Organic traffic is becoming more relevant than paid and social traffic. This shows us clearly that SEO is a crucial need for all businesses and personal ventures present online. In other words, if you want to be found online, then SEO is the answer you are looking for.
However, it takes effort to master SEO. If you are particularly new to SEO, then you are in the right place. In this blog, we will take you through some basics of SEO, which are essential to know, primarily if you have run a business, blog, or marketing campaigns. So let’s get down the details.
What is SEO?
Starting with the basics, SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation. As the name suggests, SEO is a practice of increasing both the number and the quality of the traffic that appears on the websites.
Despite the name, SEO is not all about search engines. Instead, it focuses majorly on people, their online behaviors, the answers they are looking for, the content they wish to see, the words they are writing on the search bar, and much more.
By knowing the answers to these questions, search engines can connect people with the most relevant websites. On the other hand, by knowing the audience’s intent, businesses are also able to optimise their online presence in an engaging way. All this requires SEO.
Why do you need SEO?
SEO is not only about using the best keywords in the content as generally believed. Instead, SEO provides a constructive way to establish robust site architecture and optimise the overall user experience. These features are paramount for any website because search engines like Google pay hefty attention to user experience.
On the other hand, SEO can also provide more precise navigation, making it easier for the search engines index to easily find your website. Moreover, when the question is about the traffic on your site, SEO is perhaps the most essential indicator of the overall organic traffic you are getting. Much market researches have already been conducted proving the worth of traffic generated from SEO compared to other means.
Why is SEO important?
According to Chitika, 51% of the traffic on websites come from organic research, which is much larger than the 10% of the traffic generated from paid search, 5% from social sites, and the rest of it from other sources. It is also reported that companies, thanks to organic traffic, attain more than 40% of the revenue.
These statistics are themselves enough to show the importance of SEO for companies to outshine on Google and other search engines. It is also apparent that many online users click the first set of websites found on the first page of Google. Hardly anyone skims through other search engine results available on other pages.
This is mostly because people tend to trust websites that are found at the top positions on Google. Especially if there is another website that is selling similar products and services just like yours, SEO can put you ahead of the masses and help customers find you first. SEO is also crucial for websites to run smoothly.
And if that’s not enough, you will like to know that global companies went on to spend as much as $65 billion on SEO services. Today, this number is only increasing. Therefore, SEO is something that has become crucial to marketing campaigns of all businesses, small and big alike.
Benefits of performing SEO on your website
Some marketers go on as far as to say that SEO is a sustainable way of marketing sites. This notion is not false at all, as a successful SEO strategy can connect your site with the vital audience and generate leads in a faster way. There are some more benefits of using SEO for your site, as compared to other techniques.
For example, SEO is a comparatively less costly method of generating traffic on your site. Techniques like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising requires constant investment. On the other hand, SEO also depends upon the time you invest in your strategy.
You will have to definitely pay sufficient attention to optimising your content and dealing with all the technical issues in a periodical manner. However, unlike PPC, SEO does not stop if you run out of budget. Plus, the returns from SEO are more beneficial.
It’s obvious that people don’t even make it to the end of the search results, let alone the next pages of search results. This means that you can’t risk being at the end of the search results, as you will miss out on many potential clicks.
But SEO does more than just putting your site on the top page of Google. It also establishes your brand authority and credibility. When people enter keywords on search results and Google generate results, they tend to click the sites ranking well on the page because they trust the search engines to give the most accurate results.
SEO is also helpful in generating website analytics, which can be leveraged to optimise the content on the site. For example, by analysing what the customers are searching for, you can identify the potential of your services and products in the market. You can also discover gaps in your services, helping you to make better business decisions.
You should also realise that many businesses understand the value of SEO. Therefore, it is likely that your competitors have already employed SEO strategies for their business. In case you haven’t, this can put you in a very bad position. Overall, if you want your business to survive online, you need SEO.
Black Hat & White Hat
When considering SEO, something that you need to be aware of is the Black Hat and White Hat SEO. Just like the differences in the name, both strategies are very different from each other. You need to be mindful of these strategies, so you can employ only the best and most ethical SEO techniques for your business.
Outlining the basics, White Hat SEO refers to all the ethical tactics of SEO that follow the guidelines of search engines proactively. In this way, White Hat SEO play by the rules. Conversely, Black Hat SEO is the complete opposite. Black Hat SEO is a terminology used for risky SEO practices that go against the search engine guidelines.
SEO is nothing without search engine rules because, at the end of the day, Google prefers websites that do everything in a fair manner. The search engine algorithms are very well-versed in finding the websites that use manipulation and unethical techniques to get over the top of the search results. So even if you think that Black Hat SEO is a fast method to get organic traffic, search engines can catch such sites easily and put them back on lower rankings.
There are some critical differences between both techniques, as outlined below:
Link building & quality of the content
Both link building and content are crucial to SEO practices. In White Hat techniques, content is generally of great value and interests, which other sites prefer to link as a resource and mention in their content. As their visitors click on these links, the linked websites can get secondary traffic.
On the other hand, Black Hat SEO techs rely on sources like Private Blog Networks (PBNs) by which the link of the website is added anywhere in the blog after paying a hefty amount. Such a technique is definitely against the webmaster guidelines of many search engines. The content is also copied from other sources and spammed with keywords.
Focus on the human audience
Since White Hat SEO follows the guidelines of search engines very strictly, these techniques also pay attention to user experience, making sure that the site’s visitors can benefit from the rankings and find answers to what they are searching for.
On the other hand, Black Hat SEO actually focuses on the algorithm of Google. Sites using this technique determines what works on search engines, employing the tactics in a hefty amount, so Google can recognise them quickly. However, these techniques are only short-lived, as search engines are quick at discovering hollow SEO practices.
The longevity of the approach
Black Hat techniques are actually effective but only in the short term. This is because search engines use contingency tools to spot websites using this approach. In this way, they are discovered very quickly and scrapped off from search results.
Conversely, white hat techniques have more prospects of lasting long. As sites follow search engine guidelines and focus on the quality of the content they generate, the sites can stand against the test of the time.
It should be evident by now that there are more risks involved in black hat techniques as compared to the white ones. Black Hat SEO can destroy the online brand presence of a site and also make it difficult to rise up on the rankings.
On the other hand, the ethical White Hat SEO practices may take some time to generate results, but they are all worth the efforts in the end.
How to search algorithms work
With the bundles of information available on the internet, search engines rely on algorithms to help users find what they are looking for. In this regard, Google ranking systems are designed in such a way that the moment you type something in the search bar, they find the most relevant and useful results from a vast number of webpages in the search index and that too within a few seconds only.
In finding the right results, search algorithms focus on various factors such as the location, relevance of pages, quality of the source, and query keywords. For example, if you are searching for the “best SEO company in Malaysia,” the search engine will first make meaning of the query and find synonyms of all the keywords used in the query.
After this, the algorithm will analyse webpages and their content to find which ones are more relevant to the search query. If similar keywords appear on the pages, the site is more likely to be appropriate.
To ensure the site is also useful, the algorithm looks for trustworthiness and expertise as well. For instance, if other websites have linked to individual pages, Google recognises these pages to be trustworthy.
When it comes to ranking, Google evaluates the usability of webpages by analysing various pinpoints such as the mobile-friendliness of the site and page loading time. Last but not the least, Google also identifies the user’s location, search settings, past search history to optimise the results.
Importance of keyword research in SEO
We talked about how search engines match the words used in queries with those found on the pages. From this, it should be apparent that keyword research is highly essential when it comes to successful SEO practices.
Keyword research actually refers to the technique of researching and selecting phrases or words used by users to look for their queries. Whatever you type on the search bar can be recognised as a keyword for the sites to use. Using the right keywords on the website is essential, so the right audience can find your services.
For instance, if your business provides SEO services in Malaysia, you can’t use keywords relevant to a different industry. Instead, you can choose keywords like “SEO Malaysia” and “SEO Company Malaysia” to be recognised on Google appropriately. If you employ keywords that are not relevant to your site, it is likely that Google SERP will catch it and decrease your overall ranking. Therefore, it is always essential to the most useful keywords.
SERP Feature is used to describe any result that can be found on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), which is not any conventional organic result. There are some standard SERP features. These include rich snippets showing the results visually, paid results generated from bid keywords, universal results that appear together with organic results, and knowledge graph that comes in boxes or panels.
In this way, SERP basically describes the special results that provide useful information to the users with a minimum requirement of clicks. You can optimise your site using SEO techniques to improve its SERP whenever it appears on Google search results. Here are some of the popular SERP features:
• Image packs that show pictures in organic positions
• Knowledge cards to demonstrate semantic data collected from various sources
• Local Park that links to Google Map for showing relevant locations
• Reviews that display ratings and review stars for products, services, recipes, and other search results
• Related Questions generated by the algorithm to support further search on Google
• New Box, which generates time-sensitive and useful Google News
• Knowledge Panel showing semantic data from various sources like Wikipedia and appear on the right side of desktop search
Domain Authority and Page Authority
Page Authority (PA) is used to describe a score that determines the potential of a specific page to rank on SERP. A site can get a score anywhere from 0 to 100 with higher scores being equivalent to having greater chances of ranking higher. Domain Authority (DA) can also be described in a similar manner. Both scores have been developed by Moz.
However, Page Authority indicates the ranking strength of a particular page while Domain Authority does it for an entire domain. While the scores are calculated in the same manner, the use for each score is quite different.
Both scores are calculated from a number of factors such as the number of backlinks. These scores are best used by a site when they are compared with the scores of other sites because they tend to change as more and more optimisation takes place online.
It’s not always easy to influence these scores because a massive number of factors are considered when calculating them. However, a meaningful way to improve these scores is by enhancing the link profile with the help of external links from other trustworthy pages.
If you want your site to rank higher on Google, you will have to channel your efforts across many perspectives to build a comprehensive SEO campaign. Accordingly, it is crucial to understand various SEO factors that work together to improve a site’s visibility online. Now, these factors can be divided into two different types of SEO.
On-page SEO stands for any kind of optimisation that is done directly on the site to improve search rankings. It is an essential way of increasing site traffic, securing more conversions, and ranking higher on the search results.
There is no way you should ignore on-page SEO because Google analyses it when ranking sites in order of importance, relevance, and authority. There are various factors associated with on-page SEO. Some of them are highlighted below.
E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness is a structure used by Google raters to analyse various content and webpages found on Google
2. Meta Descriptions
The short descriptions found on SERP with the site’s title are known as meta descriptions. While meta descriptions don’t influence rankings, they are particularly useful in improving how your website is perceived together with the frequency of Click-through-rate (CTR).
3. Title Tags
These are found on the head section of pages. They are generally prominent on SERP as clickable links. Poorly written title tags are influential in decreasing the rankings of sites.
As already stated keywords are essential in improving the overall ranking of the site. In this regard, it is important to optimise web content with the right kind and number of keywords.
5. Header Tags
Also known as the HTML elements, header tags are the main headings and subheadings found within the content on the page. These may not be as constructive as other factors for improving the rankings, but they are helpful in making the content more accessible and engaging.
From titles of blogs to those found on web content, headings are useful in attracting customers to click on your sites and creating a powerful first impression on the readers.
7. Auditing Content
While creating new content may be necessary, it is also crucial to ensure that your current content is doing its job. Therefore, you should always engage in auditing practices by identifying the accuracy and quality of your content to continuously improve your SEO campaign.
In contrast to on-page SEO, off-page SEO refers to optimisation outside the website to improve the site’s ranking on SERP. To ensure the best results are provided, search engines focus on off-page SEO factors as well to rank the sites.
These techniques usually require efforts on other platforms, such as social media accounts, to increase the validity and authority of the site. Just like on-page SEO, off-page SEO is also composed of various factors.
1. Link Building
Backlinking is a popular off-page SEO technique, as it influences the site’s rank and drives traffic. Links generated from trustworthy sites are also very crucial in helping the linked pages appear more credible.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media sites have no influence on a site’s ranking, but they are essential in creating a strong brand presence. Potential customers often search up social media accounts to see if a brand is credible or not. Therefore, it is much useful to have active social media accounts.
3. Influencer Marketing
As an emerging way of marketing, influencers can direct their audience towards relevant brands. While this may be a tricky process, influencer marketing is particularly useful in establishing positive engagement across the internet.
Blogging is another excellent way of attracting traffic and turning potential visitors into lifetime customers. With blogs, you can connect with your audience, provide credible information, and generate natural links.
Do you really need an SEO company?
After realising the importance of a constructive SEO strategy, you may wonder if you really need someone to look after your SEO campaign or not. Now before you reach any answer, there are some things that you need to remember.
Firstly, SEO is a very time-consuming process that requires everyday input. If you are running a business, you might already have many operations to look after. In this way, you will have to determine whether you have sufficient time from your busy schedule to run your SEO campaign yourself.
One more thing you need to determine is your budget. Obviously, if you are hiring a professional for SEO, you will have to invest in monetary terms. Plus, it is always essential to determine what your competitors are doing. For example, if your business is part of a niche where competition is not very high, you might not require substantial efforts to uplift your site online.
You should also analyse the level of knowledge you have regarding SEO. Remember, SEO is an ever-changing trend, which makes it ever so imperative to always follow the new developments and improve your practices.
Luckily, at BThrust, you can trust the SEO experts for looking after your online campaign, especially if you run a small business. We have helped various sites conquer the first page of Google in a timely manner. And your budget won’t be a problem at all. Simply put, SEO is a must-to-have for all websites whether you are just starting a business or entering into a new market.