What is Search Engine Optimisation?

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  • Post last modified:September 22, 2020
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What is search engine optimisation? In a nutshell, search engine optimisation (or simply SEO) is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches.

But Actually, It’s More than That

Crafting your site to impress search engines like Google and Bing so they rank you better is a short-sighted approach. Worse still, you have the wrong idea of what SEO is about.

What is SEO About?

From this point on, I will refer to Google as the Search Engine because they have the market share – by a lot.

Now, Google’s plan has always been to provide search results based on what the searcher is most likely to want. As time goes by, searchers are becoming savvier, demanding and impatient.

And as technology advances, Google is continually developing their algorithms. It is no longer acceptable to optimise your site to manipulate Google; they are way smarter than you and me.

So, What Is The Secret?

The secret is to optimise your site for your visitors. Pure and simple. Achieve that and Google will reward you with better rankings. Of course, knowing you must benefit your visitors and putting everything in place are two very separate things.

Let’s Break Down Key Aspects

1. Mindset

Knowing what you are trying to achieve is the first step. I’ll make it easy for you: You are trying to make your content as useful to visitors as possible.

2. On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO relates to optimisations directly on the page. Almost anyone can complete this. More on this below.

3. Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO can be tricky. In general terms, you are trying to promote your optimised content on other sites. More on this below.

4. Performance

There is a long list of Performance factors to take into account and may require some skill. More on this below.

5. Mobile Optimisation

It is a sad truth that the subject of Mobile Optimisation still needs talking about. A vast number of searches are done via mobile devices, so your site had better be optimised for small screens.

What is search engine optimisation? (On-Page SEO)

Google has over 200 signals that we know of and count toward how they rank a page. There are a very select few in the world who know what they are. But what we do know for sure is that there are, at an absolute minimum, 11 factors to master.

The Basic Factors of SEO to Master

1. Page Size

The heavier the site page, the slower the load. For optimal performance, try to keep page size below 3MB. Non-optimised images and video are the usual offenders. (Other than sloppy coding)

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

2. Page Requests

The more HTTP requests your website makes, the slower it becomes. Combining files can help reduce the number of requests. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, too many plugins will likely result in excessive HTTP requests. A half-decent web designer will not rely on plugins for functionality.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

What is search engine optimisation

3. Page speed

Best-in-class webpages should become interactive within 5.3 seconds. Any slower and visitors will abandon your site, reducing conversions and sales. Page speed is more critical on mobile devices since they rely on mobile networks that can be fickle.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

4. Browser Caching

Browser caching speeds up your website by storing frequently used content in local memory. Server access required (Or at least hosting access).

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

What is search engine optimisation

5. Minimal Page Redirects

Multiple redirects can make your site load slower. Aim for no more than one redirect.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

6. Image Size

Images can take a long time to load. Use responsive images or SVGs to optimise your images for different screen sizes.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

7. Minified JavaScript

JavaScript compression makes your website run much faster. Javascript is what gives your site functionality.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

8. Minified CSS

As for JavaScript, CSS compression helps with page loading time. CSS tells the browser how to display your site.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

9. Legible Font Size

Visitors may have difficulty reading small text, especially on mobile devices. We recommend at least 12px (16px for mobile devices).

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

10. Tap Targets

Mobile-friendly pages perform better in search results. Make sure interactive elements like buttons and links are not too small or too close together.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

11. Responsive Design

Responsive design gives you a bump in search rankings for searches on mobile devices.

Difficulty: Moderate – Web Designer Required

So, when someone asks you the question What is search engine optimisation, you at least have a bit of an idea. Remember, this is just the start.

In the next article, we’ll look at What is Search Engine Optimisation? (Off-Page SEO)

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