Answering the SEO questions you never knew you had
SEO. Those three letters might make you run for the hills. Many understand the basic principles of SEO, but it’s an ever-changing landscape. Search engine optimisation is a vital part of developing your web presence. It needs to be done right and maintained regularly.
There’s two sides of the SEO coin. One is knowing what people are looking for; the type of content they’re happy to consume and the questions they’re asking. The other side is delivering the content in a way that search engine crawlers can find. You want people to your brand, product or service when using a search engine.
With Google handling around 2 trillion searches in a year, you want to make sure you’re in good shape when it comes to your rankings. For those that are brand new to SEO, rankings are the order in which results appear on search engines. These pages are referred to as SERPS (search engine results pages) and are made up of organic and paid search results.
The difference between paid and organic search
Simply put, the main difference between paid and organic search results is money and cost. Organic results are those that appear in search engines for free based on an algorithm used by the search engine. Paid search results normally appear at the top of the page and are links that have been paid for by advertisers to drive traffic to a page based on a keyword being used in the search.
What are the benefits of using organic search?
Because organic search optimisation costs nothing, it has the potential to provide a great return on investment. You don’t need a massive budget, but you do need to invest time. With organic search, you can spend that time researching SEO basics to help build a strategy that works for you. Your time can be used wisely to create content that will perform well. You should be thinking about things like link building from day one.
I’ve heard about link building, but what is it?
Creating content that is engaging is of great importance when it comes to building traction with organic search. Content that is shareable will help you get your website linked to other websites. When brands and other businesses use links to your content as a source, this tells a search engine algorithm that you’re a strong, trustworthy, reliable and authoritative voice in your industry. Your search rankings benefit from this.
41% of SEO experts consider link building to be the most difficult part of search optimisation. When you’re launching a campaign or working on your strategy it’s a good idea to bear this in mind. You should be including external links within your content because this tells algorithms that you’ve researched the topic you’re talking about extensively. This also works to boost your authority and credibility.
According to Search Engine Land, links are one of the top two criteria in Google’s page ranking algorithm, so it’s a technique you should have at the front of your mind when developing your strategy.
What are the benefits of paid search?
Organic search can take time to deliver results and requires quite a lot of hard work before you start to see those results. If you use some paid search techniques, you will see more instant results. You might want to bring paid search into your campaign for the launch of a new product or if you’re looking to target a niche market.
Research carried out by Hubspot found that PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising can increase brand awareness by 80%. If you’re running a campaign that is time sensitive and you need to see notable results in a short period of time, paid search is beneficial to your strategy.
Now, time for a bombshell
Google, which makes around 85% of its revenue from paid ads, stated in their Economic Impact Report that organic search is five times more valuable than Google Ads. Organic search drives 53% of website traffic and paid search drives only 27%. With this perspective, we’re led to our next question…
Should I be using organic or paid search?
There’s no conclusive answer to this one. Both offer enough benefits to have their place in a strong campaign. You should be looking at paid search when you need to see immediate results. When working on your organic search, you should be thinking longer term and aligning your strategy with what you want to achieve.
To figure out which channel you should be using for each facet of your strategy, you should outline the goals that you want to achieve and match these with the channel that will work best.
If you’re launching a new product you might look to paid search. If you’re looking to promote an existing service or product, organic search will probably be what you’ll be looking for.
This isn’t to say that you can’t use both in tandem, and this can often be the best option. An advertising campaign for a new product or service launch, for example, could feature an optimised page for organic reach.
Why are keywords so important?
Put simply, when users search Google, they use keywords to find listings that are relevant to their search. These keywords allow you to target these people, helping you find an audience that’s directly interested in what you’ve got to offer.
Conducting keyword research allows you to determine which keywords you should be using. By using these keywords in your content, you can start to rank in the right search results.
I keep hearing about ‘long-tail’ keywords. What are they?
Keywords that contain three or more words are known as long-tail keywords. For example, “digital marketing agencies in Leeds” is a long-tail keyword.
It’s best to use long-tail keywords where possible because they drive the most relevant traffic to your website, which in turn will result in a better return on investment.
What makes a strong SEO strategy?
We've talked about improving your SEO on the blog before. To develop a strong and effective SEO strategy, you really need to be thinking about the technical set up of your website; the links within your site and the content itself.
In order for your website to rank, a search engine’s crawler has to find your webpages. It then scans these pages to understand what the pages are about and identifies the keywords within them. The search engine adds these keywords to its index (basically, a database of all the content it has crawled through). The search engine then uses its algorithm to consider which websites to display when a search is made.
Sounds really straight forward. Is there a catch?
If it was as simple as that, there’d be no need for SEO experts. That’s because you see your web page differently to how a search engine like Google will see it.
When you visit your website you’ll see pretty graphics and colours, text within graphics, and links. But to a search engine, its crawler will only see text. Because of this, any part of your webpage that the crawler can’t identify won’t be added to the index.
What can I do to make my website more accessible for search engines?
There are steps you can take to make a search engine crawler’s job easier.
Make sure that your links and navigation are text only. Keep your URLs tidy. Where possible, create your URLs to include as close to only the main keyword as possible.
You’ll want to take a look to ensure that there’s no duplicate content on your website. Duplicated content can result in a penalty from the search engine crawler, and it will affect how the rest of your website ranks.
Don't forget to consider site speed
The speed at which your webpage loads is a direct ranking factor. The size of your images etc. can slow down or speed this up. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool to find out how to improve this.
Speed could also have an indirect effect on your rankings. For example, if it increases the bounce rate and reduces dwell time (the length of time between a user clicking a search result and navigating back to the search results webpage).
SEO is super important if you want to increase your visibility on search engines. The correct use of keywords and the timely use of paid search can allow you to increase conversions. It’s dead simple really. If you’re not increasing your visibility, your business is highly unlikely to survive.
Developing and maintaining SEO is a mammoth task. In this blog, we’ve just scratched the surface. That’s why there are content creators, digital marketers, designers and SEO experts out there to help guide you.
At Bobble Digital, we can work with you to make sure your SEO is up to scratch and that you’re using techniques that work to help your business succeed. For more information on how we can help you improve your rankings then get in touch with us today.