Has it ever occurred to you as to why the respective links on Google’s Search Results page are ranked the way they are?
What determines which link goes above the other?
Google’s algorithm is the leading determining factor of the Search Results page’s rankings.
The best practice of complying with Google’s algorithm and ranking system is what SEO is generally about.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of organically optimizing a website to boost rankings across all Search Engine platforms, all while sustaining the quality and relevancy of your website’s content from time to time.
What Is SEO?
So, what is SEO? The practice of SEO, in its very core, is based on the incorporation of relevant keywords into the contents of a website to enhance the visibility and discoverability of the website across search engines. These head keywords are often specific and descriptive in regards to the topic being addressed on the page.
#1 Focus on Related Keywords!
What is SEO’s relation with keywords, specifically? Let’s look at it this way; if you’re on a Travel & Lifestyle site, some of the relevant keywords pertaining to the contents of the site would be “travel”, “holiday”, “journey” & “tour”.
As you include these head keywords in your page, you are tailoring the page to accommodate to the way your potential target audiences are looking up informative data across search engines.
This way, when users type out the words “holiday” or “journey” on their search engines, you’re maximising the potential of your site to end up on their search results.
On the other hand, if users are looking up something more specific, then that is where long-tail keywords come into the picture! Long-tail keywords are key terms or phrases that are more specific as opposed to head keywords.
For example, some users might look up “best tourist spots in Kuala Lumpur” and that has to do with their very specific search intent.
#2 Understand Search Intent!
Search intent is when users are a little more specific with what they’re looking for. All they want is additional information about the topic/product they’re looking up.
So in entirety, by understanding the psyche and demographics of your target audience, you can roughly put together topically relevant keywords that will yield the most searches.
Essentially, by highlighting contextually-appropriate head or long-tail keywords, you’re informing search engines that your website deserves higher rankings as you’re catering to the needs of your target users.
#3 Generate Quality Traffic!
What is SEO’s correlation to generating quality traffic on your website? Users who look up information across search engines will eventually come across answers they’re looking forward to on your website. This also means that instead of focusing on promoting your product or service, you’re actually fixated on reeling in your target audience through search engines.
So what is SEO in this context and how does applying it’s practice aid in generating quality traffic? More often than not, those who would like to maintain their rankings on Google will have to not only update their website’s content to make it appear visually appealing to the users but also create a smooth navigation flow for Google to acknowledge.
Both the visual aesthetics and navigation factor goes back and forth between the users and Google itself. This will not only contribute to better user experience, but will also build trust and credibility between you, your potential customers and Google.
#4 Track Engagements & Conversion Rates!
Providing amazing user experience will increase the engagements you receive on your website. Great user experience is mostly influenced by your website’s speed and the content’s relevancy.
The average commendable speed for a website would fall anywhere below 3 seconds. Content relevancy, on the other hand, covers the way your content is structured, correct grammatical usage and current topics of choice for your posts. With that being said, higher engagements mean higher potential conversion rates.
Now, what are conversion rates? Conversion rates basically happen when potential customers are convinced to complete a specific set of desired actions on your website. It can be any desired action you set on your page; from them purchasing a service or a product, to subscribing to your monthly newsletters and everything in between.
Basically, online marketing experts have coined SEO to be an effective long-term strategy. Of course the whole practice process works progressively over time, but that’s what makes it all the more credible. As you’re applying the SEO practice on your site, you indirectly housekeep your site’s data by updating it with current content and getting rid of irrelevant content from time to time.
Now that you know what is SEO and how it influences traffic, engagements and conversion rates, it’s time to look into the steps that are to be taken to make your website SEO-friendly. Start off by analysing who you’re reaching out to through this practice; your target audience.
#5 Identify Your Target Audience!
It is very important for you to identify who your target audiences are. This article, How to Identify Your Target Audience for SEO explains thoroughly on ways you could go by to identify your target audience.
Some of the few factors you must consider while identifying the traits of your target audience should be their age, location, gender and disposable income. These demographic details will paint you a rough picture on the group of people you’re catering and selling your products/service to.
Once you get a hold of your target audiences’ data, you’ll have much more clarity when it comes to crafting the contents of your site, setting a tone for your direction & highlighting important head keywords.
#6 Highlight Your Unique Selling Point!
Speaking of keywords, the key to prioritising one keyword over the other is by identifying the Unique Selling Point (USP) features of the product or service you’re selling. Know what’s unique about your brand and maximise the value of your brand identity to maintain its online presence.
For the most parts, it’s not really about the amount of keywords you’re using but rather about the way you’re using the keywords to highlight your product or service.
#7 Produce Regular Content, Update Outdated Content!
The next step to integrating SEO into your website is by producing regular web contents of that which are relevant to your brand or even the industry you’re in! Every operating search engine knows that search engine users are expecting results that are up-to-date.
Coming up with fresh content for your site can seem like it’s a tad bit of a hassle. Especially when you’re required to do it regularly, but worry not! This article, 7 Right Things To Go By – Essential Copywriting Tips, embodies all the guidance you will need to produce an informative and effective copy for your regular readers!
So basically, by organizing your web content to stay fresh and current, you’re sending signals to Google, or any search engine for that matter of fact, that you deserve higher rankings on the Search Results page as you have what users are looking for.
#8 Establish Credibility & Reliability!
Besides, as you regularly update the content on your website, you will establish a loyal reader/follower base. Those who are familiar with your product or service will look forward to your daily, weekly or monthly content; people want to stay in the loop, always.
When these users regularly look up your site on Google for answers or guidance, Google has the ability to recognise the credibility and reliability of your site. This is yet another reason to keep your blog content updated from time to time.
#9 Create a Social Media Presence!
Another way to strengthen the SEO feature on your website would be by establishing an online social media presence for your brand.
Of course Likes, Shares and Retweets won’t in any way impact your ranking across search engines, but your social media profile does get ranked based on the extent users find the page informational, helpful and relevant.
One of the reasons to focus on establishing your online presence would be in regards to the fact that social media is also being used as mini search engines. These days, rather than looking up a product/service on Google, the younger demographic are much quicker to do a search on Twitter’s Search Bar or on Instagram’s Discovery Page.
For an example, in this article, 5 Things You Need To Know About Social Media & SEO, Neil Patel explains that “we need to understand that search engine optimization includes the search that happens on social media search engines.”
It may seem a tad bit far-fetched but brands that emphasise on visual aesthetics, for example, will score a fortune if they learn the tips and tricks to curating a visually pleasing and engaging Instagram account.
This will not only help you reach out to the right kind of target audience but will also help rank the brand higher across search engines as you establish a personal connection with your consumers through social media.
#10 Identify Quantifiable Results!
Once you have gotten your online presence covered, how do you figure out if the SEO practices that you are applying on your webpage is turning out to be effective? Where do you get the data and statistics to monitor the engagements and conversions your page has been encountering throughout the practice? Search Engine Optimization is a highly quantifiable practice.
In other words, the progressiveness of an SEO practice can be measured using several different metrics. One of it being the amount of organic traffic your page is reeling in. The most easily accessible tool used when it comes to tracking organic traffic would be Google Analytics!
#11 Monitor Your Bounce Rates!
Google Analytics does more than just track your influx of organic traffic; the tool is also able to study visitor behaviour! Visitor behaviour in this context refers to the bounce rate, landing page, interactions and engagements you process on your webpage. The results of these variables generally determines the effectiveness of your SEO practice on your site.
For example, a bounce rate is the number of users who land on the site only to end up leaving before exploring other pages or parts of the site. Meaning, with consistent and clear practice of SEO, a healthy bounce rate on your website is expected to be somewhere around 26 percent to 40 percent.
Anything surpassing 40 percent doesn’t usually fall under the desired bounce rate percentage and most probably means that your SEO proficiency needs some brushing up.
Since we’re still on the topic of bounce rates, did you know that broken links, broken pages and malwares on your site are all considered as some of the hugest contributing factors to receiving higher bounce rates.
These malfunctions will not only deteriorate the quality of your page, but will also negatively impact User Interface (UI) followed by User Experience (UX).
#12 Check Your Website's "Health"!
If Google were to detect these broken links and pages on your site, your site inevitably gets dethroned from higher ranks.
So with all the content, grammatical and visual maintenance your site requires, how do you ensure that you keep your site “healthy” off all existing bots? The Google Search Console tool.
The Search Console tool is a web service provided by Google itself to monitor the health of your website. This tool basically functions as a doctor on your website.
What it does is scan through your site to track your site’s performance and check for any important event that’s endangering the content or interface of your site.
With the help of this particular tool, you’ll be all set to maintain your site at its optimum level and maximise engagements and conversion rates at all times.
#13 Long-Term Results!
All in all, now that it’s clear on what is SEO’s influence in traffic, engagements and conversion rates, to practice SEO in a way where it benefits you and your brand on the long term, you will need patience, discipline, perseverance and most importantly, passion. Provided the fact that SEO takes time to reflect convincing results, businesses that are willing to invest their time and energy into building a credible and trustable source should definitely apply its practices.
With all the technicalities that go into SEO, don’t get intimidated by the process and procedures of this practice. If you have too much on your plate and now that you’re aware of the long-term benefits SEO will bring to the table, hire an expert to get it done for you!
That way, your site will be in the hands of somebody who is not only familiar but also skilled at tweaking and re-tailoring SEO-friendly websites which will accommodate to your business’ prospect!