the most popular keywords is not necessarily the best strategy. Often long-tail keywords, the most specific and often less searched terms, can bring higher quality traffic and higher conversion rates.

Link building

Link building is one of the most important and challenging aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO). It refers to the process of acquiring external links, or backlinks, to your website from other websites. When done correctly, link building can significantly improve a site’s visibility in search engines and strengthen its authority.

Why is link building important?

Search engines such as Google use links as one of the key metrics to assess the trustworthiness and authority of a website. Think of a link as a recommendation: when another site links to your site, it’s like giving your site a voice. The more quality recommendations, or links, your site receives, the more likely it is to be seen by search engines as a respected and relevant source.

Quality vs. quantity

While the number of links is an important factor, quality trumps quantity. It is much more valuable to have a few links from reputable and relevant sources than dozens or hundreds of links from dubious or irrelevant sources. In fact, poor quality or artificial links can damage your site’s search engine rankings.

Link building strategies

There are many ways to build links, but the most effective and sustainable strategies focus on natural link building. This may include:

  • Content creation: high quality, unique and shareable content naturally attracts links.
  • Guest blogging: by writing articles for other sites, you can get links back to your own site.
  • Building relationships: networking and building relationships with other sites and bloggers can open doors to links.
  • Asking for links: sometimes a direct approach and asking for a link can work, especially if you provide valuable content.

Summary

Link building is a complex and time-consuming process, but its importance in search engine optimisation cannot be ignored. With the right strategy and a focus on getting quality links, your website can achieve higher search engine rankings and reach a wider audience.

Social media and SEO

While the direct impact of social media on search engine rankings is still a matter of debate, there is no doubt that an active social media presence can support your SEO efforts. Shared content, discussions and testimonials on social media can increase your website’s visibility and traffic.

Common errors

  1. Over-optimisation: one of the most common mistakes is over-using keywords in your text. This can make the text look unnatural and search engines may see it as an attempt at manipulation.
  2. Poor quality content: content must be of high quality and answer users’ questions. Simply adding keywords is not enough if the content does not add value for the user.
  3. Wrong keywords: without proper keyword research, it’s easy to focus on terms that don’t drive traffic or are too competitive.
  4. Technical negligence: SEO is not just about content. Technical errors, such as slow loading times, broken links or lack of mobile optimisation, can harm your investment.
  5. Neglecting links: quality backlinks are still one of the most important factors in search engine optimisation. However, buying links or acquiring irrelevant links can damage your investment.
  6. Lack of measurement: many companies neglect continuous monitoring and analysis. Without these, it is impossible to understand which measures work and which do not.
  7. Short term: SEO is a long-term job. Many companies expect quick results and give up when they are not immediately visible. However, search engine optimisation requires time and continuous effort.

These errors can prevent a site from reaching its full potential in search engines. Fortunately, most of them can be fixed with the right information and strategy.

Measurement and analysis

SEO is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. It requires continuous monitoring, analysis and optimisation. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable resources. They help you understand how your site is performing, where visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your site.

Finally

Search engine optimisation is a complex and ongoing process that requires both technical and content production skills. Following best practices and avoiding common mistakes are key to success. Remember that SEO is a long-term strategy. The results may not be immediately visible, but when they are, they can be significant.

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