How SEO Helps Your Business Get Exposure Online
How SEO Helps Your Business Get Exposure Online?
As part of my personal contribution to an NGO, I am writing a series of educational content about digital marketing for businesses who want to go online, but don’t know where to start. This educational series is part of a course for a non-profit organisation, to help new migrants start their own businesses and be able to promote their businesses online effectively.
What is SEO?
SEO is a short form for search engine optimisation. Search engine optimisation is a set of practices and processes designed to improve the appearance and ranking of website pages in organic search results on search engines like Google and Bing. Because organic search is the most prominent traffic channel for people to discover and access online content on search engines, a great SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your business website.
What is the difference between SEO and Google Adwords or paid advertising?
The main difference between SEO and Google Adwords or paid advertising is that SEO generates “organic” rankings, which means you don’t have to pay to be in that position on the search engine results page. To make it a bit simpler to understand, search engine optimisation means taking a piece of online content and optimising it, so search engines like Google & Bing display it on the search results page when someone searches for something they are looking for. The difference with paid advertising like Adwords, is that you get instant listings in the ads section of the search engine results page and pay per click on your listing.
Why is SEO important for your business website?
When people are searching online for a service or product, they are more likely to click one of the top five results that the search engine displays to them. SEO helps your business website rank higher in search results and get more visibility online. By ranking high on the search engine results page, your customers are more likely to click over to your website and convert into a sale or lead.
Here are 3 advantages of good SEO:
- Most users use search engines to look for everything and having a presence in the top positions or rankings for the keywords the user is searching, increases the business website’s trust.
- SEO will put your business ahead of your competition. If two websites are selling the same product or service, the search engine optimised website is more likely to have more online exposure, more customers and make more sales.
- SEO is not only about search engine rankings but good SEO practices also improves the user experience and usability of a website, which will in turn make customers easily convert into sales.
What is the Google algorithm?
The Google algorithm is a series of ranking systems that make sure when a person is searching for a particular term on Google, that they receive the best websites with information that match what they are searching for.
Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Whether you typed “cute tortoise videos” or “7 Eleven near me,” the search engine returned millions of results for you to choose from. The whole google ranking system consists of multiple layers of algorithms that consider a plethora of factors such as content quality, relevance and, usability of the web page or website.
How do you SEO your business website?
There are many things that need to be done to SEO your website, we have listed the main areas of exploration and improvement to make your business website SEO optimised:
You will need to know the keywords or phrases that you would like to rank for in the search engines. These will be keyword terms related to, your products, services, or other topics your website addresses.
You can search for these keywords using tools like the Google keyword research tool to discover metrics like average monthly search volume and similar keywords. During this keyword discovery phase, these tools can help you determine which different variations of your keywords are most popular amongst online searchers.
Technical Website Optimisation
You need to make sure that you have the right website structure with the right headers and tags. The right website headers and tags allows Google to read your website and know what products and services you have based on what keywords you use in your headers and tags.
You will need to utilise keywords well and place them in the right place, you will also need to create unique titles and descriptions for each of your website pages, as well as add the right alt text to all your images, so the search engines know what your website and webpages are about.
When it comes to SEO, content is king. So content development and content marketing are of the utmost importance for SEO. Good content is great for both your website visitors and for search engines. The more relevant content you have, the more likely your visitors will stick around on your website because of the good content. And the more content you have, the more likely search engines will crawl your website’s pages in the search index to be displayed on search engine results pages.
User experience is one of the most important aspects of SEO for a website. For your website to be optimised for search engines, it needs to give visitors a good experience when they visits it. This includes having an easy to use navigation, and simplistic website architecture. Your website will also have to be fast, with speeds comparable with the best performing websites you are competing against. Nowadays all websites also need to be mobile responsive, as this is a major ranking signal for Google with the rise of mobile searches.
The basic goal of link building is to get other relevant websites to link to your own website. So if you think about ranking at the top of search results as a popularity contest, then links to your website are like votes saying your website deserves to be ranked highly.
Link building is probably one of the most talked-about and debated about SEO tasks, and in the past many people have used black-hat link-building to increase their backlinks (Google now penalises sites who use black-hat link-building techniques).
Schema mark-up is a form of microdata that should be added to a webpage to enhance SEO. Schema mark-up allows you to create enhanced description commonly known as a rich snippet, which appears in search results to enhance your search engine listing.
Websites that use schema mark-up usually rank better in the search engine rankings than websites without schema mark-up. A recent study determined that websites with schema mark-up ranks an average of four positions higher in the search engine rankings than those without schema mark-up.
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
Results from SEO is not instant, on average results appear within a 6 – 12 months period. And this doesn’t mean you will get ranked at the top of search engine results for all your target keywords, by results, we mean increases in organic traffic or conversions . Any business that is investing in SEO should expect to be able to see progress within a long term timeframe.
There is no one size fits all SEO strategy that will apply to all websites, so the best that an SEO expert can do is give an estimate based on analysing a website’s current performance, and competitive landscape.
What tools can you use to monitor your site SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is constantly evolving over time and as a result, it has become more complex, and getting results and ranking higher has become tougher for websites. SEO monitoring helps you keep an eye on these complex SEO aspects to determine and improve your website’s performance. Here are 3 essential tools you can use for SEO monitoring:
1. Open Site Explorer
For analysing your website’s SEO performance, one of the most important places to start is monitoring your overall backlink profile. You want to make sure that as your website grows, you have a good mixture of different kinds of links, anchor texts, and a number of different websites linking to you.
Website speed plays a role in both desktop and mobile rankings which is why businesses need to keep a close eye on how fast their website loads. Otherwise their websites could drop in ranking due to their website being too slow. Google Analytics is a great way to figure out what pages are slow, but figuring out what specific issues are causing your website to take a long time to load is more difficult. GTMetrix can help and analyses your website and tells you what areas and items you need to fix.
It’s very important to know if you website has issues that effect SEO and what extent you need to be cleaning up these individual SEO problems on your website. Whether they are title tag issues or pages that are going to 404. ScreamingFrog does an overall audit on your website to look at technical elements like response codes, title tag character limits, and missing img alt text. You get a list of issues that you can then start fixing to improve your SEO.
How to audit your business website for SEO?
All websites should do SEO audits regularly, this is the process of evaluating your website to see how well it is performing on search engines.
Doing an SEO audit is an essential way to create actionable plans to outperform your competitors, identify opportunities for improvement within your own website, and create better customer experiences.
You need to perform technical SEO audits, on-page SEO audits, and off-page SEO audits regularly on your website. Here a 6 steps to auditing your website for SEO:
1. Put Your Website URL through a Site Audit Tool
You can use some of the tools mentioned above to help you analyse how your website is performing. When you use these SEO site audit tools to run your site through, you can get specific recommendations and test how your page is performing.
2. Find All The Technical Errors
Once you’ve put your website through an auditing tool, you want to make a list of any technical errors. These could be related to performance, SEO, mobile, security, and more. The technical site structure and setup of your website is directly related to how well your website performs for customers.
3. Identify SEO Problems
Now you will also want to look at the more fundamental SEO-related issues on your website. Fixing these issues can improve your ranking on search engines. This might mean looking at meta descriptions, reviewing image alt text, and making sure you are using the right keywords in the right places.
4. Analyse Design and UX (User Experience)
One of the things to look out for when doing a website audit is the user experience. How is your website design working for your customers? You can use heatmap tools in google analytics to see what parts of your website design draw the most attention and what areas people spend most time on. This type of analysis will let you know how the overall design and user experience are impacting your website visitors.
5. Assess Website Content
A website SEO audit will help you assess your website content including web pages, blog posts etc. You will need to ask yourself “Is my content ranking well in search engines?” and “Is my on-page SEO and performance aligned with my target traffic numbers?”
6. Put together a checklist of all SEO issues with fixes
Now to make sure you are following a good process when you’re conducting a website SEO audit, it’s important to output a list where you put a summary of all your findings. List out the SEO website issues and recommended fixes, so that you can send that information to the appropriate teams to make fixes.