SEO - a guide for beginners
As with any business, all of our clients want their website to feature on Page 1 of Google and other search engines,for certain services or locations. For this we use organic Search Engine Optimisation, better known as SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO is a marketing method that helps potential clients to find your website on Google and other search engines. When someone carries out a common search such as ‘psychotherapist Leeds’ or ‘osteopath in Bristol’, lots of results appear – on lots of pages. Unfortunately, there’s every chance that your website won’t appear on page 1 of the search results. If this is the case, it’s highly unlikely that whoever carried out the search will find you - they will choose a competitor instead.
Do I need SEO?
Over 92% of UK adults use the internet to find products and services every day. So, while traditional marketing methods such as leaflets do have some value, it’s important to make sure that your website has the best possible chance of being found.
How does SEO work?
There are 2 main elements to SEO – search words (keywords or search terms) and web links (backlinks or mutual links).
When someone types, for example, “sports massage bath” in to Google, it shows all the websites that contain these search words.
So, if you offer sports massage in Bath, you will need the search words associated with sports massage therapists in Bath added to the text on your website. We provide more information about keywords at the end of this article.
As well as containing the right keywords, the text on your website should be clear and concise, offering benefit to the reader. You should try to update your website regularly, and then Google will know that your site is current and relevant.
So, if a number of similar websites contain the same keywords, how does Google decide which website to put on Page 1 and which goes on Page 5 or 6?
Google and other search engines look at how many links you have with other websites. Links must be relevant, and with good quality websites.
Based on the number of links, they give you a score which tells them what page your website should be on.
A website with hundreds of links will appear on Page 1 whilst a website with no links will appear on the last page where no customer will ever find them.
A backlink campaign adds quality links from (and often to) your website in an ethical way that boosts your standing on Google and other search engines.
More information about keywords
As mentioned above, if you want your website to show up in the list of search results when somebody types for example therapist in Manchester, you need to include the words therapist in Manchester in one (or more) places, such as...
- the ‘title tag’ of each website page (the words that appear right at the top of the window)
- your headings or subheadings
- within a paragraph, especially in the first or last sentence
- in image captions
- in links to other pages throughout your website
To increase relevance, you should also include variations of your keyword phrase. In this case: therapy in Manchester, Manchester therapist or counselling in Manchester.
Don’t stuff your website with keywords
Use keywords wisely and don’t go over the top. The text on your website still needs to be clear and concise without constant repetition. So, insert the keywords into your text in as natural a way as possible.