Website optimization 101: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization or SEO is a subject that pops up almost every time somebody is talking about digital marketing, website development and other related topics. Web developers offer it when building a website, marketing agencies that provide digital services are obligated to have it, and it is definitely advisable to understand the SEO concept, even though you may not be the person who is directly dealing with this in your company.
As the second part of our Website optimization 101 cycle, this blog post is dedicated to SEO since it is an essential part of every website optimization and marketing strategy. It will help you to understand SEO and provide you with tips & tricks on how to drive more traffic to your website by improving your Google rank.
Organic search Vs Paid Search
First step in mastering the SEO is learning the difference between organic and paid search and knowing that SEO only affects the organic search. For a long time, it used to be easy to distinguish organic results from paid ones by the orange background. However, recently Google has changed this, so now, the only thing that differentiates organic and paid results is little text box displaying “Ad”, as can be seen below.
Organic results appear based on the quality of a website. They are influenced by SEO and considered to be the most valuable source of information and traffic on search engines. Getting your website ranking to the top is difficult and time consuming, but it will surely pay off since the Google results on the first page receive 92% off all search traffic, while it drops by 95% on the second page results .
Numerous marketers agree that SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation, so take your time to understand this process and implement it in your regular activities.
There are two ways to approach the SEO process – onsite optimization and offsite optimization. The onsite optimization refers to all the changes you make on your website and is completely under your control, while the offsite optimization is less controllable and represents the backlinks on your site that come from other sources.
When people are discussing SEO, they usually think about onsite optimization. As we have mentioned, the onsite optimization is solely under your command, and only you are responsible for its’ appropriate arrangement. Before you jump into offsite optimization and advertising, we strongly advise you to optimize your website for search engines, because it will have a long term impact on your traffic and can save you a lot of money.
There are four key elements of onsite optimization that you need to consider: keywords, titles, URL structure and image optimization.
Keywords are often considered to be the cornerstones of your content – they will help your customer to find you, improve your Google rank and drive traffic to your website. Once you assemble the list of keywords that will drive users to your website, it’s time to incorporate them in your content. While doing that, bear in mind the keyword density, a concept that represents how many times you used a single keyword within your content.
A very useful tool for getting insight to trending keywords is Google Keyword Planner. It will show you the average monthly searches for any word or phrase, and suggest some other keywords you could use. Even though the Google Keyword Planner is primarily made for Google advertisements, it can help you to analyze keywords for a better onsite optimization.
Titles are another means that search engines draw their results from. Here we are specifically talking about the search tags that are a part of your website source code. A good title tag should include the keyword which is mentioned in the body of content, and have no more than 70 characters.
By composing titles that are compelling, inviting and relevant to the content, you c a big difference.
Unfortunately, when building an URL, the majority of people disregards the importance of its structure. Besides being there to help you with ranking on search engines, remember that your URL is visible to all users on search engines and can make a great impact on their behaviour.
A well structured URL should contain relevant description and keywords that provide users and search engines with more information about the page. Therefore, you need to make them simple, short and appealing. If you manage to do so, your potential visitors may remember them better and be more willing to click on them.
In our previous blog post “Website Optimisation 101: Let’s Get Started!”, we already stated that content accompanied by image is 10 times more likely to receive user engagement. However, images are also an important part of SEO, just slightly in a different way than we have discussed before.
In SEO, the emphasis is on Image alt text (Image alternate text), which refers to the alternate text that will appear instead of the image in case your webpage loads without the display turned on.
Image alt text is another great place to insert keywords and relevant description that is linked to your content. Not only can this practice help to move your website up the ranks, but also, it would mainly rank your pictures according to certain keywords. This will come in handy when the pictures serve to represent your company logo, products, services, employees and etc.
Once you have covered onsite optimization and adjusted your website according to mentioned good practices for SEO, it’s time for offsite optimization which is, as many would agree, as important as onsite optimization.
The importance of offsite optimization relies on the fact that ‘quality content is worth spreading’, which means that if a lot of sites want to be linked to your website, then your content is good. There are two methods for offsite optimization: links to your website from other websites and social media marketing.
While both of this methods have the same goal – driving traffic to your website, they are not equally simple and controllable.
Although great content is fundamental for Search Engine Optimization, there are some additional tricks that you can use for offsite optimization. First of all, start with your partners, distributors and associate websites that are already working with you. Make sure they embed a link on their website every time your company is mentioned. Same thing goes with bloggers, influencers and media in general. Although you don’t have full control over this issue, you should still be encouraging them to insert links to your website when they are writing about your company.
Working with bloggers and influencers goes far beyond the aspect of your company’s content. Find the ones who are interesting to you and can help you with your business, read their content regularly and comment on their sites as well. This will help you introduce your company to them, build relationships and influence a greater amount of readers.
As a long term strategy, social media marketing is another excellent way to drive traffic to your website. Spend some time building your community around people who will follow you, support you and share your content. The more effort you put in this, the more you will achieve. Social media allows you to control what you are publishing and can share links to your website. When the quality of your content is recognized, people will start to forward your posts (again, something that is out of your control).
Now, before you start sharing your links wherever you can, bear in mind that offsite optimization can backfire. If your backlinks are not from quality sources, you could lower your rankings or even face a penalty from Google. So, do you homework and ensure that websites which post links to your site are eligible, relevant to your keywords and suitable for the company image you want to achieve.
Quick tip at the end!
There are a lot of tools available that can make your daily operations with search engine optimization easier and faster, and in the meantime improve your skills and knowledge about it. One of such tools is The Yoast SEO plugin, which has the Page Analysis option that checks on the simple things one tends to forget about. It checks if you have images in your post with alt tag that contains relevant keywords, it checks whether your posts are long enough, if meta description contains relevant keywords, if you used subheadings within the post and more.
The Yoast SEO is also the most downloaded WordPress plugin of all times, and it is available both in free and premium version. For more information about the tool and how to download it, visit https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/ .