One of the most important tools in digital marketing is SEO. It doesn’t matter how good your funnel is if your SEO services aren’t bringing in traffic through Google search, or any other search engines. SEO is seen by some as a shot-in-the-dark, mystery-shrouded attempt at appeasing the all-powerful and all-knowing Google and their swirling pool of ranking factors, but we swear that there is a method to the SEO wizard’s madness. An SEO Specialist has a few SEO tactics under their belt to give them a map, albeit a hazy map, outlining their route to #1 in organic search. These tools can fall under 4 general categories or types of SEO. On-Page, Off-Page, Technical, and Local SEO.
As anyone who has put together an SEO strategy knows, many parts have to come together to form a highly ranked website This includes optimising the elements that are present on the actual site’s page. Back in the day, Google’s algorithms would just rank the site on the number of keywords that you spread across the page, however in recent years this algorithm has gotten a whole lot smarter. There are 3 important factors to consider and pay attention to when performing on-page SEO.
Firstly, meta data. One must change the meta description of each page and the meta tags and titles of some elements. Make sure these are not too long otherwise the algorithm will derank your site. These descriptions should be relevant to what the element’s purpose is on the page. These give both Google and the user information about your content.
Secondly, a robust internal linking system on your site is important. These are links leading to your other pages on the site. If these internal links are connected correctly in syntax and context, Google’s crawling bots can index the site more efficiently, and this leads to a better ranking in the long term. This allows your content and information to be found with ease.
Thirdly, keyword research is an important part of forming a good rank with Google’s algorithms. Keyword research is the process of finding keywords and phrases that you wish Google to pick up on when a search is done. This highlights information for Google allowing it to easily pick up on the content being put on. These keywords should be included in the content itself. Even though on-page SEO is an important part of the ranking, it is only one piece of the SEO puzzle.
If On-Page SEO is everything that happens on your site, Off-Page SEO is everything that happens on other sites, mostly involving the practice of link-building. To rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), one not only needs to have good content, but also a good standing in the online community. If others trust your site, so does Google, and this is where link-building comes in. Google judges your authority in the online space by assessing the number of links that your site gets, as well as the quality of these links. If a site has millions and millions of links, but all of them are from spammy or sources irrelevant to your site’s content, that is indicative of black- or grey-hat SEO, and Google will penalise you. (For those who don’t know, black-hat SEO is the name given to SEO that is done through immoral acts, basically an attempt to trick algorithms, whereas white-hat is the “right” way to do SEO according to Google, and grey-hat SEO is somewhere in between) The more links, the better, but only as long as they are from respected and relevant sources.
Link-building includes: Doing research on your competitors to find their target keywords and counteracting their gains by using competition keywords, as well as taking advantage of untapped potentials, building rapport with others in your industry who might drive traffic to your site by giving you backlinks, developing a social media presence to maximise your traffic from sources other than SERPs, and scrubbing toxic backlinks from your site to ensure that you aren’t punished for using black-hat SEO techniques.
Technical SEO is essentially trying to make Google like us by making their job as easy as possible. Crawling the entire internet is not an easy or resource-light job. Google has enormous compounds full of infrastructure just to crawl and index the sites that it finds. Increasing your site’s load speeds, structuring your site correctly, and making every one of your pages mobile-friendly (Google crawls most sites’ mobile versions, as most of the world is now using mobile devices to browse the internet.) allows Google to crawl your site faster and, therefore, use less of its resources on you. This will make it more likely for Google to recrawl your site often, which would increase the likelihood of it discovering changes and improvements on your site. Factors like page speed can also help to improve the user experience on your site, which Google has started to consider more strongly as of late. Other factors like using a secure connection, using the correct markup on pages, and structuring your site correctly can all fall under the umbrella of Technical SEO.
Finally, we have Local SEO. For businesses with brick-and-mortar stores that serve a specific local area, we need to take some extra steps to rank in the area. Google has an entirely separate algorithm for ranking local searches as opposed to normal searches. The Google Local packs and Google My Business are your best friends for local SEO. For these tools, you need good photos, accurate information on your GMB listing, and accurate indicators of geographical location visible to Google and prospective clients. For local queries, Google will not only look at the relevance of your business to the user’s search but also their proximity to you and your prominence in your local online community. One way of creating an online presence in your area is to sponsor local teams and/or events, as well as donate to local charities. Having people in your area posting about your business increases your “local relevance” in Google’s eyes. Another quirk of Google’s local SEO algorithm is that it doesn’t take into account the authority of the sites linking to your page. So it doesn’t matter if it’s Joe’s food review blog with 2 followers or Gordon Ramsay himself. With the same relevance and locality, Google will consider them both equally.
SEO incorporates these 4 different sectors, each of which must be paid attention to to create an optimised website that sees major traffic flow. This is an important part of digital marketing because it allows for exposure to the market enabling a company’s products and services to be easily findable. With the correct amount of attention spent on the on-page SEO and off-page SEO, Google’s algorithms will be able to easily read and index the site making information readily available for users. Technical SEO will make Google like you a little better, which is always a bonus, and finally, Local SEO is an area-specific factor that allows Google to cater specifically to your local area. When these factors are added together, you as the site owner have a well optimised, user- and Google-friendly site that is easily locatable on the internet, and that can drive users towards the rest of your digital marketing efforts.
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