The art and science of website discovery – A guide to SEO from BBI

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the art of improving and promoting a web site to increase the number of visitors the page receives via free, organic and natural listings from search engines.

Here at BBI in Buckinghamshire we are finding that businesses are taking Search Engine Optimisation a lot more seriously. There are however, a lot of misconceptions about what SEO is and what it entails. This article aims to provide clarification on some of the processes used.

The first part of the puzzle is Keyword Research. This is finding which relevant words and phrases are used by those searching for the business/services/products you are trying to promote. Keyword Research aims to answer such questions as which words are used most, how much competition there is for a given phrase and how much traffic can be gained from using these keywords and phrases. For instance, which word is searched for most, bike or bicycle? Which location is most used, Bucks or Buckinghamshire? This is probably the most important phase in SEO. If the foundation is not correct then no amount of wizardry will help to drive traffic to your website.

The next stage of the SEO process is the Design and Developmentof the site itself. The developers must make sure that the web URLs are correctly formatted and use the keywords found during the research phase e.g. mybusiness.com/my-brilliant-product.aspx rather than mybusiness.com/p=564 (this is normally handled by a Content Management System).

It is advisable to use as little Flash Mobile Website Browsers) are not able to read it.  More importantly Google, Bing and the other search engines do not recognise Flash content, so there is no SEO benefit from this type of feature.

Wherever possible text should not be part of an image as again search engines cannot read this.  The factors mentioned above will have the added benefit of helping to reduce page loading times. This is crucial, since current industry research indicates that the vast majority of web users will close down the page if it takes more then 6 seconds to load.

Once the site is designed and built there are the On Page ingredients to consider. These include:

  • The page title (e.g. this page has a title of The art and science of website discovery ¦¦ SEO News from BBI, Buckinghamshire).
  • Main Heading (e.g. The art and science of website discovery – A guide to SEO from BBI.).
  • Alternate text (alt tags) for any images used. (e.g. A guide to SEO from BBI.)
  • The first paragraph of text (this is considered the most important part of any document by search engines as it is the most likely to be read by a user).
  • 3 or 4 mentions of the word you are targeting within the text should be added to the page.
  • Updated content. Search engines like sites that provide fresh content often. News stories, blog articles & new products all help the site to rank well. 

There is of course a lot more to consider but if these basic elements are correct then one should see a significant improvement in the page’s rank within the search engines.

The last factor to discuss is Link Building & Social Media Engagement and sites may even be penalised for having them if Google feels there is an intentional attempt to trick them into giving a site a better rank. The idea is to make websites much more community based, with people finding and sharing your content on relevant blogs and forums and having their own sites link to the page because they think the content you provide is interesting or relevant. Obviously it is fine to tell people about your content or even provide a link when you feel it is relevant to an ongoing discussion within another site.