An Introduction To SEO
Developing an effective SEO strategy for your business is pivotal in growing your online presence and gaining more customers. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of incorporating various online elements into your website to increase your ranking position in SERPs, and ultimately growing traffic to your website. Search engines work by measuring the quality of the elements listed below, and will then decide where to index your website for relevant search queries. 70% to 80% of users focus exclusively on organic results and ignore paid listings, with 28% of those searches converting. This high and constantly rising percentage is a key reason in understanding the importance of gaining SEO strategies for businesses, particularly small businesses, to rise above your competitors and build a successful company.
Factors Which Impact SEO
- On-page content (keywords)
- Page structure (H1, meta, title tags)
- Quality of content
- Navigation & user experience
- Internal Links
- Load speed
- Bounce rate
- Local SEO
- Social media / Content Marketing
1. On-page Content (Keywords)
On-page SEO refers to optimising individual web pages or blogs with high quality, relevant content. One of the main SEO elements is use of keywords within each piece of content, which can help Google index your website in search results for relevant search queries. As part of an effective SEO strategy, it is vital that you conduct keyword research, which can help your business understand which words you should be ranking for, and the keywords that your competitors are also focusing on within your sector. You are then able to implement this research by using the keywords within relevant topics which you write about.
2. Page Structure (H1, Meta, Title Tags)
These technical SEO elements are used to ensure that search engines are able to crawl your website easily and understand the structure of your web pages. They can also help users navigate through your website easily, so never underestimate the importance of incorporating these tags. Neil Patel conducted an experiment, changing the H1 on one of his articles, resulting in the page having 85% more organic traffic, and going from page 3 of the SERPs to page 1, position eight. This huge change represents the significance of using tags effectively throughout your website.
H1 Tags: When creating content for blog posts, use just one H1 tag, which indicates and describes the topic which you are writing; it should be short, clear and precise.
Meta Tags/Description: This is visible on the SERPs (Search engine results page) to allow users to understand the content of your web page. Google uses this to understand further information about the page.
Title Tags: This is also visible on the SERPs, as a clickable function into the web page. This serves as specifying the title of the page regarding the content within.
3. Quality Of Content
Creating high quality content is essential in ranking highly in search results. Google wants to know that the content that you are including in your website is regular, worth reading, and connects with users; providing a good user experience for visitors to your website. This content is how you can engage with potential customers; building trust and informing your audience. Great content can be in the form of blog posts, videos, graphics, and much more. Google measures this content based on its originality, usability, and quality; not forgetting the on-page SEO factors spoken about previously, such as keywords.
4. Navigation & User-Experience
Creating a user-friendly website is vital in ensuring that your users are provided with a smooth experience moving through your website. The navigation should be clear, easy to follow and mobile-optimised to allow visitors to easily understand the services which you are offering and navigation across multiple screens. Search engines measure user-engagement based on the structure of your site, loading speed, and interactivity. To ensure that the UX of your website is of a high quality, it is important to conduct user research before creating your site to understand your target audience, along with an effective web design process including research and wireframing before creating your site.
Building backlinks for your website provides Google with trust to your website and the services which you are offering. When your website has been referenced in another site, this creates a valuable testimonial for search engines to use as proof that your website is worth visiting. Link building is known as one of the #1 SEO elements, and gaining backlinks from high authority sites will boost your websites ranking most effectively.
6. Internal Links
Internal linking creates structure to your website and helps search engines to crawl pages. An internal link helps users to navigate through your website and delve deeper; these links can keep users on your website for longer, having the ability to easily move onto and find new content to read. This all affects how search engines measure the user-experience and quality of content on your web pages, and will massively impact your position ranking. When you use internal links throughout pages on your website, web crawlers have the ability to easily index this content.
7. Loading Speed
Research has shown that if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, approximately 40% of visitors will leave your site. This crucial element could lose you a huge amount of customers, and must be checked regularly to keep on top of your technical SEO and fix quickly. Google Analytics can be used to provide site speed reports to help you specifically understand the data and identify areas to improve. Here is a list of factors which could affect your websites loading speed:
- File sizes – Large image and videos
- Website host.
8. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to a single-page session on your site. This means that users have only visited one page within your site, without navigating any further. Research has found that the average bounce rate has been measured at an average of 30-50%, however, this can depend on the sector and type of content. By tracking your websites bounce rate you are able to improve any SEO elements spoken on above, which all can impact this rate.
9. Local SEO - An Overview
Local SEO is the process of optimising online content in relation to relevant local search queries, so that you can be found in a specific area easily. If your business has a physical location, Local SEO is a crucial area for you to look into. When people search for businesses including a geographic location, you have the ability to appear at the top of their search results. Google recognises how valuable local businesses are, so that even small businesses have the ability to appear above large companies. If you have ever entered a search query such as “restaurant near me”, I am sure you would have noticed the local Google snack pack feature / Local 3-pack at the top of the SERP. This is where your business wants to be placed if you are going to build the most traffic from local search queries. Google determines this local ranking based on three factors: relevance, distance, and prominence. Below are a list of elements which you should include to boost your local SEO rankings:
- Build reviews
- Include a physical location
- Create local based content
- Use local specific pages
- Create a Google My Business Account.
10. Social Media / Content Marketing
Social media SEO is the ability to boost website traffic through social media platforms; this is not a direct contribution, but can help grow your website’s traffic significantly. Every SEO strategy must include content marketing activities, as you are able to share the valuable content you are creating on your websites, reaching further audiences and having the ability to be shared further by followers through multiple profiles. Social media also allows a space for your potential customers or clients to learn more about your services, chat amongst each other or provide feedback.
Creating and keeping up-to-date social media channels for your business also helps to build relationships between your brand and users. Building brand recognition can be done effectively through social media, with a space to place your logo and share regular posts / graphics following brand guidelines. Followers will be provided with a sense of trust with your business, which can create positive word of mouth and loyalty. Studies have shown that 73% of marketers believe that social media marketing has been very effective for their business, showing the importance of implementing this around your SEO strategy.
Using SEO optimised video content on your website is a great way to boost your rankings in Google. Video has recently become one of the most effective forms of content used on websites; with recent stats showing that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. Videos are an engaging and unique way to communicate to your audience, and will keep visitors on your web pages for longer. You are also able to embed YouTube uploads into your website: YouTube is its own search engine, but will also display results on google results pages, meaning that the optimisation of these videos used is an important aspect to rank highly on the SERP. There are many factors to think about when optimising your video for SEO, including:
- Displaying an engaging thumbnail
- Using a clear title using a target keyword
- Use of one video per page
- Optimising the video description.
How Audeo Can Help
Audeo is a full service digital marketing agency, with specialist experience in building effective SEO strategies for multiple businesses. We have provided SEO services to sectors such as finance, tech, renewables, construction, and media, with great success stories for each of our clients. Our results driven SEO agency has the ability to significantly grow your website traffic, and consequently gain more customers and sales through boosting your online presence. We are passionate about helping businesses reach their maximum potential, and will help you grow and scale within your sector by building an effective digital marketing strategy that is personalised to your values and goals.
At Audeo, we provide the following SEO services:
- Keyword Research
- Content Marketing
- Link Building
- Site Health and Ongoing Support