Monday, 02 October 2017 23:26

5 Keys to understanding SEO

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If you have a website, you have probably heard the term SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation before. In fact, you've probably had a dozen emails or phone calls from people telling you they can "get you on the first page of Google". In general terms, SEO refers to helping your website rank well for particular search terms, and it's a key component of Search Engine Marketing. Today, we  briefly look at 5 simple keys that will help you better understand SEO so you can start to think about implementing it for your own website. 

1. What is SEO?  

 SEO Organic ListingsAs we said above, Search Engine Optimisation refers to the techniques used to help your website rank better in "organic" search results. It's all about making your website as visible on the web as possible, so you can have the most brand exposure and reach the most people with your products or services. What are organic search results? They are the ones generally below the ads or the map as in the example seen here. 

SEO is one component of what we call Search Engine Marketing or SEM. Together with Search Engine Advertising (SEA), they cover both paid and organic listings within search engine results. 

2. Do you need SEO?

So, is SEO really that important? Honestly, yes - unless you don't want your website found by anyone. According to HubSpot, there are 2 trillion search queries on Google alone each year. That's not taking into account Bing and other search engines. So, it stands to reason that failing to optimise your website or not having an effective SEO strategy can cause you to miss out on potential customers finding and viewing your content, product or service. Because SEO is about helping increase your website's visibility, it can be a vital component of an overall marketing strategy and a good source of revenue. 

It's important to note here that SEO is a long term strategy and not one that you will likely see benefit from straight away. But, it's worth investing the time and expense to ensure your business is as visible as possible to the most amount of people. 

3. Getting a good ranking: what are the keys to ranking well organically?

Here we look at three keys for helping your website rank well for certain keywords or search terms. 

Rank

The first is rank. It refers to your position for a particular search term and it's a good indicator of how relevant the search engine feels your website is for that keyword. In the example above, you will see two highlighted results. Both are actually for the same company, but as far as their rank is concerned, we would call them position one and two. It's worth noting that it's normal for your rank to fluctuate and different search terms (or even where you were when you searched) will obviously give you a different result. It's also important to be wary of SEO companies that promise to get you on the first page of Google. This is actually quite difficult to achieve and often these companies will use poor techniques that could end up hurting your SEO efforts in the end. 

Authority

Authority refers to how a search engine considers the credibility of your website. Good quality content is key here, as well as having good quality inbound links from other websites. Consider those a recommendation or a tick of approval. Saying that, these links should come from reputable sources that are relevant. It's not good practice to clock up hundreds of links that have nothing to do with the content or keyword you are trying to rank for. 

The other key to gaining good authority is your domain age. Generally speaking, the older the domain, the more trust is put in it. If you have just launched your website and the domain is new, it will take some time to build up domain authority.

Relevance

This is one of the most important factors for SEO. When a user searches for something online, search engines look for website that have the most relevant content for that search term. This could be copy, images, videos, or even product listings. It's vital to remember that how you structure this content will affect how you well you rank. Poorly written or laid out web pages simply won't do as well as ones that are laid out nicely and written concisely and correctly. Make sure the content you produce is written and laid out for the user, not just the search engine. You may have great content, but if it's structured poorly, users will bounce quickly off your page and this will have a huge impact on how well you rank next time. 

4. Keywords: which ones should you choose and why long-tail keywords are better. 

When considering which keywords (or search terms) you want your website to rank well for, it's best to go for ones that are highly relevant to you, with low to medium competition. It's natural to think that high-traffic keywords represent the best opportunity to gain the most exposure, but in reality this doesn't work. Typically, these keywords are highly competitive, hard to rank for, and produce poor quality results for the user. 

Consider the example below. Let's say you are looking to buy a new pair of running shoes. So, you type in "shoe store" to find a shoe store nearby. Up come 177,000,000 results. Some may be relevant but most won't be. Now, let's say you try being a bit more specific and go for what we call a long-tail keyword, that closely matches what you actually want, "buy asics running shoes adelaide". Now we are down to 501,000 results, and you can see that the search engine has found far more relevant content. It's safe to assume that if you are shoe store that sells Asics running shoes, you probably will do better optimising for the long-tail keyword. 

Generic Search Term Long-tail Keywords

 5. Content is King

We've talked about ways in which you can improve your SEO, but the last key is probably the most important. Without good quality content, your website will find it difficult to rank well for your chosen keywords. As we've said before, the content you produce should be there to benefit and add value to the user, so having a piece of text with a certain keyword repeated a dozen times is likely not the way to achieve that. Go for quality over quantity and structure your content so that is both unique and something people want to read, view and share. If you can do this, you are well on your way to improving your website's SEO. 

Have you got some great tips for improving SEO? Let us know! Stay tuned for more in depth SEO training!