The Nuts and Bolts
With the digital revolution taking a hold of the marketing world, traditional modes of advertising have been overtaken by new forms and tactics that demand strategic planning and careful consideration.
For those dealing with the expansion of the web in a business model, the use of search engine optimisation (SEO) has become an effective tool for brands looking to be seen in a landscape that is full of noise and information.
Getting to know SEO
Essentially, SEO is the practice of bettering the chances of a website’s ranking on a search engine. This process takes careful research towards finding the right key phrases for sites like Google, Yahoo or Bing, enabling them to pick up and match terms that are being searched in real-time. When a phrase or word is typed into these websites, results are listed through a search engine results page, otherwise known as a SERP. Businesses looking to be seen in these search results need to adopt SEO as a prominent part of their marketing campaign.
Web giants like Google implement complex algorithms to determine the importance, quality and uniqueness of websites in relation to keywords being searched by users. The system utilises its formulae to pull the most relevant results; sites that are deemed reliable, legitimate and constructed in accordance with the search engine’s guidelines. Websites that appear at the top of the SERP (search engine results page) have successfully embedded the most common terms into their content in an acceptable manner, alongside a number of other processes.
Simply put, SEO intends to increase the position of a website in a search result. Website traffic is increased by driving prospective customers to your domain.
What makes up effective SEO?
Elements of successful SEO on your website (onsite):
- Sitemaps: The website structure is easily accessible to search engines attempting to inspect various pages
- Content: Written material included on the page consists of relevant information and keywords
- Internal links: Pages within a website are interlinked to increase an easy viewing experience
- Optimised title tags: Headings and tags within a website include significant keywords
Elements of successful SEO on a website elsewhere (offsite):
- Backlinks: Links from credible, reliable sources around the internet are guided back to your own website
- Social media platforms: A presence on popular social media platforms increases the likelihood of a higher SERP ranking
- Citations: Authoritative sites mentions your own, but not through a direct link (e.g. directory listings)
What you can’t control
Like most marketing tactics, there are some matters that you don’t have the power to influence. Search engines pull their information from hundreds of sources to construct a SERP, and constantly alter their algorithms to keep results truthful. For businesses looking to succeed in SEO operations, technical professionals must ensure they are up to date with the latest formulas.
The importance of keyword research
It’s critical to remember that keywords must be completely relatable to your actual website, and not just be included for the sake of attempting SEO efforts. Search engines are smart enough to identify attempts at “tricking” their system and, as a result, will take measures to ensure your site does not rank.
A quarter of keywords are refreshed each day, making it critical that businesses ensure their SEO is up-to-date with the latest terms that are applicable to the website itself. To make this procedure easier, it is recommended that keywords are combined together to create “primary” phrases – e.g. plumbing services can be optimised by adding plumbing services Melbourne, professional plumbing services and plumbing services company. These are called “clusters”.
Choosing keywords that are thoroughly researched and strategic will drive traffic to your domain. When key phrases are accepted by search engines, return on investment (ROI) is increased.
Using the right content
Written text on any website should be insightful, relevant and include the keywords and phrases of focus in the SEO campaign. The structuring of sites may need to be altered to align with the strategy, by adding pages to include the researched key phrase, which are usually linked to the official homepage.
Recent alterations to algorithms have resulted in the need for SEO experts to ensure content is not optimised too much, such as by overusing a keyword. This type of overuse can have an adverse effect, lowering your overall SERP ranking.
Proper coding procedures ensure sites are structured in a way that is beneficial to the overall index. Essentially, search engine systems should be able to easily scan your page without hiccups—a matter that can be successful with the implementation of an accurate sitemap.
This collection of links helps guide a search engine around the website without issues arising.
These handy links become an SEO technician’s best friend by making a website look like it is being mentioned on others, resulting in an increase of credibility for the official domain. Additionally, search engines use backlinks in inspections by deeming them as authoritative voices—evidence that the website can be trusted. In a nutshell, search engines assume that these discussions are taking place because your website is relevant and trustworthy.
Successful backlinking requires:
- Positioning on respected sites around the internet
- Positioning on sites that are relatable to your given industry
- Subtle embedding through actual text to flow seamlessly
e.g. hyperlinking “We can help you”, instead of just linking the term “plumbing service Melbourne”
- Adhering to the ethical guidelines set by search engines
(otherwise known as “White-hat”).
As mentioned before, successful SEO includes citations of your business on other websites. These do not include direct links and are often found in directory listings with contact details and a URL. These mentions are extremely helpful for sites like Google Maps and other sites that use locational or geographical-based SERP listings.
Achieving success with SEO
Despite search engine optimisation being a complex web of algorithms, keywords and research, marketing objectives cannot expect to be met without proper adoption of these techniques. Traffic, which is imperative to ROI, will not be directed to the website, and prospective customers will be driven away from the end product. If you’re looking to leverage your online and offline presence, the first step is initiating SEO practices and taking away the opportunity for your traffic to land on your competitor’s doorstep.