How Does Search Engine Optimization works to increase traffic on your website?
For businesses starting to build or trying to redesign their website, website optimization is of utmost importance. Now, how does one do that? Does SEO or Search Engine Optimization ring a bell? For someone who is just starting, these words can feel a bit intimidating. With a little SEO knowledge under your belt, you can be on your way to improving your brand’s search engine ranking in no time. Let us first understand what SEO in digital marketing means. Search engine optimization or what is commonly known as SEO is a set of rules for optimizing your website so that it can achieve higher rankings in the search engine’s organic results. In other words, it is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic or editorial search results on search engines. Any time you google something, Google’s algorithm works to choose content that will answer your question. SEO is all about understanding those algorithms. That way, when someone googles something that applies to your website or blog, they will not have to dig through several pages of results to find yours.
There are two advantages of being highly ranked on google:
● Google is the highest-trafficked website in the world.
● Optimized content can be ranked highest if it is relevant.
To further understand SEO, let us understand the types of SEO.
1. Black hat SEO: To put it simply, this technique will get you where you want to go faster. It usually costs less because you are taking shortcuts to the top by going against Google Guidelines. Many black hat SEO tactics are called out in the guidelines as things you should NOT be doing as they carry the risk that your website and/or content will rank lower. They used to work earlier but Google has gotten smarter with time.
2. White hat SEO: These are the good boys of the SEO world. White hat SEO carries no and tends to deliver lasting value over time. Most reputable SEO and content marketing companies use white hat SEO tools and techniques since they are considered organic.
3. Grey hat SEO: As the name would have made you guess, grey hat SEO falls somewhere in the middle as these tactics are not called out in Google’s guidelines. One must be careful when taking this path as it is not safe to assume that just because a specific technique isn’t labelled or mentioned as being wrong it won’t get you in trouble and that it will shield you from penalty.
4. Negative SEO: It can be understood as the act of being mischievous. Negative SEO refers to using black hat or grey hat SEO on someone else’s website with the intent of causing harm as harming your competitors makes room for you to move up in search results.
This picture better explains the concept of all 4 kinds of SEO discussed above. It explains the types of SEO based on the Time, Risk, Cost, Value. It perfectly explains what baggage different kinds of SEO’s carry with them.
Now that we understand SEO, let us see what factors affect SEO.
Following are the factors that affect SEO:
1. Content Marketing: Content is effective in both attracting the search engines and helping your organization make connections with site visitors. the more engaging and effective content you have on your site, the more likely your visitors will be to spend some quality time on your website and maybe even make a purchase.
2. On-Page SEO: On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized.
3. Off-Page SEO: Off-page SEO is about everything that does not happen directly on your website like link building, social media, and local SEO. In other words, generating traffic to your site through other platforms.
We know what you are thinking now, all this is fine but How do I do SEO? Are there any tools for SEO? Are SEO tools free? Are they paid? Let us take one question at a time
To start off with let us understand how one can do SEO. We will try to put it as simply as possible so that it can also be used as a Beginner’s guide to SEO.
· Analyse all your website data. Single piece of data might not tell you anything, but when you collect lots of it you start to notice patterns which turns it into information. Analyse the data for patterns. Here’s a pro tip, referral sources can tell you a lot about your relevant audience. Look for pages that get more traffic and more conversions than others. You can reverse engineer that page’s success to replicate it across your site.
· Optimize the website for mobile. With so many people accessing websites through mobile, one doesn’t want to leave the potential conversions out in the cold. Moreover, Google has launched the mobile-first index, which means you would rank better if you focus on mobile friendliness.
· Speed up the pages. Page speed is important when it comes to conversions as well as SEO. If one visits a website that takes a lot of time to load, one will likely click the “back” button and look for something else. Similarly, if you’re filling out a form that refuses to submit due to slow speed, you’ll eventually give up and chances are never fill it again.
· Conduct keyword research. A long time ago, you could pick a keyword out of anywhere, write a strong worded article, and rank for that keyword the next day. Well, that is not the case anymore. Tools like Uber suggest help you find keywords related to your business and niche. You can use it to find keywords that fit with your customers’ user intent. Think about why they would search for a keyword, try to get into their heads and analyse what they would hope to find on a page. Here is a tip, Start with a broad keyword. So, if you offer dog boarding, you begin with the keyword “dog kennels.”
· Produce value rich and long content. According to Buffer, the ideal length for a blog post is 1,600 words. But before you decide on the optimum length for your content, Google your primary keyword and visit the top 5 or 10 results in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) Though length isn’t everything, it sends a signal to Google that you’re providing more information. If lots of people spend a long time on that page, as in, they read to the very end you are more likely to rank higher.
· Optimize for on-page SEO. Use your primary or most relevant keyword in your headline, if possible, as close to the beginning as possible. It should also appear in the slug and at least one sub headline. Sprinkle your related keywords throughout the body. Include plenty of context for everything you write so Google accurately understands what you are talking about.
· Optimize for off-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to the ways in which you optimize your website without doing anything on your website. Activities like social media activity, influencer marketing, guest blogging and brand mentions can all improve the site’s SEO.
· Get quality backlinks. When high-quality sites link to yours, Google interprets the link as a signal of your site’s credibility. As you build a solid backlink profile, your pages will climb up the ranks. Quality backlinks takes effort, but you will see results. Here is another tip, consider emailing influencers and other blogs in your niche and share your article with them and point them to a page where you have shared a piece of their content.
Let us shift the focus to weather there are any tools that can be used for SEO and weather they are free, or you must pay for them. Well, the second question is like a coin, it has two sides to it. But the answer to the first questions is Yes! There are tools for SEO and honestly it does make a marketer’s life easier. It is not that you copy paste the keywords using these tools and your rankings will shoot up but yes it does hold your hand when you are going off track. Coming to the second question, like I said, it has two sides to it which basically means that there are free as well as paid tools. How most of these tools works is that they give you some services or services for a specific period for free and then charge you for more services or after a time. The paid tools offer more than the free tools.
Let us have a look at some of the most popular SEO tools: -
· Ahrefs One of the largest website crawlers, Ahref’s site audit feature is considered as the best SEO analysis tool around the world. The feature helps you highlight parts of your website that requires updates and improvements which immensely helps in achieving better search engine rankings
· Google Search Console. It is a group of SEO tools that aids users to identify number of indexed pages duplicate metadata, security issues, etc. All you must do is go to ‘Search Traffic’ and then ‘Search Analytics’ to get a keywords list for which you currently rank. Search Console lets you be in control of what gets indexed and how your website is represented with this account. It is easy to use and provides helpful data and information you can use to achieve your goals.
· SEMRusheports from SEMRush help you understand the website’s traffic better, search data, or even your competitor’s website. It lets you to compare domains and keywords you are trying to rank for. The SEO checker tool allows you to easily monitor your rankings as well as find some recommendations on how to improve your website’s performance.
· KWFinderKWFinder is a great SEO tool if you want to find the best keywords for your website and run analysis reports on SERP and backlinks. The tool determines your website’s ranking and tracks your improvement based on key metrices
· MOZ SEO. Moz was founded by the Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig in 2004. Ever since, it has come a long way from a simple blog and online community to a giant in the world of SEO. Moz keeps itself up to date with the latest Google algorithm changes. Its chat portal is highly advanced as it provides an insightful response to every question asked. Moz is an SEO powerhouse. It has everything from keyword recommendations, performance sights, site crawls and what not.
· Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO is a user-friendly tool which can help you to make your content SEO friendly. It helps you optimize your meta title, description, URL and literally everything you can think of. It has one of the most advanced sitemaps functioning at the push of a button.
Search engine optimization is a very important part of a business’ online presence and though there’s no textbook on how you can perfect it, keeping up with the latest trends helps!
Need help building your SEO? If you’re not happy with your search engine rankings, then let’s talk!