Imagine you are in a middle of a concert and the lead vocalist tells the crowd that he/she will sign an autograph for only one person from the whole crowd. Moreover, he is going to choose that one person from the first row of the concert. So, do you have such means (authoritative yet legal) to reach to the first row and most importantly stay there till the time the lead vocalist sees you? Now, take the same example in relation to your business. The lead vocalist is your potential client on a search engine, the rest of the crowd is your competition and you must strive to top to get the business and stay there till the client chooses you. Sounds difficult, right? The solution to this issue: SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the combination of different methods which primarily focuses on the visibility of the website of your business on a search engine (for instance Google, Bing, Yahoo).
So you are in Melbourne, Australia and you want to have Thai Food. So, on a search engine such as google, you will search, “Thai food restaurants near me”. So, Google at the backend checks its algorithm and present you with the data. The algorithm is such, that presents you such names of restaurants and the chances are quite high that you will choose one of the top 4-5 restaurants. Now, imagine if your company’s website in that google area. That’s where SEO comes into the picture. With the few search engine optimisation tips, strategies, and factor of time, one’s business can receive a lot of traffic and thus, can help the business grow in a better way.
SEO, a piece of cake or a devil’s playground?
Most of the people are familiarized with SEO basics but that doesn’t cover the entire picture. Though the SEO basics are beneficial and will give a little hierarchy but it is certainly not enough. Many big organizations are currently providing search engine optimisation tips and strategies to your up bring your business. It is certainly not a piece of cake but surely due to the competition, it certainly requires time and patience.
Introduction to SEO:
There have been a lot of debate over the range and packages of SEO provided by the companies and why it is important for one’s business. With the help of SEO, companies can target its customer and increase the amount of traffic organically.
Now, what is an Organic Search?
The search, which consist of certain key elements, which a company targets or wants it customer to target. For instance, if you own a small flower business which deals in delivery flowers to homes, there are many keywords you will target so that the traffic can be diverted to your website. You will be putting yourself in potential client’s shoes and then will try to figure out the words he/she is going to search. The keywords can vary from location, business, competitors and more, depending on the market. Then your SEO company you have hired will work upon your mentioned keywords or will suggest a better set of keywords that might help you to target your clients.
Finding the right keywords for your business is not the end of the story in fact it is phase one for your business. There are a lot of things that must be optimized before you can get the right results so that the search engines recognize your company’s website.
So, why search engines are such rigid, non-appreciative (because if you stop SEO you will lose your search engine position) and always moody (constant change of algorithm for the SEO), like my ex-boss?
SEO is a gradual process and search engines have a lot to do (unlike my ex-boss). There are practically millions of websites on the internet and still to rank on the first pages is a difficult ask. According to the algorithm, search engines look for basic characteristics in a website and then rank them accordingly.
Few characteristics which search engines go through your website are:
a) The content: Content is one of the parameters where a search engine weighs your website and then scale it. Search Engines evaluates on how regularly you update your blogs, articles, videos and more on your website. Moreover, it sees whether you are genuinely updating the content or are just targeting the keywords. In another word, search engines are trying to see whether your website has user-friendly content.
b) Navigation: Navigation has always been a key aspect. If the navigation is good for the user or the website has a user-friendly interface, search engines tend to higher the rank for the website.
c) Page Speed: It might have happened a lot that you could feel that Facebook is responding faster than some local departmental store website. The speed of each page on the website can be measured (for instance for google, we can use https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/). Speed can be tested and usually a report in generated in which the sites performance is measured accordingly. Moreover, the report provides the speed of website accordingly and provide you with the best ways to handle the issues.
d) Appropriate Searches and keywords: So, coming back to the “Thai Food” example, the restaurants were aligned because the search was in relation to Thai food. The right keywords can be targeted so that our Thai restaurant can be on first half of the first page.
e) Tags and Description: So, what are tags? So, you are in supermarket and you need help in finding something. So, you will try to find the person with the supermarket logo identity tag. Tags and search engines work in the same way. If a person is searching something on google, google verifies the tags of a website and provide you the data.
Search engines looks for title and meta tags. These are the tags provide the business name and the key description about your business.
f) Headlines: So article without a title, it’s like a book without the first chapter. Hence, the titles are important for any article, blog or post you make on your website. You should not focus much upon the traffic, it’s the content you should be after and with the eye-catching headline, you can attract a potential customer. Just make sure that your headlines are below 55 characters.
g) Location Based: Suppose, I own a small flower business and I want to target close to my location. Local SEO provides that services. There are couple of important things one must keep in mind: Register on Google My Business and update your contact information, reviews, product category should be up to date and the business hours.
h) Social Links: 70% of the Australians are active Facebook users. So, I can reach 7 out 10 people in Australia and it’s just Facebook we are talking about. Now, we have Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and what not. Social Media is no more about just friends. It’s grown to something important for business as well. It is rather become necessary to add social media links on your website because good social media pages will attract more traffic to your website. The content on the media shouldn’t always be technical or business driven, it can be anything which at the end should higher your customer service.
i) Device Friendly: How irritating is it to open every website on a laptop. In fact, you should have saved your time by opening the same website on your mobile or tablet. Optimization in terms of devices is also being considered as it enhances your customer’s experience.
Hence, the above-mentioned SEO basics should always be kept in mind. There are many sources from where you can learn SEO or at least the SEO basics but if you don’t have the time and correct resources, you can take help from good SEO firms.
There are many firms which provide such services but you must figure out which are more trustworthy. Many firms make promises which are rather impossible to target as for SEO, it takes time and the owner of the business should be patient enough to understand the situation. There are many other SEO blogs/posts/articles which advise to go for some of the practices which are unethical or some practices are not being used by search engines and thus the position of your webpage remains stagnant.
Few of the practices are as follows:
a) Overused Keywords: Search Engines are smart! The algorithm is such which can understand the use of normal content or keywords. Make sure you do not stuff your website with keywords. Use it wisely.
b) Duplication: Again, search engines are smart! Search engine can detect whether the content on your website is original or duplicate. Hire some good and reliable content writers or try to write your own content because if you copy someone’s work, google is still going to index just one.
c) Don’t try to outsmart the search engine: Some people will advise you to use put links in last full stop, usage of white text on the white background. These issues can hamper your website or sometimes search engines might punish you as well. So, keep it simple and sophisticated.
d) Buying and Exchanging links: There are many services which are present online which provides such services but if the traffic is hitting organically, it is rather better. Moreover, search engines understand such buying and exchanging methodologies. It is better to stick to the organic traffic.
SEO gives a platform to your business on a different level. You can expect the business from simply adding a proper and well formatted contact page. Even things like page speed, social medial links and click to call can differentiate. These small yet important search engine optimization tips can be helpful for your business. The most important information is that SEO requires time. It is not a one day or a week or a month job. It might take more than five months, maybe more depending upon your business. You can always learn SEO but it is better to give to professionals.