Search engine optimization (SEO)

The better you are found on the internet, the more customers you attract to you website and the higher the chance of selling your product or service. Whether those sales are directly through your webshop or indirectly via an email, telephone or physically at your company or store, there is always a way to sell. That's why it is important that you can be found.
However, the question is how you accomplish this. Perhaps you are in a niche market or you have a huge number of competitors around you. In that case you'd have to wonder how you will distinguish yourself from them and how you'll ensure that you are at the top of the search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Indeks Solutions is happy to do research for you and will gladly advise you on what you need to adjust on your website in order to get higher search results and thus higher conversion

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What is SEO

The word SEO is an abbreviation for ‘search engine optimization'. With SEO you optimize the content of your website to increase its findability in search engines such as Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. The most important search engine in the Netherlands is Google, with a market share of more than 90% on desktop, smartphone and tablet .
SEO is about organic search results. These are the results are free and that appear below the paid advertising links. You don't pay for these results, they are created by the search engine's algorithm which determines your position in the search results based on the content of your website.

Why SEO is important

The search for information most often starts in a search engine nowadays. Even when you haven't gained sufficient brand awareness yet, you still want to be found as quickly as possible as a website with authority on the subject matter someone's looking for more information on. Preferably at the top, but at least on the first page. Because, let's face it, we often look no further than the first page. We'd rather adjust our search and let the search engine do the work for us.

It is therefore important to optimize your website's pages for search engines, so you will rank higher in the results. When you rank higher, it is more likely that people will come to your website. This way your website will gain more authority and you will likely have a higher revenue.

SEO terminology

You may have already searched to see what you can do to improve your website for the search engines, but may have found terms that withhold you to do something with that. In the paragraphs below you will find some of these terms explained in layman's terms.

Also called key phrases or search terms.
These are one or more words that are entered in a search engine. It can be anything, for example: 'What are the supermarket's business hours?' or 'plumbers near me' or 'what is seo?'.

What do keywords do?

A search engine will look at the length of your text and how often the keyword appears in it. In addition, a search engine will also look at the context the keyword is used in. For example, is it in the header or the title of the page? If yes, it is given more value, since there is a good chance that's what the page will be about.

However, if you make your text unreadable by inserting as many keywords as possible, then this is severely punished by the search engines. Mainly due to the search behavior of the visitors. If their question is not answered in a timely matter, they will search elsewhere. Search engines weigh this in the score of your website.

A meta tag is a piece of code that is not directly visible to the visitor of a website, but is to search engines and you will see it on the search results page of a search engine.

A meta tag that was abused a lot in the past, is the meta tag for keywords. Terms that were not related to the content of the page were added here. This is the reason why Google no longer looks at the keywords meta tag.

However, this doesn't mean that you no longer have to use it. Other search engines, such as Bing, still use it, but mainly to see if you don't abuse it. It is therefore not mandatory to use the keywords meta tag.

Another meta tag used by search engines, is the description. This meta tag describes your page in a maximum of 156 characters (read: not words), which will be shown on the search results page. The sentences or phrases you type in this description meta tag will be displayed as a snippet on the search results page. It is a small summary of what the reader can expect on your page.

How do meta tags work?

You can add the keywords you use in the content of your page to the description meta tag. Make sure it is a legible sentence that summarizes what the page is about. An enumeration of words with commas in between does not ensure that the seeker's question is answered, nor is it inviting a person to read the page.

Backlinks are links from another website that go to your website. The process of generating these links is called link building. Think of a telephone directory website, in which your business is mentioned and a link to your website is shown. This is a backlink. Signing up for such a website is part of link building.

When you create backlinks you should be aware that the search engines also look at the quality and authority of the website from which a backlink comes from. This affects the score of your website in the search results. The higher the authority of a website the backlink comes from, the more important that backlink becomes. A website can have 10 backlinks from websites with low authority and score worse in the search results than a website that only has one backlink with a high authority.

How to get backlinks

There are several ways to get backlinks. One way to do this is to search for specific backlink websites and ask whether your website could be added to them. Usually a backlink to their website is also expected in return.
Actively doing link building also means you approach companies to place a link that leads to your website. These can also be rival businesses, suppliers or buyers.
You could ask bloggers who write posts that have something to do with your product, whether they'd allow you to leave a backlink to your website. Depending on the scope of this blogger, the blogger can request a backlink themselves or money. You are riding on someone else's success and that could cost a bit.

The best way to get backlinks are the ones that others generate for you. So make sure your pages are set up properly. When your page has the answer to someone's question, search engines will see the page valuable for other searchers.

Nap stands for ‘name, address, phone', in other words the name of your business, its address and its phone number. It is important that your business name, address and phone number are the same everywhere, that way the search engines will know it is your business. Don't forget about your business' information on social media accounts, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

If your company has been around for a while, you may already be listed on multiple websites on the internet without you realizing it. A few obvious websites are the Telephone Directory, the Yellow Pages or the Chamber of Commerce. If you start looking up your company name, and any old names your business might've had prior to a name change. You might come across much more information and many more backlinks that may no longer be correct. Go to these websites and provide them with the correct information. This can also affect your backlinks positively if these websites also allow a link to your website on the page.

A pagerank is the position that your website has on the search results page. However, this rank is not always the same for everyone. The pagerank is influenced by many things. For example, a search engine looks at which device is used to perform the search. Where you are physically at, at that moment, also influences the results. If you are in the northern part of a country, you will have completely different results for the same search query in the south. Are you logged in to your Google account? This also has a significant impact. Websites you often visit come in higher with search terms than they would for someone who doesn't regularly visit those websites.
Then there is the time of day that influences the ranking. Say you want to look up a supermarket that is still open, you expect it to be at the top of the results, not after a number of stores that are closed at that moment.

This is the search engine results page. This page appears based on the search terms you entered into the search bar.

When indexing your website, all its pages are registered by the search engines, unless stated otherwise. This is the moment pages are stored in a database. In case of a search, the information stored at that time is retrieved again and refreshed in the database in case of changes.
This process is done by a crawler, such as Googlebot. The crawler visits all the links on a webpage and follows them unless told not to. On each page it will repeat this.

Can I affect this indexing?

Yes, you certainly can.
First of all, you can help speed up the indexing process by creating a sitemap. In this document you can indicate the date of the last changes made to the website, the frequency at which the page is adjusted and the priority of the page relative to the other pages of your website. For instance, an overview of your blog posts changes monthly, but your contact page only changes maybe once a year, if at all.

You could also tell a crawler that the links you added should not be followed. This can be done in a robots.txt file. In this file you can indicate whether a crawler may index the entire website or exclude certain pages, but this only applies to the website on which the robots.txt file is located. Other websites that link to a page that you do not want to have indexed, can cause a page to be indexed anyway; without information and a description in the SERP. Protecting the webpage with a password or using the meta tags to indicate it should not be followed, are better options.

The influence of social media on SEO

When your website is shared via social media, this generates a link to your website. This post can then be liked and shared by others. However, it is important to realize that the links in social media are not suitable for link building. They get a piece of code that tells search engines not to follow the link. This ensures that the link has no value and is not included in the positioning of your website in the search results.

In short, social media does not have much influence on SEO, in case of Google. Then what is the use of social media, you wonder? What social media does influence is the findability of your website. By posting something regularly there are more posts that can be shared by your followers. You thereby reach a larger audience, so that the audience can find you without having to look for you themselves. Microsoft's Bing, on the other hand, does value social media shares and adds these to your page's ranking in the search engine.

The effect of responsive design

Two thirds of the searches are done via a mobile phone or tablet. Hence it is not a strange thing to see responsive design as criterion in the ranking of a website. Web pages that are not easy to read on a mobile device receive a lower score from search engines such as Google. Since July 2019, the Googlebot has even been searching mobile websites first and foremost .
When your website is registered with the Google Search Console, Google can help you with tracking problems on your website. For example, it tells you if your text is too small for mobile devices or whether buttons are too close together to properly function. Since then, websites that are not responsive, have scored lower in Google's search engine.

Local findability

Being a newcomer to a market is, of course, a challenge. Certainly if there are many competitors and especially in the rural area. This is no different on the worldwide web. The focus on being found locally is therefore important. For this you need to create specific pages that mention the location you wish to be found on.
Your NAP plays an important role in this. When someone searches for a keyword on which you want to match plus the city where your company is located, a search engine will look at your NAP and the pages in which the keywords are used.

To improve your findability, you can register your company with Google Business or Bing Places (not yet fully available in the Netherlands). This is completely free. It contains your information such as your address and company name. You can also add photos to it, so that people can already see what your building looks like.
When you take photos with your smartphone or advanced camera, the photos often get a geolocation from where it was taken. If you often take pictures elsewhere than on the location of your business, the photo's location may not match your business' location when uploaded. Search engines will look at the location of the photo and the place photos are taken. Photos that are not taken at the location of your business will get a lower ranking. You can influence this by changing the geolocation of the photos on your website .

SEO audit

Do you wish to score higher in search engines such as Google and Bing so that you can attract more visitors to your website. We can offer you an SEO check for your website. Our SEO service is more than just getting your website through different analysis tools. Together we will look at the current status of your website and where you want it to go.

For an SEO audit service we will do the following for you:

  • Analysis of the keywords for all pages on your website.
    • Which pages generate the most traffic to your website?
    • Which pages generate little to no traffic to your website?
    • Which keywords do score right now and how high do you score?
    • How do you score locally with your pages?
    • Do you use meta tags and a title?
  • Analysis of the pages in terms of design and layout.
    • Are they responsive?
    • Are there are elements that are incorrect when looking at them on a mobile device?
  • You will receive a list of:
    • websites where your NAP has not been entered correctly;
    • proposed keywords to use on your website;
    • proposals for pages to score better locally;
    • proposals for titles and descriptions per page.
  • We provide advice on the content of the pages on your website.
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