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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a critical strategy for driving traffic, acquiring new customers, and getting noticed online. This applies to everyone, from top corporations to personal websites.
SEO is a complicated and ever-changing field. It has the immense power to drive an entire business solely with the right approach. A layman may consider it a free marketing channel to inbound visitors, but knowing where to begin and what advice to follow might confuse you.
In this piece, we will discuss all you need to know about SEO so you can rank higher on search engines to generate leads and drive sales.
When most people think of SEO, they think of keywords on pages. While this is a vital aspect of SEO, there is much more to it. With the help of an SEO services provider, you can ensure your website is optimised in every regard to achieve the best possible rankings and traffic.
SEO can be categorised mainly into three major parts.
Before we delve into knowing more about SEO, it’s good to know the three key areas of SEO. To begin, we will discuss the following:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
Let’s dive in.
This type of SEO deals with all elements that your readers will view when they visit your website. And for the most part, this involves content.
High-quality, useful content is the foundation of effective on-page SEO. You should consider creating informative, ranking-worthy content that solves the problems that users are looking for.
Competitively, it should resolve readers’ issues better than other available resources. The information you put on the website must be of the highest quality.
According to Rand Fishkin of Moz, it should be ten times better than other content. And this isn’t a joke: if your content blows everything else out of the water, it will rank well.
Off-page SEO involves performing a range of activities that complements your on-page SEO efforts. Link-building is the first and possibly the most crucial aspect of off-page SEO, which involves a lot of activities.
You can start with getting links back to your site that helps attract visitors and shows Google that a certain set of readers value your content on the internet. You are also building some website authority with off-page SEO activities while improving referral traffic.
While it’s tough to quantify the impact of a single link, it’s safe to assume that receiving link juice from powerful websites can give your rankings a significant boost. However, obtaining links from these websites is incredibly tough and boils down to creating effective content. Another off-page indication that may significantly impact your SEO is social media.
Some consider technical SEO a component of on-page SEO. In a nutshell, technical SEO is everything that happens behind the scenes and is connected to on-page activities.
Search engines, for example, may favour sites that have a responsive design that works well on mobile devices. Website speed is also vital; if your page takes too long to load, people may leave, and ranking algorithms penalise you.
Other technical considerations that aid your technical SEO include:
- Image optimisation.
- Employing a secure HTTPS connection.
- Caching information to speed up load times.
- Publishing complete sitemaps.
Now, to understand different SEOs, let us get into the details of on-page and off-page SEO.
What is On-page SEO?
This is the method of optimising your web page content for search engines and visitors. The key components for on-page SEO include content, title tags, internal links, and URLs. It is different from off-page SEO, which solely focuses on signals that take place outside of your website. Your SEO expert will rely on key metrics like bounce rates, demographics, page visits, etc.
Importance of on-page SEO
Search engines like Google look at a website’s content to see whether it’s a good match for the search query. And there’s much more to on-page SEO than inserting keywords in your text.
Google’s algorithms scan for additional relevant information on the page to find the best relevant search result for a query. If your website is about dogs, but you don’t describe distinct breeds, Google is aware more relevant results are likely available.
Relevance is the most vital aspect of on-page SEO. You are unlikely to rank higher until you master it.
Key On-Page SEO Elements
Search engines can’t read your website unless it has certain pieces in a place called on-page SEO. And this is why they will be able to identify when your material is relevant to a search and display it to users. When it comes to SEO, understanding how to make search engines thoroughly grasp your content is the most important thing you can do.
Google considers keywords mentioned that you use either in the headings (H1, H2, etc.) or in the first half of the page. For instance, assume you have just completed writing an article about Basketball Sneakers. Now, it won’t make sense to use the keyword ‘Sneakers’ halfway down the page if your post was truly about The Basketball Shoes.
This is why your keyword should appear within the first hundred words or so. It is one of the key details that aid Google in determining the purpose of your page and help build relevancy.
There’s a lot that goes into optimising your website content. Right form searchers’ intent to the use of keywords. Time to check out the best ways to optimise your content for SEO.
Satisfy search intent
When you put a query into a search engine, it is known as search intent or user intent. Because the final aim isn’t always obvious from the inquiry, it’s called ‘intent.’
Anything that improves the user’s search experience is beneficial to SEO. And if you work to satisfy search intent by providing readers with an accurate answer to their inquiries, you have better chances of ranking. The primary reason for search engines’ existence is to respond to the queries of their users.
Google or any other search engine aims to give relevant and quality information to its consumers and not to make information available. As a result, search intent becomes the priority of any SEO expert. Your content must deliver the most relevant and gratifying responses to visitors’ search intent for your web pages to rank on Google.
The uniqueness here is not limited to avoiding plagiarised content. You need freshness in your content to set yourself apart from your competitors. For instance, you can discuss the same topic with a new angle such as:
- Create a new set of strategies or tips based on your experience
- Curate reliable resources
- Share new case studies
- Bring in solid design and UX
The best way to create content that adds value begins with a unique draft. However, this is just the first step. There are millions of blog articles posted every day, and therefore, to rank on top will demand something special. Your content should stand out and get recognised by getting more social shares and interactions (in the comment section).
Here are some of the quick tips to make your SEO content valuable:
- Add details: Images, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions make it simple for someone to put your material into action.
- Relevant material: New techniques, steps, and examples may make a big difference.
- Crisp content: Drive engagement by creating an engaging post. Do this by writing crisp, short sentences that serve a cohesive purpose.
- Expert writers: Most information is created by people who have never done what they advise you. Content created by a seasoned professional will bring in the necessary depth and experience that value the content.
Creating comprehensive content
Google intends to display content that provides them with everything they need in one place. To put it another way, your content needs to be extensive. Your content will have a better chance of ranking if it covers any topic comprehensively in-depth. The more relevant information you provide, the more user queries you answer.
Using related keywords
This is a tried-and-true on-page SEO strategy that still works. Simply utilise your primary keyword once in the first 100-120 words of your content. For instance, you can highlight the phrase ‘digital marketing’ right away to build your post around it.
Using related keywords is one approach to make your text more comprehensive. These keywords are synonyms used by Google to estimate the relevance of a page. The more related keywords you use, the more are the chances to rank better in terms of relevancy.
Although URL structure is unlikely to be at the top of your SEO to-do list, it will influence the effectiveness of your optimisation plan since many platforms handle the technical components like structure, scheme, host, query-string, and site architecture, in general. And this is why it has become an area of SEO that is sometimes disregarded.
Consider a URL to be the equivalent of your house address. Browsers and servers use URLs to access specific web pages, just like people use your address to find your house.
URLs are the foundation of your website, and properly improved, they may help you increase visitors. Clean URLs are simpler to share, perform better in searches, and look more trustworthy.
Here are some quick tips to follow when creating a URL that helps a particular web page rank better.
- Short but descriptive slug: Short and descriptive URLs make it easier for searchers to figure out what a website is about before opening it. Go for a URL that explains what the webpage is about since this results in a clearer and more clickable SERP.
- Include the keyword in the URL slug: Including SEO keywords in your URL can help you rank for the target keywords. Google considers the URL when ranking your page; therefore, it will be more likely to be on top of rank if the URL slug contains your keywords.
Title tags are vital for SEO as they provide context to visitors and search engines. They’re one of the most important on-page SEO elements that provide search engines with a sense of what the page is about.
The title tag is the first thing a person sees when a search engine displays the query results. Therefore, it is critical to make a good first impression. Users want quick answers quickly and therefore, title tag optimisation is necessary to compete with other sites in the SERP. Your title tags may assist in establishing your brand or gain an advantage in the SERP through brand familiarity, in addition to giving context.
To optimise your title tags, consider:
- Front-loading keyword in the title tag: The most crucial on-page SEO aspect is your title tag, as it provides a high-level description of what your website is all about. Remember, the closer your keyword to the title, the greater the weight it carries to search engines.
- Use modifiers: Modifiers like best, guide, checklist, quick, secret and review might help you rank for long-tail variations of your target keyword.
Meta description tags can greatly influence how well your website ranks in search engines. It provides value by working as an organic ad text.
This implies that when your ad ranks for a term, Google and other search engines will show the meta description as a page summary. As a result, the meta description is just as crucial as your ad content.
A captivating meta description can boost your organic search results’ click-through rate (CTR). More people will click through and visit your site if they see your page in the search results. Even if your rating remains the same, you will benefit from increased traffic.
- Expand on the title tag: Include any USPs that you didn’t mention in the title.
- Concise: Make it no longer than 155 characters (with spaces).
- Should match search intent: This will increase your focus on what people are looking for.
- Include keywords: It has words and phrases closely connected to the query bold on Google.
It sounds simple to create a headline for a blog post, but a strong headline can make a difference between a click and an impression. This is why you must develop comprehensive headlines without overshooting the number of characters. You can check your headline quality using tools like Sharethrough and CoSchedule.
If you want your headlines to be recognised by SERPs, then aim to catch readers’ interest and encourage them to click and read.
Here are some of the quick tips to come up with better headlines.
- Use emotional and powerful words: Emotional headlines consistently outperform the neutral ones. Use powerful phrases to elicit emotions in your readers and improve their first impression of your content. In turn, this will also pique their interest to click on it and read more.
Best emotional headlines can target love, hope, affirmation, anger, fear, disgust etc. But, do stay cautious while employing emotive headlines as you would not want to slip into the clickbait trap that increases your site’s bounce rate.
- Use numbers: Numbers are natural attention-getters. Blending numbers in your headline can catch readers’ attention and may even make them halt in a sea of text. In general, people recall numbers because they help organise information in their brains. You can use listicles and numbers to stay ahead of your competitors in SERP.
- Show benefits: The question a reader asks themself before considering whether or not to click on an item is, ‘What do I gain out of this?’ The value a reader may expect from clicking through and reading your headline should be indicated in the headline.
When a reader chooses to read your post and devote their time and attention to it, they’ve already established expectations based on the value your title promised. Make it obvious how your reader will benefit, but don’t overpromise.
The act of creating and providing high-quality photographs in the optimal format, size, and resolution to maximise user engagement is known as image optimisation. It also helps identify pictures correctly so that search engine crawlers can read them and comprehend the page’s context. Image optimisation can lead to better SEO traffic.
Here’s how you can optimise images.
- Image names: According to Google, filenames include information about the image’s subject matter; therefore, cat.jpg is preferable to IMG 473548. jpg. Unfortunately, most cameras and smartphones give snaps and pictures some generic names. Computers are no exception.
If you’re capturing screenshots for a blog post, you’ll probably call them Screenshot 2022-01-11.png. Make your image name descriptive, concise, and relevant.
- Compress image size: Image compression reduces file sizes, resulting in quicker loading times. This is a significant page performance metric that affects rankings on both desktop and mobile devices.
There are several programmes for compressing photos. However, you should prefer ShortPixel. It comes with a web interface that allows you to compress up to 50 photos at once for free. You also have a WordPress plugin that compresses images as you add them.
- Add alt text: The HTML element alt text (alternative text) is used on <img> tags to describe the picture. The primary objective of alt text is to make websites more accessible to those who use screen readers. This converts audio from website content, including graphics. If an image fails to load, browsers display alt text instead of the picture and ultimately, those words do add up to impact your overall SERP.
Internal and External links
Visitors can traverse your website and get additional information by linking to pertinent internal and external sites. However, others argue that connecting to other websites is detrimental to SEO. This is just a myth. No proof linking to other websites hurts your search engine rankings. Citation helps you better some of the Majestic SEO’s metrics like improving Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
- Add relevant links — include links in the blog that are reliable and relevant for the users.
- Create the right context to help users find your content easily on the search query.
- Correct use of anchor text — The anchor text, or hyperlink text, should be a particular and descriptive term that will aid a search engine bot in better ‘crawling,’ or understanding’ your website and its context.
What is Off-page SEO?
Any work constructed outside of a website to enhance its search engine results is off-page SEO. Building links is an important aspect, but it extends beyond those activities.
Importance of off-page SEO
Google analyses several off-page factors when deciding whether or not to rank a website. This includes getting link juice from high authority websites, leveraging social media, and creating related content outside your website.
Key Off-page SEO Elements
Let us now check out some of the key off-page SEO elements you should focus on to improve your SERP.
The practice of acquiring other websites to link to your website is known as link building. Although Google’s algorithms are sophisticated and ever-changing, links continue to play a significant role in how search engines identify which sites rank for which keywords.
These links indicate to Google that your site is a valuable resource worthy of citation. Sites having more quality backlinks tend to rank better in search results.
There are plenty of link building strategies you can use to get fresh, quality links.
- Content creation — People will link to your site if it has fascinating, high-quality, and distinctive content.
- Ask for mentions and reviews — Put your product, service, and website in front of industry leaders and influencers who could mention you on social media or give you a public review.
- Ask for links from your partners and friends — Asking your friends and co-workers to link to your site is a simple way to build connections. However, it’s critical to keep within the confines of your sector or expertise. Always bear in mind that relevancy is crucial.
- Use link outreach service — While there are various methods for building connections on your own, many businesses prefer to connect with an SEO agency that can move things quickly. Using a link outreach service is a safe technique to ensure that links are established in most circumstances.
Here are the factors to consider when planning to create comprehensive backlink activities. An effective backlink audit can help you stay on top of these factors.
Number of referring domains
More links from different websites (referring domains) equal greater ranks and more organic search traffic. The goal isn’t to increase the number of backlinks to your website as it is to increase the number of backlinks to the pages you want to rank in search engines.
Google does not treat all hyperlinks equally. If you are getting backlinks for spammy websites, then such activity can negatively impact your SEO. Therefore, it is best to focus on quality.
This is a truth that is integrated into the PageRank algorithm. The higher the linked page’s ‘authority,’ the more authority it transfers to the pages it links to. A link from a high-authority page, in other words, is more valuable than one from any low authority website.
Do follow vs no-follow links
Because no-followed links (those with a rel=’nofollow’ tag) don’t pass PageRank of Google, it’s important to focus on establishing followed (‘do follow’) connections.
Although most links on the web are followed, certain websites, such as Forbes, ‘no follow’ practically all outbound links. Whether you’re actively creating or seeking links from a certain website, it’s worth checking to see if their outbound links are being followed.
One way to keep yourself updated with this is to install the no-follow bookmarklet that shows no-follow links on the page. No-followed links are still valuable. They can increase referral traffic, which can help with SEO indirectly. However, if you’re investing a significant amount of time and effort into link building, it’s important to focus your efforts on getting more do-follow links.
Backlinks are like votes. When a website links to you, it is endorsing your content or service quality. However, not all backlinks are created equal. It is also important to consider the relevancy of the related website and web page. For instance, getting the backlink to your digital marketing website from a fitness blog may not serve the relevancy.
Anchor text is the clickable words deployed to link one online page to another. In other words, backlinks with anchor text related to your website’s general theme are likely to have some impact on rankings.
Online referrals to your brand, company, or product are known as brand mentions. Because brand mentions impact your brand’s reputation, it’s critical to keep track of them and respond to any unfavourable ones as soon as possible.
Let us take a quick look at different methods you can use to improve your brand’s presence digitally.
Social media presence
The majority of mentions come from social media. This might be because platforms host the most digital interactions and are also where users share whatever information they desire.
Encourage customer reviews and feedback
Reviews are an excellent strategy to boost brand awareness and enhance the likelihood of receiving brand mentions. Visitors may be motivated to do more activities on your website, promote you to others, or even mention you based on your attitude and how you respond to feedback. For this, focus on your Google Business listing and get more positive reviews and ratings over there.
Collaborate with influencers
Another technique to enhance brand presence includes collaborating with influencers to enhance variety on your ranking variables, in addition to the first two stages for increasing brand mentions. Influencers are a great source of brand mentions since they bring your brand to a new audience by promoting it via reviews.
Local SEO is an important aspect for businesses relying more on in-store visitors and footfalls. Ranking your business better in local SEO involves implementing a few techniques mentioned below.
- Importance of Business Profile: The name has changed from Google My Business to Business Profile that helps build a Google business listing. It guarantees that clients access the information they need to browse your site or shop, contact your firm, or make a transaction. If you don’t have a Business Profile on Google, you’re missing out on the chance to increase traffic and business while also standing out in Google.
- Optimising your Business Profile: Like optimising your website, you also need to optimise content for your Business Profile. Check out these quick tips you can implement to strengthen your Business Profile for better results.
- Enter all the data for your listing: The most relevant search results are prioritised in local search results. Businesses that provide the most thorough and reliable information are easy to find in search.
Don’t leave anything to chance or assumption. Make sure your listings clearly define what your company does. This involves giving out the correct address, services and products you offer, details on how customers may get the items or services you provide, and plenty others.
- Mention keywords: Google employs many signals to offer search results, just like traditional website SEO. Including crucial keywords and search terms in your company listing will be beneficial, especially because your business website is displayed right inside your GMB listing. Use these in your business description and whenever you send out Google Local Posts to your target audience.
- Manage customer reviews and allow them to send you a message: Ensure interacting with your consumers by replying to their reviews. This will look better as your company appreciates its clients and the input they provide. When potential clients are studying your business, positive reviews will help them make an informed decision.
This will also improve the visibility of your company in search results. Create a link for consumers to post reviews for your business to encourage them to do so. Allow your customers to send a message and make sure you reply promptly.
You can use this Review link generator to make it easier for customers to leave a review for you.
The purpose of social media is to facilitate mass sharing. Because of all of this, sharing adds to higher visibility for your content and social media impacts SEO.
If many people share your information on social media, more people are likely to link to it, and links are a significant SEO ranking component.
There are a few promotional techniques that you can employ over social media for enhanced visibility and customer interaction. Check out some of the key aspects to consider when undertaking social media activities.
- Create link opportunities: The top opportunity on the list is also the most difficult to obtain. Because this approach is passive, the challenge resides with the recipient instead of implementation. Here you can rely on third-party activities without your direct involvement, as they will promote your social handles across multiple sites. Simply put, you depend on social media to market your content and let others know it exists.
- Increase brand awareness: Social media may have a big impact on how people see your company. Companies that have a strong social media presence and interact with their consumers directly find a significant improvement in overall satisfaction.
- Build partnerships: Although you continue to publish content on social media in a tried-and-trusted manner, you must start devoting more time to developing social contacts that might lead to future collaborations. This involves reaching out to pages that have more activities and followers. Later, leverage their reach to plan and execute co-branded content.
Google relies on the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing. It evaluates the search position based on the number and quality of reviews.
Customers utilise internet reviews to confirm their buying decisions, and search engines like Google follow suit. This is why it becomes necessary to have google reviews about your business very often.
Here are some of the best ways to get more Google reviews:
- Use Google Business Profile marketing kit: The Google Business Profile Marketing Kit website allows you to develop, download, and print tailored marketing content to persuade customers to leave a review after they render your services or purchase any product.
- Create a landing page: It makes sense to build a special landing page that invites clients to offer feedback if they often visit your website. After you’ve built up the page, you may make it visible to visitors.
- Offer great service or meet customer expectations: Consistently providing high service levels and creating ‘wow’ moments with consumers is perhaps the easiest, most successful, and most fundamental strategy to acquire Google reviews with 5-star ratings.
Difference Between On-page and Off-page SEO
You have total control over your on-page SEO, but that is not the case with off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO, for example, is when you go out to someone and ask them to link to me. But, for on-page SEO, you can solely rely on your in-house team. While there are significant differences between on-page and off-page SEO, you have content and keywords to rely on at its core. And, if you are new to the whole SEO game then check out these free SEO and marketing tools to get started.
If you’re ever unsure which ‘bucket’ an SEO approach belongs in, consider if it’s completely under your control. Anything on which you have complete control can be categorised into on-page SEO. Everything else is off-page. In all, they work in tandem where off-page SEO aids your on-page efforts.
Your pages will certainly be more optimised than the competition if you follow the tips above. Just keep in mind that the most important aspect is to satisfy the search intent.
While the ‘technical’ aspects are crucial, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The deeper you delve and implement all the above-mentioned elements of SEO, the better results you will have.