What is search engine optimisation (SEO)?
Let’s start by saying what SEO is not. It’s not a quick win, silver bullet that you do once and then forget. It’s an on-going process of making your site more attractive to both search engines such as Google and website visitors.
Search engine optimisation is a group of techniques that help you build your website in such a way as to help it get picked up and displayed more prominently by search engines for its major search terms (or keywords as they are commonly referred to). We are talking about the natural or organic listings, not the paid-for advertisements, such as Google Adwords.
Each of the search engines work in a slightly different way from one another, but we suggest you focus your SEO efforts on Google for the following reasons:
- Google has 65.4% of the search market share compared to their next closest rival Yahoo with 13.6% (ComScore Feb 2011)
- Users carry out 10.3 billion Searches on Google each month (ComScore Feb 2011)
- 70% of links search users click on are natural results, not paid for (Marketing Sherpa 2010)
Getting your site ranking* on page one of Google can drive 8 to 10 times more traffic than the same listing on Yahoo or Bing.
* Ranking” or “rank” is the term used to describe where the search engines display web pages within their search results pages. The search engines determine the rank of your website based on how relevant they think your website is to the search term entered, for example: “villa with pool Marbella”.
How does Google rank pages?
Nobody really knows for sure. Google do not publish their algorithm because if people knew, it would be easy to manipulate search results. This is one reason why you should be cautious of anyone offering to guarantee you good search engine results. There are no guarantees. That said, it is generally agreed that SEO consists of three key areas:
- On Page Code – The code used to build your website
- On Page Content – The text and images on your website
- Off Page Links – Links to your website from other websites
On Page Code
The on page code is the HTML code that sits behind your website and makes the pages look the way they do. There are certain recommendations that web masters should follow to make sure their websites are “search engine friendly”. If you are using PromoteMyPlace to build your holiday rental website, you don’t need to worry about this side of things. All our templates have been designed from the ground up to be “search engine friendly”.
On Page Content
This is the one area of the website that you have full control over and spending time writing great, detailed content is a good way to attract Google and other search engines. We will cover writing content in more detail later but for now, remember that content is king. It’s how Google finds out what your site is about and it uses that content to decide how and with what keywords to rank your website.
Off Page Links
Google effectively sees each link to your website from another website, as a vote for your site. The more links you have the more importance Google will place on your website and therefore the better your rankings will be. However, not all links are equal. Links from relevant websites count for more than links from irrelevant sites.
What do we mean by relevant?
Having a link to your Spanish villa website from a Spanish information site, for example, would be considered relevant, whereas a link from a sheet metal company in Brisbane would not. Links from irrelevant websites won’t help you much in the long run, so try to keep links relevant.
A good search engine optimisation strategy is a must for any website. Working on your strategy ahead of time and creating an ongoing plan will help you generate more traffic, enquiries and bookings. We will help you develop this plan over the next few articles.