If you have marketed online for long enough, you will remember the good old days when all you needed to write valid SEO content was to ensure you had a certain number of words and within them, a specific percentage of the keywords you wished to rank for linking to your pages. It was very simple and worked effectively at the time. However, these days have long gone and now writing good SEO content is much more complicated than the old simple formula. In this post, Martin Reaves from The Search Equation gives us some tips on writing SEO. He says when writing for SEO It is important you see things from a customer’s point of view and write in a way that appeals to their perspective. So rather than telling the customer what you do, you need to get the point over how they will benefit from your services. In other words, it is about showing prospective clients what they will get from you.
What is HTTPS/SSL?HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure is the communication between the browser and web server. HTTPS encrypts the communication between your browser and the webserver so that the data you transmit remains secure from external sources (ie your neighbour or the government). HTTPS indicates the websites authenticity and can be recognised by the green lock icon in the address bar. HTTPS uses the protocol Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to achieve this. HTTPS and SSL have different meanings but most people in the SEO industry will use the words interchangeably as they effectively mean the same thing. If you don’t have a domain name yet or thinking about changing your domain, please read this guide on how to choose a domain name.
Why use HTTPS?Because Google says so! Google has officially declared that https is one of the 200+ ranking signals used for determining a site’s Search Engine Ranking Position. How much of a factor it is as a ranking signal is the big question. It certainly doesn’t weigh as much as quality backlinks or good on-site optimisation but every little helps, according to Moz.com search engine ranking factors for 2015, there is a correlation between higher website ranking and https. Another important reason to use https aside from the SEO benefits is because it is due to be the industry standard in the future, and browsers are looking to display website address lacking https with a red X so that it appears broken and unsecure to users. This of course affects user experience, bounce rate and indirectly SEO.
HTTPS Setup and the CostI guess the biggest reason why people aren’t jumping at the chance of using https if it has additional benefits is because of cost and expertise required to set it up. The cost will typically set you back $100 a year and over $1000 for the more expensive certificates. Setting up https/SSL does require some server and webmaster knowledge. Many hosting providers offer the service to set it up for free or with additional cost if you purchase the SSL certificate from them. I hear Hostingstep has some awesome coupon deals you could try out. If you are looking to set it up yourself, then make sure you do it correctly and have the following:
- Make sure the url is working – so https://via.vision works and the website can be viewed. This is obvious but many people set up their https whilst unable to visit their https address!
- Redirect all address to the canonical address which is the https version, for example http://graftene.co.uk should redirect to https://via.vision.
- Use 301 permanent redirect, not 302 temporary redirect.
ConclusionThe conclusion is that switching to HTTPS will have additional immediate benefits in the form of better security and hitting one of Googles ranking signals for SEO, as well as long term benefits as Google intends for all websites in the future to use https. So why not get in there sooner rather than later? The obvious drawback is the cost and the sheer hassle of setting it up. You would first need to purchase a certificate from $0-$1000, and then configure your website and server to set it up. After that you would need SEO knowledge to make sure your new website address with the https does not affect your site ranking negatively. You can do this by following the best practices for setup mentioned above. If you’ve recently switched to HTTPS or are thinking about it, let us know about your experience or if you have any questions post in the comments below. If you’re still confused then our good friends at Blank are great technical seo consultants that may be able to help!
Just starting this Complete SEO Guide? Start here!
On-Site SEO Tools
- WordPress Yoast SEO
Off-Site SEO Tools
- One of the major SEO tools
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Quake
- Track SERP rankingsFind That Email
Find That Email is a state of the art email finding tool. With features like domain search you can immediately find the email
addresses of millions of professionals at the click of a button directly from the browser. Find that email aims to cut your prospecting time considerably. Their free package includes 50 searches and 100 email verification credits. Don’t forget to try their Chrome extension to discover emails in social networks.
Local SEO Tools
- Moz Local
- Bright Local
Just starting the Complete SEO Guide? Start here! Next: 4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO **** Note: If you are looking for a more comprehensive guide on Local SEO then check out our partner website BubbleLocal SEO. Local Search Engine Optimization is very similar to normal SEO, in fact, you would do everything described in the SEO guide before going on to local SEO, both On-Site and Off-Site SEO. The difference with local SEO and normal SEO is that you are targeting local search results. For example, if you run a Web Design Agency in Bournemouth, the search results for a person searching for “Web Design” located in Bournemouth would be different from the results a person sees who is located in London, or outside the country. These are Local results, intended by Google to provide the searcher a business based locally for their search term. You can test this out with a tool at http://isearchfrom.com/ that allows you to perform Google search from different locations. In this section we will break down the most important Local SEO indicators used by search engines, expected time-frame to attain local SERP ranking and how to gain a good local ranking.
How long does it take to rank in Local Search?This is the question often asked by clients, and it’s a difficult question to answer as we have no control over what search engines do, but we can at best estimate. There are a few factors that could affect this estimate.
Age of Website
A brand new business with a brand new website has to start from scratch and it takes 6-10 weeks alone just for Google to index a brand new site, so it will take a little longer. The positive is that it would not have negative SEO attached to it or have been penalised by Google. Typically if it’s a brand new website in a fairly competitive industry, you can be looking at 9-12 months to get the desired results, which is usually Page 1 ranking for the main keywords.
Competitiveness of the industry/keywords
Competiveness of the keywords also matter a lot, as an example, a brand new website in an easy industry could take 3-6 months to get good local rankings instead of 9-12 months.
Existing Websites are easier to perform SEO on, you don’t have to wait for Google to index the pages but you do have some work to do depending on the quality of the SEO done so far. If it has been a poor SEO job or even worse, penalisation from Google, it could take over a year to fix everything. If it’s fairly average SEO work then results can be seen within 3 months for a website in an easy industry and 6 months for a more competitive industry.
How to rank Locally?There are 4 main factors for ranking locally, in addition to normal SEO requirements (onsite optimised and offsite SEO). These are local citations by way of directory listings, inbound links, on-site optimisation and Reviews and Ratings. Local SEO results are largely based on online reputation of the business against their local competition and these 3 factors help increase that reputation.
Directory Listings (Local Citations)Quite simply, the more local citations you have, the more credible your business appears to Google and search engines. Aim for about 50 local citations in directories within your country. Search engines look for NAP + W information. This stands for Name, Address, Phone Number and Website Address. There is also category which helps Google determine your competition. Make sure that the information is consistent, inconsistent information can cause your business to lose credibility and consistency could be as simple as “Manley Road” vs “Manley Rd.”, make sure whichever you go with, its consistent. Below are 30 of my favourite directories for local citations in the UK. If you are looking for built-for-you local citations, you should check our Marketers Center. (Note that Google, Yahoo and Bing Local are a MUST and not optional)
|UK Small Business Directory
Reviews and RatingsReviews are very important not just from an SEO perspective, but also for brand and business reputation. Google Plus displays your ratings and review, so does Yell and many others, and this can influence users whether they decide to visit your website or not. The importance of reviews and ratings to search engine rankings is still up for debate, however it will definitely affect that click-through-ratio of your site in the search results which is an SEO factor.
Inbound LinksJust as in normal SEO work, the quality and quantity of sites linking to your site is a big factor for determining your SERP ranking. We covered some backlink tactics in the Off-Site SEO section and they remain largely the same. The main difference being that with local SEO, you can leverage links from local businesses such as targeting local colleges, establishments for partnerships, offer discounts to get links.
Website OptimisedThe requirements for on-site optimisation for local SEO remains the same. Some additional requirements such as a schema structure for business address helps, you can create one here http://schema-creator.org/. Ensure good quality content, keywords targeted in title, heading and content, images optimised, website loads fast and geo-targeting set correctly in Google Webmaster Tools. I also find it’s important to have the same ccTLD as your location if targeting local customers, as all things being equal, the ccTLD will have more success for local rankings. **** Up Next: 4. Complete SEO Guide – Tools for SEO
Just starting the SEO Guide? Start here! Next: 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO ***** Unlike On-site SEO, this process takes place outside of your website. It is the process of promoting your website across the Web. The main bulk of off-site SEO process is trying to acquire backlinks from other websites but it can also be to build brand awareness, be listed on a directory or attract visitors from 3rd party Websites. On this section I will break down the basics of off-site SEO and the best tactics to use.
BacklinksBacklinks (links from other sites to yours) is probably the most important indicator used by search engines for determining your SERP ranking. It can help increase Page Rank (PR), Domain Authority (DA) and Site Trust Flow. It is not so much the quantity of backlinks but the quality of them. Let’s have a look at some of the factors for determining a good backlink:
- Domain Authority & Page Authority – The website you are getting the backlink from should have a high Domain Authority and Page Authority (generally the homepage), the higher the better. There are plenty of tools for this but you can use Moz Toolbar to see the PA & DA rating and I would generally try to go with a DA and PA of at least 20.
- Page & Content Relevancy – Google would prefer if the page you’re linking from is relevant to the page you are linking to. They know for example that if you’re linking from a plumber website to a florist, you’re linking for the sake of linking and not because the link offers value to the users of that site.
- Anchor Text – Although this is not as important anymore due to over optimisation abuse, anchor text still makes a difference. A branded anchor text such as “Graftene” linking to graftene.com would be better than “coffee mugs” linking to graftene.com.
- Trusted Websites – This may be a debated topic, but many SEO will agree that a link from trusted websites such as a university.edu or council.gov helps increase the trust flow of your website. This could be because those sites simply have higher PR and DA generally, but nevertheless, they do make an impact.
- Amount of Backlinks – Of course as I have mentioned, quality over quantity, but quality AND quantity is much better. The more quality backlinks you have, the more you have over your competition, the more likely you are to rank above them.
Link Building TacticsNow we have established what makes a good backlink, HOW do we get other sites to link back to us? There are many tactics online, but I will list below what I’ve found to be the most effective.
Broken Link Building
- Find resource page related to your industry, example:
- Use Moz Toolbar to display the PA/DA of the resource page and click on the most promising resource pages.
- Use check-my-link plugin for chrome to display which links are broken.
- Contact the Webmaster of the site and let them know of the broken link on their site which they would want to fix, refer them to an alternative page on your website instead if it would be useful to them.
Scout Competition BacklinksYou can use tools such as Opensite explorer by Moz or SEMRush to find out what high authority domains are linking to your competitors websites. Find out how they got them which you can do by simply going directly to the page the link is coming from, and see if you can get them too.
Guest BloggingGuest blogging is still alive but not like it used to be, today guest bloggers have to focus more on quality and strategy. Not only can you still get some quality links from good quality guest posts, but it is also a good opportunity to build relationship with industry bloggers/experts and establish yourself as an author.
- Prospect – Go to Google and type “write for us” + “keyword you’re looking for”
- Qualify the Blog – Make sure the blog is worth your time, use tools such as moz site explorer to check the blog DA and check their blog is relevant to your site.
- Outreach to the blog owner – This is the part where you offer to write a blog post for them.
- Write Content – Make sure the content is of high quality as you would if writing for your own blog.
- Make sure you link out to your site and maybe other sites within your content.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)Haro (http://www.helpareporter.com/) is a website journalists go when they need help. They will post a question and if it’s in your field and you are able to answer it, you can get some free press for your brand and website. Most of the links will come from authoritative websites so although you won’t get too many links from this site, it is a good resource.
DirectoriesDirectory submission is not dead, it still helps with SEO especially for local citations. I would recommend signing up for Brightlocal for local SEO directory citations. There is a 1 month free trial.
InfographicsInfographics are so much easier for readers to digest. Your infographic could get embedded on other websites and gain natural links. You can also submit it to infographic directories.
Video MarketingPublish and share your video content and make them public in YouTube, Dailymotion, etc.
Social MediaSocial media could be a guide in itself. The basic idea is to add/follow users that is relevant to your industry, hope they follow back, and share your articles, contents to them. Some people have hundreds to thousands of followers, no doubt that when they publish anything, it is seen and possibly shared by many. Social media isn’t just a means of earning backlinks, it is also a way to get your business and brand out there on a huge marketing platform. It is also important to note that Social Media Metrics are now a factor for SERP rankings. These metrics are typically how many likes, shares, tweets of the website/content there is.
Content MarketingContent Marketing is tactics involving marketing your own content to other sites, usually to gain back links. It’s similar to the other tactics described above but more reliant on very good quality content within your site.
The Skyscraper TechniqueThe skyscraper technique described here (http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo) is quite simply to search for the most popular content in your industry and blow it out of the water with your own content, then reach out to the sites that linked to the previous (now inferior content).
Moving Man MethodThe moving man method is very similar to broken link reclamation method, except we are also looking for sites that have moved address therefore giving us a larger pool to draw from. You can read a very detailed guide on the moving man method here: http://backlinko.com/high-quality-backlinks
OutreachIf you create great content, you can outreach to bloggers in your niche and ask them to link to your content if they see value in it. This is a lot of manual work but still a popular method.
Resource PagesMany sites have a page that links out to “resource pages”, for example googling “web design inrul:links” finds this resource page: http://www.gweb.biz/links.htm which could list a web design site as one of its resources. All you would need to then is contact the webmaster and ask. There are so much more link building strategies but those are some of the most popular methods, you can see a far bigger list here: http://pointblankseo.com/link-building-strategies **** Up Next: 3. Complete SEO Guide – Local SEO
Just starting the Complete SEO Guide? Start here! Next: 2. Complete SEO Guide – Off-site SEO **** First let’s understand how search engines view your website. Quite simply, they send robots that “crawls” the web and sites likes yours. When these pages are crawled, they are “indexed” on a very large database and are graded on over 200 factors. An algorithm is used to give the page a score and ranking against all the other pages based on the user query and keywords searched. On-Site SEO comprises of all the SEO work that is done within your website. This is something you have complete control over and not relying on external websites or directories linking to your website. This will include content on Keywords, Content Structure, Site Structure, Domain etc. Many SEO guides will guide you to “build for users, not for search engines”, which is half true. Of course, we want to build for our users because that is primarily what the website is for, and Google tries its best to rank websites on how useful they are for users. However, you may find that if you ignore the search engine aspect of things and build solely for the users, the search engine robots may not recognize how great your website to its users are, therefore not attain the rank you deserve. Consult with professional SEO for an onpage audit, our partners at PDX SEO can help. The Perfect on-site SEO will have the following:
- Great content that provides value to users – which in turn makes it easy to market and attain backlinks from other sites, reduces bounce rates of visitors (visitors visiting then quickly leaving your site).
- Great User Experience –A website design should be easy and intuitive for a user to browse. Site should load quickly, multi-browser compatible and visually attractive.
- Crawlable/can be accessed by bots – Use rel=canonical to focus on one main address, URL structure should be consistent, use robots.txt and a sitemap, use 301’s for permanent redirects and a code 503 for temporarily down pages.
- Keyword targeted – The target keyword for the page should be on page name, title, H1 tag, content, URL and images and image alt attributes, internal and external links, meta description, meta keywords.
Domain Name and HostingAlthough domain name does not have as strong influence over rankings as it did in the past, it is still a factor. You may not have control over this as it may be a brand name such as Graftene but if you do, it’s important to get it right. Exact Match Domain Try to get the exact match domain, for example, www.southamptonplumbers.co.uk if you are a plumber in Southampton. However the bonus of having an exact match domain comes with a price, make sure your website is not in violation of Google’s EMD Update (http://searchengineland.com/google-emd-update-research-and-thoughts-137340). In short, make sure that if you will adopt an exact match domain, you have a high quality website with high quality backlinks and don’t spam your website with keywords which would be over-optimisation. Google thinks you are trying to manipulate them and they don’t like that! Keywords in Domain Get the target keyword within your domain, it helps with the CTR (click through ratio) and it’s still a ranking factor. Country TLD Extension If you are targeting local customers and want to attract local business, go with the country domain such as www.yourwebsite.co.uk for ranking in Google.co.uk. If you want to target globally or want to be more flexible and generic, you can use .com which can rank in google.co.uk or google.fr. The opposite would not be true however, www.youwebsite.co.uk would have difficulty ranking in google.fr. Hosting Location You should try to host your website in the same country you are targeting, if you are targeting google.co.uk customers, pick a host that is based in UK. Note: There is a debate on the importance of country TLD (Top level domain) as many downplay its significance. In fact, both in Bing (http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster) and Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) you can geo-target the location you want to target so even if you choose .com tld you can tell the search engines to target google.co.uk. I however believe that country TLD helps and is a factor, however small. You can read more on this topic here: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/google-optimization-help/geo-targeting-techniques-in-google-for-seo/ Domain Age This is also a factor, older domains with no bad history are considered more trustworthy. However, you have no control over this, other than perhaps not buying a blacklisted domain.
Keyword ResearchKeyword research could be a guide in itself. However for the purpose of this guide, use google keyword planner (https://adwords.google.co.uk/KeywordPlanner) to get a basic idea of the performance of keywords. You want to balance out the difficulty of the competition for the keyword vs how much volume of searches there are for that keyword. So an ideal keyword would be one that doesn’t have much competition, yet gets searched often per month. Google Keyword Planner is fairly straightforward to use, you set your business, target keyword, and target location, get ideas and Google will generate a list of keyword ideas for you. These keywords will also contain interesting stats such as how much it has been searched per month and how difficult the competition is for that particular keyword. Moz keyword-difficulty tool (https://moz.com/researchtools/keyword-difficulty) is also a useful tool to use for keyword research but unfortunately it’s not free. Of course keyword research is far more complex but that should help you get started.
Page TitlesNot only are page titles crucial for improving your site’s CTR (click through ratio) as it’s the title users see in the search engine results but this element also has strong influence over your ranking as it determines the page relevancy vs the users search query.
- Use target keyword preferably at start of title
- Limit to 70 characters
- Use “|” symbol to divide phrases
Page DescriptionsChanged in the meta-description and this is the description users will see on your website’s search engine ranking. Doesn’t directly affect SEO but can have a big impact on your click through ratio.
- Use targeted keywords
- Accurately describe the page
HeadingsHeadings let the user know what the content is about, it’s good practice to split the headings into sections (H1, H2, H3) and be careful not to over optimise.
- Include Keyword in H1 and ideally H2.
ContentWrite the content for your users, the content should be relevant and look natural, not spammed with keywords for the purpose of manipulating search engines. Get a good balance on this, you want the users to easily navigate your site and be intuitive but you also want to get the keywords in there. This should happen naturally, for example if you do Web Design in Bournemouth, then it should be easy to mention “Web Design in Bournemouth” in your content without looking forced.
- Include the keywords at least once in the copy.
- It would be preferable to separate the content with header tags (H2, H3).
- Good content is easier to market and share to acquire backlinks.
ImagesIf you see an image of a dog, you know it’s a dog, but search engine crawlers don’t. You can use Alt Tag and Title tag for the image to let users and crawlers know.
- Use a Title tag on images.
- Use Alt tag on images and ideally have the keyword on at least 1 Alt attribute tag.
- Optimise the images, reduce file size to increase site load speed.
- Use dash (-) to separate words in URL structure.
- Have the keyword within the URL if it’s relevant.
- Write URL as static readable text, exclude URL parameters.
- Keep URL structure consistent, for example: If you want to keep the trailing slash ie graftene.com/ then keep it consistent throughout the site, graftene.com/About-us/.
Duplicate ContentAvoid duplicate content, some CMS may generate different versions of the page and could be classified as duplicate content. You can use Siteliner tool (http://www.siteliner.com/) to identify duplicate content.
Outbound LinksFeel free to link out to another website from within your content if you feel this will help the user. This can also help increase the site trust rating if it’s linking out to a high authority website.
Site-level OptimisationThese are the important SEO factors you can optimise across your site in order to improve your SERP ranking. In short, make sure your website is user friendly with good navigation system, good indexable content, fast loading, have a sitemap, crawlable by robots and consistent URL structure.
Site SpeedWebsites that load faster is better for user experience and conversion rates. It’s also an important ranking factor. Make sure your website is up to speed by optimising the code, images and media. You can use tools like Google pagespeed (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) to help you with this process.
Internal LinksSetup the links and navigation within your website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. A user should not have to go through 4 pages to get to a page. Navigating a website shouldn’t be like trying to solve hard riddles. It is important to not link to broken links/pages. Internal linking also helps with the site trust flow.
Schema / Rich Snippet MarkupThis may not directly contribute to SEO but would help by increasing conversion rates. Read more at https://developers.google.com/structured-data/ and create schema at http://schema-creator.org/
User EngagementUser engagement is measured by many factors, Google uses this as a measure of user experience and it’s a contributing factor towards the website SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking. Ensure good user engagement with the basics, good site speed, intuitive navigation and useful content. Some measuring sticks for quality user engagement are:
- Bounce Rates – Bounce rates are when users visit your website and quickly leave. There could be a number of reasons for the users leaving quickly, site too slow, not informative, or poor UX. Whatever the reason, Google sees a high bounce rate as poor user experience and would therefore result is a lower SERP ranking. A low bounce rate on the other hand is a positive.
- Direct Traffic – It’s a positive indicator if a site receives more direct traffic.
- High click through rate – A better click through rate on the SERP is a positive indicator.
- Returning visitors – A good amount of returning visitors is a positive indicator.
Domain TrustA website with a good domain trust ranks higher on the SERP rankings and can get away with more without being penalised. Here is what you can do to increase domain trust:
- Link out to High Authority Websites – Linking out won’t hurt your SEO, it can help in fact if the website you are linking to is relevant.
- Keep bounce rate low – Improve relevancy of content, meta description and UX design of site to lower bounce rate.
- Keep domain WHOIS public – Public whois are more trusted than private.
- Get some trusted backlinks – Links from .edu or .gov or .ac.uk helps.
Mobile OptimisedMake sure your website is mobile responsive. Used the tools below to check.
CanonicalisationCanonicalisation refers to pages that can be loaded from multiple URLs (web address). For example the web pages below are all identical:
- 301 redirect – This indicates that the page has move permanently. 301 redirects caries roughly 90-99% of the page worth over to the page it’s redirected to. More on 301 redirects (http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/frequently-asked-question/how-can-i-do-a-301-redirect)
- Rel=”canonical” – This tag lets the search engines know to treat the page as a copy of the canonical page thus passing on the page worth. Example:
SitemapMost sitemap comes in XML format (Extensible Markup Language). You will see it as sitemap.xml on the main website directory. The file basically tells search engines your website structure and the pages on it. This can help the search engines index the right pages on your website. Visit Sitemaps.org for more info or build them at XML-Sitemaps.com.
Robots.txtRobots.txt file instructs search engine crawlers how to crawl the website. You can for example disallow robots from crawling a certain page if you do not want the search engines to index it. Create a robots.txt file from (http://tools.seobook.com/robots-txt/generator/), just insert into notepad and name robots.txt – save on the main directory of your website.
Webmaster Tools (Search Console)https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ Webmaster Tools is an essential for managing your website, from a developers point of view, webmasters and SEO marketers. It gives invaluable data and control over your website and how Google should treat the site. More on Webmaster Tools here https://blog.kissmetrics.com/beginners-guide-to-google-webmaster-tools/ Note: There is also a Bing Webmaster Tools equivalent and the features are very similar.
Google Analyticshttp://www.google.com/analytics/ Google Analytics is a free web analytics software from Google. It is essential for online marketing and SEO purposes. Google analytics allows you to track your website’s traffic, getting important information such as:
- How many people visit my Website?
- Where are they from?
- How did they find you?
- What pages are the most popular?
- What is the conversion rate?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be overwhelming. There are so many guides, blog posts, and tutorials out there, so much information to absorb. I subscribe to the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle). That is, 20% of the effort for 80% of the outcome. This guide is intended to teach you everything you need to know about SEO without overwhelming you with the minor details. I will structure the content of this guide according to the timeline of events that would take place during a Web development / SEO campaign. We will focus entirely on White-Hat techniques and quality SEO so you don’t run the risk of a penalty from Google. Google looks at over 200 factors for ranking your website, a Google top ranking could generate a lot of income for your business, alternatively, you can pay for the rankings with Google Adwords but we will save that for another article.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?Search Engine Optimisation is the process of optimising web pages for the purpose of getting them to rank higher on Search Engines for specific keywords. Getting to the top is largely down to the reputation of the website online and how relevant the pages are to the keywords searched. Nobody can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google, there are techniques and guidelines which can be followed to “manipulate” these rankings and that’s what this guide will try to show. Most of the time, websites get to the top by having a good reputation, whether that reputation came about organically as a result of being a big brand such as Nike, or it could be from clever SEO for a small business. Reputation can be increased by the number of quality web pages that link back to your website, what we refer to as backlinks. The higher quality these web pages are, and the more relevant they are to your site, the more value search engines such as Google will place on it. Be careful with companies who promise a guaranteed no.1 ranking as no one can guarantee this. Having said that, given enough resources, time and money, most companies can get you there or pretty close… most of the time. In short, basic good practice SEO:
- Have good quality content, relevant keywords on the page and a good website structure
- Get other high quality web pages relevant to your site to link back to your page.
- Update your website with fresh content.
Why Search Engine Optimisation?All this effort but why? Google has about 65% of the searches, followed by Bing with 17% and Yahoo at 13%. Those are the top 3 search engines and between them, they will drive the most traffic to your website, for free. Depending on your market, the combined search for your business can be anywhere from hundreds to even millions per month. There couldn’t be a bigger marketing platform for your business.
Who should do Search Engine Optimisation?Having a website online, unless it is a huge brand is a bit like having a shop in the middle of a forest that nobody can find. Anyone looking to get their business, website, content, exposed on the online market should be looking to do some SEO. You can either hire a third party such as an agency or a freelancer, or you can try do it yourself or hire an SEO agency (I recommend this liverpool seo). Hopefully with the help of this guide, you can! Next:
Trust me, it does sound simple…
What is SEO?Getting your Website to rank higher in Search Engines! But How? Give the search engines what they want!
1. Have a very good website (Great content, images, site speed, page titles, headings, URL structure, responsive etc).
2. It’s a popularity contest! Measured by the amount of pages linking to your site and how popular those sites are.So a good Website with lots of backlinks will get you a great ranking, sounds easy?
So.. What is a Good Website?A little bit more complicated… Contain Relevant Keywords But don’t spam the page with irrelevant keywords or unnatural content and it should be in the right places (Title, H1, body etc). Readable by Search Engines Make sure the search engines see what you see, you can see a picture of a dog but a search engine won’t unless you tell it with the “Alt” tag. Add a sitemap, be careful with hiding content behind code and don’t block the crawlers with the robots.txt. Good User Experience Search Engines can tell if your website is useful for users. Website too slow? Users leave before entering. False advertising on meta description? Users leave disappointed. Happy visitors, happy search engines. Mobile Responsive Google will display mobile responsive sites higher than non-mobile responsive for users browsing through mobile. That’s a lot of users!
Quick Example of On-Site SEO!
My Website is Great, How do I become Popular?In short, get Backlinks. Backlinks are other web pages linking back to your site. The more of this you have, the more popular and reputable your site is according to search engines. Example of a backlink?
Wait, it’s also about WHO is linking to you!Just like real life popularity contests, it’s also about who you know. The quality of the website linking to your site matters, a single link from a very popular website to yours could be worth a hundred links from unpopular websites. Sometimes, backlinks from spam websites can even damage your SEO.
How do we find out who is worth getting a link from?My favourite tool is Moz toolbar which is free plugin on Chrome. If you have a subscription you can also use their Moz Opensite Explorer (https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/) . They give the DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) ratings of the page. By no means are they definitive but it is a good guide for determining the quality of a page, the higher the better.
How do you get Backlinks?There are so many ways to get backlinks but here are the basics.
Write a great piece of article, contact sites that would have use for that great article and ask them to link to it. Maybe they are linking to your competitor but your piece is better?
Social Media Marketing
Add and follow friends on social media such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest. If someone finds your article useful, they may use it or share it. Got a great infographic? Post it on Pinterest and ask people to credit you with a backlink if they use it.
Offer to write for authoritative blogs and increase your reputation as well as get backlinks from the articles you write. Write great content for them as you would for your own site.
Join forums/Quora/Yahoo answers etc and leave links to your site by way of author bio or through a link in a post. Only sign up to relevant sites and only leave link if it’s relevant and useful.
Heard of Yell.com, Yelp? There are any online directories to submit your business to, check out our list on Local SEO section.
Using tools like Moz Opensite Explorer we can see our competitors’ backlinks. Study them and see if you can get one too.Now you know the basics, want to read a more in-depth guide? Check out our Complete SEO guide!
One of the many web owner problems last year was getting penalised by Google. This sneaky tactic is commonly referred to as Negative SEO; where people create bad or spammy links to competitor’s website so that whenever Google crawls their website they get penalised. Its a method to get around Google’s success in cleaning the web with spammy link building that hinders spammers to play with the system and get the ranks in their favor so they take out competition with sneaky attacks instead.
So how would you spot an Attack?It is evident that the attack will not be magnanimously seen if you are not an analytics geek who studies the numbers and links going into your website. Sudden spike of links
- – A sudden spike of links usually gets google’s attention and if google finds this links bad the website gets penalized.
- – Usually blogs are common victims to these attacks as links are posted into the blog comments. We call it “comment spamming” and its thorn by the side.
- – With intense scan and audit you will see that a specific keyword will be target for the attack.
Search engine optimisation is an integral part of any business establishing presence online, but for businesses that are more confined to local customers, SEO can be more useful for finding new customers and improving visibility. Search engines like google are constantly updating their algorithms to provide better and useful search results to users. It is vital to understand these systems to ensure that your business is being shown to the right people who are looking and want to buy your products.
Here at Graftene we have compiled best tips on improving your SEO and getting you online presence that you need.
Geo – Specific KeywordsDo not use generic keywords that relate to your products and services. Instead use location-specific keywords and phrases. For example, your a bookkeeper and your deal with clients locally, you could focus on keywords like “Accountants Bournemouth or Bookkeeper Bournemouth” instead of using just “Accountants or Bookkeeper”.
Use local listings like Google, Bing, Yell, Yelp etcGoogle places, yahoo locals, bing and other directories are a big factor in getting your website out into the world wide web. It is vital that your business is listed and NOT lacking in information. These important informations are, contact details -phone, email, address, website link -, map and a photograph of you or your representative and your business office. The more you present yourself as legitimate business the more the customers are safe in conducting business with you in the future.
Client Testimonials and ReviewsAfter your the transaction, encourage your customer to give you feedback and testimony of your service and their experience of their product. It works in many ways, you will be able to show to other customers that what you do is legitimate, the good reviews will be the one to vouch for your products and service and other critical reviews or feedbacks can be a room for improvement. Be Mobile Responsive With the massive flux of smart devices, it is also essential to have a responsive website that can easily be viewed by your customers using their smart devices. More often customers use their devices to book flights, order a product online or do restaurant reservations. Therefore it is also essential to be ready with this change. If customers can find you in local listings but your website is unreadable in devices and or user friend means loss of sales and customers and you don’t want that to happen. Stay ahead and talk to us for an meeting and how we can help you beat the competition.