If you’re not familiar with Search Engine Optimisation or SEO, it’s really important to keep an eye on as it enhances organic discoverability of your brand. The health of your website in regards to SEO helps determine where your website places in the search engine results pages.
While this blog includes a bit more depth, if you prefer to learn by watching, most of this content is also covered in our Intro to SEO QuickBuzz video.
SEO is Important
It may sound like something that doesn’t matter much, but it can really help boost your traffic when you appear organically. The top organic result gets about 30% of clicks, while results on page two tends to have a click-through rate lower than 1%.
While you can get yourself into the search engine result pages (SERPs) through paid methods such as paid advertising, consumers tend to trust organic results more and you don’t pay per click-through for organic.
According to Hubspot, in 2019, nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results.
Getting Started with SEO
When looking at SEO, you’ll often build a list of keywords that you want to rank for in the search results. It’s important to choose realistic keywords as some are too broad and will be incredibly difficult to compete for.
That’s why you might look for a combination of short-tail keywords, which are broad searches of one or two words, and long-tail keywords, which are narrower searches with three or more words. When a searcher puts those terms into a search engine, the goal is that you’ll appear at least on page one of the results.
Short tail keywords typically get a lot of searches, but they’re much harder to rank for as there’s more competition for them. While long tail keywords may not have the same volume, they’re more likely to direct high intent, interested traffic.
What determines your Search Rank?
We’re going to take a look at Google’s process as they’re the largest search engine, but the process will be quite similar for other engines such as Bing or Yahoo.
Google has bots that will crawl your website, reading the text, trying to understand images, following links, and more to understand what your site is about. While Google has never released the full algorithm, there are certain things we know their bots look at.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but they’re a few areas you can quickly check over and start improving:
Title and Header tags:
They look to see what key phrases and terms appear in the important headlines as this signals that they will be an important part of the text. Ideally, you want some of those long-tail and short-tail keywords to naturally fit into your page headers.
Be careful not to stuff headers (or any text) with keywords though, as Google’s algorithm is intelligent enough to see through that. You still want your page to be readable and useful for people that visit your website, not just the search engine crawlers.
Getting backlinks from other websites signals to Google that other people find your information useful and worth sharing. When other websites link to yours, that can be helpful if Google feels those are trusted websites (you can look at Domain Authority and Trust Scores to get an idea of this).
If the anchor text for that backlink includes your ideal keywords, then that is an added bonus. However, you don’t want every link anchor to look the same as that will appear inauthentic to Google, so be careful about requesting specific anchor text.
Page Loading Speed:
While page loading speed is said to not directly influence your search engine rank, it can have an indirect effect. Slow page loading can increase your bounce rate and high bounce rates signal to Google that your page is not providing value to searchers.
Now that about half of web traffic takes place on a mobile phone, it has become imperative that your website provide a good experience for mobile users as well.
Starting on July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing for Google is the default for all new websites, meaning means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for ranking.
Local Search Optimisation:
Another easy way to boost your appearance in search results is to have a Google my Business Profile if you have a physical storefront. This helps you to appear if the searcher is near your business and gives you a chance to take up a lot of space on that search engine result page.
When you claim your GMB profile, you have a lot of opportunities to populate it with relevant information, right in the search results without needing to visit your site. If your goal is to increase traffic, this may not be helpful but it is helpful for raising brand awareness and creating a convenient experience for potential consumers.
Not an Exact Science
Nothing can perfectly predict your search engine ranking and these are just a few of the signals that can help determine your rank. A key idea for SEO is ‘everything in moderation’ – each one of these tips can be useful when applied, but overdoing it can also have a negative effect.
Keep in mind that while Google is the dominant search engine, people do still use Bing and Yahoo. They’ll have a slightly different algorithm so what works for one, may not work on the other. Increasingly, YouTube and Amazon are becoming major search engines with their own optimisation needs, and voice search is changing the way people phrase queries.
There’s a lot to keep on top of in the world of Search Optimisation!
To find out how fatBuzz could help your business, read about our in-house SEO services, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0141 427 0727.