SEO has been around for as long as there have been websites. The easiest way to explain the concept is that it is the way a website is structured, written, coded and presented so that search engines are most likely to prioritise it in the organic search results of web users. That is why you need SEO.
In the early days, SEO was easier as the algorithms that the likes of Google utilised were relatively simple and stuffing an abundance of keywords in content on a website was often enough to get the desired ranking. However, with the ever increasing sophistication of such algorithms a subtler approach is required. These days the priority is given to sites that not only benefit from stellar SEO, but also tailor their content to the needs of their users in actual terms, such as readability, ease of navigation, mobile friendliness and other practical functionality.
So, how does one go about navigating the tricky terrain of modern day SEO? Firstly, it is highly advisable to take advantage of the free tools that Google (and other providers) offer to analyse how your site is performing. With such tools as Google Analytics it is possible to achieve the following:
This is crucial. It involves finding out the actual search terms that the sort of people you wish to attract are using. You can begin by using Google Analytics to find out what terms are leading people to your website, but this may not be the right users. You will need to use the same tool and others to find out your bounce rate and which users are those that are converted into valuable customers.
Brainstorming is a great way of coming up with ideas for potential keywords, as is asking existing customers. In addition, make sure that the keywords are relevant to your products and services. Understanding that so-called ‘long-tail’ keyword terms lead to a better conversion rate is also crucial. Say you sell rare records. ‘Rare records’ may attract some customers, but if you specialize in Beatles records then ‘rare Beatles first press vinyl records’ would be more attractive to the right clientele.
Again, great tools like Similar Web can help you here. They will help you to get a great picture of what is working and what is not on competitors’ websites. You will see their bounce rates, important keyword analysis (you may get some more ideas!) and other vital statistics.
Once you have done your research, it is all about optimising your own website using what you’ve found out. Making sure there is no duplicate content or tags, making your content user friendly, mobile friendly and introducing a smattering of relevant keywords are all crucial steps as is having a good number of appropriate internal and external links.
Building links is a crucial SEO tactic. Collaborate with relevant partners and approach influencers with free samples to garner external links as this is a key signal in Google’s algorithm that your site is worthy of a high ranking. These are called backlinks.