Before we get into the ins and outs of how SEO works and what you can do to improve yours, it’s essential to consider why businesses invest in boosting their SEO at all. New to SEO and need the basics? Check out Basics of SEO Explained.
The Value & Benefits of Effective SEO
The benefits of SEO all revolve around one major factor – making sure that the right people can find your business when they do an online search. These “right people” are those who have a genuine interest in the product or service you offer. SEO is a key component of successful inbound marketing- connecting with quality customer leads that are likely to convert into sales. Of course, this leads us to our first two benefits: more customers and better conversion rates.
SEO or search engine optimization gives you an advantage over the competition if used correctly. An effectively optimized website using SEO can make the difference between a customer finding you or going to your competition.
Build Brand Awareness. Customers are much more likely to trust brands that appear on the first page of search engine results. Establishing your brand as a leader in your industry creates a higher trust value, and should, in turn, help you make those all-important conversions a lot more easily. Utilizing effective SEO helps searchers find you quickly, easily, and focused on what they need when your SEO is optimized.
SEO is a functionally essential part of the modern digital market, and demonstrates why a full SEO audit by an inbound marketing agency is a smart idea. After all, who wouldn’t want a detailed analysis of your site’s SEO opportunities along with a prioritized list of recommendations for improvement?
Now you know all about the benefits of SEO, let’s dive into the details to find out how it works.
It’s easiest to understand backlinks if you view them as endorsements. When another site links to yours, they are demonstrating that they think your content marketing is valuable. Backlinking allows the all-important indexing algorithms to notice your site better, and help you climb that SEO ranking.
There are useful and not so valuable types of backlinks to consider. The first is known as a dofollow backlink, and these, for the most part, are the ones you want to boost your site’s SEO. Dofollow backlinks (yes, that’s really the term) are important because they are signposted for search engines to pick up easily,
However, not all dofollow backlinks are created equal. Unfortunately, there can be some dofollows that don’t do a lot of good for your site’s SEO. These are known as toxic backlinks – links to sites that are not secure, are suspicious, or otherwise go against the rules of the search engine’s service. Sadly, if your site links to these, it can hurt your SEO placement rather than help it. Although by using backlink monitoring tools, you can identify and get such links removed.
When it comes to dofollow backlinks, quality matters. We can use the endorsement analogy here for illustration purposes. For example, if you have a product that you are trying to sell, getting an expert in your field to endorse it is likely to provide more credibility than if you just picked someone off the street. Similarly, if your site links to other reputable and popular sites, the search engine holograms will see it as more credible and is likely to move up your placements.
The other type of backlink is known as a nonfollows and is of little use for SEO improvement. The good news is that you can do several things to encourage quality dofollow backlinks to your site. These include choosing the right format for your posts, with infographics and posts with embedding videos doing remarkably well. It is also often helpful to take a look at what your competitors are doing that have a high SEO rank.
The good news is that you can get help with your backlinking from an internet and inbound marketing agency like Anticipated Digital who will use professional tools like SEMRush. Inbound marketing agencies utilize these professional tools to analyze your site’s SEO, benchmark your competitors, and help you create the most effective content that is rich with SEO keywords and terms.
Technical SEO is all about indexing your site effectively– making sure it has the infrastructure that gets it seen by the SEO algorithms.
Three main things factor into ranking, and when improved, they can help maximize your technical SEO. These include making sure your site has the fastest possible loading time, that it has a secure connection, and that it features a responsive design.
A Fast Loading Time
It’s not too challenging to speed up the loading time of your site and thus boost your technical SEO. However, there is more than one option to consider here. The first is to check that your images files are at the smallest setting (while still looking good). You can also swap from using multiple CSS stylesheets to one. Don’t forget that choosing a provider that offers fast DNS, and fast hosting will also boost your site’s lodging time.
Finally, you may also wish to consider using AMP HTML code. This can increase the loading speed of content on mobile devices- and we all know that mobile devices are often one of the quickest ways people access the web. A quick loading speed on any device means people are likely to stay on your site longer and consume and share more your of content.
A Secure Connection
When it comes to creating a more secure connection to your site, remember that you must have an https:// URL. Google has openly stated that they will rank https:// sites over ‘http:// ones. Be sure to get an SSL certificate on your website if you want your SEO to be as effective as possible.
A Responsive Design
Google prioritizes sites that load on mobile devices. To use this to your advantage, you need to make sure that your site includes a responsive design. Responsive design means your site can automatically detect and change formatting depending on the device on which it is being accessed. Analytics tools used by inbound marketing agencies can track in real-time how your sites are being accessed and adapt your pages to cater to the type of devices most often accessing your site.
You have probably searched for a term online and had a rich snippet pop up, as well as all the most relevant pages. Because the rich snippet is concise and clear and is at the top of the results page, it is a position that is seen immediately by anyone running a search on associated terms. This position comes even before rank #1 on Google, so it is often referred to as position zero. The great news is that you can increase your chances of ranking in position zero by using Schema Markup to highlight useful information.
First of all, before you can use Schema you need to ensure you have the correct type of HTML markup. That means it can be used very easily to improve your site. You can even copy and paste the relevant parts into the bits of code you want to be highlighted. It’s free too, visit Schema.org for more information.
The best way to use Schema is to ensure you select the right kind of HTML markup for the information you are presenting. There are different kinds of HTML markup for a range of information, such as :
- TV, movie and book reviews and ratings
- Products – cost, availability, image, descriptions
- Local businesses
- Software applications
- Cinema listings
- Event information – times, locations, and directions
Using the right kind of Schema means your information will be displayed in a manner that is most useful to customers.
Lastly, when it comes to getting the most out of a scheme be sure to apply it to as much relevant data as possible. This will increase the chances of that much sought-after zero position. Also once you have completed the code portion of this task, be sure to request a recrawl of your site. This is the fastest way for search engines to pick up on the chances and will help you to see results in your SEO much quicker.
Keyword volume is no longer what will get your page ranked. Things are much more complicated than that these days. Search engines prioritize pages on how well they meet user’s requirements. Luckily, you can demonstrate how well your page meets the requirements of the user by using both on and off-page SEO.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO is all about the actions that you take on your page/site to maximize your search engine rank. Yes, this does include keywords (but perhaps not in the way you think) as well as many additional factors such as ALT text, title tags, and meta descriptions.
For example, when it comes to keywords, the trend for SEO has had to shift in line with how users perform searches. To that end, long-tail keywords are much more useful for SEO in 2020, because they mimic the ways people search for answers for specific questions, and also how they use voice searches.
What is Off-Page SEO?
If you want the best results, it’s also essential to master off-page SEO. Off-page SEO focuses on all the things you can do to boost your rankings that happen off of your site. In fact, we have discussed a part of this process above in the backlinks section! Backlinks are one of the most vital forms of off-page SEO.
Don’t forget other techniques such as social media promotion of your site, and choosing a reputable domain authority. A reputable domain authority demonstrates your site is authentic and trustworthy to the SEO bots. Like all the other effective strategies here, maximizing your sites’ potential to get noticed and ranked as highly as possible is the entire goal of effective SEO.
Need some additional help executing these tactics and making sure your site consistently appears in searches of the right people? Using an inbound marketing agency with a Full-Service SEO shop can make all the difference. After all, SEO can be tricky and is an ever-changing landscape, so doesn’t it make sense to get expert help for something that could essential make or break your business?