December 17, 2010

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Back to Basics: What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, is the practice of making your website attractive to search engines (like Google) so that when a user does a search, your website is displayed on the first page, preferably at the top. There are many people out there who have written volumes on this topic, however there are a few basic points that we can point out here.

One of the most important things you can do for your website in terms of SEO is to get as many pages indexed by search engines as possible. What search engines do is look at your website and systematically click on its links to index each of the pages. So, some of the things you can do to make your website attractive to search engines, and therefore have as many pages indexed as possible, are:

  • Use meta tags. These are keywords that don’t appear on your website, however they are embedded in the HTML code that runs your site. These tags should reflect what your site is about.
  • Use headings. In HTML there are different title level tags (H1, H2 etc) and the use of these tags and the words you place in them are rated higher than general content by the search engines.
  • Make your site readable to search engines. Many property websites have a property search bar on their homepage, however search engines don’t use these to navigate your website - they rely on directories to crawl through your content. What you can do is provide a directory - a series of linked pages that reflect all searches (at least the major ones) that can be done on your site.
  • Provide good local content. The more local content you have on your real estate website, the more pages you will have to be indexed by search engines that will then appear in relevant search results.
  • Avoid repetitive content. The more repetitive your content is, the more it will be discounted by search engines. Therefore, it’s important to have as much unique content on your website as possible.

To see how many pages have been indexed by Google, for example, go to and enter the following in the search box: (so for this site we would type

But simply having a page indexed doesn’t mean it will be displayed near the top of a search. Once you have lots of pages indexed, the next thing to focus on is links to your site.

Links are important because search engines decide how authorative your website is on a particular topic by looking at how many links there are to your site from other related sites. The more links you have, the more authorative you are. To work out how many links you have, go to again and type in

The above only scratches the surface of how SEO works, but for an in-depth look SEO for real estate websites, check out our four-part guest series here.


Related posts:

  1. Top 10 Tips for SEO
  2. On-Site Tips for SEO: Part 2
  3. Back to Basics: What is SEM?
  4. Google Gives SEO Tips
  5. Long Tail Changing the Landscape
  6. Real Estate SEO Part 4
  7. Top 10 Tips for Video Marketing/SEO
  8. Real Estate SEO Part 1

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