Search Engine Optimisation -SEO- has a sense of mystery about it, mainly because it is a relatively new aspect of marketing, but also because there are individuals within the industry that try to make it look like some mysterious entity that only they understand.
Because I believe in openness and honesty, I’ve created this guide, to help you understand the not so mysterious world of search engine optimisation.
Off page/site SEO – refers to all the various work that is done away from a website, to help it rank within the search engines
On page/ site SEO – refers to all the various work that is done on a website, to help it rank within the search engines
Keyword – a keyword is the term or phrase that is used to search for a business within Google. For example, if you are looking for a roofing company in Liverpool, you might type into Google, roofers Liverpool, or any other synonym. When referring to keywords, it tends to only refer to one or two word phrases
Longtail keyword – a keyword phrase that consists of 3 or more words is referred to as a longtail keyword. The longer the phrase string the easier it is to rank for that term. For example to rank for the term roofer will be very hard. To rank for the term Roofer Liverpool, easier than the first term but still difficult. To rank for the long tail term, commercial roofing companies in Liverpool , will be a lot easier.
In the early days of Google, Google used to give each website/webpage a ranking score – or ‘Page Rank’. hey stopped doing that in 2016, but a number of major independent analysis websites have carried on the concept of giving a score to a website and its individual pages. Below are the main ones you will here people talk about:
DA / DR – When Google used to give websites a page rank score it was referred to as Domain Authority. Those websites that were seen by Google as authoritative with quality content, high traffic volumes, and general high quality interaction, got high DA. Google do not bother to release this data anymore, as we mentioned, but certain leading analytical software like Moz.com with their link explorer still do. They give Facebook a DA of 95/100. DR (Domain rating) is used by another leading analytical software, Ahrefs.com. Although each company calculates their score slightly differently, they mean the same. A DA or DR score is calculated on the relative “backlink popularity” of the target website compared to all other websites on the internet
PA /UR – PA stands for Page Authority and is often referred to as Page Rank, and although it refers to the authority or rank of an individual page on a website, the score allocated to every page by Google, is not called Page Authority or Page Rank because Google are ranking a page, it is called Page authority or Page rank after Larry page, Co-founder of Google, who came up with the algorithm to rank a page. UR is the same thing as PA/PR and is the score given to a page by Ahrefs.com. URL Rating or Page Rank is calculated on the strength of the target URL’s backlink profile, or quality of the backlinks pointing to that page
CF/TF – CF & TF refer to Citation Flow and Trust Flow. Citation Flow is a number of predicting how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it. Trust Flow is a number predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours, as is used by the analysis website majestic.com
Backlinks are the #1 factor for ranking a website within the search engines. In the beginning of the Internet with Excite, Yahoo and Lycos, to rank a website you had to have more backlinks than your competitors. When Google came a long that was still the case at first and then they changed it with their now famous algorithm update Google Penguin, to get rid of websites that had spammy and poor backlinks. A backlink is basically a link from one site linking back to another site. So on our Facebook page, we have a link on there that takes you to our website.
Every backlink is made up of an anchor text, which we explain in the next explanation. A website ranks well or poorly depending on a number of key factors concerning each backlink. They are:
- The quality of the site the link is from (DA/PA)
- The relevance of the site the link is from – if your website is about roofing are you getting links from websites that are also in your niche or from websites about barbie dolls?
- The anchor text ratio. Does your website have too many links pointing to it containing your keywords, thereby not natural linking, or do you not have enough? Are all your backlinks just branded links, or generic, which wont help rankings, or do you not have enough?
- Speed Backlinks are created. Google are looking for backlinks to be put in place within what they would refer to as a natural time frame. Because Google want links built by humans, it is not possible for one person to build 1,000 links back to their site, a day. It is possible if you use link building software, which Google hate. So a nice steady drip of links being made that are pointing to the website , is seen favourably by Google, and therefore rewarded by increased rankings. Compared to a website that had hundreds if not thousands of links made very quickly. And they of course, may well be penalised with a ranking penalty.
Each backlink contains anchor text. There are three types of anchor text.
The first is naked URL. In the example of a backlink above, on our Facebook page, the anchor text in the back link is our domain https://www.ntaseoservices.com. Another example of a naked URL would be a page on our site, such as, https://www.ntaseoservices.com/about/. Naked URLs are very natural in the eyes of Google, as these are the most common of links that people make when linking back to a website.
The next example anchor text is branded anchor text. This is where you use your brand name to link back to your website. So for us, we would use NTA SEO Services to create a branded anchor text backlink. Again, like naked URL links, branded are seen as natural links in the eyes of Google.
Next we have generic anchor text backlinks. These are backlinks that contain anchor text, like, click here, visit our site, check this page for more info, and so on. Like the previous two examples, generic anchor text links are seen favourably within Google, but do sit third behind the other two.
The final example of anchor text is keyword specific. This is where you get a link back from another site containing the exact phrase or term you want to rank for. If we wanted to get our website ranking for the term Kent SEO Company, we would need to get quality backlinks from relevant sites containing the phrase Kent SEO Company. High quality keyword specific anchor text backlinks are difficult to get, and so these have the highest value on them within Google. Get too many, and Google will see you are trying too hard, get too many too quickly and Google will see you are desperate to rank ( like a person who applies for too many loans too quickly and the banks get nervous and wont lend, Google wont rank you)
There are a number of ways to get ethical and quality keyword specific backlinks, but it takes time and does cost. But when we do get them, our clients see massive results
Dofollow links allow Google (and all search engines) to follow them and reach a website. Giving link juice and a backlink. If a website is linking back to a site with this type of link, both Search Engine and Humans will be able to follow it.
Nofollow links attributes do not allow search engine bots to follow the link. That means if the website owner is linking back to a site with nofollow attributes, it does not pass on link juice. Only Humans will be able to follow the links.
You may think, why bother with Nofollow links, if the search engine bots don’t follow it and pass on link juice? We use nofollow links to look natural in link building.
Link juice is the term used in the SEO world to refer to the value or equity passed from one page or site to another. This value is passed through backlinks. Search engines see links as votes by other websites that your page is valuable and worth promoting. This is why it is important to only get links from quality and relevant websites.
A relevant website is a site that is similar to yours. If your website is about roofing, a relevant website would also be about roofing, or construction, home improvement etc. Getting links from relevant sites back to your site is important. A non relevant site would be the cause of what is referred to as a link spam.
Link spam is the posting of out-of-context or irrelevant links on websites, discussion forums, blog comments, guestbooks or any other online venue that displays user comments. Link spam is also known as comment spam, blog spam or wikispam. Link spammers usually don’t leave comments of any value along with their links, and post on sites that are not relevant to theirs in a hope of gaining link juice.
we have talked about external links, but internal links on a website are also very important. The best example of this is Wikipedia who has many links on each page linking to other pages. These internal links between pages also play an important part in ranking a website.
Every keyword phrase and term is given a difficult score by Google. What the official score is for a keyword is not known, but it is obvious that some are more difficult than others, and there are a number of different software’s that give you a guide. We also know, because Google have made it known, that certain niches that affect an individuals life, are more difficult to rank for. For example, to rank a website that discusses health or wealth, are difficult to rank for, because a persons health or finances are the two areas that can have the greatest effect on them. These are also two areas that scammers target, with diet pills and credit cards or payday loans. Google made it difficult to rank for these niches to put scam artists off who are looking to make a quick buck.
Another factor that affects difficulty is the number of high authority sites that already dominate page one for that term. Do a search for the term Mortgages and you will get all the major mortgage lenders ranking. Do a search for Mortgage Brokers, and it becomes easier, but nevertheless still difficult. But do a search for Mortgage Brokers in Manchester, and the difficulty level drops massively.
So websites that have content that Google do not see as causing physical or financial damage to a person, and are operating on a local level, are easy to rank, because they are very specific, compared to very generic terms.
An additional factor for keyword difficulty is whether a term is generic or specific. This links back to the example we used for Mortgages and Mortgage Broker. The more generic a term, the harder it is to rank for. But the more specific you are the easier it is. Only problem with that is, extremely specific terms that are easy to rank for, and can be ranked for within a day maybe a week, get virtually no searches, as we show you in the next explanation.
Google collect every second of every day, data on every phrase and term that is typed into their search bar. With this data they can tell us exactly how many people a month are using a term or phrase to search for a business, service or product. This goes back to what we explained earlier concerning keywords and longtail keywords.
The number of people who search for weight loss every month in the US, is 135,000, according to Google. That figure goes down the longer the phrase is. weight loss foods gets 27,100 searches a month. natural weight loss foods gets 880 searches a month, and finally, natural weight loss foods for diabetics gets less than 10 searches a month, according to Google
Google will penalise a website for a number of reasons, mainly if the site has had a manual review and been caught carrying out Black Hat SEO. A business will know when they have been penalised, because their traffic levels will drop off rapidly, and their rankings will decline. We can help recover a website from a penalty, but due to the various reasons as to why a site can be penalised, there is a lot of initial investigation needed and then a lot of time and effort to rectify the error. This therefore makes recovering a website from a Google Penalty costly to the client, but worth it.
It is very rare, but there may be times when a website has been so heavily penalised that there is no point in trying to recover it. It would be best to start again with a new website.
A search engine results page (SERP) is the list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or phrase query. We refer to obtaining page one position for our clients, page one is of course the first page in the search engine results and therefore is the first SERP.
Black hat SEO refers to a set of practices that are used to increases a site or page’s rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service. The term “black hat” originated in Western movies to distinguish the “bad guys” from the “good guys,” who wore white hats (see white hat SEO). Recently, it’s used more commonly to describe computer hackers, virus creators, and those who perform unethical actions with computers. However, there are still many unethical SEO companies, who carry out black hat seo and this may be the number one reason why a business has got burnt in the past. We as a company do not under any circumstances carry out Black Hat SEO and will cease to employ or work with anyone who either promotes Black Hat SEO or uses it.
Gray Hat SEO is an SEO practice that’s riskier than White Hat SEO, but one that may or may not result in your site being banned from search engines and their affiliate sites. Generally, Gray Hat SEO practices belong in neither the Black Hat nor White Hat category because the terms of service regarding the issue are unclear. Gray Hat SEO is difficult to define, but can best be described as the practice of tactics/techniques which remain ill-defined by published material coming out of Google, and for which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines.
Because we as n agency do everything in line with Industry Standard Best Practices, we are confident that we do not carry out Gray Hat SEO.
The term “white hat SEO” refers to SEO tactics that are in line with the terms and conditions of the major search engines, including Google.
White hat SEO is the opposite of Black Hat SEO. Generally, white hat SEO refers to any practice that improves your search rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) while maintaining the integrity of your website and staying within the search engines’ terms of service. These tactics stay within the bounds as defined by Google.