1. A few terms to understand prior to diving into SEO.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing is part of online marketing that
includes both paid and organic search queries on various search platforms like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
- SEA: Search Engine Advertising – indicates paid services to place
ads on search engine. SEA measures / campaigns involves paying for a website to be listed in the display area of a search engine platform when particular search queries or phrases are searched on the search platform. Paid and organic (not paid) listings both appear on the search result page but at different positions. Paid text ads are indicative and are also marked as such.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization – indicates long term actions to achieve good rankings consistently and constantly optimizing a website for both superior and simple user experience and search engine bots that crawl the world wide web constantly to index various websites based on content and various programmatic scores.
2. Why SEO?
Each year more than 2.8 trillion search queries are made on google. This translates to 88,700 searches per second that Google answers. Hence every second that a website is not indexed on Google, the website/brand/business losses out on hundreds if not thousands of potential customers who may be looking for the products/services offered by the website/brand/business.
A website’s webmaster team must therefore constantly tweak and improve user experience
and meet search engine platforms recommendations for site speed and various parameters to be able to rank on the prized first page of a SERP – search engine result page.
Simply put investment in a long-term SEO strategy becomes a corner stone of a formidable digital strategy for any brand/business vying for online digital sales/business.
3. How search engines work?
Google, Bing and Yahoo are a few popular search engine platforms. A search engine platform constantly indexes for the information that is available in the online unaversive into various categories and creates a reference architecture that stitches an online page based on it’s content and intent of the user who searches using a keyword or a certain phrase.
Every search engine platform has a multitude of codes / technical programs known as ‘Bot’ or ‘Crawler’. These Bots and Crawlers follow various online links and visit the websites. The index the website content and also follow the links on the websites to other sites. If a website is not indexed by these Bots and Crawlers or Programs, it will not appear in a search results page.
Search engine platforms classify the websites by the following two components:
- The website’s content: While indexing the website the bot scans every url of the website and looks for the topics covered and context. The bot also scans the HTML code for metadata example – tags or markups so as to determine the relevance of the individual pages to particular topics
- Links to website: The more that number of high quality inbound links referring to a website, the greater it’s link authority as determined by the Bots of the search engine platforms. Every search engine platform has their own algorithm that lists the search results. The are also known as ranking factors. For example: Google uses over 900 different factors to determine the relevance of a website to a search query. Some of the website ranking factors are:
-The website’s content
-The website’s structure and internal links The searcher’s geographical location
-Web Mobile optimization
-Web page loading times
-Social signals (links for social networks, reviews etc.)
4. Why is content king?
unique perspectives, information in the context of what they are searching for, will rank higher based on dwell time, page depth reads, etc. Avoiding duplication of web pages and content is very essential for a website to remain relevant for not to be penalized by search engine bots. Stuffing of popular key words into the websites will not help in the long run. It’s better to provide genuine information and add value where possible. Organizing the content types into proper structure makes it easier for the users to absorb content better.
5. What constitutes a good SEO strategy?
On Page SEO: includes all activities undertaken to organize, improve the quality of content, structuring on your own website. All these measures make it easier for search engines to find your website, index it, understand and classify your website content. Few critical activities to consider for On Page SEO approach:
- Content indexability
- URL structure
- Images and alternative attributes, naming convention
- Title tags and meta tags
- Headline tags
- Internal Links
- Website performance
- Mobile optimization
Off Page SEO: Includes activities that are external to your website and ensure an inflow of high quality referral traffic for other websites that have a good domain authority. Below are a few link building / back-linking strategies to get referral external traffic linking to your website:
- Quantitative factors – on websites linking back to your website
- Qualitative factors – subject relevance, anchor text, link location, follow or no follow link
- Google updates tracking and updating website accordingly for optimisation
- Use of social media to distribute content
- Use of CRM data of email list to distribute content
- Inviting guest articles
- Blogging and distributing articles
6. Identify keywords Could well be the holy grail of search engine marketing (SEM) and SEO. Few tips:
- Identify long tail keywords – while the traffic may be lesser than short keywords, the traffic are of quality and stick and have returning users once they find value with your website content. This will help in overall ranking in the long run.
- Web analytics tools – such google search console and google analytics etc.
- Keyword research tools – use Google’s keyword planner, google trends etc.
- Google suggests recommendations – when you start typing on the google search bar
7. Few actions and steps for a good SEO plan to be put in motion
- Create a List of Keywords
- Create pages with keyword focus and content that is built to add value to the users – text, image videos
- Setup a Blog – address popular topics but add value, every blog is a new web page
- Create a link building plan
- Keep up to date with the latest and the greatest in the SEO news /ecosystem
8. Monitor and analyse SEO performance
Monitoring and analysing SEO on a regular basis with a few of the below suggestive metrics may help. Although ranking needs time to build up.
- Traffic – google analytics
- Leads – google analytics
- Indexed Pages – run a site query on google
- Inbound Links – use of google search console
- Technical updates and code base errors rectifications