Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO can heavily influence a site's search ranking in SERPs

Definition of SEO:

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of maximising organic traffic to a website by ensuring that it appears as high as possible in the search engine results page (SERP’s) for all relevant keywords.  A website achieves a high SERP’s ranking according to a number of factors.

Google and other search engines use algorithms to crawl a website to determine how to rank content. The factors and their weights that search engines use to rank a page are kept secret and so it is difficult to know for certain how to optimise for Google ranking. However, an annual report from SEM Rush based upon the analysis of 600,000 keywords with a cross-section of search volumes indicated that direct website traffic is the most important ranking factor.

Ranking Factors Analysed 

SEM Rush 2017 report on SEO ranking factors

Image Source: SEM Rush, 2017.

 

The next most important factors are time on site, pages per session, bounce rate and total referring domains. All these metrics help Google identify high quality websites with relevant content. The analysis shows that such factors are more important than traditional metrics such as keyword density and total anchors.

However, backlinks are important as this is another way Google bots can determine if other users value your content. Blog outreach is a common strategy for building backlinks to improve ranking, but it often has a very low conversion rate. For this reason some SEO  experts use  black hat techniques such as private blog networks as this gives them total control over how to create backlinks.

 

To undertake SEO it is important to complete a site audit using a site crawler such as SEOmator or ScreamingFrog to review how well a site has been configured for SEO.  You can get a free SEO audit here. A SEO audit will normally cover issues such as:

  1. Domain authority – how highly a site is ranked
  2. Page indexation metrics – number of pages ranked by search engines
  3. On-page SEO (e.g. HTML tags, title tags  and meta descriptions)
  4. SEO friendly (e.g. URLs, privacy and broken links)
  5. Usability (e.g. page speed, favicon existence)
  6. Crawling test (Sitemap availability and Robot txt availability)
  7. Web technologies (e.g. technologies involved in creation and support on site and content freshness)
  8. Server response check (e.g. 404s and if modified test)
  9. Off-page research (e.g. backlinks, referring domains and referring IPs)

Keyword research is an important element of SEO and so it’s important to understand how to do keyword research.. To improve your domain authority and improve search rankings it is necessary to get quality backlinks to your site. This is one of the few ways search engine bots know if you content is valued by users. So, it is worth researching strategies for obtaining backlinks and tools that can assist in this process. For WordPress sites get the Yoast SEO plugin as this is an excellent tool to help with your SEO.

Resources:

Conversion marketing – Glossary of Conversion Marketing.

Over 300 tools reviewed – Digital Marketing Toolbox.

Keyword research –How to do keyword research.

Link building – 20 powerful link building tools to drive traffic to your site.

Private Blog Network – What is a private blog network?

A/B testing software – Which A/B testing tools should you choose?

Types of A/B tests – How to optimise your website’s performance using A/B testing.