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Do you feel lost when it comes to SEO?  We'll give you more clarification and understanding of SEO and how it works for your brand.

SEO has been around for a while now; however there are still many businesses that do not include it in their marketing budgets. When you consider that Google gets over 100 billion searches a month you’d be crazy not to be utilizing this strategy online to help your business get found and for you to position yourself effectively against your competitors.

Many small business owners still feel in the dark about how SEO works and words such as off-page SEO and on-page SEO, as well as technical sayings like “click through rate”, “ranking” or “organic SEO” compared to “Pay per Click” and “White-hat SEO” versus “Black-hat SEO” can leave them feeling lost.

So let’s break it down for you in the hopes to give you more clarification and understanding of SEO and how it works and most importantly how it can be of benefit to your business.

1. SEO is used to increase traffic to your website

In the most basic format SEO looks at driving traffic to your website. With more traffic you have more of a chance to be found online and to convert visitors into customers. There are a number of strategies that get utilized to achieve this goal.

Firstly you want your website to be super-fast, so cut down any unnecessary information and reduce the size of images to help load your site faster. Your customer will love you for it.

Secondly, make sure your site is mobile friendly. Sadly there are still many businesses out there that do not have a responsive site. Google has said they will prioritize mobile friendly sites and your customers are using mobile more and more to search for businesses online.

Thirdly, use long-tail keywords which can be useful to draw high-traffic to your website. Narrow down the needs of your customer to help you come up with these descriptive keywords.

Another strategy is to produce high-quality content. Provide error free, well researched content enabling you to provide visitors with quality over quantity.

Backlinks will always be essential to driving traffic to your website, however like providing quality content you also want to build quality backlinks with content marketing to help boost your organic rankings.

Voice search is rising in popularity, so jump on board and make sure you optimize your website content with conversational keywords to make the best use of the voice search option.

Security is an issue online, so possibly look at switching your website to https to safeguard connections and information on your website. Search engines also prefer secure sites.

Utilize social media and share useful content, which can gain your audience’s attention and would eventually increase your chance of gaining more quality links.

Google might be king, but don’t forget other search engines like Yahoo and Bing. Attract customer by incorporating other search engines into your SEO plan.

User experience could be considered the new SEO. Enhance your customer experience by providing them thorough assistance online and enhance your SEO ranking at the same time.

2. Use SEO to build brand awareness and visibility

Creating buzz is what brand awareness has always been about. The manner and techniques used in which we create this buzz today is what has changed. The arena is now online across multiple platforms and the internet now plays a big part in you creating brand awareness and increasing your visibility to multiple audiences.

This is what SEO is all about and is one of the best ways to give your brand a boost in the search engines. But, you have to be doing it right to reap the benefits.

In the eyes of the consumer, high search engine rankings make you more credible. Realistically this is not necessarily true, but perception matters and achieving the top spots, which is position 1 – 5 on page 1 in the search engines for major keywords in your industry is the best way to bring your company to the front of people’s minds.

Did you know that the first position on Google search results on desktop has a 34.36% click through rate and 31.35% on mobile?

It takes time to build awareness with SEO and many factors can affect your results, especially if your industry is saturated. The most important thing to remember is that it all begins with the selection of keywords you use in your campaign. Try to build your campaign around a variety of keywords, which in turn enables you to build awareness in a variety of ways. Make sure to include local search options, as well as brand-specific search phrases.

It is also important to track and assess the impact of any SEO strategy that you incorporate to promote brand awareness. To do this make sure your site has analytic codes for each of the search engines you are targeting, especially Google. You can then log into your account and look at your traffic and engagement to obtain a good idea of how they strategy has impacted on your website and brand.

There are a number of factors that can affect your brand awareness including how well your website content is written, the design and user friendliness of your site and if the right people aka your target audience is finding your business through the search engines. SEO is one strategy of many that you should be incorporating when it comes to promoting your brand online.

3. High rankings help provide credibility

According to ContentPlus, a UK-based content marketing agency, blogs provide websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links, which ultimately means, indexed pages and links convert into higher credibility and search rankings. So the benefits of blogging as related to credibility and SEO are pretty much undisputed, however there are a number of other techniques you can use to help build credibility online.

a) We have mentioned this before and we will say it again – YOU NEED TO BE RESPONSIVE. According to Google, at least 41% of people searching on mobile will jump over to a competitor’s site if they have bad mobile experience on your website. In late 2014, Google began adding a mobile SERPs label to indicate that a website is mobile friendly. The idea is to help mobile users have a better user experience and if they do, your credibility increases online. Google will continue to further expand its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in conjunction with its mobile-friendly label. So if you want to increase your credibility – make sure you site is mobile across multiple platforms.
b) Check that you don’t have any spam links on your website. Nobody likes spam, especially Google. If you have a bunch of questionable inbound links to your website, your credibility will suffer. You can use Google’s Webmaster Tools to check who’s linking to your site and review the list for any links that may go against Google’s linking guidelines. If you find any, contact the site owner and request they remove the link or add a rel=”nofollow” attribute to it. If you are unable to remove any of the links you can use the disavow links tool in Google's Webmaster Tools.
c) Keywords are far to an important factor in SEO to wing it, so do the research to see what people are searching for in terms of what your company offers and make sure you incorporate them into your SEO strategy, including your on-page content and in your social media posts. Ideally when researching, look for relevant keywords to your business that has a high search volume but low competition.
d) Actively participating with your social media pages can increase the volume of traffic to your website, which is a key factor for search engine ranking. For instance, back in February 2015 Twitter announced that it would be working with Google to make tweets more searchable online, which means now your tweets help you with your credibility in Google search. So, make sure you are incorporating those keywords in your posts.

For customers, if your business is well ranked on search engines, and in particular on Google, you have achieved relevant popularity, so in your customers mind, your website will also be relevant.

You should also be aware that more than 80% of web users skip the paid ads and focus only on organic search results. This means, high rankings in organic SEO will make you more trustworthy in the eyes of your potential customer, and let’s face it we are all looking for new customers. It is definitely a challenge for businesses these days, but with a little bit of credibility you will be able to increase your customer portfolio much more easily. In fact, with increased credibility the probability to sell to new customers is around 20%.

4. Search engines make it is easy for customers to research before buying

It is second nature for potential buyers to research a product online before purchasing and as of 2017 85% of us are doing this. We search for the characteristics and especially the reviews of a product or service before buying it. Your ability to do this is very easy as we are never far from a desktop, smart phone or tablet and now even with a smart watch. The ability to compare retailer sites has also become a lot easier, so because of this is it essential to have an effective SEO plan in place. Having a simple, functioning website is simply not enough in this day and age. SEO is one of the best tools you can use to grow your business and brand awareness online.

Keep in mind, a potential customer who can find your business easily is 72% more likely to become a new customer.

Some things you should be aware of once you are found at the top of search engines are:

a) Fast loading times. If your website loads slowly then your potential customer will move onto to the next website in SERP’s.
b) 88% of consumers trust online reviews as if they are a personal recommendation and 90% of people read reviews before visiting a business.
c) It is also estimated that review signals account for 9.8% of the total ranking factors, which means you cannot ignore the relevance of reviews in SEO and in regards to your brand awareness and reputation online.
Reviews can help with your SEO by creating fresh user-generated content; help boost long-tail keyword traffic, as well as boost social conversation.

In regards to user-generated content, having this type of content coming directly from users is more influential for future customers. It racks up serious SEO points by providing websites with fresh content and all important backlinks. With long-tail keywords, the people posting reviews are the buyers of your products or service, which means they are also your target audience and the words or language they use will be similar to what you need to use in regards to the keywords needed to help drive traffic. People talking about your product or service helps boost your reputation online and in turn introduce your brand to new customers, so why not incorporate reviews into your social media strategy as well as your SEO.
Google and other search engines also favour highly-rated sites, which mean this social proof can help boost your rankings and more and more weight is being placed on what users have to say.

On the flip side, what if you get a bad or a few bad reviews. Will it hurt your SEO? The answer is you will not be penalized from an SEO stand point. Google is aware no one is perfect and that even the best websites can receive a bad review. So a negative review can be taken with a grain of salt from search engines and will dig deeper into the overall reputation of your site online. However, from a brand awareness and reputation point of view – consider responding to any negative reviews and use them to improve on your product or service.

5. SEO can provide you an unrivaled vision of your customers

As well as driving traffic to your website SEO is a powerful tool that can be used to establish useful statistics and information on your customers. By placing analytic codes for search engines, especially Google in your website you can track and analyze the behaviors of your visitors. This marketing research can be a very valuable tool. Google Analytics was launched in 2005 and is free. It owns 80% of the worldwide market share and is used by more than 10 million websites to track visitor data and metrics.

Analytics enables you to learn exactly how your customers are searching, browsing, the device they are using, their language and region they live in, as well as the most active time of day and even possibly their name. With this information you are able to adjust marketing campaigns and SEO campaigns, as well as refine your promotional strategies and create customized offers.

Google analytics is not the only tool you can use and your social media pages also have their own analytics to enable you to learn more about your customer. This researchable information is BIG DOLLARS and more and more each year people are living their lives online, with their habits becoming more known and this data collected as so many things we do online gets tracked.
It’s time to use this information to help build your brand awareness online and if you jump onto your Google Analytics and see that you’re not getting a lot of traffic from search engines, then that tells you that you need to work on your SEO or give us a call and we can put a plan in place. There’s a lot of potential traffic you may be missing out on!

72% of companies said SEO provided an excellent or good return on investment this year. Indeed, compared to the costs of other online marketing forms and strategies implemented, SEO is one of the most cost-effective, so give us a call today on (07) 5592 2685 or register for your FREE SEO analysis.

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Factors that carry the most weight in SEO when ranking

Google’s algorithm incorporates thousands of signals when it comes to determining page ranking for a search. There are however, a number of factors that carry more weight than others, so optimising for these factors can be the difference between success and failure of being found online.

1. How Mobile-Friendly are you?

Mobile for some time now has no longer been “the future” but is the “now” and if your website is not easily accessible to a user searching on mobile then you may not rank as highly as you would like. The Google index is going mobile first and if you don’t have a mobile-friendly page, then you will likely take a hit in the SERPs.

If you are not sure how your website meets the criteria for being mobile friendly, then log into your Search Console account and look at the Mobile Usability Report. This report will provide you with a list of mobile issues so you can take the appropriate steps needed to fix them. You can also do a test here https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

2. What does your local presence look like?

Did you know that less than half of businesses have claimed their business listing? Google is always improving its ability to deliver local results, particularly as mobile search and local search are inextricably intertwined these days. 20% of ALL searches have local intent so it is important that you have complete and accurate data in your Google Business profile. Google states that “businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches”.

Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Also make sure you verify your location to give your business the best opportunity to appear for searchers across Google products, like Maps and Search.
Google determines local ranking based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for the search.


Of smart phone users:


• 94% search for location information
• 51% visited a store
• 48% called a store
• 29% made a purchase

So you need your business to be local ready in search engines.

3. What does your UX look like?

Google has always encouraged web developers to make their primary focus one of providing a good user experience. The algorithm is only going to get “smarter” so websites that also get “smarter” will be positioned to benefit the most. A good user experience always goes much deeper than just writing clean code. Smart web design starts with effective planning.
The goal of UX (user experience) design in particular for businesses is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, provide ease of use, as well as providing pleasure in the interaction with a product.

For these purposes your website is the PRODUCT. This means our objective is to determine a user’s intent, and then develop a methodology for smooth navigation that also evokes a positive emotion and leads to an overall good experience.

Incorporating UX best practices is not hard, as the web is full of templates and advice. What will separate you from the amateurs is A/B testing, and we have talked more about this in previous blogs. Basically, quantify what is working, what isn’t, and continue testing until you get it right.

4. Keyword research is still very important!

Although Google is providing less keyword data, a couple of the largest SEO tool providers, Moz and Ahrefs, have developed and improved keyword tools hoping to fill the void Google has created. The big thing to take note of here is that the way we go about performing and using the results from keyword research has changed, thanks to RankBrain. It is also the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm.

If you are unaware of RankBrain, then let me fill you in.

RankBrain is machine learning and it allows Google to put things in context rather than solely relying on strings of metadata. Because of RankBrain Google is becoming more human and now understands language nuances like stemming, synonyms, and answers. It is enabling Google to better understand the meaning behind the words a person uses and types when searching.

This means that the new generation of keyword tools will take this into consideration and create things like Parent Topics and Keyword Groups. With this in mind, you can develop content that incorporates a series of contextually relevant phrases; however be smart about it you do not have to use every variation of a phrase found and add it to your page – stick to what is most relevant.

5. Use your competition to push you to be better, especially with your content

Content is the second most important factor when ranking on Google, so it’s pretty important to get it right. I am sure you’ve heard of creating “great content” or “useful content” but what does this actually mean when it comes to SEO. It is all about finding the right audience, but more importantly reaching them. Empathise with your prospects and customers, be a problem solver, informative and keep in mind “conversational” search queries when writing.

At least 30% of all searches returned rich answers with many of these answers being in response to “who, what, when, where, why, and how” queries.
It might be good to also point out here that voice search is on the rise and most likely conversational search and rich answers technology is being applied to this feature. 55% of teens and 41% of adults already use voice search daily.

A study done in 2015 by The Content Marketing Institute on B2C Content marketing showed us that 77% of companies’ use content marketing, but only 37% of respondents believes they are effective at content marketing. This presents us all with a huge opportunity to be better with our content online, but you really have to be willing to invest the time to make it happen. Blogging is a great way to provide fresh, useful content which is why today there are over 60 million blog posted every month, that’s at least 1.97 million posts a day on WordPress blogs alone. WordPress blogs only account for 58.2% of the market share.

Kick start your SEO. Google gets over a massive 100 billion searches a month, so just getting found is already a challenge. Check out our plans today or register for a free SEO report on your website.

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Posted by on in Search Engine Optimisation
Non-Text SEO Techniques

We have always been told that Search Engine Optimisation is all about keywords and link building. That’s still very true, and is the two most important things to work on when improving SEO rankings. However, there are a lot of different SEO techniques these days that can help improve your SEO presence online and create a difference between you and your competitors. Some of these are “non-text” techniques such as images, videos and infographics. It is really important to optimise these kinds of content as they are becoming more and more important when building traffic.

1. Images

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. You surely have heard this saying many times before. Technically, for SEO purposes this saying is wrong, as search engines won’t count pictures as text, but it is very important these days online to illustrate what you are saying. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later, but this percentage goes up to 65% if a relevant image is paired with the text. Adding images also makes the reading more comfortable for your audience. Putting images in your content is a great way to build traffic and to keep them. Make sure you take the time to choose the perfect image, as you need it to be relevant to your information, and use high-quality images that will grab your audience’s attention. You can purchase stock images or jump on websites that have great free images that you can use commercially.

To improve your SEO with the use of pictures you need to firstly, rename them using keywords related to your information. Doing this will help your SEO, as it’s the same logic used in your keyword strategy for your content, but instead of putting these in your text, you put these in your image title.

Another important thing to be aware of is the picture’s loading time. If your website takes more than 3seconds to load, 40% of people will leave. Your pictures will also contribute to your website loading time. The bigger the image, the longer it is to load. So, scale the image, as you don’t need the picture to be huge, have a large file size or have a high resolution. If you don’t have Photoshop you can use tools such as ImageOpti or JPEGmini. It is a good thing to reduce the file as much as possible, without affecting the quality as you don’t want to have blurry images online either.

Studies have shown that having one picture within your content will improve your SEO. However, having more than one picture doesn’t matter. So you should definitively add at least one image. You are free to add other pictures if you find it relevant, it doesn’t improve or hurt your SEO either way.

2. Videos

By 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video, so it is becoming more and more important in digital marketing strategies. The popularity of video online has spread throughout advertising and marketing. In 2015 about $7.77 billion was spent on online video advertising and will increase in2017 and 2018. It’s now very relevant for small and medium sized business to include videos into their digital marketing strategy.

Video is considered to be quality content that sends a signal to the search engines. As videos become more and more important, search engines are going to rank the websites that have included videos higher.
Like with images make sure you put keywords in your video’s title and description. Another thing you can do is to transcript your video. Search engines cannot detect the words within the video as they are not actual text. But, by writing the transcript, you are putting keywords related to your video within your content. So focus on what you are saying in your video, as it is important for the transcript.

Host your videos on YouTube as its platform has the second-largest number of search queries after Google, and is in fact owned by Google. The best to way to drive traffic to your website with YouTube is to put a backlink in your video’s description. If a lot of people are clicking on this link, your rankings will increase.

Getting more people to like or view your video is a positive signal to search engines about the value of your content. This will increase the likelihood of your video being found and drive traffic to your website.

Make sure you have a Video Sitemap, as you need to have the basics covered with a properly configured video sitemap to improve your SEO. There are platforms such as xml-sitemaps.com that you can use to automate the video sitemap. You can also use the Google Video extension to the Sitemap protocol to give Google information about video content on your site. For the guidelines visit https://developers.google.com/webmasters/videosearch/sitemaps 

While information on your video sitemap might duplicate some of the keyword labels used to identify the video, it is a separate process. Video sitemaps are an extension to the general sitemap of your web property. Metadata that may be customised include duration, rating, view count, age appropriateness, whether the video may be embedded and other useful information.

3. Infographics

The use of infographics is increasing and is a great way to explain an article, concept, product and much more in a picture format, as it's much more fun to look at pretty pictures or watch cool videos than it is to read plain text.

Do you know why that is? Well, our brains do less work when digesting visual content, first of all. And, more compellingly for marketers, visual content drives more traffic and engagement than plain text does.  Infographics that are used effectively can improve your SEO. They are “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content.

Creating infographics is also a good way to get high quality links.  As an SEO company, by creating relevant infographics for clients in a specific industry, with information relevant to their audience the process includes:

a. Firstly, you'll need a topic that is new and of interest to the brand’s audience. Then you’ll research and collect information on the topic that can be broken down into illustrations. Don't put too much information as it can make the reading uncomfortable, so we suggest no more than 10 ideas within the infographic.

b. The second step is to find a website that writes about your infographic's subject. It is easy to find one; you just need to put the keywords that are related to the infographic's topic in the search bar. Once you have a list of the websites, select the most popular ones as it is better to have your content shared by high-traffic sites.

c. The third step is to contact the business / owner of the websites you chose. Get in touch with them via email, show them your infographics and tell them why it would be beneficial for their website to have this content. Don't forget to mention that if they are interested in sharing the content that they need to put a link that leads to your website, otherwise the work in creating the content is wasted. You can put a watermark on the image in the initial stages of contact, as you don’t want to send an image to them and have them use it without adding a link to your site.

Depending on your graphic design skills, creating an infographic doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you have good design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

For SEO purposes, when you post it, make sure you name it with keywords, like you do with pictures and videos.
One interesting thing to do with infographics is to write the script of what has been said. This is the same concept that we use for videos. You should write all the statistics and content because they contain keywords.

If someone is searching for the topic that your infographic is created on then search engines won’t be able to detect the words you write in your infographics as it is a PNG or JPG file. It would be a shame to keep your website from attracting these people searching by not including the text content as well. Both work hand-in-hand with each other.

Visual content can improve both the user experience on your website as well as your SEO, as long as you optimize it.

We use a number of white hat SEO techniques to help you climb the rankings on search engines, including non-text SEO. Want to know how your website ranks online?

Register for your FREE website analysis or give us a call on (07) 5592 2685 or email info@seoplans.net.au

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Posted by on in Search Engine Optimisation
White hat SEO vs Black hat SEO

You may be familiar with these terms or have heard them mentioned before, but what really are White Hat and Black Hat SEO?

To put it in simple terms white-hat SEO uses risk-free SEO methods and strategies. Using White Hat takes more time to build and drive traffic to your website, but remember we mentioned its RISK FREE. On the other hand, Black-hat SEO methods and strategies can get you traffic faster but you will be using some pretty risky methods and if you get caught by Search Engines’ algorithm, you will lose all the traffic you had gained and be severely penalized.

Now we are all for stepping out of the box or to simply throw it away, but when it comes to SEO it is much better for you and your business to stay on the straight and narrow. As it is not really necessary to take such risks that could see your website thrown in the dungeons, when you are still building and driving traffic to your website with White-hat SEO techniques.

At SEO Plans, we are only using White Hat SEO techniques, and we’re about to tell you why.

1. You guessed it there are NO PENALTIES
The #1 advantage of using white hat SEO techniques is definitively to avoid search engines penalties. Search Engines have rules. If you don’t respect and follow them, you get penalized, and this is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Being penalized does affect your ranking. If search engines know that you have violated at least one of their rules, they will bring your website’s ranking down, even if your keyword strategy and link building campaign is strong. By using White hat SEO techniques, you are sure to avoid any unpleasant surprises waiting for you in regards to your site ranking and you know it is this ranking that and your position that will increase traffic to your website. It is a challenge to build up your presence online, so you definitely don’t want it to disappear in one day.

2. We are humans and so is WHITE HAT SEO
The approach of White-hat SEO techniques is organic and natural. You want users to appreciate your content. They don’t need or want spam, and are just looking for content written by humans, for humans. Some Back-hat SEO methods tend to overuse keywords and that keeps the content from being easy to read. White-hat SEO methods think about both the user experience as well as the SEO being implemented, which in turn adds value to the user. White-hat is about a long term strategy. It’s harder, but not impossible, to quickly get traffic flowing to your website. Though, White-hat techniques, when correctly applied, are stronger and don’t need to be maintained as much so in the long run will require less work in upkeep.

3. It’s all about building RELATIONSHIPS
As I previously mentioned, White-hat SEO techniques are organic and based on the user’s experience, therefore logically this is the best way to start building a relationship between you and your potential customers. Again, people do not want or like spam. When was the last time you clicked on a spam link? When you are spamming search engines you need to be pretty quick on your feet to always stay ahead of them, not to mention you will also be judged by your potential customers. They are not stupid and know the difference between spam and organic content.
The quality of your content will help you far more online than the use of spam in Black-hat SEO ever will. If visitors are happy with what you’re offering or writing, they are likely to trust you and continue to come back. Reliable and quality content will always be king.

4. Building links using WHITE HAT SEO
It’s better to use White-hat SEO techniques when link building. No one is going to click on a link that is coming from spam or a suspicious ad. With so many suspicious links out there, it’s all about the trust they give to your link. If they think your link is safe, then they are more likely to click on it.

When you’re applying White-hat SEO methods, you care about the quality of your links and having high-quality is so much more important in building traffic + a HUGE BONUS is that you won’t get penalized. Black-hat SEO users only care about having as many links as possible, so they are looking at quantity over quality and let’s face we know in life that quality is so much better so therefore online it’s the same. We have all heard of ‘word of mouth’ and we place much more importance on this when it comes to referrals, well the same can be said if we replace ‘mouth’ with ‘web’ and have ‘word of web’. People will be more likely to share your content with their world with good quality White-hat SEO links.

So let’s talk a little bit about the actual techniques as it is important that you know what these techniques are and you need to use White-hat methods the right way or they can easily be considered as Black-hat SEO techniques.

Below are some white-hat SEO techniques which guarantee you will not to be penalized by the Search Engines’ algorithm, especially Google:

1. You may have heard this, billions of times... but we are going to say it again - CONTENT
According to Search Engines, content is, and will always be KING. Before applying basic SEO methods, you have to make sure you’re producing high-quality content. Obviously, you need your audience to reach your website as many times as possible, but the strongest foundation will be your content. The more quality your content is, the more likely you are to attract people to your website more than once and have that content shared.

So make your content easy to read by breaking your text into several paragraphs, add a great and relevant picture (oh and make sure you name that picture correctly, as Google will read that too), and be clear and precise. You have to show your expertise!

2. Use Structural (Semantic) Mark Up and Separate Content from Presentation
When looking at White-hat methods on-page such as using structural semantic markup on your website, this will help search engines better understand the content on your website and in turn your business better. Use the heading elements properly, which will allow search engines to recognize the content between the headings. When you separate the design elements of your website from the content, it makes it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for, which goes back again to the importance of providing useful, relevant content on your website.

3. Keyword Research and Effective Keyword Use
The use of keywords is the most popular technique. Gone are the days when you just focus on a single keyword, now you want to ad multi-phases into the mix for better results. However, be specific with your multi-word phrases so you’re more likely to attract people that are interested in what you are offering. You can research and find good multi-word phrases in Google Keyword analysis or other SEO tools. Also, don’t forget to put your keywords in the title, the headers, the title and alt tag and the links, as it does matters.

Note: Don’t put too many keywords as it can make the reading for the visitor uncomfortable.

The Black-hat version of keyword strategy that you should be aware of is when a lot of keywords are placed in the content of a website, but they are hidden. Are you wondering how this is done? All they do is change the colour of the keywords into one the end user can’t see, or minimize the size of the font. This doesn’t affect the reading, but as a Black-hat method it will affect your site performance. And we all know performance matters.

4. Quality Inbound Links
You may know that link building is one of the most powerful methods for SEO and is the process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website. Building links is a difficult, time-consuming process because not all links are actually created equal. Like anything in life, in SEO there are good and bad links: as search engines prefer quality links, you should do what it takes to have as many quality links as possible. Obviously, the more quality links you have, the better.
However, high quality links can be hard to come by. For instance a link from an authoritative website will make a greater impact on a SERP than a link from a newly built website.

There is a little debate going on at the moment about the importance of link building in SEO with many people saying it is no longer relevant.
Well, this is where I stand. Google has written on their site that:

"In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages."

Which means that link building is important because it is a major factor in how Google ranks Web pages, so anyone that tells you link building is not important anymore – send them to Google. As everyone’s goal in SEO is page 1 within the top 5 organic listings.

There are a number of strategies that we use to get external websites to link to your site.  

Firstly, we look at content creation and promotion which is creating compelling content that people will want to reference and link to, but then actually tell other people about it. We want to spread the love. Secondly, we look at submissions. These include submitting your news to press releases and submitting your website to trustworthy directories, niche directories and directories attached to informative websites. Another link building method uses reviews and mentions. This looks at putting your product or service and your website in front of influential bloggers.

Lastly, we look at creating links from friends and partners. These people most likely already love you, so approach them about adding a link to your website. However, ask for in-content links instead of links in the sidebar or footer. There are many more methods to use when building links such as starting a blog, but don’t just blog once you need to keep it going. Jump on niche-related communities and forums, blogs or social groups and get talking. You can also look at giving a testimonial. If you’ve enjoyed a product or service, then check out their site to see if you can add a testimonial. We know that testimonials are a great way for a brand to build trust and for you it is a great opportunity to get a backlink and potential traffic from that site.

When it comes to link building it is always better to play fair. Weak or risky backlinks won’t help your rankings at all. These links can get you a Google penalty and in severe instances a 100% loss of organic traffic.

If you want to check out Google’s rules then visit the Webmaster Guidelines.

When it comes down to it Black-hat tactics look at trying to deceive the search engines and people by spamming them with irrelevant content. It might help you reach the top faster, but the penalties will leave you lost somewhere online among the 1 billion websites currently on the internet. White-hat techniques create authentic and organic online marketing strategies that bring relevant information to people. It may take you longer to reach the top, but you are more likely to stay there.

Want to know where you stand online, than register for our FREE SEO report to get you started on your SEO journey.

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Posted by on in Search Engine Optimisation
SEO Building Blocks

There are a number of techniques involved in Search Engine Optimisation.  Below we are going to look at a few of the main strategies used.

1. Keywords

Short tail keywords are 1 to 3 words long and long tail Keywords or keyword phrases are more than 3 words long. It is a good idea to have a mixture of both in SEO.  Keyword phrases are becoming more popular in SEO because they do provide a better targeted description when using these keywords for searching.  These keywords being used are the connection between you an your customers and are established and indexed by the search engines. Your potential customers will use these keywords and phrases to search, and if your website is successfully optimised then your article pages will show up in the search results.  The starting point when looking at keywords for your business is looking at the words and phrases which are relevant and will perform for your site.  Within an SEO plan targeted campaigns can also be organised to direct traffic to particular products and services, these campaigns are good when looking at wanting to increase the visitation to certain areas on your site.

A few mistakes people make when looking at keywords is to not think broadly enough about which keywords could be effective for their site, as well as selecting keywords that people don’t actually use to search. Another mistake is being unaware of which search terms are most popular among customers when searching for particular services and products. To avoid making the last mistake there are a number of research tools that can be used.

It is also good to keep in mind about search engines is that they are working on behalf of the end user, not for the website owners. Search engines will do everything they can to recognise when their end user is being sold to, so it is very important to ensure your content is engaging and relevant to the person searching in order to guarantee returning relevant traffic to your site.

It is good to keep in mind the following:

  1. Put yourself in the place of your potential customer and think how they might search for you, rather than what you want to be found for. You can also ask your current customers.
  2. New content on your site is also an effective way to improve ranking and visibility in search engines.
  3. The spelling of words is another thing to think about. Use both options - for instance 'optimization' and 'optimisation'.

 

2. Link Building

The basic idea behind link building is to acquire hyperlinks from other websites to your own.  Search engines use links to crawl the web; they will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website, and they will crawl the links between entire websites.  This SEO technique is one of the hardest to do well, and with the ever changing landscape of SEO and link building due to the search algorithms, the importance of building high-quality links has never been higher. The last thing you want is for your website to be penalised.  

Through links, engines can not only analyze the popularity of websites and the pages based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority.  Sites that are trustworthy will tend to link to other trusted websites, while sites that have a lot of spam will receive very few links from trusted sources.

So when asking the ever imporatnat question: How do search engines assign value to links? You would need to explore the individual elements of a link, and look at how the search engines assess each of the elements.

Some link signal below:

Global Popularity
Basically it pays to be popular. The more important a website is, then the more links from that website will matter to you when ranking.

Local and Topic-Specific Popularity
First pioneered by the Teoma search engine is the concept of "local" popularity. The suggestion is that links from sites within a topic-specific community will be more valuable than links from general or off-topic websites.

TrustRank
There are some people who estimate that 60% of web's pages are spam, so in order to take out this irrelevant spam content, search engines will use systems for measuring the trust of a site. Many of these systems are based on the link graph. Obtaining links from highly-trusted domains, such as non-for profit organisations, universities and government sites can result in a significant boost to the scoring metric.

Anchor Text
This is one of the strongest signals the engines use in ranking websites.If a lot of links point to a page with the right keywords, that page has a great probability of ranking really well for the targeted keyword phrase in that anchor text.

Social Sharing
The past number of years has seen an explosion in the amount of content, images and videos shared through social services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Search engines treat these links differently from other types of links and there is some debate among SEO professionals as to exactly how search engines factor social link signals within their algorithms. However, regardless of all of this there is no denying that the importance of social media channels is rising when it comes to help your site rankings.

 

3. Web Design

With a few of the following design practices you can improve a website’s SEO and ultimately their visibility.

Keywords and keyword phrases are one of the first things you should know and learn about when starting to optimise your website. When looking at keywords to use when searching for your business it is very important to first establish what your business objectives are. Do you want to target your local area, national or go global?  With a good SEO plan in place you can then build or redesign pages that will target these specific keywords and keyword phrases, which in turn are going to help build your organic search rankings and target your specific market when they come searching for you.

If you are not sure what keywords to use, there are a number of great tools out there to help you, such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker and Wordstream to name a few.  When you do finalise your keyword list make sure it's based on research done around your keywords and keyword phrases.  Also put yourself in your client's shoes, or even ask your client what words and phrases they used to search for your type of business.

SEO-optimised URL's within your website will enable search engines to quickly identify what a page on your site is about. It is also a very good idea to include keywords in the URL as this will help increase your organic Search Engine visibility, and let's face it SEO is all about being found.

At this point I am also going to mention that Google's algorithm is getting even more smarter, it is a good habit to name your images with descriptive keywords.

4. Citations

In reading about SEO you may of come across citations and NAP.  A citation is a mention of your business across the internet on local directories, associations or other websites.

It may be seen as some of the following:

Company's name
Company’s phone number
Company’s address
Company’s name and phone number
Company’s name and address
Company’s name, address and phone number

A complete citation will involve a complete NAP of your business. NAP stands for the name of your business, the full address of your business and the phone number of your business.

A complete citation, besides the NAP should also have a category, a link to your website, email, hours of operation and photos.  Depending on your type of business you could also include price and or coupons and discounts.

There is so much information out there on SEO techniques and the do's and dont's and we will explore each one and more further in future blogs.  The most important thing to take away is that just because you have an amazing website online, you are not necessarily being found.  The web is a vast metropolis with unimaginable amounts of streets between pages.  If you are not doing any SEO then you need to start to even begin to have a chance of reaching that all important goal of being #1 in organic search rankings.

Need help then register for our FREE SEO report to get started on your SEO journey.

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