If you have read the section What is SEO you will understand:
SEO is not about getting lots of visitors no matter what or "just building links"
Standard quality SEO will get your website up the rankings but user behaviour will define if it should stay there.
You want the right visitors because your time at the top won't last for long if users do not engage with your website. Here is your actual desired scenario for long term search engine dominance.
And what do these wishy-washy statements "a good Click Through Rate", "a low bounce rate" and "a reasonable time" actually mean? Very simply rates and times that are better than your competitors.
Achieve this and you will dominate the search engines for your chosen keywords and phrases over the long term. Internet users will build links for you so that you don't have to worry about link building exercises.
All major search engines can log how often they show your site in the search results for a particular word or phrase and how often users click through.to your website from those results. They can also see how quickly users click the back button and return to the search results.
Google and Bing can also monitor user movements if they are signed in but Google has the greatest advantage - Analytics. Almost all serious websites have Google Analytics installed which provides highly detailed information on user behaviour.
Read more about User behaviour and SEO.
As mentioned above your SEO needs to be "better than that of your competitors. This could mean you can do all the SEO required to get your top rankings within a few hours because your competitors have done little or no SEO. At the other extreme it could mean you need a full time team of SEO specialists to match the budget and resource of your competitors.
Some websites are SEOed once, some SEO non-stop spending thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands to keep their rankings.
Below is the basic checklist for SEO and tells you what most search engines take into account when choosing who to display first. How much weighting they give to each factor is a matter of dispute and varies from search engine to search engine. All of these are covered in more detail throughout this guide.
Once again you should bear in mind that you may not have to do all of the below, much will depend on your competition.
In no (well known) particular order your website will rank better for a particular keyword if:
You will hear this phrase a great deal when we talk about SEO. We mean that if there are two websites that are exactly the same and one of them changes for the better, it will be ranked higher.
Not all websites can be if they are fundamentally flawed in some way. Below are examples of websites that would be difficult to SEO:
If you can answer the question "Is my website genuinely useful and original?" with a 'Yes' then it can be SEOed. If your answer is actually "Don't know, I just want to make lots of money" then you may well be in trouble.
The answer is invariably 'Yes' but how much you need to carry out and how often can vary dramatically. In general:
These pages are a step by step walk through guide on how to do optimisation and fall into two main areas:
Each of these stages is broken down into smaller and more managable steps but we recommend reading the whole guide first so you can keep some of the later steps in mind right from the beginning.
Much depends on the size of your business and the state of your current website. Remember that many large corporations employ teams of SEO professionals full time which gives you some idea of the resources a large company needs.
A great deal will also depend on the size of your ambitions! If you want to get to the top of search engine results for "Jim's bicycle shop guildford" it's not going to take as long as dominating the keyword phrase "LCD TVs". This said there are clever, and legal, ways to get round even the most popular keywords - we will come to these later.
But for either the SEO steps are the same, it is simply the effort at each stage that varies. And always remember the process is cyclical - when you get to the end it's time to go back to the beginning and start again along these lines.
It's an unfortunate truth but carrying out real Search Engine Optimization and then seeing no change in your rankings can be very telling. It means your competitors are also doing their own SEO and what you have done so far has just held the boat steady.
Apart from the obvious issues of practicing Black Hat SEO it is possible to carry out legit optimization but simply get it wrong.
One of the most common errors is just to concentrate on visitor numbers. But if you treat it as a simple numbers game this can drive up your bounce rate and cause a drop in the average amount of time users spend on your pages, both of which will have a negative effect on your rankings
These pages contain everything you need to know in order to work through your own optimisation because the only true way to get your website optimised for free is to do it yourself. But even this isn't truly free, your time has value and optimising your website takes a great deal of it so weigh things up carefully.
As a word of caution don't become so obssessed with SEO that you forget to run your own business. You may laugh now but it happens.
Remember to treat 'Free' SEO services offered to you with a great deal of caution. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some sites are just after your email for their spamming lists, some companies place time bombs in your code that will freeze your website until you pay for them to be unlocked, and so the list of horror stories goes on.
We have put this SEO guide together because it gives an overview of our process when working with clients and gives them greater transparency into our services. If, once you've read it through, the thought "Wooah! This is going to be a lot of work" comes to mind then get in touch and we can give you a SEO quote to do the job for you.
I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.
If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.