Most websites get the majority of their traffic through search engines, which constantly scan your website for content and index it. But without proper search engine optimisation on your website, your pages won't rank as highly and as a result, your organic traffic from search engines won't be at its full potential.
Search engines and websites
When a search engine crawls a page on a website, it tries to determine what content is on the page, how relevant it is and most importantly how original it is. Although search engines are becoming increasing sophisticated and as a result being better able to process content, there are many shortfalls that may result in the content not being indexed properly or achieving a poor PageRank. A good example is an image. When humans look at an image they are able to determine how relevant it is to the content they are viewing and extract information. Search engines cannot do this, however, and have to rely on search engine optimisation techniques to fill in the gaps.
How can SEO help my site?
Regardless of your website size or content type, SEO can be used to improve the rankings of your website. By adding keywords to each page, for instance, search engines are able to match queries easier to your content resulting in your website being displayed more frequently for given search terms, or with better rankings. Another important SEO technique is removing duplicate pages or redirecting any duplicates to their parent content. Content management systems such as WordPress are the main source of duplicate content, which can lead search engines into believing your content is not 100% original.
Common SEO mistakes
A website that hasn't been optimised will usually have one or more of the following mistakes:
- Missing or bad robots.txt - A file that controls which pages search engines can index
- Duplicate pages - More than one version of the same content
- 404 errors - Missing pages without redirects can seriously affect your page rankings
- Unoriginal content - Search engines penalise websites that have copied content
- Missing keywords and page descriptions - Vital for search engines to correctly interpret your content