Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) isn't a magic trick and neither is it an automated process. SEO comprises several techniques and methods that are used to improve the search engine rankings. These techniques and methods are systematically implemented throughout the website by an SEO-trained professional in order to signal to the search engine that the site is relevant and credible.
The process is complex and challenging and contrary to popular belief, it does take some time to yield consistent results. Companies that offer instant results using SEO are more than likely using "black hat" methods, which are deceptive, dishonest or unethical ways of tricking search engines into believing a site is relevant and credible when it has little merit in relation to the search query.
Black hat methods have landed many a website in the doldrums of search engine rankings. Link-stuffing, bad backlinks, keyword-stuffing, hidden text and other deceptive means can have your site penalised by search engines or even blacklisted, essentially relegating it to the annals of internet history and costing you a pretty penny in the process.
White hat methods work on building the relevance and credibility of a website so that search engines will rank it higher. Improving search engine rankings relies on improving the merits of the website. As search engines and their crawlers evolve and make increasing use of AI, using white hat methods becomes increasingly important in developing websites and implementing SEO.
There are five key elements to any SEO strategy. The first involves on-page optimisation, which means careful structuring of the website and including elements such as relevant content, anchor text, image text and reliable internal links. Off-page optimisation follows and involves building legitimate links with other websites as well as online influencers.
Landing page optimisation is a third key element. The landing page is the very first page that the site visitor sees. The landing page is vitally important as the visitor decides within a matter of seconds whether they're going to stay on the page and explore the site or leave. Visits to a site that last only a few seconds signal to the search engine that the site is not relevant, lowering its ranking.
Everyone knows the pain the buffering, so it should come as no surprise that another key element is site speed optimisation. Site speed is essential to a positive user experience and will determine how long a visitor stays on the site and how deeply they engage with it. A slow site will lose visitors and lower the probability of visitors returning or engaging fruitfully with the site, decreasing it ranking.
The fifth element involves establishing an online presence for the business, cause or organisation the website represents. Often called business profile creation, this is a broader strategy for improving the credibility and reputation of the website and involves effective link building, content creation and development, social media management and online reputation management (ORM).
They take-home is that there are no quick fixes, magic tricks or hidden algorithms that will get your website to the top of page one. SEO involves putting in the hard yards to build and promote a site that will achieve great search engine rankings based on merit. Building that merit is where you should be putting your energies - and your investment - for a better outcome over the longer term.
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