Since digital marketing is becoming really appreciated by all types of business-holders. Nowadays because of the potentials, it holds within itself, the ideologies or strategies that are relevant or a part of digital marketing are kinds of becoming popular as well. This is actually how I myself got to know about what SEO is, which is a mandatory part of digital marketing nowadays.
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a really significant part of digital marketing. The significance is so great that we cannot even think of doing digital marketing without being highly capable of maintaining stuff that is related to Search Engine Optimisation.
1. What is SEO
So some people have heard about Search Engine Optimisation, some may have not. Whatever the case is, let’s just put a Wikipedia definition here. So, according to Wikipedia, SEO refers to the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engine’s unpaid result.
I know that this definition did not really help you to understand what exactly Search Engine Optimisation refers to. You might have some questions regarding issues like how exactly are you going to optimise the search engine for your site or your company’s website or how to know how much time one should spend on the Search Engine Optimisation process. And assuming that you already know there are two types of Search Engine Optimisation process, called the good and the bad Search Engine Optimisation, how can one determine what type of Search Engine Optimisation is going to help you for your case of digital marketing.
I am here to give you all some guidance over this issue but before moving on, at first, let’s get to know why exactly we should hear about Search Engine Optimisation.
Why Should We Care About Search Engine Optimization
There was a time when a person would take his dog or simply would just roam around walking down the road. So, when you are launching a new product from your brand, you would try to put a billboard on that area so that you could capture the attention of that person and also some of the others’ as well.
When people would notice that there was a new billboard out there in the locality that is promoting a totally new kind of product line, of course, at least some of them would find it really interesting and thus the branding and marketing of your company would happen. This is the traditional way of doing stuff.
Now imagine that you are living in the 21st century (which you actually do). What do you think about implementing the same strategy of promoting that new kind of product line now? Do you think that is going to work very effectively, considering the facts that people have hugely changed their overall lifestyles to a great extent and also technology has transformed the systems of everything a lot too?
Let me add some perspective here. Since we all have our smartphones that mostly have an internet connection, there is no denying the fact that, on average, we spend a great amount of time with that.
Normally, a person would have been interested to go outside and have some fresh air to get himself/herself rid of monotony from work pressure but situations are not the same anymore. Now, that same person, when he is going to have some break in his/her work, he is going to check the Facebook or Instagram account. Going outside is not that much of an interesting choice to people right now.
So you know that the people who are your target are not going to visit outside, so of course, you would not want to spend money meaninglessly by hiring billboards outside, which is not going to be seen by your target audience. What do you do now?
Pretty simple, you intrude into where these people are staying, where your audience or consumers are staying, and that place is nothing but the internet. The virtual world is the new platform where you have got to market your product, preach your ideas and get the attention of your audience. The virtual world is the world where you should make it easier for people to find you out. And the virtual world is the world where digital marketing is usually being done.
What Actually Works for Driving Traffic for Search Engines
The important thing that we need to keep in mind is the fact that Google is one of the most significant players in this situation. Even though there are some other search engines as well and some people use those ones for searching stuff online, ultimately the way these search engines works are pretty much not very different from one another and if you can gain some in-depth insights about google and how to make it possible to rank your website or its contents in the search engine result page of google when someone is using a keyword related to that particular content of your site to look up something, you are actually okay to perform well for the other search engines too. So lets at first get to know about the biggest player here, Google.
Now obviously we have questions. We don’t know how Google determines which page to return in response to what people search for. We don’t know how we can manage to get all the valuable traffic to your site since, without them, there is actually no use of whatever we do.
In response to these queries, first of all, it’s really mandatory to get the fact that the ways or algorithms Google use for these activities are really, really complex stuff so don’t expect to get to know all of them overnight. To be able to perform according to these algorithms to optimize the search engine result pages, of course, you are going to want to spend quite a huge amount of time on it. In case this is not something very interesting to you, then there are professionals as well, who are particularly proficient in these subjects. So just keep yourself away from these hassles and hire them.
However, I would like to mention some of the very important issues that google itself consider as critical. First of all, it’s all about content. When a person has a query about something and that person is letting Google know about the query by inputting the keywords in the search bar.
Now, when Google gets to know about its users’ query, it’s now going to look for websites that contain high-quality, relevant information about the query. In such a situation, if you are intelligent enough, you should get it in the meantime that it’s really foolish to expect that Google is going to show your irrelevant, useless contents to the searcher, you already know that there are not competitors like hundreds or thousands, but millions of other websites that might contain very useful information. Only if you can assure that you are one of those participants on this competition who can actually provide useful content, then there might be a possibility of your website showing up in the high ranking of the search engine result pages.
Google, before presenting your website’s content to the searcher, is going to go through by itself at first algorithmically, and evaluate it. Most of the time, it’s going to do it by calculating how many keywords it has within it.
The means by which Google is going to determine the quality of your content provided in the websites are lots in number. For instance, we might talk about the one with the links that are attached to your website or contents. If the relevant links that you share are really the ones that have been already visited by a lot of people or the ones that are hardly shared by other prominent websites like CNN or Forbes, then there’s a high chance of your website being considered by Google as not so much worthy of being shown in the first page of the search engine result pages. On the other hand, if you could manage to provide links that are quite visited by numerous people, then you will likely be more trusted by Google and that’s what your target is.
The criteria don’t end here, there are few more important aspects. For example, one thing that really matters is how people interact with your website. If the case is like people click on the link, enter but leave immediately, then it’s natural for Google to assume that the visitor was not really satisfied with your site, either you used a deceptive SEO title and meta description, or people just don’t find your content productive or useful enough. The case worsens when it’s like people don’t even bother to click on the link. In these situations, you are really unfortunate, you should try your best to get rid of it. On the other hand, being capable enough to persuade the visitors of your website to stay a longer amount of time in your website or getting more and more clicks will ensure that next time some other person is going to look up relevant keywords, Google will put your website in the top ranking. Another thing is your website should be mobile friendly and the loading speed should be faster as well.
There are literally thousands of other similar factors that Google consider while deciding which website to put first in the search engine result page. Of course, this is not possible to include each and every one of them in this writing and in fact, not all of them do really matter equally. In a real-life situation, if you are intelligent enough, once you start spending some time on it and work, eventually you yourself can figure out which factors are the most important ones and which ones are not that much significant to consider. Also, there are always professionals and you can certainly seek help from them as well (don’t forget to pay them though).
2. Keyword Research and Keyword Targeting Best Practices
We are talking about search engine optimization but what exactly are we going to optimize?
Well, it’s nothing other than the terms people are searching for which are known usually as keywords and identifying them which ones are the most effective enough to let us rank in the search engines like Google. Here are a few key factors to analyze to target on your site:
- Search Volume: The first thing is to find out how many people are searching for a particular keyword. If a huge number of people are searching for a specific keyword then it’s pretty clear that by using that keyword in the content or in the SEO title, meta descriptions, it might be possible to secure a place in the top ranking of search engine result pages. On the other hand, if we cannot figure out which keywords are used by most of the users, then we might end up focusing on keywords that are used by no one, and thus there will hardly be any visitor in our website.
- The next thing is relevance. While choosing the keywords, even though it’s too difficult to point out the exact keyword used by many people, try to maintain relevance as much as possible while choosing the keywords though.
- Just like in each and every other business, while we are dealing with SEO, we need to find out beforehand what are the potential costs, risks and competitions are out there to put a challenge for us. Especially, understanding the relative competition in the scenario is very important. At first, don’t forget to focus on who your prospective customers are. You try to comprehend various issues like, what types of things they are interested in, what are the problems they are facing, what are their language preferences to express their thoughts, ideas, or to use different tools, who are the other suppliers from whom they are buying stuff as well. By the time you have made a quality research over these issues, most likely you will have a list of possible keywords that these people are mostly going to use, also, you might have the opportunity to put some search volume and competition metrics around. Now that you have this list, it’s time to input it in some technological tools like Google’s own keyword tool. There are lots of other tools prevailing out there but the point is by doing this initial step, you’ll run a number of searches with a variety of different keywords tools. In case you already have a website of your own, you must be getting at least some traffic from search engines already. In that situation, you are suggested to go through the data that you have right now regarding your keyword and try to understand which specific terms are driving traffic and thus it might be possible for you to rank a bit better. It’s unfortunate for us that Google does not deliver a lot of information anymore regarding what people are searching for more, to the analytics provider anymore. But then again, there are some other tools as well, like, SEMRush or SpyFu, that might be handy to get a sense of which terms are contributing more to rank higher and their estimated search volume. So, after you have a basic idea about how your prospects talk and what they search for, the keywords driving traffic to your competitors and related sites, the terms driving traffic to your own site, now’s the time to which terms you conceivable rank for and where the best opportunities actually lie. As already mentioned, like the other stuff, determining the relative competition of a keyword is an extremely complex task. At a very high level, you have to have a look at some other perspectives. For example, don’t forget to determine how trusted and authoritative or how many links does the whole site get and how high quality, trusted and relevant those links are. How well aligned those are with the keywords itself. How popular and authoritative each individual page is in the search engine result pages.
3. On-Page Optimization
So till now, you have achieved a list of keywords that are highly effective and valuable. The next step should be actually implementing these keywords in utilization, that is, putting targeted keywords into the site’s content. All the pages that are going to be on your site should focus on a core term which will be really appreciated in all the circumstances. Apart from that, there will be a collection of some other keywords as well, and this bunch of keywords will receive secondary attention from you. You will have to try to make a combination of both of these types of keywords and implement them in the contents of your website. Here are some critical and basic on-page elements about which you should have a clear concept to understand how to be more capable of attaining traffic for your website.
- We know that Google tries its best to understand the actual meaning of the page and de-emphasize the aggressive and manipulative use of keywords to deceptively attain traffic for the sites, however, we should not forget that the most impactful place where you should want to put your keyword is nothing other than the title tag.the title tag is not the primary headline of the page though. The headline that we see on the page is typically an H1 or possibly an H2 HTML element. What we can see at the very top of the browser is basically the title tag and is populated by the page’s source code in a meta tag. From Google, we might see a variety of title tags but the rule of thumb is to keep the number of characters within 55-60. We have to keep in consideration that a title tag is what a searcher is going to see in the search results of a page. Since it’s the headline in organic search results, so we better keep it under consideration as to how clickable our title tag is.
- Meta Descriptions: A meta description is another meta HTML element that can be updated in our site’s code but is not seen on the actual page or content. While we know that the title tag is effectively the search listing’s headline, the meta description is effectively the site’s additional ad copy. Since it particularly depends on Google what amount of meta description it’s going to show to the searchers, there’s a possibility that the whole portion of the meta description might not be shown in the search engine result pages. However, we should also keep in mind that the more compelling the meta description is going to be, the more likely people will be to visit the page of our site. We better not forget that only making it possible to show up in the search engine result pages is not our one and only liability, we have to actually persuade the users to click on the link and then visit it.
- Body Content: Body content is absolutely one of the major areas on which we need to put our concentration. Unless there are information or stuff that actually matter, people are not going to stay on your site for a long time, rather, they are going to get out of your page just after clicking and of course, that thing is going to be supervised by Google itself and there will be some obvious aftereffects of it. So you should try to create very much quality content and only then put it on your website if you don’t want to face extra hassle.
- Alt Attributes: An alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you to provide alternative information for an image if a user has some difficulty to view it. The images that we attach with the content in the website might break over time, the file might get deleted or the users themselves might have some problems getting connected. So in those situations, even if the users cannot visualize the images there, it would be great if they could at least read some descriptions of those images that’s why to satisfy them we should better provide these alt attributes as much as possible.
- URL Structure: Crafting the URL structure with carefulness is important. There are basically two perspectives from which we might want to consider it: first of all, from the tracking perspective to more easily segment data and then, to ensure shareability. The shorter and the simpler the URL is going to be, the fewer chances there are to be cut off while doing copy-paste.
4. Information Architecture and Internal Link
Information architecture simply means how you are designing the layout of the website, that is, which page is going to show up after which one, or, how these pages are going to be interlinked with one another. The way you take care of these issues might impact the visitors of your site actually, so at first, try to have some insight how these visitors prefer to see your site in which way and then get to start working on that. Information architecture is really a type of complex thing, of course, lots of things are needed to keep under consideration, such as, wanting to understand the most linked-to pages, for that you might want to use resources like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, Moz etc., keeping the most important search pages high-up in your information architecture, meaning linking to them often in navigation elements and linking to them whenever possible from your most linked-to pages, generally wanting to have a flat information architecture for the site, meaning that you keep any pages that you want to have ranked in search engines with as few clicks as possible from the home page.
5. Content Marketing and Link Building
The reason that Google’s algorithm is still largely based on links, to drive traffic to your site, you will obviously be needing some high-quality links to your site. Even if you are done with all the activities related to your on-page SEO and technical SEO, if you are not focused on the issues of having links to your site, there is a high chance of your failure to show up in the search engine result pages.
there are lots of ways to have links to your pages, but not all of them are going to work very effectively for you all the time. Do remember that Google and other search engines are getting more and more sophisticated day by day so even if some of the tactics might be handy for short term results, is it that much necessary to remind you that short cut techniques always have some costs to pay? So you better try to make your business sustainable and continue reading to get some insights about how to effectively have links to your site to get additional traffic.
So, apart from the aggressive and risky way to get traffic and links, there are sustainable approaches to attain them. For example, we can simply consider having more and more quality content that we want to rank higher. We can focus on traditional marketing strategies and traditional PR approaches as well. The process of creating and promoting content that is going to get you links and social shares is naturally a labour-intensive one. You will find lots of guidelines and step by step procedures to execute various types of strategies to create valuable content, reach out to people to help them discover your content and finally rank higher in the search results. However, all these ways might be kept under three main guidelines.
First of all, find the right type of audience who might have the chance to link to and share your content. Not only to identify, you have to understand them as well, which is their thinking process and how exactly are they going to react to certain situations. In the way of finding the right influencer to share your content, BuzSumo is something that is expected to help you in this scenario, since lots of people have said that this handy tool satisfied their necessity. There are some other tools as well, like, FollowerWonk, Little Bird and Ahrefs. The reason why you will make use of these tools is basically to identify the thought leaders and potential linkers in your space and understand what they share and link to. You might also have to spend some time of yours finding out what their problems are, typically what kind of contents are preferred by them to share. After that, now obviously your next task should be to prioritize their preference and then start creating content according to it. Also, you can do something extra while you are doing these things. Since you are ultimately trying to connect with the influencers to persuade them to share your contents, in exchange, you can offer them what they might need for their own good. Try to help them to achieve their own goal, don’t just seek help from them without giving them something as a reward. There’s a chance that this kind of approach is going to make them feel more interested in you and put more effort into sharing your content. Apart from these, determine what kind of content you can create and what are the other ways to promote it. While doing these, you might want to consider what are the problems of the customers and how can content be created to help them. Make others look good too, highlight the tools that you use every day. You have got to map your assets to specific keywords.
6. Common Technical SEO Issues and Best Practices
If the site is too big and too complex, in that case, the technical SEO for it is something that has its own discipline. However, there are some few cases, where the mistakes made by lots of people have some common factors and it seems like having some knowledge over those mistakes is not going to be useless for you. Let’s get to know them for our own betterment. The first thing is the page speed. Nowadays, all the search engines are putting a huge amount of significance on the speed of your page loading. It’s because this is not beneficial only for the people or the visitors of several websites but also for the search engines themselves as well. Even Google has its own tools to make you recognize some strategies and tactics to make your website be faster to load. Then comes the issue of mobile-friendliness. Since the majority of people actually use mobile phones for online surfing, don’t overlook the fact that how mobile-friendly your website is. If it’s not that much of it, then don’t waste your time sitting there, get started to work on it, remember that this issue is getting more significant day by day. Also, Google already found an algorithm to deal with these types of issues so keep that thing in mind. The next issue is header response. Header response code is a very important SEO issue. This is actually going to be a little bit difficult for you to go through if you are new to technical stuff, but keep reading it so that you can have at least a basic idea. You always have to try to make sure that working pages are returning the correct code to search engines. Getting these codes wrong can indicate to Google and other search engines that a page like “Page Not Found” is a functioning page, which is totally wrong, and also this is going to make it look like a thin or duplicated page or even worse. The solution to these kinds of difficulties is like using a server header checker to see the status codes that your pages are returning when search engines crawl them. Now what we are going to discuss is the issue of redirects. Improperly implementing redirects on your site can have a serious impact on search results. Apart from that don’t forget to refrain yourself from producing duplicate contents. Duplicate contents refer to contents that are basically representing the same topics and ideas and there are lots of similarities that are not really preferred by the readers and also not by Google as well. Other webpages where contents are concentrated in singular pages are going to be prioritized by Google before you if your contents are spread over lots of pages instead of one or two. Remember that having large quantities of duplicated contents makes your site look like it is cluttered with lower quality and also sometimes., manipulative contents in the eyes of the search engines. Lastly, about the XML sitemap, something can be told. It’s nothing but a tool that helps Google and Bing understand and find your webpage and all of its contents.
7. How to Track and Measure SEO Results
It’s very normal that creating exclusive contents for your site or maintaining the SEO activities working effectively is not going to be your one and only job. You also have to continuously look after what is happening out there, supervising what are the outcomes of your tremendous effort and if there are some issues that are not being in line according to your expectation, in those cases, you might have to reconsider your tactics and discover new ways of doing those activities as well. The thing is, you cannot have complete rest once you are done with the technical and creative stuff, after that comes the responsibility of tracking and measuring and monitoring. So do remember that web-based analytics are always not going to be hundred per cent perfection, your system itself might create gaps sometimes and attribution and lifetime values can sometimes be tricky.
8. Additional SEO Considerations
For most of the businesses out there, getting the technical aspects of SEO right, understanding the keywords you want to target and having perfect strategies to get your site’s pages linked and shared are the stuff on which you have got to acquire some ideas. But in case you are a little bit more interested about these issues and would like to have some extra knowledge on these to gain plus points for your business in the future, then let’s get to know some specific cases. For example, there are international SEOs, local SEOs and app store search engines.
The world is changing very, very fast. So it’s really important for you to get yourself ready for it. We have already discussed how some extra knowledge on SEO and its valuable aspects can help you gain some privileges in the current citation. It is hoped that the issues discussed here were helpful for the readers. Acknowledging the significance of SEO in the present days, we should all try to acquire as many insights as possible and then apply them in our business situations to make it possible to develop and prosper in future.