Search Engine Optimisation, or more well known as SEO. This is where your website will rank and display within search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. SEO is effectively a free traffic source, but for competitive keywords, you are more than likely going to need deep pockets.
Ranking your website will happen naturally. However, there is a hell of a lot of critical factors that will define where you rank on search engines.
All search engines have their own algorithms that decide where you rank. As Google takes up a whopping predicted 75% of searches on any search engine globally, I will be basing this guide on them. Generally though, they work on a very similar basis.
One thing to bear in mind with SEO is that this is not a quick win. Ranking to the top of page one, or to even get on the first page can take months, even years. You must remember to stay patient and keep telling yourself that the hard work will pay off.
With Google, there are roughly 200 factors that will decide on where you rank position. Yup, TWO HUNDRED! You can suddenly see how much of a complicated beast SEO is, I didn’t say it was going to be easy.
Here Are Some Main Factors To Keep In Mind…
As you can see below, the meta titles and descriptions are basically your adverts. This is your chance to entice the user to click on your website.
Recommended character limits for meta titles are between 50-60. The description will show up to 160 characters.
Remember with SEO; content is king! Google base a lot of how they rank based on how useful and informative your website is.
If your bounce rates, engagement, shares and time on site is decent, that will help to make sure your content is fu**ing amazing!
One thing a lot of people forget is search engines can’t see an image. But you can let them know what the image is by ensuring you have alt tags on all images. This will help you optimise in the long run.
H1 tags are your header titles for the websites. So make sure you try to keep these relevant to the product, article or page. Again like the images, this is undoubtedly going to have an impact.
You should be doing this to make it as easy as possible for your users to navigate anyway. But for SEO, this helps build your trust, authority and content.
For best practice, make sure every single page on your site has at least one link to. Your key pages and main content pieces must be linked to in your main navigation.
Linking around the web to relevant articles, information and social pages will push you up positions. Again, this tells search engines that you are providing your users with useful information so will build your trust and authority.
This is the most important ‘off page’ optimising you can do. If a website links to you, It’s going to increase your authority and positions naturally. The more links the better, as long as it’s relevant. However be careful, if a spammy site with a bad authority links to you, it’s going to have a negative impact.
This is where if you have big budgets it really helps. As websites with good authority will more than likely charge you.
Try to get as many links from social media as you can. Always encourage your users to share anything and everything.
Have I mentioned the word authority yet? I’m not sure if I have… Yes, it’s very important. A lot of your SEO work builds up this key factor. Authority = Winning.
How old your website also helps. The older, the better. Obviously, this is something you have no control over. But just keep it in mind, you need to be patient with SEO, it’s not going to happen overnight.
If you are doing a lot of research on SEO or know a little bit about it, you’ll hear on and off page terms a fair bit. But what are they?
On page optimising is basically everything you can possibly do on your website. That’s your meta titles & descriptions, your content, image tags & h1 tags, links, etc.
Off page is anything that’s not on your website. In a way, it’s the stuff you’re not entirely in control of, but you can influence it. So that’s; links to your website, domain age, your authority etc.
Which Is More Important?
That’s like asking what’s more important between your car’s engine, and the wheels. They work together and are both vital to how well you rank.
As I mentioned earlier, SEO is a free traffic source. Not only can you get a crazy amount of visitors from SEO but usually the quality and engagement of those visitors tends to be a lot more valuable than your paid traffic sources.
So you have an idea what SEO is and how it works now. Let’s get a plan in place!
Whatever you are selling or promoting, you need first to find out what your users are searching. Once you do that, you can focus on creating content and your meta titles & descriptions based on those keywords.
Find out what your competitors are doing. How does their meta title and descriptions look compared to yours? What content are they producing? How many links are they getting? Are they doing anything that you’re not?
There is an excellent reason they are ranking above you. Finding out what they are doing is always the right place to start.
There are all sorts of tools you can use to do your research, ahrefs is one of the more popular ones to use.
It sounds a bit cliche, but you need to make sure you are doing the basics as good as you can. Having the basics probably is 50% of what makes you rank, but only takes up a small amount of time.
This includes; Meta titles & descriptions, site navigations, internal linking, images & h1 tags.
If your website and content are out of this world, naturally you’re going to have users share you on social media and websites linking to you.
However, that’s only really going to have a small impact. The significant volumes start to come when you get links to your website or page.
Contact bloggers, journalists, influencers and relevant websites. Ask them to link to you, do guest blogging, commenting on blogs posts and forums, feature in directories, anything you can do to get links.
Bear in mind though; they have to be relevant to what you are doing. There is an excellent article by LinkResearchTools for building links for 2018.
Like every traffic source, you can always tinker, trial and test different ad copies and theories. Every so often you should go back over everything you have done to try and improve things.
These tags are designed to stop duplicate content hurting your rankings. It’s a way of telling search engines “Hey, I have this page here, I want you know the I have this page but don’t rank for it.”
What scenarios might you need to use this? You could have a 4 or 5 landing pages that all have the same content, but are doing different things with them. Such as sending the users to different locations once they have signed up.
You don’t want to be ranking for all those landing pages as the search engines might penalise your duplicate content across the site.
You can also do this for links. If you want to have a link sent to you from somewhere, that’s going to give you good traffic, but their authority sucks, you can provide them with a no follow link.
If you link too much, it’s going to cause high bounce rates and less time on site. All of those factors will hurt your position. Google will also directly penalise you if you’re linking for the sake of it, which is bad news!
Let’s be honest, if every other word links somewhere it’s just going to look ridiculous. Same rules apply for overusing keywords.
Copying someone else’s content is like shooting yourself in the foot. You will get away with taking small phrases to quote from, but taking large pieces of content is going to land you in hot water.
You should always create your own content.
If you try to cheat the algorithms in any way, shape or form, it’s probably going to end in tears. Search engines these days are brilliant, continually evolving and will 100% catch you out.
I really, really wouldn’t recommend any blackhat methods or anything you shouldn’t be. It’s only going to end badly. Worst case scenario; you are blacklisted, and your site never ranks for anything, ever.