Digital Marketing 101: An introduction to SEO
It’s becoming far more difficult to rank organically on Google search results as more and more people are competing for the top spot. But that doesn't mean you can't start to rank for some choice keywords.
SEO must be part of your digital strategy. But what exactly is SEO and how does it benefit you? Let's explore.
What is SEO? A definition:
According to MOZ is the following:
“Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
When you break down SEO it is all about the quality of traffic. Quantity of traffic comes after you focus on quality. Ranking in organic results is a combination of quality and quantity. The main aim of SEO is to increase your ranking in search engines like Google. This is done by optimising your website with keywords and the user’s experience in mind.
If you focus on your website users by answering their questions with relevant and quality content - you'll be guaranteed to increase your SEO and rankings on Google.
Next, your content needs to be optimised around keywords that are relevant to the website you are optimising for. This means that your keyword research is king. if you want to attract genuine users who are your target audience, then a keyword strategy for your website and Google will reward you handsomely for that.
More on how to create a keyword strategy later.
How exactly do search engines work?
Essentially, and as mentioned by Wendy Boswell, search engines are quite complicated, but are at their base level they are just software programs that utilise search terms to search through websites.
Boswell further says:
“When you type in a query into a search engine, the search engine actually looks through their own databases of information in order to find what it is that you are looking for.”
After looking through their database, the search engine shows you the search engine results page (SERP, see image below). The SERPs are then listed by relevancy and geographical location.
On the more technical side, search engines crawl the internet 24/7 for new websites and new pages. This process of 'crawling' creates search engine listings on the SERPs. Crawling is done via programs called “spiders”. The spiders will index information into a database. They follow internal links inside the website, and when they have exhausted all the internal links, they choose an outbound link to another website and start the same process there.
The process of regular crawling of the internet is how the most relevant websites are chosen to be displayed in SERPs when you use Google or any other search engine to find information online.
Below you can see the search engine results page (SERP). On Google, the SERPs are broken into 'paid results' (Adwords), and 'organic results' which are influenced by SEO.
Why is SEO important for your website?
SEO benefits you in the long term as quality traffic leads to better conversions and more sales for your website or business. It costs nothing to implement a great SEO strategy, just a regular investment in content and understanding SEO best practices. Remember, if your website ranks high organically, it creates the perception that your website is an authority in a certain area.
You up your brand’s presence in the process of optimising your content and web pages for search engines. SEO is much more stable when compared to PPC (pay per click) platforms. Great SEO delivers traffic forever. Paid or PPC traffic stops when your budget runs out!
When creating web content with SEO in mind, you are able to target your niche audience more precisely by building content around relevant keywords.
SEO used to be about ticking boxes:
- Meta keywords & descriptions? Check.
- Sitemap submitted to webmaster tools? Check.
- On-page keyword density? Check.
- Logical URL structuring? Check.
Beyond that it was trial and error; A numbers game. This is no longer the case. Over the last 2 years, Google has focused their energy on providing search results which are useful, relevant and engaging.
As a result, search algorithms are now favouring websites that have a reputation for satisfying user search intent, rather than just being structured well and having the right keywords. Enter Content Marketing for SEO.
5 tips for SEO success
1. Pick a good focus keyword
Firstly, select the search term you want your business’s website to rank for in search engines results. The search term you want to rank for is called your focus keyword.
2. Research your competitors
Open up an Incognito tab and search a keyword that you have identified as a focus keyword for your business. The top ten results are your competitors!
3. Make sure you are writing the best content ever
Your content needs to be valuable, unique and of appropriate length for it to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
4. Place the focus keyword in your page title and headings
This is a cardinal rule of good technical SEO. Be certain that your page title contains your focus keyword, interesting, engaging and that it encourages readers to click on it.
5. Put your keyword in your images, URL and post
A great way to further your content for SEO purposes is to make images on your blog contain your focus keywords. There are two ways to insert your focus keyword in the name of your image and the image alt tag.
Now that you know what SEO is and why it benefits you in the long run. Why not take a look at our offer below! We also have more blog posts for you to look at. Lastly, if you are looking for a digital marketing agency drop us a line, we'd love to discuss how we can help you.