Introduction to SEO
Picture the scene: You’ve spent heaps of time and money to ensure your business, game, product, or service is visible on your shiny new website, and yet you see no major increase in new users and site traffic. The problem could be your SEO. By ensuring your website is backed up by a solid SEO strategy, you can continuously:
- Grow your brand awareness
- Capture new audiences
- Get more traffic to your website
- Sell more of your game, product, or service.
As an agency, we specialise in helping clients who are involved in gaming (be it directly or non-endemic) to reach and resonate better with their target audience (usually gamers).
One way we do this is through the services we provide via our web team. From fresh website builds and existing site improvements, to SEO audits and the accompanying optimisation work, we ensure our client’s sites get the results they want.
SEO isn’t about ‘tricking’ search engines, it’s about building a better website
First things first, what is SEO? Put simply, SEO is about making the content on your page better for Google. It’s good to get an understanding on your website’s standing – the following tools can help you do this:
- Google Trends to give you a quick snapshot of search interest.
- Google Search Console for more detail on your site.
- Google Mobile Friendly Tester to test if your pages are mobile-friendly here.
- Platforms like SEO Quake to run a diagnosis on your site.
- SE Ranking to understand how your website ranks.
Bust the jargon
The world of SEO and website improvement can be a complicated one, so we suggest you verse yourself with this handy glossary:
- ALT Text – Copy that’s written in the code of a website to describe an image (often you are prompted to add this in most website building systems). ALT text should be added to your website to improve your site’s SEO credibility (search engines index this text), but also because the ALT text is read aloud by screen readers to assist users who need assistance.
- Algorithm – Computer talk for ‘rules a computer uses to solve problems’. In the case of SEO, algorithms are used to determine where a web page ranks in relation to a specific search.
- Anchor Text – Put simply, anchor text is the visible characters and copy that hyperlinks show when directing or linking to another page, document, or source.
- Black Hat – Techniques and tactics used to manipulate or ‘deceive’ search engines.
- Bots, Crawlers, Spiders (and other animals/terms for something that ‘scrawls’) – Often when used, i.e. Google Crawlers, someone is referring to the specific program used to browse the internet and collect information for searchers. It is these ‘bots’ that will index your website pages.
- Canonical Tags – Often referred to as rel=”canonical,” canonical tags are a way of telling the search engines that a specified URL is the master copy of a page.
- Destination Page – The page is linked to another page. If I click on the ‘about us page’, I will see a destination page with information about the people of the business.
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – The various lines of code used to structure a web page and its content.
- Intent – The outcome you are trying to achieve as a consequence of your search.
- Internal Links – Links on your website that link to other pages/destinations on your website.
- Meta Description – The approximately 160 character summary that appears below your URL on a search engine or anywhere that your website is shared.
- Meta Keywords – A short, succinct list of keywords that accurately describe the content of your page. Search engines do not use these as much as they used to, but they are still worth completing.
- Ranking – The end goal of SEO, the reason you hired Project N. Simply, the positioning of your webpage on a search engine in relation to a search phrase. i.e . “thanks to Project N my games webpage is now #1 on search engines!”
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Although SEO and SEM are similar, they’re not to be confused. Although both aim to improve the ranking of a site and its content, SEM uses paid means to do this, i.e boosted social media promotion or typically Google Search and or Display Ads.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The organic and strategic process of making web pages, content, and its promotion/supporting content more visible to search engines, with the overall aim to improve the visibility and ranking of websites in search engine results.
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – Another flashy acronym for something fairly straightforward. The SERP is a list of results appearing in a search engine in response to a specific query.
- Sitemaps – a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to crawl your site more efficiently. E.g. “I typed into Google ‘best marketing agencies in the gaming industry’ and Project N appeared at the top of the SERP!”
- Title Element – The title of a web page as indicated in the HTML code. This is also often used as the title of a web page in a SERP. It’s important to pay attention to this, as it’s used by search engine crawlers to help determine what a page will be about. Think of it as the cover on which a book is judged upon.
- Web Spam – Techniques and methods that try to ‘cheat’ content and sites to the top of SERP.
- White Hat – Techniques and tactics that optimise a website for people, not for search engines, (ensuring the website meets target user intent.)
- XML Sitemaps – A piece of code on your site that allows Google to search and crawl your site.
How to improve your website’s SEO
In this section we will break down the different ways you can improve your website’s SEO with specific actions, covering areas like keyword selection, URLs, titles & headings, and links.
What part do keywords play in SEO? SEO keywords are the keywords and phrases in your content that make it possible for your audience to find your website via search engines.
Rules for keywords:
- Be very specific
- Check for variations and alternative words
- Try to keep your keyword ‘intact’ so it’s not broken up by other words
- US/UK spellings make a big difference
- SEO doesn’t care for your grammar pride
- Doesn’t always make sense. An example from gaming, ‘Best RPG games’ has twice as much search volume as ‘Best RPG’
- Best RPG = 18K
- Best RPG games = 33K
The golden rule here is to be consistent and avoid keyword stuffing (this can have the opposite intended effect). Once you’ve got your specific list of keywords you can factor them into different areas on your website, including body copy, imager titles, meta descriptions, and – of course – headings and URLs!
When using your keywords in your URLs, remember that mistakes can be difficult to fix after the page goes live, so do it once, do it well, and keep it simple. URLs for search-focused content should be laser-focused – keep them simple and, if possible, keep the keyword intact and close to the start of the URL.
Titles and headings
Unlike URLs, copy and titles are easier to change, so with trial and error, you can improve your content’s SEO with better keyword selection/ordering. However, the basic rules from above apply. Keep the keyword intact and close to the start.
Seek expert help
We have only just started to scratch the surface when it comes to SEO, so if you are unsure, we always recommend that you seek the help of an agency that not only specialises in the topic of SEO and web building but also one that is familiar with your industry and has an understanding of your target audience.
Did you know that we offer full SEO audits to help you improve your website? We are happy to review your site and make suggestions as to how you can improve your site and ensure that it’s getting seen by the right people. To make use of these services, get in touch here.