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Search engine optimisation is the art of optimising a website for terms that a website’s target market are searching for in order to rank more highly on search engines for those particular keywords.
Despite what SEO companies might like to tell you, SEO is not some dark art, clouded in secrecy. Much, if not everything someone will need to do to optimise their website is available on the internet. However, when search engine optimisation is implemented properly it is a very time consuming and labour intensive process.
There are two tranches related to SEO, on-page SEO; this are things that are actually done to the physical website in order to optimise it and off-page SEO, these are things that are done externally to the website (such as link building) to make the website appear higher on search engines for targeted keywords.
The first thing that a good SEO company will do when optimising a website is research; this could be via interviewing staff, visiting premises or by looking at competitors. It is important that the SEO company can understand the business and requirements of their client. Once this is done, thorough keyword research must be undertaken to establish, search volume, relevancy to the website and competition. It would be a mistake just to go for high volume terms if the competition for those terms is so fierce that the client would not stand a chance of ranking in under 12 months. Ideally we are looking for huge search volumes, high relevancy to the website/business and low competition (however this is often not possible to get :-).
Once the keywords have been selected for the website an SEO company should write the meta data for the main landing pages. This would include the meta title tag, the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag. The SEO expert will then make further HTML suggestions (such as putting keywords in the heading and alt tags) and will look at the copy.
There are a whole host of more technical elements to the setup such as identifying canonicalisation, duplicate content, 404 errors and so much more. An experienced SEO company will make suggestions on all of these areas – which should be implemented to give ‘quick wins’ and to form a strong basis for a true SEO campaign.