Unless you’re living search engine optimisation night and day you probably can’t answer that question in any depth.
The worrying thing is that a lot of “SEO experts” don’t seem to want (or be able to) answer it either.
That makes is a tad difficult for you to sift out the good from the bad. Of course, one tip there would be to never respond to the small avalanche of SEO spam emails you get every day.
So, what should your SEO be doing for you?
Well, their job is to get your website visible, appearing in relevant search results. Note I used the word “relevant” – there’s no point in having top rankings for keywords that won’t bring in the customers.
The things you’re looking for, from the top down, are:
Improving your URL structure
Your URL is the web address of your web page.
For example, it could be:
Which makes a whole lot more sense than something like:
Although the readability of your URL doesn’t have a massive impact on your rankings it could have a detrimental effect on your clickthrough rate.
Title tag optimisation
Your title tag has a huge influence on your rankings. When you look at search results, it’s the bit at the top in bold.
This mustn’t be keywords stuffed, but should include your main keyword. It should flow/read naturally and include your company name. Plus, every page of your website must have a unique title tag, but one that is consistent in style, such as:
Leather Dog Collars | The Designer Dog Collar House
Another major ranking factor are the heading tags, which show the main topic of each page. A bit like the title tags, every page needs a unique H1 tag and only one of them. They should also be specific, such as:
Leather Dog Collars
Although these won’t affect your rankings directly, it as element that, when done well, can attract clickthroughs.
The META description is the short paragraph that appears in the search results under the URL. It’s an opportunity to show the searcher how you can help them. It should contain your keywords, but again it must read naturally and make sense.
Another part of the SEO role is the generation of great content. Fresh, original and informative content is what will get you noticed. That doesn’t mean it should be stuffed with keywords. They should be present, but in a gentle sprinkle. Above all your content must be well written, original and authoritative.
The last piece of the puzzle refers to links. In this case we’re talking about internal links that will help your user navigate through your website and also allow Google to crawl your site.
Make sure the links go deep inside your site and don’t just deal with the top layer of pages. The anchor text you use must also be natural.
You’ve probably noticed that a big part of the SEO’s role is keyword research. Without it, none of the above would work. That’s not to say, however, that keywords are the be all and end all.
When people do take that attitude you’re left with incomprehensible sites that are stuffed to the rafters with keywords. Firstly, Google will frown on you and, sooner or later, slap you with a penalty. Secondly, you’ll turn people above in their droves because it will be obvious to them you care more about your rankings than you do about your customers.
Finding a good SEO can be a chore. It’s always a good idea to ask colleagues for recommendations, but also check out their results and listen carefully to what potential suppliers tell you. If they’re not happy to show your results or offer names of referees, step away.
Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting