You have most likely read a blog or two in your lifetime – after all, we live in a world of instant access to information. But, you are probably not aware of everything that goes into writing a blog post, from the content planning stages to the search engine optimisation (SEO) stages. Combining these two elements is what creates the entertaining and relevant blog posts that you read online.
SEO, however, is almost always used as part of a larger digital marketing strategy and is not only used for blogging or article writing. If you are using a digital marketing agency you have likely been told about SEO but are not entirely sure what it is all about. Below we discuss the basics of SEO in simple terms.
So, What Does SEO Mean, Exactly?
Anyone who has performed any form of digital marketing knows that SEO stands for search engine optimisation. This is the art of (or the attempt to) obtaining a high ranking on a search engine in the unpaid section, better known as the organic rankings.
In simpler terms, SEO is the process of optimising your online content so that a search engine shows it as a top result for certain keywords. When it comes to search engine rankings, there are three components, namely you, the search engine, and the searcher. If you have written an article about touring Cape Town, you want the search engine to show your article as a top result for anyone looking to tour Cape Town. This is where SEO comes in.
Search engine optimisation is the “magic” you have to work in order for your article to appear in the top search results of a search engine. But why does this magic matter? Aside from the fact that the first five results on search engines receive up to 67 percent of all the clicks, appearing on the first page of any search engine will help to improve your online visibility as well as your audience reach.
Is Your Website SEO Friendly?
Now, it is easy to assume that SEO is only related to articles or blogs that you have written online, but it is also used to improve your website and make it more visible to both searchers and search engines. There are several techniques that you should use to ensure that your website is SEO friendly, as we outline below.
- Create That Content: A website is not truly a website without content, and that content needs to be optimised for search engines. This includes images and videos as well as written content. Images will need to have alt-text and both videos and images will need to be compressed so they do not slow down the speed of the website.
- Analyse Your Website: To ensure that your website will rank successfully, you will need to perform an analysis of your website, which includes looking at the keywords you have used on your pages, testing the loading speed of each page, checking that all images have been optimised, as well as ensuring there are meta titles and descriptions for every page.
- Be Strategic With Search Phrases: Once you have chosen your keywords, you will need to place them on your pages strategically and naturally, as is part of any digital marketing strategy. Be sure that related keywords are also used in the content so that Google or other search engines are able to ascertain what your page is about.
- Start With A Sitemap: Submitting a sitemap to a search engine makes it easier for search engines to find, crawl, and index your website. You should create both an XML and HTML version, both of which are able to be easily indexed by search engines. A sitemap is an essential part of any modern digital marketing campaign.
Wear The Right Hat
There are different types of SEO that are important to know about, namely white hat SEO and black hat SEO. Black hat SEO is often used by those who want to “get rich quick” by gaming the system, and means that you are optimising your content for the search engine and not for humans.
There are numerous methods that can be used in black hat SEO but it often results in website or web pages that are spammy, badly built, and banned very quickly by search engines. Some black hat techniques include using duplicate content, invisible text, keyword stuffing, and redirecting the user to another page from the page listed on the search engines.
White hat SEO is always the better choice when it comes to improving your rankings, online visibility, and user experience. It is one of the best methods of building a sustainable presence online, and does attempt to buck the system. White hat SEO involves creating and sharing relevant content for consumers first, providing relevant links and references, compliant HTML code, and writing high-quality content.
When you are attempting a digital marketing strategy, it is important to follow the guidelines of Google and other search engines. If you would like to learn more about how SEO can be leveraged for your business, contact NetMechanic today for some expert advice.