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The basics of SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and if you want to grow a sustainable online business in the age of digital marketing dominating how we learn about new products and businesses, having your website gain more traffic from relevant keywords in the search results is a must-do.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved over time and can be done in many different ways with various tools that will help you get ranked higher on Google and other search engines. In this blog post, we’ll go through the basics of what SEO is and how it works to your advantage!
SEO is a long-term digital marketing effort with the desired outcome of having your website appear on page #1 of search results for lucrative keywords that will help to drive further organic revenue to your business. If you have limited competition, you may not even need much SEO work to do.
This article will help to increase your SEO knowledge, and because the vast majority of search queries around the world appear from the user conducting a Google search, we’ll focus on how to get your web pages to appear in Google search results above other websites (your competitors).
There are many different search engines that users can choose from. The most popular would be Google, but there are also others, such as Bing, Yahoo, and more, all of which work in a similar fashion. The goal of each of them is to provide the best answer to a user query.
Each of the search engines work with a similar goal, they do all have their own unique algorithms. Google alone has over 200 ranking factors that they use for their algorithm. This means that there is no one way to get ranked higher on the search engine, and it can be difficult to
Search engine’s rules are always changing within their algorithm. Google usually does a couple of big updates every year (known as broad core algorithm updates) but they are testing and making tweaks to their search engines every single day to ensure a better experience for the user.
Search engines understand when you are providing the SEO factors that they want to see. The more resources that you invest into your SEO efforts will no doubt enable your business to appears higher in the search rankings above other sites, ensuring that you receive the lucrative search traffic.
How to do SEO
There are some basics of running a website with successful search engine optimization in this day and age. You would think that these would be the standard of every website in the world at this stage, but sadly, there are many businesses that have a website that needs to catch up to the times.
If you are doing any form of digital marketing, please ensure that your website not only displays correctly on mobile devices but also functions properly and users can click the buttons that you want them to and visit the relevant parts of your site that you intend for them to see.
You might think that your website works well on a user’s phone, but have you tested it using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test? This will very quickly analyze your website on a mobile device and let you know exactly how Google sees your website and what areas (if any) you need to correct.
Security is an increasing concern for everybody online, which is why it is vital (not in any way optional) to have a valid SSL security certificate on your website. This will show the friendly green padlock icon to visitors of your website, letting them know they can trust your website when browsing.
The goal for Google and for you should be to provide an enjoyable user experience to all of your visitors. Believe it or not, this starts with keyword research, as you’ll want to have your site rank for keywords that are actually relevant to your business and to your website visitors.
On-page SEO factors refer to anything that a search engine can find on the actual web page that you are trying to rank in order to receive more organic traffic. Your site’s content should be written for humans first, and a search engine second, and this will result in high-quality content.
SEO 101 will tell you to optimize your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions first, and this is also one of the easiest things to do in SEO, as (in most cases) you don’t need any knowledge of coding or web development n order to craft these successfully to increase your clicks from Google.
Your Title Tag and Meta Description are the first thing that people see about your website before they even click it because when you appear in a search result, the only thing that separates you and your competitors is your web page’s title and description, search engine optimization starts here!
Another major driver of traffic that many businesses neglect to optimize is their images. Each image on your website should have a unique file name before you upload it to your server as well as having a unique ‘alt tag’ once on your website. This helps your website to gain free traffic from image search.
Off-Page SEO refers to all of the things that a search engine can find about your site from any website that is not your own. This can be something such as another website that has linked to you at one stage (which is known as a backlink). Backlinks alone are a full-time role in digital marketing.
Keep in mind that Google ranks each page of your website separately, not websites as a whole. So if you have other pages on your website that are crucially important to your business success (i.e. not just your homepage) then you need to optimize each page so it receives organic traffic.
You should aim to rank multiple pages of your site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and this involves earning backlinks to each of those unique pages, not just to your home page. This tells search engines that other pages on your website are useful and relevant to people.
One of the first things that we always advise marketers to do is to conduct an off-page SEO audit, not only for their own website but also of their top competitors, as this can sometimes give a very quick indication of authoritative and relevant websites that you can earn backlinks from
Technical SEO refers to all of the behind-the-scenes signals that your website is sending Google and any other search engine. A search engine will crawl the source code of each page of your website. Want to see what that looks like? If you’re on a Windows PC, press CTRL + U on any page.
There are multiple links on every single page of your website, and a search engine will follow and crawl each and every one of them. You’ll see that all of your images also have their own unique URL, which will also then be crawled by each of the search engines in order to appear in results.
It is important to do a quick scan/crawl of your website every month to find errors that may occur, such as broken links. You may think your website is free of 404 errors, but almost every single website we conduct an SEO audit for contains at least a few broken links that we can find.
Internal linking is also important to help with your website’s technical SEO. Internal links specifically refer to when you have linked to another page on your own website, as opposed to linking to another website. This means that visitors and search engines stay on your own website.
It is advisable to review your site architecture also (sometimes referred to as site structure), which essentially refers to how easy it is to reach each of the important pages on your website. Now, in reality, it goes a bit deeper than that, but this covers the basics of what it is.
As you can see, there are quite a few things that you need to stay on top of to ensure that your site ranks high on the search results page, and in fairness, we’ve barely scratched the surface of different SEO tips that you could utilize to gain more traffic from organic search.
If you would like some assistance increasing your SEO rankings, we offer a range of SEO services that have all been created with the goal of helping you to increase your organic search traffic from better search engine rankings, with a variety of proven SEO tactics.
You can also feel free to book a call with an SEO professional if you would like to seek some SEO advice that is specific to your own website. This will be a Zoom call where we can bring up your website live and use our SEO goggles to let you see exactly how it appears to search engines.
Once you have optimized the elements of your website to success, a search engine (such as Google) will crawl your website to discover that you have updated the content. They will then index (make these changes live) in search results, where you will hopefully then begin to appear for desired keywords.
If you know even a little bit about how SEO works it allows you to view your website with a different set of eyes, meaning you’re not just using your website as a digital commodity, but that it becomes an actives lead-generation and sales machine that works on autopilot for the majority of the time.
There are so many great resources online about SEO, but please be careful as there is also some SEO “hacks” out there that are against Google’s guidelines and will result in you becoming penalized as opposed to favored by Google. View our other blogs about SEO for helpful tips.