With the outburst of information in all possible directions, search engines like Google and Bing are the difference between efficient, productive work and manual, time-consuming labour. Their algorithms have evolved over time to disperse knowledge through the best sites and links, and competing factions have always vied for a better ranking in the results page. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a set of methods to optimise sites for this ranking system. SEO is the key to increased traffic, credibility, and brand awareness of any website and you get to juice out the best out of the whole deal through these methods:
1. Content Is King
Search engines have always given quality content precedence over all other factors. The beauty of unique content is that it attracts top-class SEO without aiming for it through pure readability and elegant user experience. The logic is simple – when you put up relevant, original content, people will tend to stay longer on your website, leading to greater dwell time and conversion rates.
Classy content goes beyond mere text; incorporate infographics, videos, appealing visualisations and you’ve hit the honeypot.
Fun Fact: Research has proven that links with videos involved achieve a 4.8% higher conversion rate compared to the average 2.9% for regular websites.
2. Build A Quality Website
In addition to quality content, the platform for this content or your website needs to be as high calibre as they come. Search engines are all about comfort and ease for the users. So in the end, it all boils down to user experience and every minute detail needs to be considered to enhance that. Some of the characteristics that need to be factored in are:
- Accessibility: It is imperative that your website is available on all platforms – computer and mobile both alike. In recent times, search engines have begun imposing penalties on websites which fail to create a usable mobile platform.
- Speed: The website loading speed is a major ranking factor for search engines, and it obviously affects brand loyalty and customer sales as well. An excellent loading time would be under 2 seconds for a site and 1 second for the mobile platform. Some of the tools that can help in checking your site speed are:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Pingdom Website Speed Test
- Optimized number of ads: Search engines are now against excessive ads clustered around good content. Placement of ads below articles would be ideal. The primary agenda is not to hamper users from seeking knowledge they need.
- Formatting and structuring: Consistently breaking up of your article into paragraphs coupled with formatting tags such as H1, H1, and bold go a long way in deciding the readability of a page or site.
- Broken links: The most common kind of broken link, the 404 Page Not Found error is a sign of shabby website maintenance and low involvement on the owner’s part which automatically hits the website’s search engine ranking.
All these factors help you in minimising the bounce rate (percentage of people who left your site without opening other pages). Ultimately, the enhanced user experience is of the essence and building your website right helps in cementing that.
3. Smart Keyword Placement
Much emphasis has been placed on the importance of keywords in SEO, and it doesn’t hold much weight without the combined impact of the above points. Now the trick is to differentiate between informational and commercial keywords. The informational ones end up generating traffic, but the conversion of this traffic into sales is achieved mainly through commercial ones. For example, consider the keywords “how to trim a beard” against “best trimming products” and you will realise the business potential of the latter.
The idea is to blend the keywords in as naturally as you can without affecting the quality or flow of content. 5-7% is considered to be a good keyword density but the process needs to be free-flowing and content writing need not be based on these keywords.
Some of the areas where keywords are most useful are:
- Title tag: Keywords in the title and page URL are instrumental in improving rankings
- Image ALT tag: Keywords embedded as alternate text (ALT) in images indexes them in the SEO process increasing your chances of showcasing quality content.
- Meta Description: The meta is the descriptive sentence that any search engine pulls for the results page, and keywords in the meta is logically a smart move in the context of SEO.
4. Link Building
This one is hands-down the most popular and effective off-page SEO technique. The basic process is to build upon external links and references to your website which gets dumped into your metaphorical vote-bank. For example, if this article is linked and referenced by some other site or blog, they are expressing the quality information that the page has to all relevant search engines.
Link building is all about networking with the right blogs and sites. Gone are the days when people deceived search engines by buying links to achieve a better ranking. Today’s algorithms are capable of fishing out such activity, and their focus has shifted from the quantity of links to quality of individual links.
The best approach would be to build your niche website and connect with people who follow your principles in this context. Quality content begets quality networking and link building should be centred on this ideology.
5. Social Media And Bookmarking
Off-page SEO techniques such as linking with social media are effective enough, and you know exactly why. Greater the number of social media mentions such as Facebook shares, Pinterest pins, tweets; greater the traffic and viewer-base; all leading to undoubted better SEO rankings.
You get to improve the user experience and involvement by enabling them to share your content. In return what you receive is unprecedented sales conversion rates and top-notch SEO with all your users taking the major brunt of the work. It’s the perfect example of the domino effect backed by sound logic and reasoning.
Social bookmarking is somewhat the process of promoting your content in forum based media. This is the part where established sites such as reddit.com, dig.com, stumbleupon.com come into the picture. They enable higher traffic and in turn, better search engine rankings.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for unique content, and all SEO techniques are just secondary to enhancing the user experience. Better readability and user interaction always results in higher conversion rates in the long run and all these SEO methods need to be in sync with the ultimate goal of establishing a standard and brand name for your website.