SEO can be sorted into three main sub-categories which are all important for the ranking of your website – Technical SEO, On-site SEO and Off-site SEO. Some of these, but not all, are described in more detail below. There are many more items in each section, but these lists will help you understand the differences.
When determining where you should be ranked in search engines, Google carries out a process of crawling and indexing your website – this is where Technical SEO plays an important part. Technical Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) describes the efforts of a webmaster to ensure that your website is compatible with search engine guidelines, and can be indexed and ranked for key phrase searches accordingly. This SEO is classed as ‘technical’ because all the techniques involved aim to improve your search engine rankings. Below is just a short list from the many aspects of technical SEO to consider:
Non-indexed Pages – When you add a page to your website, you need to make sure it is set to index so that Google will recognise it and include it in search rankings.
Secure SSL Certificate – Having an SSL Certificate changes the HTTP in your URL to HTTPS, and this prevents an unsecure warning from appearing when someone visits your website. Security is an important factor considered by search engines when crawling your website.
Loading Speed – Many factors contribute to your website’s loading speed, including image file sizes, plugins, and the complexity of your website. Google will consider this when deciding where to rank your website, and will rank websites lower that don’t load fast.
Responsive Design – As over 50% of people are now using mobiles and other devices to view websites, having a responsive design ensures that your website has the visual features and functionality no matter which device it is viewed on.
Working Sitemap – A fully functional sitemap is important for SEO as it makes it simple for Google to easily find the pages on your website, which is important when aiming to get all your internal pages ranking.
The purpose of this SEO technique is to make your website search engine friendly, and the process focuses on the physical features of your website. The purpose of On-site SEO is to make sure your website’s content is aligned with the search terms being used the most. This SEO technique refers to content as well as the coding on your website, and includes the following elements:
Title Tags – These are used to assist search engines in understanding what your content is about, and which search result topics it is relevant for.
Meta Descriptions – Similarly to Title Tags, meta descriptions describe in further detail what is contained in the page, and are used as a conversion technique as it encourages people to visit your web page. Although they are not used as a ranking factor, meta descriptions are still an important aspect of your on-site SEO as they help shows the relevance of your pages to your potential visitors.
H1s and H2s – Heading tags are important as they show the structure of the content; the H1 should only be added once on the page, as this acts as a main heading, and H2s and H3s can be used multiple times as subheadings.
Image optimisation – When adding images to your website, you should make sure you include a title which is relevant to the image, and make sure your Alt Text is targeted. By having an image Alt Tag which describes the image and includes keywords, you can help your web page to rank higher in searches.
User Experience – The main purpose of a website is to guide users and ensure that they can find the information they are looking for, which is why Google looks at the structure, menus and buttons used on your website to get your visitors to where they want to be.
NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) – This is an important factor for your local SEO, as it shows your visitors, in a structured format, where your business is located and how they can get in contact with you.
Keyword Optimisation – Is it no secret that keywords are an important ranking factor, but you need to find out which keywords get the most traffic amongst your target audience.
Blog Feed – Uploading regular content shows that your website is still active and relevant, making it more likely for you to rank higher in searches. It is a good idea to have a different focus keyword for each blog post that you are uploading, so you can cover the range of products and services you offer.
Your SEO doesn’t just relate to the features on your website, it also takes into consideration actions taken outside of your website. Off-site SEO is a ranking factor as it shows the validity of your website through links and recommendations from external sources. It displays your website’s relationship on the internet based on offsite factors. The following techniques are examples of Off-site SEO:
SEO Citations – You should try and get your business details out there on quality directories. Start with the top directory websites which are well-known, then try to regularly gain more citations to help with your off-site SEO.
Online Reviews – Reviews are a great way of showing your target audience how good you are and to build trust in your business; but they are also an important ranking factor.
Quality Backlinks – This relates to getting a link to any page on your website from quality external websites. The more you are mentioned on other websites (as long as they are reputable) the further up you will get in relevant search results. This is something that should be done on a regular basis as part of your ongoing off-site SEO campaign.
Domain Authority – This is a score between 1 and 100, given to your website to determine the relevance of your website through the quality and quantity of backlinks.
Social Media Mentions – A small, but important, part of your SEO is social media mentions. This gives search engines an idea of how many people are talking about and interacting with your business profile, and therefore how relevant you are.
Want to find out more?
If you need further information on any of the three aspects of SEO, our professional team are always on hand to help. Get in contact with us on 01246 556 565 for guidance or to find out more about how we can run a successful SEO campaign for you and help you to stay ahead of competition.