If you have a website for your business, you have most likely heard the term SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – this blog will give you some helpful facts so you can get to grips with SEO and grow your traffic.
1. Trying To Cheat Search Engines Can Hurt Your Rankings
You can’t use Black Hat SEO techniques to cheat your way to the top of organic rankings.
Search engines have set rules in their algorithms to detect these techniques and penalise sites that deliberately or accidentally break them.
In years gone by, keywords would be written all over a white background of a page, using a white font to rank quickly for them. This is just one example of old-fashioned techniques that should no longer be used.
To make sure you are complying, take a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidlines.
2. Keywords Tell Search Engine What Your Page Is About
Keyword research is the foundation of your on-page SEO.
You need to make sure that search engines can understand what your page is about so that they can rank you for the correct search terms.
You do this by adding keywords that you would like to be found for, throughout your copy – but not too many times!
3. Links Help Search Engines Find Your Web Pages
Search Engines send out web crawlers that crawl through pages to understand and process the information on them.
To get from page to page, these bots have to follow links, so if you don’t have any links to your pages, it can’t find them.
You need to make sure all of your website’s pages contain at least one link, even if that is just internally to another of your pages.
Backlinks (external) are even better but can be more difficult to obtain. Try to strike a deal with others in your industry and offer a link-for-link!
4. Search Engines always aim to satisfy their users, not website owners
Don’t forget, search engines have customers too, and their main aim is to satisfy them by giving good answers to queries.
This is why you should always ensure that your website content is fulfilling the purpose of answering someone’s search well, not just trying to optimise it for crawl bots.
If you can do this, your pages will naturally rank better over time, as people will click on your page first, and stay on it for longer.
These are key ranking factors because search engines then know that your content is relevant to the search of their user and will satisfy them the most.
5. Search Engines provide free tools to help with your SEO
If you’re new to SEO, the number of tools out there can be daunting, but search engines provide powerful and free tools to get you started.
These tools are straight from the horse’s mouth, so you really get a good understanding of how the major search engines view your site, and what they want to see from them.
Tools such as Google Search Console will help you track performance, find keywords for you to target, request page indexes manually, submit sitemaps and much more.
6. Sitemaps tell search engines the important pages to crawl
An XML sitemap is a file that you submit that outlines the pages, videos, and other files on your site that you would like them to crawl.
It provides valuable information about the files, for example, it will tell the search engine when the page was last updated, how often is changed, and if there are any alternate language versions of it.
This all helps search engines provide the best results for their users, if your content has been updated more frequently and recently than a competitor, you have a chance of ranking higher than them.
7. Keep an eye on your competitors
The online world is extremely competitive, and everyone knows whats SEO these days, so you need to stay on top of your game.
Your rivals are going to be trying to rank for the same keywords that you are, so look at the ones that rank better than you. Looking at their approach may help you.
Think about these questions:
Who links to their page?
How long is their content?
When was it last updated?
How can you provide more value to the searcher?
Answer these questions, then adjust your content to make yours better than the competition. Once you have, you can reach out to people that link to them, and let them know you’ve created a better version, ask them to link to you instead!
8. Site security affects your SEO
Search engines don’t want to send their users to a site that isn’t safe or has been hacked.
You need to show users and search engines that you are keeping the data on your website secure. To do this, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate, which will give you the HTTPS domain distinction.
Google made HTTPS one of their 200 ranking factors several years ago. Users are so used to seeing it nowadays, if you don’t have it, they may be reluctant to use your site.
9. SEO is always evolving
SEO techniques that worked in years gone by won’t work today, as with everything in the digital world, SEO never stops changing.
This means you need to keep up to date with change trends, including algorithm updates by search engines so that you don’t get an unexpected drop in rankings.
Keep in mind that the volume of voice search is continuing to grow, accounting for 50% of all searches in 2020. This is just one example of how you will need to adapt your SEO strategy to stay ahead of the curve.
10. You need to be patient
All business owners like to see results quickly, but as we have all heard – “patience is a virtue”.
SEO is not like ads, you can’t just turn on the campaign and populate position one of a search engine – it can take years! Be patient and persistent, keep adjusting, analyzing, updating, and monitoring your competitors.
Over time search engines will really get to know your site and start giving it authority over other sites.
But the wait will be worth it because 67.7% of the clicks are accounted for by the first 5 results.