For most of us today, when we need something—whether it’s an answer, idea, strategy, or service—we start by asking search engines. Google alone gets 3.5 billion searches per day. So just as search engines have become integral to our lives, so too has search engine optimisation become integral to many business marketing strategies. In fact, organic search is considered to be the highest ROI channel by 49% of marketers.

Organic search is just a fancy name for regular, non-ad search engine results, and the way marketers use organic search as a marketing channel is through search engine optimisation, or SEO.

So how can you use the power of search engines to grow your business, rank higher on Google, get more traffic to your site and improve your brand reputation?

Table of Contents

What does SEO stand for?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation…so, let’s break that down in the context of your website.

  • Search: What people do when they need to find the answer to a question, or seek a product or service that meets their needs.
  • Search Engine: A site (like Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo) where a user can perform a search by entering a query into a form field and results, with links to relevant pages from that query, are returned.
  • Search Engine Optimisation: What actions you need to implement to achieve a query return to a search that lists your website.

What is the definition of SEO?

  • A formal definition of SEO:
    Search engine optimisation is a set of technical and content practices aimed at aligning a website page with a search engine’s ranking algorithm so it can be easily found, crawled, indexed, and surfaced in the SERP for relevant queries.
  • A simpler definition of SEO:
    SEO is about making improvements to your website’s structure and content so its pages can be discovered by people searching for what you have to offer, through search engines.
  • The simplest definition of SEO:
    SEO is what you do to rank higher on Google and get more traffic to your site. Although Google is just one search engine of many like Bing, it is the one that is most targeted for optimisation purposes as it captures 92% of the market share, with the terms “Google” and “search engine” being synonymous for the intents and purposes of this post.

What are the benefits & importance of SEO?

Users will search for any manner of things both loosely and directly related to your business. These are all opportunities to connect with these people, answer their questions, solve their problems and importantly become a trusted resource for them.

  • More website traffic: When your site is optimised for search engines, it gets more traffic which equates to increased brand awareness, as well as…
  • More customers: To get your site optimised, it has to target keywords—the terms your ideal customers/visitors are searching — meaning you’ll get more relevant traffic.
  • Better reputation: Ranking higher on Google builds instant credibility for your business – if you rank higher, the perception is that you are more trustworthy.
  • Higher ROI: You put money into your website, and into the marketing campaigns that lead back to your website pages. A top-performing site improves the fruits of those campaigns, making your investment worth it.

So whether you want more brand awareness, online visibility, leads, sales, or loyal customers, SEO is truly your answer.

What are the types of SEO?

Google and other search engines take several factors into account when ranking content, and as such SEO has many facets. The core three types of SEO are on-page, off-page, and technical SEO:

  • On-page SEO: Optimising the quality and structure of the content on a page which includes content quality, use of keywords and structured use of HTML tags are the critical factors for effective on-page SEO.
  • Off-page SEO: Getting other sites and other pages on your site to link back to the page you are trying to optimise through the use of backlinks, internal linking and reputation. These are your off-page MVPs.
  • Technical SEO: Improving your site’s overall performance on search engines. Site security (the use of Secure Socket Layer [SSL] certificates), user experience (UX) and site structure are key here.

The above three types of SEO are used for websites and blogs, but they also apply to three subtypes of SEO:

  • Local SEO: Getting your business to rank as high as possible in Google Maps and on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Reviews, listings, and Google Business profile optimisation are most important here.
  • Image SEO: A mix of on-page and technical strategies to get images on your website pages to rank in Google image search.
  • Video SEO: A mix of on-page, technical, and off-page strategies to get your videos to rank in YouTube or Google video results.

While all three subtypes require all three core types of SEO, they do vary in how heavily they rely on each core type.

How does SEO work?

So how does Google determine which pages will display in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for any given query? How does this translate into traffic to your website? Let’s take a look at how SEO works.

  • Google’s search crawlers are constantly scanning the Web, gathering, categorising and storing the results of billions of web pages in its index. When you submit a query and Google pulls up a list of results, it’s pulling from its index, not the Web itself.
  • Google uses a complex formula (called an algorithm) to order results based on a number of criteria (ranking factors—which we’ll get into next) including the quality of the content, its relevance to the search query, the website (domain) it belongs to and many more determinants.
  • How users interact with the results then provides further indication to Google the needs that each page is (or isn’t) satisfying, which subsequently is factored into the algorithm.

In other words, SEO works like a complex feedback system — to display the most accurate, trustworthy, and relevant results for any particular search using input from you, Google and users searching. When optimising, the task is to produce content that satisfies Google’s experience, expertise, authority and trust requirements, which in turn must satisfy all searchers’ requirements.

SEO ranking factors on Google

So what are those requirements? What actually constitutes quality, targeted, EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust)-friendly, and SEO-optimised content? Well, there are hundreds of Google ranking factors, with Google constantly evolving and refining its algorithm to continue providing the best experience possible. However there are 12 Google ranking factors that take priority and according to FirstPageSage, these are in order of weighting:

  1. Consistent publication of high-quality content (26%)
  2. Keywords in meta title (17%)
  3. Backlinks (15%)
  4. Niche expertise (13%)
  5. User engagement (11%)
  6. Internal links (5%)
  7. Mobile-friendly/responsive design (5%)
  8. Page speed (2%)
  9. Site security/SSL certificate (2%)
  10. Schema markup/structured data (1%)
  11. Keywords in URL (1%)
  12. Keywords in the H1 tag (1%)

Make no mistake about disregarding the factors at the bottom of this list, for as you can see in the below chart, “Other” factors, like unlinked mentions, social signals, domain history, outbound links and site structure still carry 1% weighting. Given that there are at least 200 Google ranking factors, there’s at least 189 “other” factors that collectively make up that 1%. In other words, those seemingly small factors, like keywords in URL, that on their own make up 1%, are not so insignificantly small.

Summary

Although many individuals understand the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) for improving the online visibility of their business, few people know what it takes to implement it effectively, so unless you have expertise, you should not consider doing SEO alone.

By engaging an SEO expert, you will:

  1. Have more time for your business : A wise business owner will focus on the most important aspect of their business – its smooth operation. Rather than dedicating time unnecessarily to running an SEO campaign, the astute business owner will engage the services of an SEO professional.
  2. Enjoy the benefits of SEO technical expertise : Improving your business’s online presence through SEO involves several technical processes that can affect the visibility of your business to existing and prospective customers. Typically, an SEO expert will use some (or all) of the following strategies to improve your business:
    • Website SEO audit
    • Keyword research and optimisation
    • URL structure optimisation
    • Content creation
    • Optimisation of title tags and meta descriptions
    • Backlinking
    • Page speed optimisation
  3. Experience proven results : An SEO expert understands how the system works and will tweak your website and its content to get the best results in search engines, that will in turn increase organic traffic and consequently increase your leads.
  4. Keep abreast of continual search algorithm changes : Search algorithms constantly change as search engines often alter their strategies for ranking websites, therefore, the implemented system that worked in the past for ranking websites in the search results may no longer be effective today. An SEO expert will keep abreast of the latest changes or improvements in search algorithms to continue catering to the needs of their customers with improved SEO strategies.
  5. Save money : Hiring an SEO expert is not cheap and is usually one of the reasons why many individuals opt for DIY SEO for their businesses. After wasting time, money and other resources on ineffective SEO strategies for their business, many owners then resort to engaging the services of an SEO expert later after failing to achieve satisfactorily on their own.
  6. Be competitive in the marketplace : If you investigate your successful competitors, you will notice that most of them will have invested heavily in SEO and other digital marketing strategies. Yes, they may have invested heavily engaging experienced digital marketers, but the investment pays dividends by leading their competition – DIY SEO will ALWAYS be disadvantaged.

If you need assistance increasing visitors or sales on your website using effective SEO strategies, talk to the experts by contacting Naked Egg Web Design.

NEWD Admin
January 2nd, 2024

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