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Whenever someone feels like going on a vacation or buying a new TV or getting a new haircut, what would they do first? They Google it and search for different options they have before making a decision. It is the same for any other product or a service or experience. So, as a business, it is very unlikely that you survive in the longer run, without at least any presence in Google.

In this article, you will get to learn one of the main strategies that businesses can use to build a search engine presence, which is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

What is SEO?

Simply, SEO is a technique that is used to expand the visibility of your website in organic search results. This helps businesses to rank their pages among the top results in the search engine results page (SERP), enabling them to get more visitors to the website and ultimately contributing greatly to the online conversions.

The key to SEO is to have a clear understanding on who your target audience is, what are they looking for online, what are the search phrases they use when searching for products and services and different types of content they are interested in consuming. When you know the answers to these questions, you can accurately and easily decide on how you can connect with your audience by offering solutions.

However, there is another side of SEO, which is the technical aspect of it. You have to make sure that you deliver content to your website in a way that search engine bots or crawlers can easily understand. Because ultimately whether you are eligible to rank in Google or not and the ranking order is decided by search engines.

Why SEO is Important?

When there are many other digital tools and techniques like pay-per-click advertising and social media to bring in traffic to the website, why should someone bother about SEO? One of the main reasons for that is people prefer organic search results over paid ads. In other words, the credibility of organic results are higher and hence records a higher click-through rate. According to Moz, organic search results have 20 times more traffic opportunities than PPC

SEO is not focused on getting short-term results. If you set it up correctly, you will be able to yield its results over time for a long period of time. And also, since SEO involves improving the website in a customer-friendly way, it allows businesses to offer a positive experience to the website visitors, increase the brand value and create a loyal customer base. 

How to Optimise Your Website for SEO?

These are the two main components of SEO. On-site SEO means different things that you do within your website to improve your organic rankings and traffic and off-site SEO means things you do outside of your website.

On-site SEO

01. Content

Content is one of the most important elements of SEO. Whenever someone types a search query on Google, Google tries to deliver the most relevant search results. Google always tries to provide the most suitable content to its users. Therefore your number one priority should be to provide the greatest possible content. 

There are a number of factors that Google considers when they analyse the content of a website such as;

Keywords: Doing a comprehensive keyword research and selecting the most suitable keywords for each of the pages of your website is a crucial part of providing great content. Once you have selected the keywords, make sure you include them in the headline and throughout the content. Don’t hesitate to spend a significant amount of time on this, because Google identifies the keywords that you optimise your website for and rank for those specific keywords.

However, you should be careful on how to use the keywords when optimising the website. If you try to stuff as many keywords as possible in your content, thinking that it will help you to improve the rankings of your website, you do more harm than good. If Google identifies that you have stuffed too many keywords, your website might get penalised. But make sure that you have included keywords in all the important places such as headline, meta tag and the URL.

Quality: Providing quality content that matches the requirements of the target audience can also appeal to search engine crawlers. Developing great content consumes time and effort. However, you can always benchmark good content published by other websites, when writing articles.

The originality of content: This is also an important factor when it comes to SEO-friendly content. You have to make sure that your content is original and not copied directly from any other websites or online sources. If Google identifies plagiarised or duplicate content, there is a risk of your website being penalised.

02. HTML

Once you have finished writing SEO-friendly content, the next step would be to take care of its HTML. There are 4 main elements of HTML that you should optimise for each web page.

Title tags: A title tag is an HTML element that states the title of the web page. In search engine results pages, title tags appear as the blue clickable links that direct visitors to your website.

Title Tag

Meta description: Meta description is an HTML element that gives out a summary of the web page. This appears as the excerpt when Google displays your web page in the search engine results page.

Meta Description

H1 tags: H1 tags act as the heading of the content of a specific page. This does not only help readers to get a clear understanding on what the web page is about, but affects the SEO as well.

03. Architecture of the website

Simply website architecture means the structure of the website that organises and delivers the content. Among all the SEO elements that we have discussed so far, this is the most technical. A good website architecture ensures that users get to experience a smooth journey and can be easily navigated throughout the website.

Some of the best practices for SEO friendly website architecture are;

Make sure the website is user friendly

User-friendliness is one of the main factors that search engines consider when analysing the architecture of a website. Make sure you provide a good experience to the users by providing accurate information that they are looking for in a smooth way. Some of the ways that you can make your website a user-friendly one are,

  • Clear and easy navigation
  • Minimum load time
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Make sure your website is a secure website (HTTPS protocol)

SEO friendly URL structure

SEO-friendly URLs tend to be short and keyword-rich. Just like meta tags and H1 tags, search engines use URLs to understand what your content is about.

  • Keep the URLs short
  • Use lowercase words
  • Connect words with hyphens
  • Try to add keywords to the URL
  • Don’t keep spaces in between words
  • Don’t use unsafe characters (“<>#%{}|^~[])

Use a sitemap

Simply a sitemap is a list of website URLs. An XML sitemap allows search engine crawlers to find your web pages easily. Sitemaps also inform search engines when a page of the website is updated, the frequency of the page updates and the relative importance of each page. This enables your website to get indexed faster in Google.

     

    Off-site SEO

    Off-site SEO mainly involves the perception of others about your website. Google takes into consideration many off-site factors when ranking the web pages. Some of the main types of off-site SEO techniques are,

    01. Backlinks

    Backlinks act as the most important factor of off-site SEO. Search engines use backlinks to measure the value of your website. Therefore, a site with a higher number of high-value backlinks will usually rank higher in search engine results.

    There are 3 main types of links,

    Natural links: These are the editorially given links to you by other websites. This is the fastest and the best way to earn backlinks. But not everyone can earn natural links unless you are really good at what you are doing.

    Manual links: This is one of the most common types of link-building methods. This involves manually contacting other websites and bloggers and asking them to link your website in their content.

    Self-created links: These types of links are created by activities such as adding a backlink in a third-party blog, an online directory, forum etc.

    There are a lot of link related off-site factors:

    • The number of linking domains: The number of domains  linking to your website is one of the most important ranking factors
    • Quality of the links/ link authority: Different links have different values. More value is passed to your website when the “authority” of the linking domain is higher. There are different tools that you can use to identify the authority of websites. Some of them are Moz, Semrush and ahrefs.
    • dofollow vs. nofollow links: we discussed earlier that when we get a link from a high authority website, a value is passed to our site through the link. But if that website has added a “nofollow” tag to their website, the value is not passed through the link.
    • Anchor text: Anchor text refers to the clickable text used in web pages to link one page to another. 

    02. Local SEO

    Two of the main local SEO tools are Google My Business and citations.

    Google My Business: This is a free business platform by Google. You have to optimise the Google My Business page in order to get ranked in the Google map pack for queries with local search intent.

    Citations: A citation is like a business listing where all your business details are mentioned including the business name, address and phone number. One of the main ways to get successful with citations is to be consistent.

    03. Content Marketing

    When we think about content marketing, we often think of on-site SEO. But we can engage in content marketing outside of our website too. Blog posts, forums and infographics are some of the main off-site content marketing techniques.

    04. Social media

    Social media is not a direct ranking factor that is considered by Google. However, there is no doubt that social signals have a huge indirect impact on rankings because social shares enable businesses to gain more eyeballs on your content that ultimately leads to more links and mentions. 

    05. Reviews

    The online reputation of a business is very important today more than ever. It is found that more than 90% of people are impacted by online reviews when they are making purchase decisions.

     

    Conclusion

    We hope that you were able to understand the importance of SEO after reading this article. You might feel it is a lot of time and effort. But trust us, you will not regret the commitment. If you need any help along the process, we at DigiFix are here to help.

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