What Is SEO?
If your business is looking to expand its digital marketing strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques are essential to shine a light on your brand. A strong SEO strategy will naturally drive traffic to your website through organic search engine results. To do this effectively, this beginner’s guide outlines three ranking factors to consider:
1. What Is SEO? Attract Quality Traffic
Firstly, it’s important to attract quality traffic to your website, which means you should always aim to capture the interest of your target audience. Not only is a sale much easier if the customer is already curious, but by pulling in random people who have zero interest in what you’re selling, this can have a negative follow-effect on many other aspects of SEO.
For example, if they click onto your homepage and realise that this is not what they intended to find, they’ll click off within a few seconds, which creates a high bounce rate.
So, what can you do to ensure that you do bring in quality traffic? The trick is to make sure that your website appears in Google search results every time your ideal customer types in a query that is related to your business. You want your website to shine high and proud on their results page, encouraging them to click onto it immediately. To achieve this, you need to use the right SEO keywords in your piece of content.
As a rule of thumb, the first steps to creating an SEO campaign is keyword research. When search engine users type their search term keywords (search queries, words and phrases) into a search engine, they’ll be presented with an array of options to choose from — your SEO competition. If you want to be at the top of that list, you need to make sure those relevant keywords match the great content on your website.
For example, if potential customers type in ‘children’s dresses’ and your business sells children’s dresses, it’s imperative to create an SEO keyword match.
Once the content on your website is optimised with the perfect collection of keywords, Google and other search engines will add you into the SEO competition by ranking your website or web page. Read our article on How To Choose The Right Keywords For Your Content for six easy-to-follow steps.
2. What Is SEO? Increase Traffic Quantity
Now that your intended group of visitors are clicking through to your website from search engine results pages (SERPs), you can then look at bringing more traffic to your website.
On-page SEO — also known as on-page optimisation — is the action of applying a bunch of optimisation tips and tricks to your web pages to help people find them more easily on search engines. This will increase your click-through rate, so it’s well worth keeping the following in mind when producing quality content.
- Every web page should target a keyword that you want to PageRank for (an algorithm used to rank web pages in search engine results). Ensure you include these keywords in your headers.
- The content should accurately answer the search engine user’s intent in order to create a positive user experience.
- Include internal links to direct the reader to other blog posts and pages on your website, as well as high-quality external links that pass along value to the reader. These will build link equity which helps to increase your search rankings.
- Add relevant, original images where possible.
- Check the page speed — if your website is too slow, people will leave which affects your bounce rate.
- Add a well-written title tag and meta description that uses target keywords to encourage search engine users to click through when they see your web page in their search results.
- Optimise your website to look presentable on mobile devices.
Off-page SEO techniques can also increase traffic to your website, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with backlinks — the foundation of off-page SEO. Also known as inbound links or link building, backlinks are created when one website links to another to represent a “vote of confidence” that they believe the web page is of high quality. As such, they are an extremely important part of how search engines work.
However, when it comes to building backlinks to your website, search engines are clever and can spot a paid link scheme. So, any backlinks that you acquire should be natural, trustworthy and relevant.
Credible backlinks can be created via sponsored posts or free guest posts — the important note is that the content should offer high-quality value to that website and their readers. Read our guide on What is Content Marketing for more information.
As well as creating backlinks, there are other aspects of off-page SEO that can also help increase the quantity of traffic to your website.
- Social Media Optimisation: Use social media platforms to grow your business’ online presence.
- Influencer Marketing: Include endorsements and product placements from relevant influencers or bloggers in your industry.
- Unlinked Brand Mentions: Find mentions of your business elsewhere on the web and asking them to link to you.
3. Organic SEO vs Paid Traffic
Now that you know how to attract high-quality SEO traffic to your website, it’s worth mentioning that there is also a paid option to place your website at the top of search engine result pages. So why put all this effort into on-page and off-page SEO techniques when you can pay for a high PageRank instead?
Firstly, let’s go over what exactly paid traffic is. If you pay for a paid traffic service, such as Pay-per-Click ads, this puts your website at the top of search engine result pages. So, when search engine users type your target keywords or phrases into Google, Yahoo or Bing, they will see your website at the top.
It’s a popular and effective quick-fix option as it can put your website above your competition immediately, enhancing the quantity of traffic to your website. It’s also easier to track returns on a paid campaign.
However, relying solely on paid traffic can be risky if you don’t keep an eye on your expenditures. While paying for paid traffic guarantees to put your listing in front of potential site visitors, the amount you spend on paid searches can add up over time. To combat this, you should track the amount you’re paying to see if it balances out with how many sales you’re making as a direct result.
In addition, your paid PageRank will only be visible for as long as you are paying which means the moment you stop, this could plummet down. Whereas, if you continue to pay attention to your organic SEO traffic, this is a far more evergreen technique to prolong your website’s exposure.
Organic SEO traffic is therefore widely considered to be the most valuable search option as it builds your brand’s credibility and you’re not reliant on paying money to maintain your ranking. However, when it boils down to answering which search option is best, it’s recommended to use a combination of both. This is because some searchers prefer to find websites through search engines while others routinely click on paid ads.
Therefore, to help your business get found online via search engines, a strong marketing strategy uses both organic search engine optimisation and paid searches.