If you’re involved in a business, no doubt you’ve been told that you need to invest your time in improving your search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the practice of optimising your online presence, so your website and pages show up higher in search results. We can achieve optimisation through content, keyword optimisation, link and page authority and more.
Realistically, if you’re not an SEO expert, you might have never worked on optimising your SEO presence. Yet, even if you don’t do it yourself, understanding it helps you see how effective it can be and whether your SEO expert is doing what they say they are.
We’re all about empowering our audience and clients at Yoke, so let’s dive into a quick-fire overview of what SEO is.
Understanding Search Engines
Try and guess what percentage of traffic comes from a Google search, what would that number be?
Following this, 68% of every online experience starts with a search engine. Due to Google’s monopoly on search, when talking about SEO, we really mean optimising our content for google, not bing or other engines, even though you can be found there as well.
Google has changed how they rank pages multiple times over the years, leaving multiple learning sources outdated. One key component of their algorithm now is the importance of accurate and quality content.
In short, when you search for a topic, query or answer, Google will pull a list of results, in order of which it believes will answer your search term the closest.
But how does it know what to look for?
Great question; let’s look at the core areas concerning SEO.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a wizard to implement SEO, no matter what other marketers will tell you. Great SEO usually starts with your website.
Crafting an SEO-Friendly Website
Google won’t like your site if it’s challenging to navigate. Have you ever clicked on a website and didn’t know where anything was? We bet you clicked back immediately, right?
We do that too.
Cluttered and unresponsive pages frustrate users and force them to leave. Crafting an SEO-friendly website starts with user experience in mind. Consider how your audience will use your website and create pages that interlink with one another.
Internal links play a huge role in telling Google where your audience should go next.
Similarly, a friendly domain name helps.
“Yokeyourfriendlyneighbourhoodmarketingagency.com” is just too long; no one is going to type that into their search bar.
Content & Keywords
Content is undoubtedly the most crucial element of SEO. After all, a page without content is just a blank space. The quality of your content determines how easy it is for google’s search bots to identify what you’re talking about, what problem you’re solving and whether the content is worth showing.
When we refer to SEO content, it usually means blog posts, but it also concerns your on-page content.
The content on your service page is equally as impactful as the blog post you put out. If you’re not accurately describing your service, Google won’t know whether someone searching for it in your area needs to see it. Keywords help inform Google of your content’s relevance, but their bots still scan your page for the overall quality.
Content quality – refers to how valuable the information is. For example, does your blog post answer a particular question in-depth with accurate information? Are you making it easy for your readers to find the answer to their question, or are you making them search three pages for it?
If it’s the latter, you can bet that another business has an easy to read answer, and you’ll find yourself beat. Total word count, especially for blogs, often comes into question. Research has shown that posts just over 2000 words have been consistently performing better for several years now. But that doesn’t mean every post has to conform.
Google has been improving its ability to identify when a page is padding its read time with filler content. Write what is necessary and aid your readers, rather than worrying about total word count.
Keywords – Including keywords within your content is essential for identifying what the page is trying to communicate. Google sees a disconnect when your blog post is titled “10 ways to use Spotify”, but the post doesn’t mention Spotify again.
Keyword strategy is an enormous topic with many different opinions and viewpoints. In essence, identify what keywords you want to mention – words that closely relate to the content’s subject – and organically spread them out through the content.
Link Building – It used to be that SEO was a game of getting sites to link back to you. Now, it’s changed. Backlinks – i.e. receiving links back to your website from other sources – is helpful but doesn’t boost your SEO as much as it did. The most effective strategy to obtain these links is to provide valuable information that others want to link back to you.
The Future of Your SEO
This post is only a tiny sample of what’s involved in SEO. Search engine optimisation is continually changing, with best practices shifting each year. Google’s decisions change many of these techniques, which further emphasises the work that SEO experts do to keep up to date.
If someone recommends some advice that doesn’t sound correct, do your due diligence and research into the year’s top SEO tips. The use of blackhat methods will have dire consequences for your website and potentially even your business.
You can start working on your SEO today by doing an audit of your website. Have a read through and use it as if you were a customer. Is it easy to find everything?
Is there some information missing, is it out of date, or is it confusing? Asking these questions helps identify areas of improvement.
If you’re struggling with your SEO, need some additional help understanding what it is or want an SEO audit of your website, get in touch with us.