Are you wanting to increase traffic to your company website and develop new leads? Do you have a great business that needs a more extensive customer base? Practising search engine optimisation (SEO) is a sure way to enhance your company’s visibility.
The process of search engine optimisation aims to increase your website’s ranking on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Companies like yours can achieve higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) by utilising several proven optimising techniques.
But, what exactly is SEO?
Read on as our Perth SEO consultant team at Perth Digital Edge discusses how SEO works, why almost all companies need to optimise their websites, and factors affecting your websites’ rankings on the most popular search engines.
How Does SEO Work?
To understand how SEO works, you must first learn how web pages end up on SERPs in the first place. The major search engines send out bots (web crawlers) at regular intervals to scan the entire internet in a massive undertaking.
The web crawling process remains wholly automated and requires little more than a click of a mouse once developers have scripted the bots’ algorithms.
When a bot visits a website, it collects and indexes all of the information it finds. After indexing it, the bot applies algorithmic formulas to inspect, analyze, and evaluate the data it finds, looking for dozens of indicators that will eventually affect the website’s ranking.
When analyzing a new site, one of the primary goals of the bots is determining the relative user-friendliness or helpfulness of the site’s structure and content in answering particular user queries.
What you need to do, on your end, is to make it very clear on your site which user queries (search terms) you want your site to rank for. This clarity requires the effective usage of keyword placement as well as a number of other strategies to make each search engine highly value your site.
How Does SEO Differ from Google Ads and Similar Services?
Many business owners may confuse the two major approaches to ending up on the first page of search results when a potential customer enters a search term that should match them to your website.
You can either rank high organically (that is, through the merit of your site’s optimisation through SEO ) or by purchasing paid ad placement on SERPs through a service like Google Ads.
A few facts you may want to know about the differences between SEO and Google Ads:
- Professional SEO services cost less than using Google Ads
- Organic SEO rankings never expire, while paid ads last only as long as you pay for them
- SEO content that ranks #1 overall on a SERP sometimes earns a featured snippet
- SEO services do not guarantee placement on the first SERP, while paid ads are usually within the top three items
How Do I Optimise My Company’s Visibility on Google?
When building or rehabilitating your company website, several factors will impact its ranking on Google and other search engines. In general, you can separate the main factors into the following three categories:
- Content quality
- Website architecture
- HTML code
Let’s talk about each of these categories, as well as a few forbidden practices that can negate everything a company works towards when attempting to increase its online visibility.
SEO Factors That Affect Your Visibility Online
When creating new content for your website or rehabilitating your existing web pages, an SEO expert will emphasise the most crucial factors for success and avoid all tactics that draw red flags from search engines. Below, you can find an explanation of the essential elements in each SEO category and a brief introduction to the most common illegitimate practices.
Content Quality Factors
Most business owners think about a webpage’s overall content quality when addressing SEO concerns. In many ways, they have correctly identified the primary factor for a first-page ranking on Google. However, even the most adept writer will fail to create high-ranking content without keyword research, relevant responses, currentness, comprehensiveness, and visuals.
When learning about SEO for the first time, the one factor that stands out among the others is keyword research. If you want to create content that lands high on the Google SERPs, you need to decide which search queries relate to your subject matter the most.
You’ll find many different keyword research tools available online. A few of them remain free to use, but the best features sit behind a paywall. When using keyword research tools, you should try your best to find keywords that search engine users would likely add to their queries. Technical words used within a specific field but rarely heard in public often work quite well.
Some of the concepts that you should keep in mind when performing keyword research include the following:
- Needs and interests of your target audience
- Search volume for your intended keyword
- Amount of competition for a popular keyword
- Formatting of long-tail keywords
Experienced marketing writers who create content for SEO purposes know that their work should answer a pressing question. If you want search engine users to read through your blog post, product listing, or service page, then you’ll need to answer their questions directly, provide supporting reasons, and overcome any counter-arguments.
Also, a recent trend is emerging in which search engines provide short, definitive snippets of answers to common questions at the top of SERPs. If you can answer a query better than everyone else, you can take that top spot and gain significant positive exposure for your website.
Depending on the nature of a given search engine query, updated content tends to perform better for SEO purposes. For example, a brand new blog article about some aspect of your business will outrank the explanation you wrote about the procedure when you launched your website five years ago.
Many SEO professionals have experimented with correctness as a ranking factor. Over time, it became clear that the following techniques and tactics produce almost zero results:
- Making insignificant updates to old content
- Changing the date of publishing
- Placing quantity above quality
Consider paring back some of your live content. If an old article has stopped performing as well as it once did, remove it. This practice will simplify the path that bots need to take to inspect and analyse your website. It also indicates that someone actively curates your content and caters to the demands of your audience.
Don’t go long—go deep! To demonstrate your expertise on a subject, you don’t need to write the longest article on the internet. However, you should cover all the main points as concisely as possible and direct readers to learn more by researching the minutiae later.
Wordiness and excessive article length will get you nowhere. In fact, fluff could hurt the SEO ranking of your article.
Some of the most vital things to remember when writing an SEO article include:
- Avoid all obvious statements (e.g., common knowledge, tautologies, and colloquialisms)
- Produce original content (do not paraphrase or “spin” entire existing articles)
- Do not falsify information or citations
Adding relevant images, videos, and audio files to back up your content presents a convenient opportunity to enhance your search engine optimisation by inserting your keyword a few more times. For an image, try putting your keyword in both the caption and alt-text fields. For a video, consider including some of the best quotes in written form.
You will want to keep your images, videos, and audio files as small as possible to increase loading time. Readers are impatient. If it takes too long to load your webpage, readers may leave before even reading your article. Likewise, don’t overload your page with multimedia. It can distract readers and drive away traffic.
Website Architecture Factors
When building or revamping a website, your designer can help you streamline the crawlability of your website, make it look good on mobile devices, ensure fast loading speeds, and provide much-needed security.
All business owners want a web crawler to easily find their websites and navigate the various pages to index them. Some of the things that can impede the progress of a web crawler include:
- Broken links
- URL errors
- Slow page loading
Some of the things that can assist web crawlers as they explore your website include:
- Checking the viability of all links
- Updating and simplifying your HTML and XML sitemaps
- Utilising robots.txt
Most of us have encountered websites that look great on our laptops but become almost unusable on smartphones or tablets. If you don’t remedy this situation, it will lead to the failure of an SEO campaign because:
- Users submit most search engine queries from their smartphones
- Google and other search engines use the mobile web for their main indexes
- Users rarely make a second query attempt on an alternate device
Some of the issues that can cause your website to work poorly on mobile devices include:
- Buttons that are too close to each other
- Inaccessible menus
- Improper redirects
- Slow page loading
- Disproportionately sized images and text
Prevent visitors from bouncing by managing the speed at which your website loads. Speed may be more crucial to user experience than any other aspect of a webpage. The faster your article loads, the better it will rank on Google SERPs. In fact, if two otherwise identical articles have different loading speeds, the faster one will rank higher.
Google and some of the other search engines now nudge web developers to use HTTPS exclusively. Websites that don’t use HTTPS get flagged by Google, which remains visible to everyone that visits. If you wish to sell a product, notifications that your site lacks security features can damage your business significantly.
HTML Code Factors
The eyes of most business owners start to glaze over once they start hearing about HTML code. Fortunately, many of the most popular platforms do all of the coding for you. You simply need to fill in the fields related to SEO titles, meta descriptions, image alt-text, and more.
Search Engine Optimised Titles
If quality content reigns supreme and keywords follow closely behind, then SEO titles possess significant power beyond merely catching the eye of a reader. The best SEO titles make it clear what the article is about and contain the primary keyword.
Keep in mind that the SEO Title, also called Title Tag, and the H1 heading remain distinct. You should avoid making them identical because some search engines prefer to use the best of the two options.
Meta descriptions contain the content you would like readers to see when your article ranks on a SERP. Strictly speaking, Google does not rank your webpage based on your meta description. However, it represents the only way to get readers to click on your article beyond the title itself.
Google and the other search engines love headings. In general, most articles start with an H1 and contain several subsequent H2s. For longer articles, writers may need to use a few H3s or even H4s. Writers rarely, if ever, include an H5.
Headings help break up your writing to make it easier for readers to browse them. They also serve as a great place to include a keyword or semantically related term. However, you should not stuff keywords into your headings. Headings should sound natural.
An image’s alt-text describes what the image depicts and how it relates to the article. Writers should include the keyword in the alt-text to help web crawlers find and rank a webpage.
Another benefit of filling out your alt-text field becomes apparent when an image fails to load. In most cases, the alt-text will still show, allowing readers to understand what the missing image contains.
Negative Factors and SEO Penalties
When optimising your online content for search engines, there are a few no-nos that you should do your best to avoid. Below, you can find some of the most common mistakes that novice content writers make when optimising their web pages.
One of the worst things a content writer can do involves stuffing too many keywords into an article. If the search engines notice this practice, they will flag your webpage, lower its ranking, and maybe even disqualify it all together. It also creates repetitive and unappealing reading material.
Plagiarism continues to plague the SEO world. Not only will the practice annoy your readers and force them to search for original content elsewhere, but it will also get your website delisted from the SERPs.
As perhaps the oldest practice in SEO history, hiding keywords was once considered an art form. Using infinitesimally small font sizes and matching the text color to that of the background became standard practice during the early days of the internet. However, those days have long since passed, and hiding keywords will get your website delisted quickly.
What is SEO? It’s the best way to enhance your exposure online and reach your intended audience. Start optimising your online content with help from the SEO experts at Perth Digital Edge by calling our SEO Consultant on 0417911482 today!