Learn the basics of increasing search page rankings and driving traffic to your website through Search Engine Optimisation.
Part 1: The Basics of SEO
This blog post is designed to provide absolute beginners with a solid foundational knowledge of SEO, which you can build upon as you read more detailed articles – or as you test things out for yourself! SEO can seem overwhelming at first, and, indeed, algorithms are constantly changing, and things are not always clear. However, understanding the basics of SEO can help give you the confidence to make more informed choices that will hopefully improve you, or your clients’, website rankings and traffic.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. To put it simply, it is making choices to increase your website’s quantity of targeted traffic and overall visibility through non-paid (aka ‘organic’) search engine results. The choices you make to optimise your site will often be small incremental changes, which may not seem significant, but the combination of these small, effective changes can have a huge effect on a site’s rankings.
When we practice search engine optimisation, it is as much about ensuring our web pages is optimized for the people we want to visit our website, understanding what they’re searching for and their needs, which will inform decisions around the website’s content and presentation. By building a website that prioritises user experience, you’ll help users discover your content.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is a key component of any digital marketing strategy but is often undervalued. Search is often a primary source of digital traffic for brands and companies, nearly 60% of all online traffic begins with a Google search. Ranking ahead of your competitors on search engine result pages can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Organic Search Results Explained
Search engine results pages (what appears when you google ‘Hobart Weather’) are filled with both advertisements (which are labelled and usually are the first few results) and non-paid, organic results. The way organic results are displayed has evolved over time, there are featured snippets, image carousels, and local packs. When we talk about SEO, it is trying to rank as high on these pages as possible. Data indicates that generally, 75% of users only visit the first page of search results. This means that if your site is ranking on page two for a keyword that receives 1000 views a month, you are only visible to 250 of these users.
Get Started with SEO
In future articles, we will provide more details on ways to effectively implement SEO strategies, but to begin with, let’s look at the fundamentals, starting with the factors that are the most essential to rankings.
This means optimising your site so that search engines can access your site, go through each page, and index them so that they can be listed on SERPs. If Google or Bing cannot see your page, they can’t index your content.
Compelling & relevant content
Crafting content around specific keywords you wish to rank for will be highly relevant to what users are typing into search engines. Creating Shareable content such as blogs can drive traffic and earn links from other websites.
Keyword Optimisation / Keyword Research
This is a critical process of researching and selecting the optimal keywords that will be the basis of driving quality traffic from search engines to your site and will inform the content you produce to attract these users.
This involves everything from fast loading speeds, font choice and size, mobile, desktop, and tablet optimisation, and site navigation.
Title, URL, Description
Having relevant, compelling, and interesting URL’s, titles and descriptions can improve the chances of someone clicking on your site from a SERP, which in turn generates a high CTR (click-through rate), which is a ranking factor.
Schema Markup is structured data that is added to a webpage to improve a search engine understanding of its content. Adding schema markup can result in a rich snippet search result, which includes more than standard result displays (title, URL, description), leading to higher CTR. For example, a restaurant rich snippet could include displaying a 5-star rating from aggregate user reviews.
What Are your Goals?
Many SEO Agencies take a standardised approach to SEO, going through a list of tasks to perform for every site, regardless of the content or goals. This is not a great practice; it is better to understand what you or your client want to get out of an SEO strategy. More website traffic is great, but this is meaningless without specific conversions to monitor. This could be increased sales, phone calls or email signs ups. These conversions can be tracked alongside traffic, to see the return on investment (ROI) for SEO and inform future strategies.
Understanding SEO with Google Webmaster Guidelines
There are many resources online that can help give you an understanding of what you should and should not do regarding SEO. One of these is Google Webmaster Guidelines, which is a comprehensive guide of what to do to help Google find and favourably rank your site.
- Create pages and content that is primarily for users and relates to their search queries.
- Avoid black-hat techniques designed to trick Google to improve your rankings.
- Monitor your site for hacking
- Make your site unique and stand out from competitors
- Show search engine crawler bots different content to real users (aka “cloaking”)
- Create pages with plagiarised and unoriginal content
- Automatically generate content
- Participate in link schemes
Should I hire an SEO Consultant or Agency?
If you’re willing to invest the time into learning SEO, you could do some basic SEO work yourself to improve rankings. However, if you find the process too time-consuming or complex, engaging an experienced expert is a good idea.
Tailored SEO offers the best SEO services available in Australia. We differentiate from our competitors by ensuring there is open communication with clients and our belief that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all approach for SEO. Get in touch today and start driving more traffic to your site!
Richard is the owner and head of digital at Tailored SEO. He has worked in the digital marketing space for over 10 years and has worked with a wide range of clients.