In today’s digital world, having a digital footprint is more of a necessity than a matter of choice. The problem is that not just you, but almost every other business out there knows this. Around 1.3 billion websites (and counting) are trying to grab the attention of their target audience. To make your website stand out from the crowd, you need to have an effective SEO strategy in place.
When it comes to promoting your website and getting more traffic, having clearly defined and well-planned SEO Services will be the gamechanger.
Search engine optimisation: An introduction
In simple words, SEO is the process of refining, optimising and updating the visibility of a particular website and it’s webpages. Search engines such as Google use complex search algorithms to rank websites.
In fact, Google has over 200 different signals within its search algorithm which need to be queried and defined upon each and every search. Essentially, when a user types in a search query, Google will ask itself over 200 questions relating to the user query and potentially listing before it serves you a result in the SERPs.
This whole process only takes one-tenth of a second!
There are two approaches to SEO, White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
White hat SEO involves improving a website’s traffic through optimisation strategies, techniques and processes. White hat SEO practitioners use legitimate methods and rules laid down by search engines over time.
Various white hat SEO tactics include content creation based on popular search terms, optimisation of content, optimisation of link building and working on your website’s interface to improve the user experience.
White hat SEO is never done with the aim of IMMEDIATE results or unnatural results. Some SEO’s use automated tools to complete an action within SEO without too much thought into the quality of the output.
Some SEO’s (more of the white hat team) will spend more time reviewing the quality of results the tool produces and choose to focus on quality over quantity
Black hat SEO’s, on the other hand, use any means necessary to get more traffic to their websites. These guys believe in achieving the end game at any cost, without considering whether this output will be valuable in the long term and consistent in quality
The black hatters will use various spamming techniques such as link manipulation, link farming, bots, content spinning, duplicate content, unnatural keyword stuffing and much more to get better rankings and more website traffic.
Though these techniques may, at times, work in the short run, the long- term implications can be devastating. Google and other search engines identify black hat SEO techniques as cheating and have been cracking down hard on websites that use these techniques.
Many companies, business or website owners get a fright when they are told that their website has been hit with a Google penalty or that Google has blacklisted their website. This happens without their knowledge due to an external team or teams working on digital marketing and SEO in the background. Scary stuff!
Factors that impact SEO
Needless to say, you must adopt white hat SEO techniques and should always look for legitimate ways to increase website traffic through organic methods.
Search engines such as Google crawl or scan websites. Websites are ranked according to the type of links which are pointing to them, site quality and content quality (just to name a few factors).
The better the content quality and user-friendliness, the higher your website will rank over time due to a good relationship with Google. There are over 200 factors that impact a website’s rank. <In Depth Article – How Does SEO Work>
The good news is that you do not have to work on all of these factors. 6 to 20 out of these 200 factors are considered to be the most critical.
Let’s explore the top six known factors for Google’s ranking calculations:
Six well known Google Ranking Factors
Natural use of semantic keywords
Search engines utilise web spiders or crawlers to scan, crawl and access your content in order to index it for users to engage with. To help these spiders know what your webpage is all about, you need to use keywords and themes which bring across your message in the best way to your readers.
By researching what keywords your target audience are searching for and understanding the type of content they are needing to read, you will be able to provide this information to them in a natural and explanatory manner. You must not go overboard with the usage of keywords and repetitive phrases as this is missing the point and is a waste of your time.
Make sure your keyword appears at least once in the title and headers. There is a general misconception that using keywords multiple times helps improve a site’s ranking.
Domain authority can be defined as the trust that your domain commands. One of the major elements which effects domain authority or domain rating is backlinks. Good quality and relevant backlinks will improve your domain authority over time. A link to your website is considered a vote of confidence, so the more credible votes (links) you have, the more trusted your site will be seen.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that content is the king. Content is the backbone of any SEO strategy. Search engines are becoming more intelligent with each passing day. Black hat strategies such as keyword stuffing do not work anymore. To prevent your website from getting on the wrong side of search engines, upload unique and relevant content. Upload content that discusses topics in depth.
Site Speed and Mobile First
Google hates websites that take long to load and humans do too. There is nothing worse than a slow loading website. In fact, as of July 2018 Google released and update known as the Google Speed Update, which requires your website to be fully loaded within 3 seconds. If your website does meet these speed requirements, you will see large drops in website traffic from all channels.
The Mobile First Index means that Google will mainly use and reference the mobile version of your website and the mobile version of your content. They have said they will still show content to users on different devices if the situation calls for it but, mobile is the new king.
Your site’s loading speed has a significant impact on user experience. When ranking websites, Google checks their loading speed. To ensure your site loads swiftly, use caching plugins. Make sure your website is clutter-free, responsive and mobile-friendly.
Inbound and outbound links
SEO is all about providing exceptional value and going about it in a natural manner. If I was having a conversion with a mate it would most likely be quite common for me to mention stories about other friends of mine or to make reference to a new movie I heard about or the latest news story and headlines.
It is the same principle when it comes to adding links to content on your website. If you are trying to bring a point across about a specific topic it helps to add a reference to a third party resource which backs that topic up too.
Not only will your user find extra value in clicking and reading that article or downloading a guide of some kind, but search engines will follow that link and pick up that it is supporting your theme and your topic too.
It adds more ammo to your content. Don’t be afraid of linking out in your content (within reason).
This is a natural way of creating helpful and informative content which adds value to the user.
The URL structure
To ensure both humans and search engines can understand what your website is all about, use short and relevant URLs. Remember to include your most relevant keyword in the slug.