22. June 2024

Your Essential Guide: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Optimization Essential Guide

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is the process of optimizing your website to appear at the top of search results when a user types in a specific keyword. By reaching customers at the exact moment they are seeking information about your products and services, SEO can increase the visibility of your website. The goal of search engine optimization is to improve a site’s position in the organic (non-paid) section of search results. Using algorithms, search engines direct people to relevant sources of information. You need to focus on building authority on key topics related to your business so that your website appears on the first page of results. Why is this important?

More than 90% of search traffic goes to results from Page 1 of the search engine’s results. Moreover, the top 3 results can even gain 60+% of all the search volume for a particular term. Therefore, the higher your rank, the better the possibility that searchers end up on your website. Consequently, searchers find relevant information and offerings so that you can gain conversion.

The Essentials of SEO

In order for your Search Engine Optimization and organic search efforts to be successful, you must consider the essential pillars of SEO. A prominent listing can make your organization’s service offerings and products easily accessible to your clients, customers, prospects and anyone else interested in it. The most important element of SEO is good writing. Good writing needs to be combined with the technical aspects of SEO.

Below, we will examine the three essential pillars of Search Engine Optimization.

Technical SEO
The technical aspect of SEO involves optimizing your website for the bots or crawlers that scan websites. For example, Google’s crawler should be able to easily scan and index the content on your page. A website that has certain technical characteristics will show up higher in search results as the crawler sees you as user-friendly. Therefore, Technical SEO places less emphasis on keyword integration and more on technical factors, such as good load speeds, site security, ease of use, etc. If bots can read your website easily, it means users will be able to as well. Since Technical SEO is crucial to ranking number one, it cannot be neglected. Here is a Technical SEO checklist to keep in mind:

Is your website mobile-optimized?
Since more than half of the Internet’s traffic comes from mobile devices, search engines like Google now follow a mobile-first indexing policy.

How secure is your website? Do you use HTTPS?
Sites that use HTTPS are more likely to appear in search results than those that don’t.

Is your website fast enough?
Users and search engines don’t like slow websites. The speed of your website is a ranking factor for search engines, including Google, so you need to ensure your desktop and mobile users have an excellent experience.

Is there duplicate content on your website?
Duplicate content on your website will make Google’s crawler struggle to understand the value of your site. Many pages with the same content could indicate that your site is complicated or disorganized for users to navigate. As a result, avoid duplication, be they URLs, pages, or metatags.

Does your website contain redirect chains?
There are various reasons why redirect chains can occur, including website redesigns and mismanaged site content.
It is important to note that redirecting will not help you rank in search engines, so confirm and double-check your redirects regularly.

On-Page Search Engine Optimization
You can improve your website’s search engine ranking by optimizing your own content. This is, therefore, called on-page SEO. On-page SEO strategies often include optimizing title tags, content, internal links, and URLs. Well-designed On-Page-SEO ensures that your website is easily indexed by Google and is easy to understand for users. To make your content more SEO-friendly, here are some key on-page SEO elements:

Keywords are the crux of Search Engine Optimization
Ensure that your target keyword appears in your first paragraph, the body, and captions of the images in your post. Don’t fill your content with keywords, but use variations of them naturally instead. Search engine rankings and credibility are negatively impacted by unnatural use or overuse of keywords.

Internal and external linking can increase comprehension
Linking your content to external and internal pages is an essential part of a good SEO strategy. Doing so demonstrates to Google that your website is trustworthy and cites resources to help users understand the content.

High-quality content helps your users and search engines
Create content that speaks directly to the interests of your target audience. Stand out from the competition by writing interesting, informative, and engaging content.

Regular content audits help keep rankings up
It is crucial to audit your existing content because it allows you to determine which content works well. This in turn can aid you when planning future content.

Off-Page SEO
Off-page Search Engine Optimization includes all of the activities you perform outside of your website, which affect how high your website ranks in search engine results. Optimizing for off-page SEO ranking factors can help your website become more relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative. Therefore, improving off-page SEO performance directly affects your page’s domain authority. Domain Authority is a score that is usually calculated on a scale of 100. The higher your website’s score is, the better your chances are of ranking high for keywords.
Following these four off-site SEO measures will help your website improve its domain authority and in turn, become more visible in SERPs.

Creating quality backlinks lends credibility
Off-site SEO involves developing backlinks, which is essential for any site that wants to rank on page one. A backlink refers to any link outside your website that links back to it. Your site’s ranking is determined by the quality of your backlinks. Make sure your backlinks are not on questionable or spammy sites.

Social Media Marketing increases visibility
Utilizing social media is one of the best off-page SEO strategies. Additionally, social media can generate valuable backlinks from a site with high domain authority, thus encouraging more clicks on your latest piece of content.

Contributor Content makes you an Expert
You can also gain off-site SEO benefits by providing guest content on third-party websites. An example of content could be a video for ‘how-to’ instructions or a piece of editorial.

Videos and Images drive traffic to the site
By using off-site SEO, you can draw attention to your website through activities outside of your website. In other words, consider using videos, podcasts, live content, augmented reality, memes, images, etc., to promote your business.

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Keyword Research & Tools

As we mentioned above, keyword research is crucial to SEO. It is therefore should be an integral part of optimized content development. Optimized content is the kind of content that can be found easily by search engines. Simply put, it contains the most commonly used search terms in a way that it actually answers the user’s query. The search engine then matches the query with the most fitting content based on how optimized they are. Keyword Research is the method you can use to ensure that your content contains the most relevant search terms.

By using the right keyword research tools, you’ll be able to simplify and streamline of your SEO process. These tools make it easier for you to find out what keywords are being targeted and where they rank. However, remember to use your best judgment or put yourself in your user’s shoes when you use keywords.

There are many tools that can help you find keywords, make optimization recommendations, track your rankings and even monitor your competitors. For example, here is a selection of tools that you may find helpful:

  • SEMrush
  • KWFinder
  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Growth Bar
  • Long Tail Pro
  • Majestic
  • Keyword Tool
  • Serpstat
  • Moz Keyword Explorer

How Does Search Engine Optimization Affect Your Organization’s Marketing Goals?

Organic search traffic refers to the visitors you gain without paying for efforts such as advertising. Therefore, organic traffic is the most efficient type of traffic to gain. To gain organic traffic, you need high visibility in the organic results section. You can only accomplish this through Search Engine Optimization. Regardless of how good your website is, if no one knows about it, it will fail to achieve its goals. Due to the constant changes in search engine algorithms, marketing teams must monitor and track the latest SEO trends, tips and tricks as they develop.

What To Do Next?

Search Engine Optimization is not a one-and-done process. It is a long game where you constantly monitor for important keywords and add them to your site. You will also need to monitor your position or rank for existing keywords so that they don’t lose visibility over time.

Interested in strengthening your organization’s knowledge of SEO principles? Then, talk to us: moin@watersky.digital