What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of improving the ranking of a website on search engines. Basically, it's a set of practices that makes your website rank higher in the search engine results. The higher the ranking, the more likely people are to find the website.
As established earlier, most of the traffic on a website comes from search engines. But it's also important to note that most people only stay on the first page of search engines, such as Google. For example, Moz reports that 71% of the search traffic clicks go to the first page of Google. In some instances, the figure is as high as 92%.
Since an overwhelming majority of people only click on websites on the first page, it's crucial for businesses to rank on the first page of search engines. The good news is that SEO can help companies to achieve this goal.
Why is SEO Important?
The importance of SEO is not merely limited to higher search engine rankings. It also helps improve a website's usability and the end user's experience. But before anything else, SEO facilitates the influx of organic traffic to your website.
Organic search results refer to the unpaid search results displayed on a search engine. Since they're not paid, the decision to rank them high is made solely by the search engine's algorithm.
Therefore, people are most likely to trust these results as there's no monetary motivation. Search engines use different algorithms to determine the content's relevance, usefulness, and engagement to choose where it must be ranked in the search results.
Over 50% of the website visits come from organic search results, which means it's essential to have a robust SEO strategy that brings people naturally to your website.
SEO should also be a part of every online marketing strategy because it complements other marketing channels, such as social media and content marketing.
SEO can also help businesses save money, especially if you're a small business with limited resources. Unlike paid advertising, which requires a company to pay for every click, SEO doesn't cost anything. All you need to do is invest your time and effort into it.
What Does SEO Include?
SEO is a culmination of different practices to improve a website's visibility and ranking. Here are some of the most common SEO tactics:
One of the most important aspects of SEO is keyword research. You need to identify the keywords people are likely to use when searching for your product or service.
Forming a keyword strategy around these keywords will help you optimize your website for search engines. You can use a variety of tactics to determine the right keywords, such as competitor analysis and Google AdWords.
As the adage goes around, 'Content is King'. Therefore, the content on your website needs to be high quality, relevant and engaging if you want it to rank well on search engines.
Whether the content is textual or visual, SEO can help hone it. For instance, blog posts and articles on your website should use specific keywords with appropriate placement and frequency to be noticed by the search engine. Likewise, you can use the keywords in the alt tags and image names to improve the visibility of your website's images.
Your content strategy should consider different stages of the buyer's journey. In this way, you can create content that will help guide visitors through each step until they're ready to make a purchase.
When forming an SEO strategy, competitor analysis is essential. It involves studying your competitors' websites to understand what they're doing right and where they're falling short.
It will help you identify gaps in their strategy that you can take advantage of. It also gives you an idea of the practices they're using and how you can adopt them to rank higher on the search engine results.
Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own. The more high-quality links, the better your website's ranking will be.
There are a variety of link-building practices you can use, such as guest posting, infographics, and social media. But it's important to remember that link building should be done naturally. If you force links, it will only result in search engine penalties.
Which Key Areas of SEO Should You Focus On?
Besides the keywords and content, some 'behind the scenes' action also goes into an SEO campaign. Here are some critical areas of SEO you should be aware of:
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website's infrastructure for the search engine, which means that you work on improving details that a search engine uses to determine where it should rank your website in the search results.
It includes ensuring that the website is crawlable and indexable by the search engine, setting up proper redirects, and removing any broken links. Here's how these elements of technical SEO influence the SEO strategy and website performance:
The page speed is the time it takes for a page to load. It's an important ranking factor, as Google wants to provide the best possible experience for its users by giving them fast results. When Google analyzed 900,000 website landing pages, it found the average loading speed for mobile websites to be 22 seconds.
But that's too long since more than half the visitors leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. To improve your website's page speed, you can work on compressing images, minimizing HTTP requests, and using a content delivery network (CDN).
A broken link means that a web page or an image can't be found when someone clicks on it. It's terrible for user experience and SEO, decreasing the website's authority. You can find and fix broken links by using a link checker tool.
Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup is a way to add extra information to your website's HTML tags. The search engine uses this information to better understand the contents of your website.
You can use structured data markup to add details, such as the company name, social media profiles, and product information.
A crawl error is when a search engine bot can't access your website's pages. It can happen for various reasons, such as a broken link or a page that's been deleted.
Crawl errors can hurt SEO since the search engine can't index your website's pages. If the search engine's bot cannot crawl your website, there's no way you'll be ranked in the results.
According to Statista, 90% of the global internet population has access to mobile phones to go online, and nearly half of the web traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones. Therefore, it's no surprise that Google is now giving extra weight to mobile-friendly websites.
Ensuring mobile-friendliness is an essential component of technical SEO since it makes your website easier to access and navigate on mobile devices.
Another critical area for search engine optimization is local SEO, which is imperative for local businesses. Local SEO refers to optimizing a website for local search results.
It includes using the correct business name, address, phone number, and schema markup for local businesses. You can also use Google My Business to manage your business listing on Google Maps and Google Search. Here are some tactics used in local SEO:
- Listing your local business on relevant locations, especially Google
- Keeping your listings consistent across all sites and channels
- Optimizing your website content to include keywords that do well locally
- Building links with local business organizations, groups, and directories
How to Create an SEO Strategy?
Creating an SEO strategy requires a lot of research and planning. But it's worth it since it will help you get more traffic from the search engine. Here are the steps you need to take to create an SEO strategy:
Research your Audience and Target Keywords
The first step is to research your audience so that you can understand their needs and wants. You can do this by using Google AdWords' Keyword Planner.
It also helps to use Google Analytics to understand your audience demographic. What age group do they belong to? What are their interests? Knowing this information will help you create content and marketing strategies that are best aligned for your target audience.
Write Quality Content
Now that you know which keywords garner most search traffic, you need to start creating content around those keywords. But it's not enough to just stuff your content with keywords and hope for the best.
Your content needs to be well-written and informative so that people will want to read it. It should also be relevant to your target audience.
Improve User Experience
There are many ways to improve the user experience on your website. But one of the most important is to make sure your website is easy to navigate.
Your website's navigation should be intuitive and logical. People should be able to find what they're looking for easily. If not, they'll likely leave your site and go to a competitor's. For instance, make sure there's enough white space on your web pages to break up the content. Instead of writing long paragraphs, break them into smaller, bite-sized sections.
Another way to improve user experience is to enhance your website's loading speed. People are impatient and don't want to wait for half a minute for a web page to load.
Create a Link-Building Plan
When it comes to SEO, links are still one of the most crucial ranking factors. Therefore, you need to create a link-building plan as part of your SEO strategy.
You can do this by asking for backlinks, testimonials, listing your website in credible directories, writing guest posts, and building online relationships.
Perform an Audit
An SEO audit will help you identify any potential issues with your website that prevent it from ranking well in the search engines. The audit will include a review of your website's on-page and off-page SEO factors, along with the website's architecture and design.
If you aren't well-versed in search engine optimization, it's best to work with experts who can take over the task for you. An expert will have the knowledge and experience to get your website ranking well in the search engines, driving more traffic to your site.
What Should You Consider When Choosing a Partner for Your SEO Strategy Building?
When selecting the best SEO strategy-building firm for your company, it's essential to look at a few things. Here are some of them:
- References: First and foremost, you should check the references of your potential partner. Do they have happy clients? Are they well-respected in the industry? You can find out by doing a simple Google search or asking around in relevant online forums and groups.
- Case Studies: A good SEO firm will have case studies that show their previous work and results. It will give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to work with them.
- Pricing: Of course, you'll also want to consider the pricing when choosing an SEO firm. But don't just go with the cheapest option. Instead, look at the value they offer for the price.
- Reputation: It's crucial to select a firm with a good reputation. You should be confident that you're working with a company that knows what they're doing and has a proven track record of success.
What Efforts Are Required From Your Side When Outsourcing SEO Strategy Building?
When you outsource your SEO strategy building, there are a few things you need to do on your end to ensure success.
You must provide the firm with all the necessary information. It includes your website's URL, keywords, target audience, and any other relevant information.
It's imperative to be available for consultations and feedback. The firm will need to know what you want and how you want things to be done.
- You should be willing to invest in your website. It includes both time and money.
- You must have realistic expectations. SEO is a long-term investment, and it may take some time to see results.
What Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing SEO Strategy Building?
Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when outsourcing your SEO strategy-building process.
Not Knowing Your Goals Beforehand
Before you reach out to a firm, you should know what your goals are. If you already have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your SEO practices, you'll be able to convert your message effectively and find a company that fits your needs.
SEO isn't an overnight process. It takes time and effort to see results. If you're not patient, you'll likely be disappointed with the results and may even end up jeopardizing your website's ranking. When you choose to outsource SEO, trust the experts and give them a flexible timeline.
Focusing Solely on Price
Just because a firm has the cheapest rates doesn't mean they're the best option for you. It's essential to look at the value they offer and what you can expect in terms of results.
Why to Hire Top SEO Experts from Xpeer?
SEO is an ever-changing industry, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Thus, it's crucial to stay up to date with the latest trends and changes. While you're managing other aspects of your business, SEO might be overlooked.
That's where you can rely on Xpeer. Share your demand and we will help you to find pre-vetted top SEO experts that work closely with you to create an SEO strategy that's tailored for your website and guaranteed to yield the results you want.