Today’s fast-paced, digital world is full of acronyms we use on a daily basis, from LOL used to react to funny memes online to OMG used to show our shock at what is happening in the world today. There are now so many acronyms that it is hard to keep up…but there is one that you should always remember (especially when it comes to your business) and this is SEO (search engine optimisation).
If you are working with a digital marketing agency SEO is already part of their strategy for your business. But, from a layman’s point of view, search engine optimisation can be a little tricky to understand. It is a vital component of any digital marketing strategy, so it is important to understand the basics. Below we outline and explain the basics of SEO in an easy-to-understand beginner’s guide.
So…What Is SEO?
We will start off with the most obvious question that you likely have at this point: what, exactly is search engine optimisation? Simply put, search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the art of ranking highly on the results page of search engines.
Translated into non-techy terms, SEO is the process of optimising your online content so that a search engine is more likely to show it as a top result for your chosen keywords. For example, you might have written an article about choosing the best flooring for your office and you want Google to show it as a top result when people search for “office flooring”.
This is where SEO comes in – it is the magic dust that you need to sprinkle on your content in order to make it more likely that Google will show your content as a top result to people who are using these keywords. However, despite the acronym, SEO is as much about human internet users as it is about search engines and bots. It is about understanding what people are searching for online, including what answers they are looking for and what words they are using when searching for this content.
Knowing your audience’s intent and delivering it in a way that search engines can understand it are the two different sides of a successful digital marketing strategy.
White Hat SEO Versus Black Hat SEO
Now, the terms white hat and black hat SEO can be very confusing for people who are not in the digital marketing industry, but they can be understood in simple terms. White hat SEO refers to the SEO techniques, strategies, and practices that abide by the rules of search engines. It is more focused on providing value to people than it is on ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Black hat SEO is the practice of attempting spam or trick search engines into ranking a website. Black hat SEO includes techniques such as keyword stuffing, which is when a keyword and its synonyms and similar searches are included in one piece of copy or website page. While it does work, black hat SEO can cause websites to be penalised and removed from search engine indexes. It is best not to use black hat SEO for your website, as it could cause serious issues for your website.
Any successful website needs to include on-page SEO in order to rank on search engines. On-page SEO is the practice of optimising each website page to improve the user experience as well as the rank and ability to earn more website traffic. On-page refers to both the content and code of a website, including the images and graphic content.
When performing on-page SEO, you will need to have relevant keywords used on each page of your website to ensure that it is ranked for these keywords, use images that are not too big and that have the correct names (usually including the right keywords), as well as making sure that all video and animated content is optimised. On-page content should never be thin or full of keywords, as this will not appeal to users and could incur penalisations from Google.
Off-page SEO is equally as important to your digital marketing strategy as on-page SEO. Think of it as stepping outside of your house (website) and taking care of your lawn (ranking position). Off-page SEO refers to the techniques you can use so that your website or content features at the top of SERPs.
Off-page SEO focuses on building a rich inbound link profile from websites with high authority. This helps to build trust in your website from both consumers and search engines, as well as improves your own website’s authority. Some of these techniques include writing blogs to share on news sites or websites related to your industry and creating content to share on your social media network. Off-page SEO is important for building trust and authority for your website.
Know Your Audience And Website Goals
Each website is different, so it is vital that you take the time to understand the goals of your own as well as the goals of your audience. This will help you to determine which areas of your SEO strategy to focus on, what analytics to track, and what elements of your site need to be optimised.
Your SEO strategy should always be a white hat one, as using black hat techniques could cause serious issues for your website. Combining on-page and off-page SEO is also an important part of any digital marketing strategy, so be sure to consider both aspects when it comes to search engine optimisation.
If you would like to improve your SERPs rankings or simple boost your online visibility, contact NetMechanic today to find out how we can help you.