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by Mike Essex on 12th March 2014
What is SEO? Well, at its heart, SEO is an attempt to rank for commercially sensitive keywords to try and reach new audiences and convert them into new customers. SEO is made up of many aspects now. The SEO industry has been going for more than ten years, and it’s had to evolve a lot as a result of Google algorithms, and, therefore, it’s allowed that what SEO does to take on the best aspects of many other aspects of digital marketing and merge them into a really strong discipline that works incredibly well for many businesses today.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to walk through some of the core aspects that encompass what SEO has now become and how they can help any business to perform better. The first of these we’re going to look at is Technical SEO. Now, this is focused in two separate ways. The first is to improve the way that Google see and crawl your website. That involves going through and looking at the coding aspect, so you want to check that Google can actually get through all of your content, find what’s important, and that when it does find that content, that it attributes value to what it has found.
The second aspect of Technical SEO is focused on the user journey, and this encompasses things like user experience and Conversion Rate Optimisation. SEO is no more focused on just search engines and how they work. It’s also focused on the user now. So, when someone’s working on Technical SEO, they’ll also look at whether users can find the content that they want on the site and where it gives value to them, much in the same way as they did for a search engine, but obviously looking at it from a human perspective.
Then we have Content Marketing, which has become a really integral part of SEO. I don’t think many SEO projects will work now without Content Marketing. What Content Marketing is focused on is creating content that goes on the company website or other websites, which is designed to bring up long-term value for the business. You want to have conversations with customers now on a frequent basis, and Content Marketing allows you to do that.
Another aspect going back to our attempt to rank higher for keywords is that Content Marketing lets you create pieces of content to target keywords that you may be otherwise ignoring and also can give you content that’s perhaps a little bit more relevant for the keywords than what you already had. So it allows you to spread a bit further the traffic you get to your site.
With local SEO, it’s important to factor in that local searches have become a big part of how Google and other search engines work now. Even if you’re not logged in, they will look at the location you are in when you search, and then they’ll use that to determine what you actually see. So local SEO is focused on how you can rank better in the region surrounding your physical location or locations. It often involves registering profiles on local websites, trying to build up a presence in communities around that area, and just trying to indicate to search engines that that is actually where you reside and is a region that you actually serve.
Doing this can help you gain better rankings when people search within your target market and target area, and that’s really critical as part of that. We’ve got a separate video on local SEO by Andy, which is about 20 minutes long, which kind of indicates just how much depth there is to that one single topic, but I recommend checking that out if you want to learn more about that one.
Likewise, Analytics, we’ve got a lot of videos on Analytics, probably about 20 of them, and that’s because we love data here at Koozai. Anyone focused in SEO will have a real interest in data, and the interesting thing about having Google Analytics and other analytical software on the site now is it means that it’s very easy to see how people found your website and what they did when they were there. What this enables us to do as part of SEO is to look at where the good traffic came from and how we can generate more of that traffic in the future by doing these activities and others.
Another thing it lets us do is identify the bad traffic. So where did people come from who didn’t convert and who didn’t engage with your site in any way? The goal is not necessarily to get less of those people. Sometimes the goal can actually be to use Conversion Rate Optimisation as part of the Technical SEO or to figure out ways to reach that audience to understand what they actually wanted to find and what they didn’t find and then try and offer that to them. Clearly, if you do that process and they still aren’t converting, then you may have to shift the type of things that you’re focusing on as part of your SEO campaign to other more commercially sensitive keywords, but the data will drive how that happens, and your future strategy can come from that.
It can also improve your entire business online, not just from an SEO perspective. By going through your analytical data, you can determine which products sell best, how they sold, and how you can sell more of them, and that’s incredibly valuable to your entire business model. And SEO can help you do that through this process.
Likewise, Link Building and PR ties into Content Marketing, and Link Building has become a little bit of a dirty word now. Previously SEO campaigns, and this is going back a few years now, would be focused on trying to drive a huge amount of links to a particular site or page to help it to rank higher for those keywords.
It’s moved away from that now, because Google can penalise sites that have a lot of low quality links, towards gathering a smaller sample of links that are of a higher quality. So the accumulated value of those links is far higher than the massive links would ever be. For example, if you write a post on the BBC, that’s a good quality link, and also what’s really important is that’s going to drive traffic to your website. There’s no point having a link now that doesn’t drive people to your website or build awareness of your brand so they will learn about you later. That’s called a citation when your brand is mentioned but there’s no actual link. That’s still valuable to a site owner.
It’s also why PR has now become part of Link Building and why people are more focused on trying to get those really big wins in terms of links, and creating really good content will help you do that and also placing content on other websites that will give you the type of traffic that you want to see. It can also be part of the Link Building strategy.
So SEO can also be about making more people aware of your business and trying to bring in whole new audiences. We’ve also got Link Analysis. So I spoke about how Link B uilding is not about getting lots of rubbish links. Well, Link Analysis is about the process of going back through your links and determining those that may be potentially hurting you or holding you back. If a site has a lot of bad quality links, it’s possible for Google to take them out of the index altogether, and that can take up to 90 days to recover from, meaning that you’re actually not going to get any organic traffic. Even when people put in your company name, you may not be seeing that if you do have negative links and you do get that type of penalty.
Other penalties can drastically lower your search engine visibility as well, although you may still rank for your branded terms. But the important thing here is that it’s very easy to lose a lot of your organic traffic overnight if you do have bad keywords. I’d recommend watching Emma’s videos on Backlink Analysis, and if you subscribe, you’ll be able to get access to those. Yeah, it’s just really critical to know every single link that’s coming to your website, whether it’s a good one or a bad one that you need to remove or no follow or disavow.
We’ve got Social Signals next, which is kind of part of link building. Google have actually tried a version of their search engine that doesn’t focus on links anymore and just focuses on Social Signals, and although the results were not as good as when they use links, it’s important to identify that Google are experimenting with the impact Social Signals can have on their results.
We believe at Koozai that Google is eventually going to progress more towards search results based on Social Signals. Perhaps not totally ditching links forever, but Social Signals will increase their role in how pages rank in the future. If you’re not building them up now, you’re going to have less potential of ranking when that shift starts to happen. Some would say that shift has already started to happen. Either way, it’s important to have them, and SEO will now form part of growing those Social Signals now so you are ready.
The last thing that’s done as part of SEO that we’re going to look at today is Page One Domination. Now, that’s a term that we’ve invented at Koozai to describe what people see when they search for your brand name on Google. What we ideally want to do for our clients is have it so that when people type in their brand name, every single listing on that page is a property that’s owned by the brand and can help them push their brand message in the right way. So that could be some social profiles, some PR that they’ve done, positive reviews about them, a news story, anything that would make people more likely to convert on that business.
Now, for example, there is one particular low cost airline that if you search for them, you get one star reviews, you get bad PR, you get negative customer stories, all the types of things that are likely to put people off making that purchase when they’re just about to make the purchase.
When they’re searching for your brand, they’re really interested in you, and if they see those kind of things there, it can ruin the entire hard work you put in getting them in through commercially sensitive keywords or the Content Marketing that you created. All the Social Signals you built up can be ruined if people search for your brand and see rubbish things there, which is why Reputation Management as part of SEO is incredibly critical and something that we preach at Koozai very heavily.
Hopefully that’s given you a good overview of some of the core areas of SEO to consider. If you would like to learn more about SEO or you want to learn about our SEO services, then visit Koozai.com, or follow us on any of the social profiles at the end of this video. Thanks for watching.