SEO: THE FULL UNDERSTANDING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
Learning about search engine optimisation (SEO) can be quite daunting for a lot of people, let alone trying to actually implement it.
Understanding the basics is better than knowing nothing at all, so we’ll be covering the fundamentals so that you have an idea of SEO best practices and can implement them as best as possible.
We’ll be covering the following:
- What is SEO?
- How do search engines work?
- White hat SEO vs black hat SEO
- Keyword research
- On-page SEO vs off-page SEO
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is the process of ranking your website traffic and increasing its quality and quantity via non-paid- or organic- search engine results.
Basically, you want to rank high on a search engine. You know when you look up something in Google (or Bing, perhaps even Yahoo) and you most likely click on the first link you see (that isn’t an ad)? You want that to be your link.
So, for example, if you have an article on ‘The Best Closet Organisation Ideas’, you ideally want the search engine to show your article as a top result for whoever searches “closet organisation.”
SEO is also about knowing and having a deep understanding of your audience.
What are they wanting to know about?
How do they want the answers given to them (writing, graphics, video)?
Which words would they be using?
Having the answers to these questions will give you a boost in writing up quality-based articles and ranking highly in the search engines.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines work in 3 ways:
Crawling refers to a team of robots, otherwise known as crawlers or spiders, who discover new and updated content via links.
Content includes a webpage, PDF, video, images and more.
The crawlers add the new content to their index.
Indexing is where the search engine keeps all its information that it has gathered. It is a widespread database of multiple URLs that the crawler has come across.
The search engine views this information that has been stored as beneficial to searchers when seeking specific answers.
When someone searches for something, the search engines find the most relevant content within the index and orders it accordingly so that the searcher gains the best quality answer. This is known as ranking.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
White Hat SEO
Strategies that focus on the human audience rather than the search engine. Using white hat SEO creates a long-term investment on a website and provides quality content for the search engines to identify and rate as appropriate for users.
Techniques used in white hat SEO include:
- Using keywords and analysing them (use both short and long-tail keywords that are relevant).
- Adding new content regularly.
- Backlinking: A hyperlink which links from a web page back to your own web page or website.
- Rewriting meta tags: Snippets of text that describes the content of a page.
White hat SEO takes a lot of time and research, but is well worth it at the end of the day if you want to rank well in search engines organically.
Black Hat SEO
When individuals break search engine rules in order to gain higher search rankings. They follow certain techniques in order to do so and are more interested in search engines than the human audience.
Techniques used in black hat SEO include:
- Keyword stuffing: Inserting as many keywords onto a page as you possibly can in order to manipulate a sites ranking.
- Link farming: Web pages linking to a target page on a different website. Most are created through automated programmes.
- Hidden texts and links: Forms of text that webpage users are unable to view and is seen as a way of spamming search engines.
- Blog content spamming: Meaningless or repetitive content within a blog’s content.
Consequences of black hat SEO can result in search engines banning your site completely so that your site will not show up. Your site can also be de-indexed (not included in a search engines database for ranking).
Remember we mentioned earlier that knowing your audience will help when determining which keywords to incorporate in your website? Well, let’s look into it a bit closer.
Many people look past the intensive research of understanding their customers a bit more than their gender, age and location. They know what they want to rank for and they skip the most important step, then they wonder why they’re not getting the results they want.
Let’s look at an example:
Baby Snacks Co. is a London-based company that manufacture and sell snacks for babies. They want to improve their organic search results ranking and therefore need to know a bit more about their customers.
They may ask:
- What kind of snacks are people searching for?
- Who is doing the searching?
- Why are people searching for baby snacks?
- Where are these individuals located?
- How are people searching for snacks? (Which words are being used and which questions are being asked?)
- Are these individuals searching via their mobile devices or via desktop?
- Is it seasonal that they will search about snacks for babies or throughout the year rather?
This gives you an idea about the depth in which your buyer’s persona is necessary and how crucially it can impact your ranking.
To go about receiving data for your keyword search, use a tool to guide you. Enter your keyword or phrase and identify the search volume, search terms relating to the keyword, the competitiveness and more.
A free tip: don’t always choose the keywords that have a high search volume as it is more difficult to rank. Try go for lower volume searches as you will rank a lot easier (there is less competition).
For example, ‘coffee beans’ has a high search volume (1900) as it’s very broad, yet ‘coffee beans machines’ has a lot less of a volume (210) as it’s more specific. So perhaps you’d like to write a post about the top 5 best coffee beans machines on the market.
On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO
On-page SEO refers to your headlines, content, as well as page structure. In other words, your physical page that you are trying to optimise that relate to Google’s ranking factors.
Off-page SEO refers to other social networks, other blogs in your industry and the personal history of whoever is doing the searching. They’re factors that are pretty much out of reach to control.
Let’s paint a picture and say for example that you own a restaurant.
Inside the restaurant are beautifully laid out tables and chairs, great music, and a beautiful array of smells coming from the kitchen along with delicious food being served. However, the outside of your restaurant is messy, has lots of litter in the vicinity and the windows look dirty.
In this situation, no one is going to choose to eat at your restaurant purely by the state of the exterior, no matter how glamorous the inside is.
Why does this relate to on-page SEO? Well, because if your content is appealing, you still won’t get recognised for it if you haven’t optimised the key areas.
On the contrary, the outside of your restaurant is beautifully lighted, and looks clean and pretty, but the inside is dirty and smells strange. No one is going to stay.
Your website will receive a bounce rate if someone exits your website after only viewing one page (off-page SEO).
For on-page SEO, consider taking extra measurements to ensure that:
- Your content is of great quality, fresh and provides direct answers.
- You have done the research needed to find the best keyword for your website, and that you use this keyword sparingly.
- Your meta description is filled out and compelling for viewers to want to click on your page. Try use relevant keywords in your meta description.
- The alt text has been phrased in order to help the image be indexed for search.
- Your heading or title tag also has keywords incorporated for crawlers to identify.
- The URL is related to the article and simplified enough for search engines to understand.
- You are linking to other relevant pages on your site. This does two things. 1) It keeps your audience engaged for a longer period of time and 2) it makes life a whole lot easier for search engines to identify everything.
- Your page performance is in great condition. This refers to your website having a quick load time and also being mobile-friendly.
For off-page SEO, consider the following factors:
- Backlinks that you have to your site, which are of quality and the more the merrier! Consider guest blogging as a way to introduce backlinks organically.
- The domain authority that search engines give to you to determine the strength of your website. The higher the domain authority, the better chance of your website ranking well.
- Social promotion or social media posts that bring a lot of clicks and traffic to your website.
We hope this post has given you a clearer idea of SEO and all it’s factors, but if not, feel free to comment below or email us with any questions you may have.