10 Tips For Search Engine Optimisation Success
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is critical to attracting new customers and should never be ignored. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. The top 3 Google search results gain up to 75% of all clicks so making sure your content ranks well is a marketing must.
SEO is a fast-paced and dynamic field, that can help your brand build a strong web presence and bypass your competitors to gain new customers for your business and take it to the next level. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to stay well-informed and learn continuously about SEO best practices.
Content is the foundation of digital marketing success and SEO without content marketing is like a body without a soul.
Developing an SEO content marketing strategy is the best way to make sure the two are working hand-in-hand. At Speedwell we have a team of content marketing and SEO experts who can help you with your SEO strategy plan. Get in touch to learn how we can get your content ranking.
So why care about creating an SEO strategy?
An SEO strategy is a process of organising a website's content by topic, which helps search engines like Googleand Bing understand a user's intent when searching. By optimising a web page around topics, then keywords within that topic, you can increase your expertise in the eyes of your customers while fulfilling the needs of search engines and rank higher for long-tail keywords related to that topic. An SEO strategy plan is a blueprint for your Search Engine Optimisation activities that can be scaled based on your budget and desired outcomes. The main purpose of an SEO strategy is to drive pre-qualified traffic to your website, improve conversion rates and boost your online revenue.
For the past 10 years, Google's search algorithm updates have been accelerated dramatically. In 2018 Google made 3,200 changes to Search, up from about 400 changes back in 2010. 2019 saw a number of publically disclosed core and other search algorithm updates with many changes of 2019 being around natural language and understanding intent in search results. The main update of 2019 was called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT).
BERT differs from other neural network-based techniques for natural language processing (NLP) in its ability to train language models based on the entire set of words within a sentence or query, allowing those language models to learn word context based on surrounding words; not just the words that precede it. For businesses, BERT is a step closer to the search engine’s ultimate goal: understanding and leveraging search intent.
SEO experts from the industry have said that BERT will improve results for voice searches and people using talk to text to search. The beauty of BERT is that it's looking for content that answers one specific question or query, and answers it fully.
How Do Search Engines Decide Where to Rank Pages?
Search engines like Google use more than 200 ranking factors to serve users search results. Search engines perform several activities in order to deliver search results.
Crawling – Is the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots (known as crawlers or spiders) to find new and updated content. Content can vary and can be a webpage, an image, a video, a PDF, etc. To learn how to leverage video in your digital marketing strategy Find our more.
For Googlebot it starts by fetching website pages and the follows the links on those pages to discover new URLs. By moving along this path of links the crawler is able to discover new content and then adds it to their index called Caffeine. Caffeine is Google's indexing system that was released in 2009 and allows Google to crawl, collect data, and add it to their index in seconds.
Indexing – The process of creating an index for all the fetched web pages and keeping them in a giant database from where it can be retrieved later. Indexing is identifying the words, phrases, and expressions that best describe the page and assigning that page to particular keywords.
Retrieving & Processing - When someone performs a search, search engine reference their database index for highly relevant content and then orders that content in the intent of solving the searcher's query.
Displaying Results - The search engine then displays the results by ranking. Ranking is the sorting of search results by relevance. The more relevant the content is the higher the result is displayed by the search engine.
10 SEO Success Factors
- Unique well-targeted content
- Crawl accessibility so search engines can reach and index your content
- Quality & quantity of links
- Compelling content that answers the search query and satisfying the users intent
- Keyword optimised to attract searchers and search engines
- EAT: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
- Great user experiences including load speed, ease of use and compelling UI on any device
- Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
- Title, URL and description to draw high Click-through rate (CTR)
- Snippet / Schema markup to stand out in SERP's
Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T) Criteria
To create high-quality content that Google will rank, you need to look at the three keys found in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines: beneficial purpose, E-A-T, and Your Money or Your Life (YMYL).
- Every page must have a purpose, and that purpose must be accomplished to benefit the user.
- Every page needs the right expertise behind it. Some pages require higher levels of E-A-T than others due to their subject matter. Sometimes, for low or non-YMYL pages, the evidence for the expertise can be found in the content itself.
- YMYL pages need the highest E-A-T possible. These pages can have a direct impact on the reader’s lives, livelihood, or happiness.
There are many technical requirements that need to be addressed and implemented to ensure a website is well optimised. Having a website that is technically sound allows search engines to quickly and accurately crawl and index a website. Some of these technical elements include:
Hosting Issues: Ensure page load time is minimised and there are no server errors.
Robots.txt file: This tells search engines what they can and cannot crawl.
Meta Data: Implement Meta Title & Meta Description tags to ensure search engines can quickly identify what the website is about.
Internal Linking: Ensure all internal pages are linked appropriately.
According to Google RankBrain is their third most important ranking factor and that trend is likely to become more important in the future. RankBrain watches how users interact with search results and rank the results based on that. If users click on a result and immediately bounce from the site, the site will start to lose ranking. But, if users click on a result and spend time on the site, the site will start to gain ranking (or stay at a higher ranking).
"When you optimise your page around medium keywords. RankBrain will automatically rank you for that term and hundreds of similar keywords.
It is important to remember that search engines rank your content base on how relevant it is to a searchers search query. So when writing content make sure that it's compelling, that it genuinely provides helpful answers and relevant information to the search query and satisfies the users intent.
"Offering relevant internal links that answer a reader's questions can significantly decrease bounce rate and attact repeat visitors.
When search engines crawl your websites they are also looking to see how reputable, trustworthy and authoritative the content is and if it has been linked to by any other website our platform. This is why backlinks are important. Search queries can be classified into three types navigational, informational or transactional.
1. Navigational search queries
A navigational query is a search query entered with the intent of finding a particular website or web page. For example, a user might enter "YouTube" into Google's search bar to find the YouTube site rather than entering the URL into a browser's navigation bar or using a bookmark. In fact, “Facebook” and “YouTube” are the top two searches on Google, and these are both navigational queries.
2. Informational search queries
These are submitted when users are searching for information. They aren’t looking for a particular website, yet for an answer or guidance on how to do something. For example, “How to brew the best coffee”.
3. Transactional search queries
This type is an intention to make a transaction. It usually comes with a product name (Nike Airmax) or category (sneakers). Additionally, it can be written with “Where to buy …”, “… price” or in a similar manner.
Utilising these content tactics will not only imporve your visitor's experience but has been proven to help search engine to identify your pages as high-quality content.
5 Ways To Rank For Featured Snippets
11% of search results have a featured snippet. Featured snippets are selected search results that are featured on top of Google's organic results below the ads in a box. Below are some ways to keep your content optimised for featured snippets:
- Be clear and concise
- Use headers for easy scanning
- Ensure cross-device usability
- Maintain social engagement
- Use strong external resources
10 Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid
- Have a slow page load speed.
- Not utilising external links to quality authoritative websites
- Not having an inbound links strategy to obtain inbound links from authoritative blogs and websites
- Writing for search engines first and humans second. It's recommended to focus on how people engage with your brand, product or service.
- Not utilising Keyword Research Tools to capitalise on long-tail keywords.
- Not having web analytics so you can measure and benchmark your results.
- Not having unique and relevant meta descriptions for every page.
- Not using readable and meaningful URLs
- Not having the right content distribution strategy. Social media activity (sharing) directly increases visibility, however, it's only effective if your audience finds it of value and shares it with their community.
- Not using image tags and the right keywords in your images.
When it comes to search engine optimisation it's a business's job to examine and understand what content is important for your audiences and develop an SEO strategy that puts the right content in front of that audience. It's recommended when planning your content strategy to write for your audiences (so optimise for humans) and not SEO trends.
Want to start tailoring your SEO content marketing strategy? Speak to our team of SEO Experts to discucss your SEO goals.
|John King, Digital Marketing Technologist, Speedwell