Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) means all the measures that improve the findability of a web service in the search engines. The main methods of search engine optimisation are related to the content of the web service, technical solutions and increasing link popularity.
In most web services, the majority of users come through a search engine. So, to exaggerate, it can be said that a web service only exists if it can be found in search engines.
In Finland, Google is the undisputed market leader in search engines. It accounts for more than 95% of all searches. Discoverability on Google is therefore critical to the success of an online service.
Google’s mission describes well the purpose of the company’s search engine:
“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”Google
It is therefore a matter of organising, accessing, and using information. The purpose of a search engine is to provide the searcher with content that is as relevant and high quality as possible to the search. This is also the basis of search engine optimisation, which fulfils the purpose described above.
Why search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation affects the organic search results of search engines. The better the web service is optimised, the better it will rank in search results. Ranking is important because the best-ranked pages are clicked the most. In practice, most people browse only the search results on the first search results page, and the first three search results collect the majority of all clicks.
How to execute search engine optimisation?
The methods of search engine optimisation can be roughly divided into three different areas: developing the content of the web service, technical search engine optimisation, and increasing link popularity. More on these below.
1. Website content structure and content
Search engine optimisation is based on an understanding of what content people are searching for relevant to their business goals, what keywords they are using, and how many searches are being made. This can be determined by keyword mapping using Google tools.
Once people’s search engine behaviour is known, content structure and content that meets people’s needs can be implemented to the online service:
- Content structure means what different pages the web service consists of and how the different pages are organised in the web service. Search engines recognise the content structure of a web service and, based on the order of the pages, evaluate the most important content in the service.
- The more accurately and comprehensively the content matches a user’s search, the better it will rank in the search results. For example, a page that is comprehensively about search engine optimisation is better than a page about search engine advertising if the user is looking for information specifically about search engine optimisation.
The search engine primarily understands textual content, which must be of sufficient quality and range. If the search engine does not recognise the content of the web service, it will not bring the webpages to its search results. The search engine cannot access the content of the images, but it recognises the names of the images. Therefore, Alt text should be added to the images to tell which subject the image is connected to.
In addition to the text and images on the pages of the web service, it is advisable to write titles and meta description texts for each page separately for search engines. These texts appear in search results and can have a big impact on search engine clicks.
Also important are links within the web service, such as this, that leads to our contact page. On the other hand, external links that lead to other web services are also important. This link will take you to the main Google page. You may want to set external links to open in a new tab so that the user does not leave your site completely.
2. Technical Search Engine Optimisation
The systems and technical implementation used in the web service have a significant impact on search engine discoverability. Good results are achieved when search engine discoverability is already taken into account in the technical design of the webpage. At worst, the technical implementation may be such that the service cannot be found in the search engines at all.
Search engines constantly analyse the technical implementation of web services and favour the highest quality implementations. Particularly important issues in the technical solution of a web service are, for example:
- the logic of urls and redirection functionality
- responsiveness, i.e. smooth functionality in different devices and especially in smartphones
- network service download speed
- xml sitemap
- deleting broken pages
Software developers are responsible for technical search engine optimisation solutions. Attention is paid, for example, to the following technical details of the service:
- A “search engine friendly” content management system such as WordPress
- a high-performance and reliable server solution
- advanced browser cache management tools and their optimisation
- optimisation of image sizes and image formats
- Server-level compression of http requests
- “minification” of source code
- storing dynamic content as static
- browser-to-server traffic security (SSL)
3. Increasing link popularity
The purpose of a search engine is to find quality web services and content for the user. The search engine makes a quality assessment based on the popularity of web services.
If a particular web service leads to a lot of links from other web services, the search engine will interpret it as popular and of high quality. In addition to quantity, the evaluation is affected by the quality of the web services being linked. The more used and high quality the linking site, the more it will increase the link popularity of the linked web service.
This is called link popularity, which can be increased in various ways to improve search engine visibility:
- Produce as much content as possible, which people share as links with each other.
- Increase the number of links yourself, for example with links from your own social media pages.
- Partners, customers, and other stakeholders are asked to have links to their own web service.
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