Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine. Strong performance doesn’t happen by accident, it’s the result of having a talented team of business-minded marketers who are dedicated to your success.
In search results Google™ displays links to pages it considers relevant and authoritative. Authority is mostly measured by analyzing the number and quality of links from other web pages. In simple terms your web pages have the potential to rank in Google so long as other pages link to them.
SEO can be organised into six different elements.
- Keyword Research
- Site Development
- On Page Optimisation
- Off Page Optimisation
- Link Building
- Ranking Analytics
The SEO planning starts with Keywords. Keywords are the words or terms a potential customer types into a search engine when they are looking for a business like yours. Keyword research is a critical component of search engine optimization because when used correctly it provides a roadmap for both the design and execution of your website and its content.
Using Google’s Keyword Planner tool it is possible to find all possible keywords relating to your website. Keyword Planner will reveal how many searches people made for the Keyword you are researching. It also tell you how many of these searchers clicked through to the result i.e. the Click Through Rate (CTR) and it will also help identify alternative Keywords with better search statistics.
There are lots of other features in the Keyword Planner to help you find the best keywords for your business. There is also lots of software out there that specializes in finding keywords from both an SEO and PPC perspective like ahrefs.com and Moz.com etc.
Once you have found the Keywords that present the best opportunity for your business, you now need to optimize your website for these Keywords. As Google updates its algorithm regularly, it is always a game of cat and mouse to try and rank highly for the keywords that you have chosen.
Ensuring that certain aspects of website development are correctly structured from the start, can help your SEO ambitions. Ensuring a well thought out architecture and navigation structure will help the search engine robots to successfully navigate the site. Also, by having the correct caching and file sizes in place it means site speed will be fast. Other elements such as broken links and duplicate or copied content can hinder your Search Engine Optimisation work.
On-page optimization or on-page SEO refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings.
Examples of this include measures to optimise the content or improve the meta description and title tags. Conversely, off-page SEO refers to links and other signals.
A web page is composed of multiple sections or parts. The main ones that should be considered when optimising for SEO performance include Page Title, Keywords, Content, Title Tags and Meta Tags.
Off-page SEO optimization refers to techniques that can be used to improve the position of a website in the search engine results page (SERPs). Many people associate off-page SEO with link building but it is not only that.
In general, off-page SEO has to do with promotion methods – beyond website design – for the purpose of ranking a website higher in the search results. For example video and audio content, blogging, community engagement etc.
By far and away the best way to rank highly is if you have a lot of ‘relevant’ websites linking to your website i.e. Google perceives you to be an authority on the Keywords of subject matter in question.
Link building is the single most important (and challenging) SEO skill. Actually it’s a culmination of several different skills; you need to master content creation, sales, programming, psychology and good old fashioned marketing if you want other people to consistently link to your site.
Links from popular sites such as newspapers or magazines can be an excellent source of referral traffic. Google also ranks other sites that link to your website and the more influential and authoritative these sites are, the better, as it will reflect well on your own website’s ranking.
A number of years ago if you had reciprocal links with say, a supplier, this would have helped your ranking with Google but nowadays Google ignores reciprocal links when ranking your website.
Once you have exhausted the likes of local directories, one of the best ways to win links is through quality content. A popular way of presenting ‘linkable’ content is through blogging. A carefully thought out blogging plan with a consistent schedule of quality new blogs is a good way to win links. It essentially means that your blog or website becomes authoritative and this is exactly the kind of content that Google rewards with high rankings.
The only downside is that blogging, for most businesses can be very challenging and time consuming but with the correct structure and discipline, it is a way to stand out from the crowd in ranking terms.
Guest blogging is also popular where a writer develops content for a blog that is not their own. It’s an opportunity to take your expertise and share it with others, as well as an opportunity to increase traffic to both parties’ blog.
SEO is also about making your search engine result relevant to the user’s search query so much more people click the result when it is shown in search.
In the process, snippets of text and meta data are optimized to ensure your snippet of information is appealing in the context of the search query to obtain a high CTR (click through rate) from the search results.
By carefully using the various software tools available to examine your online activity in addition to your website’s conversion data it is possible to highlight areas that are not performing well e.g. a particular page on your website may have a high bounce rate.
A high bounce rate will need to be researched to establish what is causing people to leave the page. Corrective action e.g. better or more relevant content, may address the issue or indeed, the page in question may not be as relevant to the searcher as they thought so the Keywords may need to be modified.
Through attention to detail and a continuous ‘review and improve’ approach to your website’s performance, it will be possible to improve its ranking and subsequently its traffic numbers. Ultimately, through this process of continuous improvement, your conversion rates will improve leading to increased revenues.