“Just Google It” is a phrase that has entered our everyday conversation.
We search Google 3.5 billion times per day.
Over 2/3 of buyers user search when making a purchase decision. Often at the beginning of the process.
If you’re not there you WILL be losing out on business.
Having a website is the first step. Next is increasing your online visibility. Doing this requires SEO.
In fact, you need to understand the principles of SEO even if you are hiring an online marketing company to do this task for you.
The good news?
In little ole’ NZ it’s relatively easy to get your site ranking well on Google. Unless your in a highly competition category then following some basic steps can improve your rankings dramatically.
Higher rankings = better visibility = more enquiries
How does it work? How can SEO raise your online presence and give you an edge over your competitors?
These are common questions that come to mind when you hear the word SEO. There are tons of resources about it on the Internet. It is literally an endless rabbit hole you can fall into.
The web is full of clutter and you need to distinguish fact from fiction. In addition, you want a simplified guide about SEO so you can easily learn some tactics to use on your website.
What is the significance of SEO to your business?
Search Engine Optimisation is a tactic you can use to increasing your business website’s ranking. You can have the opportunity to rank on Google search’ first page if you know how to use this well.
Remember that you are up against a sea of websites. Your awesome content will remain invisible (no matter how valuable they are) if you do not employ the basics of SEO. You are practically non-existent if you are not on top of serps (search engine page results).
Though you need to understand, conducting an SEO campaign is not that simple. The web being in constant flux, Google has evolved since then. Its algorithm favours quality content over the spammy noise.
The name of the game today is earning Google’s “trust”. Proving yourself over time is the key. Though some can break the code, gone are the days when you can rank for a particular search term in just a matter of weeks. It is nearly next to impossible to manipulate the serps.
The Rise of the Three Algorithms
The Google Panda, Penguin and Pigeon are algorithms or formulas used by the search results for ranking sites. These algorithms will impose sanctions and penalise sites that fail to follow their guidelines.
The most common requirement these days is to have high quality and unique content on your site. We don’t discount the fact that having a website with exceptional user experience is always a factor in Google search rankings.
If you do not want to fall into Google’s bad graces, stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines. Usually, the updates are reported by the entire SEO community and discussed in several online forums.
If you want to know the latest on Google’s algorithm, check out Moz’ updates.
Creating high quality content starts with good keyword research. This task will help you pinpoint the most ideal keyword/s for your content writing and optimisation efforts.
Note that the shorter the keyword/s, the harder it will be for you to rank it on serps. More so if your site is still new. It is advisable to target long-tail keywords as they are less competitive and far easier to rank.
How to find the right Long-Tail Keywords
You can find an ideal long-tail keyword through Google’s autosuggest feature. To use this, do the following:
- Navigate to a search page for your country and type a keyword.
- As you type the keyword, you will notice a drop-down box with some suggestions. Once you see the keyword suggestions, jot down all the keywords that you think is relevant to your content.
- Choose at least 3 to 5 of the most suitable keywords you find in the autosuggest and head over to Google keyword planner. You can easily find this keyword tool by going to this link: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. It is advisable to create a Gmail account, so you can readily access the keyword planner without having to enter the Captcha code every time you use this tool. The keyword planner will provide you the following data:
- Level of advertiser competition on your selected keywords
- Amount of searches each keyword gets per month
- Additional long-term keywords
An attractive primary keyword must have considerable average monthly searches. This is the average number of times people search for an exact match keyword based on their current location.
In Adwords tool, there is a column called competition. Each keyword is categorised as low, medium or high competition. Ignore that column because that is for advertisers and not search competition .
High competition keywords are usually more challenging to rank for in Google. Keep in mind that finding this type of keyword can take time, so be patient and conduct an in-depth search using the tool.
If you find Google’s Keyword Planner vexing, there are free keyword research tools out there. Try out Ubersuggest, SpyFu, SemRush, or all of them.
- When you have completed your analysis, choose a primary keyword that you will use on your content. However, make sure that you have spent some time in analysing the keyword. It should be a keyword that you can compete for on the SERPs.
Creating and optimising your content
When you are creating content for your website, you must ensure that you meet the baseline specifications for a good optimised content. These specifications are as follows:
- It must have one primary keyword and one or two secondary keywords
- If it is an article or blog post, it should contain 500 words but a 1000-word article is recommended
- It must be unique, well-researched and provide value to your readers
Another thing to consider is the on-page optimisation of the post within your site. Make sure that the primary keyword is in:
- The page at least once
- The title of the content
- The URL of the page
- The meta description
- The alt title of image that you will use in the content
Now, what about the keyword density (KD)? Is it still relevant in 2015?
Most SEO specialists will tell you that 2% is the ideal KD; Others will justify that 5% has more weight in the eyes of the SERPs. In reality, it all comes down to the amount of content on the page.
A 100-word article with a 6% keyword density will look spammy. For a 1000-word article, it is the ideal density for good rankings. The most important thing is that, it should be used in the most natural way as possible.
If you are using the WordPress platform, you can install an SEO plugin to make your job easier. You can use Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. It is free and contains several features that can aid your on-page optimisation efforts.
Quality Link Building
Moving your rankings up on search results require quality links. A word of caution, it is harder to rank highly for a particular keyword if you are competing against sites that have more quality links than yours.
Why is this? Links are the currency of the web. Every time your content gets linked to, it means that you provide massive value to Internet users. It is why links are such a strong factor in Google’s algorithm.
How to acquire quality links?
The general rule when it comes to link building is to avoid “spam tactics.”
Here are a few dos and don’ts to follow.
- Do try to acquire links naturally, even if it takes time.
- Do build your links consistently and organically, which means you should schedule your link building efforts and follow it by heart.
- Do not use link farms or link directories in your campaign.
- Do not use any automated tools that lets you build thousands of links in just a short period of time.
- Do not be tempted to buy links or you will be flagged by Google. All your efforts will be for nothing if you get too impatient.
Where to get the link naturally?
To get quality links for your site, you can follow these link building strategies:
- Guest Posting
What about Google Penguin 3.0 which is geared to penalised manipulative link building or link schemes? Guest posting is considered by Google as a link scheme. Matt Cutts openly declared it as dead.
Can you still consider it in your campaign?
Yes you can, if you use no follow links.
It is still the best way to acquire referral traffic from popular and relevant websites. Try to focus on creating quality content since you are reaching out to other website owners. Having quality content increases your chances of getting into high-authority and credible site.
- Link Baiting
This is another effective method of building powerful links on a large scale. Is it as simple as producing valuable content? No, but you hit the right spot if you understand what people want.
To start off though, it must be free and shareable. It must be so valuable that people would be willing to share it.
There are different types of link bait and this can include the following:
- Beginner guides
- Breaking News
- Industry reports
- How to guides
- Top lists
- Article Directories
Article submission is one of the most popular ways of building back links then. This is still useful as most article directories are authority sites. You can focus on creating multiple quality and unique articles and spread them out to different directories for best result.
- Broken Link Building
This is a new but powerful effective link building strategy. With this strategy, you can reach out to quality sites and use it as an opportunity to ask the site administrator to fix those broken links with a link to your site.
- Video Link Building
YouTube is surpassing Google search in terms of monthly searches. If you want to capture visitors from YouTube, create a compelling video with a link on the description that points back to your site. Make sure that the video and your description are related. Also, it does not need to be a long; a 3 to 10-minute video will do with useful information about your topic.
Tools to Assess Your SEO Campaigns
To get the result of your current campaign, you can utilise free online tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Once you created a Gmail account, you can use it to access these tools.
We have made a step-by-step guide for you. Showing you how to setup Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. These are essential in tracking your goals and showing progress in your SEO efforts.