- On December 8, 2016
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SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the new buzzword and everybody is talking about it.
And rightfully so.
The world of marketing is rapidly switching to online marketing and 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine.
But what does it even mean?
According to Wikipedia
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results”
Neil Patel describes SEO as the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine will show it on the top of the results for searches of a certain keyword.
To put it simply, SEO is a method of ensuring that your site is understood by various search engines (more often than not it’s Google).
For instance, if you are promoting spa treatments with your content (including web copy, blogs, videos etc). You want the search engine to easily find your content and show your service links on the top of search engine results for anyone searching a keyword related to ‘spa treatments’.
SEO helps your content to charm Google to keep your content on the top results when someone searches for that keyword. SEO comprehends all the processes of search engines, the searching habits of people, most used keywords, and preferred search engines of the target audience.
Are you wondering why is it important to be on the top of the search engine results?
We have already established that a lot of people rely on search engines to seek any kind of information. According to a study by AOL, 89.71% of all click-through traffic received is from the first page of the search results. On the other hand, the second page receives a meager 4.37% of the online traffic. The rest of pages receives less than 1% of total search traffic clicks.
The second, third and later page of Google search results are considered as a ghost town. You don’t want your website to be seen there.
Additionally, your website search ranking is directly proportional to your audience’s trust in your services.
Before we look into how to use SEO to increase business, let’s understand how search engines actually work. Here is a super cool, explainer video from Google’s Matt Cutts explaining the working of Google Search Engine.
Check out this link for a clearer explanation on how Google search works.
Now that you understand the basics of how search engines work and how you will benefit from it, let’s get started on how to use SEO to thrive in your business.
There are 2 different categories for SEO:
A) On-page SEO
On-page SEO is comprised of all the visible website factors that influence search engine rankings like Headline Text, Web Copy, Image Text, Page Structure and more.
There are 3 important categories to take care of when working with On-Page SEO
By 2016, it’s no surprise that quality content is the backbone of online marketing.
Google is very protective of their consumers and is super strict about providing the best user experience to the users.
When your target audience searches for something related to your service, the super advanced crawlers of Google checks every nook and cranny of your indexed web pages. Only when the search engine bots are convinced that your content is relevant to the searcher’s query, they will show your link to the consumer.
Thus producing great quality and relevant content is one of the most important things to do to enhance your search rankings
So what makes up for a great content for search engines?
Freshness, Quality, and Relevance
We have already established that creating high-quality content can go a long way for any prominent SEO effort.
However, creating great content all the time is not everybody’s cup of tea. Check out how you can> create effective content for successful business.
Secondly, along with quality content, Google rewards the domains who frequently post fresh content. According to former Google employee, Amit Singhal– Google measures all of your documents for freshness, then scores each page according to the type of search query.
Find and use relevant Keywords
On page Search Engine Optimization is incomplete without in-depth keyword research.
If you are a newbie to SEO, check out the advanced guide to Keyword Research by Neil Patel.
Next is using the keywords in the right place.
Ideally, you should strategically use the keywords in headlines, URL and meta description.
Use it in the content where required, but be careful of not overdoing it. Stuffing your content with Keywords will do you more harm than good. Try using synonyms instead.
If you think you can fool Google, Think Again!
It’s almost scary how good Google is at finding the spammers and penalizing them.
Wikipedia describes HTML as
“Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for creating web pages and web applications”
After content, HTML is the most important thing you have to take care of for SEO. When operating in an online business, knowing the basics of HTML is a must.
And they’re pretty easy to understand too.
As the name suggests Title Tags are the headline of the web page or the article. The title is what is visible on the search engine results. The H1 tag tells Google about the Title of the web page.
The small content blurbs that appear on your Google search results are known as the meta description. You can give a brief description about the web page here to attract more visitors.
When optimizing the meta description, make sure you don’t extend the limit of 155 characters, or else your message will be cut off in the middle. Here’s a good example of an un-optimized site.
As you can see the message is not clear and it’s incomplete and no mention of the keyword. Check out how meta descriptions affect the user experience as well as the click-through rate.
Don’t let the word sub fool you. Subheadings are equally important for your SEO as the Title Tags and Meta Description. The h2, h3, h4 and further subheads help in structuring the content for easy readability.
Once you’re done with all of this, test your page to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
3. Website Infrastructure.
Website Infrastructure is the most technical part of on-page SEO. It focuses a lot of user experience while browsing through the site.
If you don’t know by now, a good user experience impresses Google the most. So make sure that your website is mobile friendly, it loads fast, the design is impressive.
For high rankings, you need to make your website easily accessible to Google.
Few things you need to take care:
Create an XML sitemap.
Using a simple WordPress Plugin, you can create a sitemap for your website. This’ll allow Google spiders to index your web pages easily giving the search engines a better understanding of your website.
Canonical links & 301 redirects
Mobile Responsive Website
If you think you can do without a mobile friendly website… Think Again.
Google recently rolled out a new update, giving an extra boost to mobile friendly websites. Offering a mobile responsive is no brainer and is quite simple too.
Most of WordPress themes are mobile-friendly, if not you can simply install a plugin for that as well.
Don’t forget to test your website for mobile-friendliness. In case your site isn’t mobile friendly, you can implement the suggestions offered by the Google tool.
Include Target Keywords in the URLs
Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress is one of the plugins for SEO. It appropriately instructs you various methods to enhance your SEO. One of them is to include your keyword in page URLs.
Make sure that use your target keyword at least once in URL while creating the permalink for your article.
B- Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO includes factors that you can’t control. It comes into picture when other websites like social networks, industry blogs and more start talking about you.
There are 3 main factors that are important for Off Page SEO
1. Trust Factor
Google is famous for the amazing user-experience and they take it rather seriously.
PageRank isn’t the only method Google uses to measure a website’s rank. They even use TrustRank to determine if your site is trustworthy or not.
The search engine giant rewards quality page and just as easily it penalizes spammy sites.
Domain and Page Authority
Domain Authority is a measure to determine how recognized your domain is. For example, facebook.com is one of the most authoritative domains there is. On the other hand, Page Authority determines the authenticity of your content on a particular web page.
Your website’s authority is a combination of both domain and page authority.
You can check your authority score here, based on a scale of 1 to 100.
Website Bounce Rate
The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page is known the bounce rate.
Web page loading time, not targeting the right audience can all lead to higher bounce rate. This tells Google that your site is not trustworthy.
Finally, a situation where the older the wiser is true.
Domain age is a significant factor for establishing a trust factor for a brand. The older your domain is, higher the chances of it getting better TrustRank.
If it’s possible for you, consider buying an old and expired domain for your business instead of registering for a new one.
2. Quality Back Links
Unlike popular belief, back links aren’t everything but just a part of SEO. While trying to get back links, keep these 3 factors in mind:
Quality of links
Quality trumps quantity. Instead of building a huge number of back links, consider getting a few solid ones.
The text that you hyperlink other sites to is called Anchor Text.
Try and keep the anchor text as natural as possible. For example, instead of using the words ‘click here’ , naturally link the keyword itself.
3. Social Factor
Lastly, don’t forget to make the most of the Social media factor for Off-page SEO. Whether it’s through direct social shares or a PR, the social factor will help you enhance your ranking.
We’ve already established the quality of your back link is more important than the number of shares. Encourage influencers to share your content by quoting or interviewing them.
Search Engine Optimization doesn’t take a lot of effort. It’s a compilation of small do’s and don’ts that help you enhance your online presence.
Let us know in the comments, how this SEO guide has helped you increase your business ROI.