Each year, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) becomes more advanced and as a result – more complicated. However, if you know how SEO works and can gain the skills to carry out effective SEO, you’re in a real position of strength.
In this guide I will cover SEO is three sections – Basic SEO, Heavy SEO & WordPress SEO.
Basic SEO equates to carrying out the simple and necessary SEO practices. This varies from Meta Information to Mobile Friendliness.
Meta information tells search engines about the page on your website. Types of Meta information are Titles, Keywords and Descriptions. Throwback a year few years before Google’s SEO algorithm become so advanced, having your pages Titles, Keywords and Descriptions was very important. By completing these fields effectively, search engines would rank your website based on the keywords you had supplied in your Meta information.
Unfortunately, due to keyword spam from webmasters, this is no longer the case. Filling out your Meta Information is still useful in 2015 as search engines do still look at this information as a whole, but more importantly when users find your websites pages through a search engine, the Meta information is what users will read before clicking onto your website.
Having the Meta Titles, Keywords & Descriptions filled out will help towards being effective in gaining more clicks when users are searching for relevant keywords.
Local SEO has become very powerful over the past few years thanks to interfaces such as Google Maps and Social Networking. Local SEO can be effective in gaining higher rankings in specifically targeted Cities if used properly. When filling out your Meta information, make sure you add your targeted City to your Title Tags, H1 Headings, ALT text on images and in your website content.
Filling up your website with a targeted City will boost your rankings when users come to search for you within that City. We’ve found Local SEO to be most effective for Agencies. On our website we have targeted Bournemouth which is why we rank high for keyword searches such as ‘Web Design Bournemouth’.
Make sure you are adding your contact details and your location to all of your social media accounts and directory listings you sign up for. Not only will you generally get good backlinks, but your address being posted on many places will help with your Local SEO.
RESPONSIVE DESIGN / MOBILE FRIENDLY
Arguably the biggest change in Google’s ranking algorithm is the introduction of responsive design. Responsive design is where your website resizes its content / design to fit the device your website is being viewed on.
Having a mobile friendly website boosts your rankings for search results on mobile and tablet devices dramatically. If your website is not responsive, it still may be classed as mobile friendly by Google; just as long as your button sizes are large, and the user experience of your website on the mobile is better than average.
Your websites loading times on the mobile is also a major ranking factor. If your website’s loading times are too long on the mobile, you need to take a look at your website to see what changes can be made. Mobile search traffic has now overtaken desktop search traffic for the first time which means more and more people are searching for your website on their mobile or tablet.
If your website looks poor on a mobile device – you should urgently look at getting it re-designed to work with mobile devices and tablets. Remember you are missing out on potentially over 50% of users coming onto your website.
Security is a touchy subject when it comes to SEO as most believe your websites security surely cannot affect your SEO rankings. However, it can!
If I was to write this article a few years ago, Security would be talked about in the Heavy / Advanced SEO section but things have changed in the past few years – making it very easy to add security to your website.
When I talk about security, I’m talking about SSL certificates and security add-ons such as Malware Protection. Google has added the use of SSL as a ranking factor this year – and there’s no reason why you should encrypt your website with an SSL certificate.
We have website’s hosted using various hosting providers and each one you can purchase basic SSL certificates on for around £5.00 / year (sometimes cheaper). Most provides also come with control panels to easily purchase and add an SSL certificate to your website which can take less than 5 minutes to implement.
The use of SSL can have drawbacks such as slowing the site speed down however if you’re running an e-commerce website, you should certainly have an SSL certificate installed. Google now favours websites that use an SSL certificate and the added protection and encryption it provides certainly out ways the slight decrease in site speed.
Hosting provides such as Namecheap and 1and1.co.uk also provide security apps which can be added by simply purchasing from the control panel and adding them to your website. Malware Protection and Up-time applications are the best apps to purchase as these provide better website management and security.
So what is Heavy SEO? Heavy SEO is what I like to call the advanced area of SEO. Once a user has carried out all of the Basic SEO tasks, if they want to improve their website further, they must dive into the advanced tasks of SEO. This ranges from Link Building to Social Signals.
LINK BUILDING (BACKLINKS)
Backlinks in simple terms is a website referral. A backlink is where another website has written a link which leads back to your website. Link building is essentially the best way to boost your rankings on search engines. This tells search engines you referred to by other websites and up until last year, the more referrals the better.
This has now changed due to the fact that webmasters are buying thousands of dodgy backlinks on websites such as Fiverr and using them to boost their websites ranking dramatically. Google now blocks this and their new algorithms focus on quality backlinks rather than quantity.
What is a quality backlink? Quality backlinks are links from websites that are already trusted and have a good reputation. Getting your link on large websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon will help towards boosting your SEO rankings. However, the best sites to try and backlinks on are Government, Educational & News websites. These websites generally are the most trusted and therefore provide strong quality backlinks.
Typically for these types of websites you will need to either know someone working within the industry to assist in getting you a backlink on their website, or you can likely pay the website for a backlink – such as The Independents website. We paid a certain amount of money to have our business details listed on The Independents business directory and the boost in rankings we have received has been noticeable for sure.
Also not many people know this but if a company mentions your brand, even without a backlink to your website, this still gets picked up by Google and helps your SEO.
Good ways to gain backlinks are by speaking with website owners and offering them an incentive to put your link on their website – whether this is by putting their link on your website, or by writing a blog for them or carrying out some free work for them.
We recommend every business submitting their details to all business directories such as Yell, Thomson Local and Scoot, as this will help your journey of gaining backlinks.
Content Creation is the creation of pages, articles and visual imagery on your website. Creating new fresh content keeps your website up to date and lets not only your users but search engines know that it’s not an old website which has dried up with nothing new on it.
When creating content such as blog articles, try to keep in mind that the content needs to be most importantly relevant to your business and to the reader. Making sure the content you create is engaging is really important as this will determine whether your articles / content gets shared around the big world wide web.
Something to note when creating articles for your website is to try and write long and interesting articles. Articles that exceed 1,000 words pack the most SEO power as they are indexed and ranked faster than shorter articles.
VISUAL BASED SEO
Visual Based SEO is the creation of high quality visual media such as Video and Graphic Images. Videos and Graphics are high performing assets when it comes to shareable content and therefore should not be ignored.
Video marketing on YouTube is something every business should look at as it generates a tremendous link and social signal mileage. Obviously you would need a large following to be able to gain views, but if you are lucky enough to create a popular video, the high amount of views will help towards your Social Signals.
Last but not least are Social Signals. With the growth of social networks, social networking has become a very powerful tool for businesses to communicate with customers. Google now factors in Social Media into it’s SEO rankings so you must pay attention to your social following on your networks.
All businesses should register an account on every social media website you can think of. This will allow you to be found easier online, protects your business identity from being abused and also gives yourself a backlink from most of the social networking websites.
The most important thing after setting up your social media accounts is interaction. Likes, Follows, RT’s, +1’s, Comments, it all adds up to your overall Social Signal. The higher the numbers, the better your Social Signal is which in tern, boosts your SEO rankings.
We’ve found over the past 3 years using WordPress for our client’s websites has really helped with SEO and rankings. This is due to the simple fact that WordPress was originally developed as a blogging platform – which makes it easily readable for search engines to read.
The best part of using WordPress is making changes to content is easy. Not only is changing content super simple, but there are a wide range of plugins available which you can use to help your SEO.
The best all round plugin we use is Yoast SEO. This all-in-one plugin allows you to easily type up the Meta Information and Images for each page / post quickly and effectively. This saves you having to open up lots of html pages and typing into direct code.
There are also plugins out there to help make your website load faster which in tern helps your SEO. We recommend using W3 Total Cache to assist in optimising your websites speed and content loading.
WordPress websites are generally very search engine friendly and if you purchase a well designed theme, your website is likely to be responsive and mobile friendly – effectively boosting your mobile SEO rankings. Features such as Permalinks also assist in your websites overall SEO by making all of your website URLs very friendly.
WordPress is very handy for inserting visual based content quickly – such as videos and graphics. The more visual content you have, the better your SEO is likely to be.
If you are looking to design your website – we fully recommend investing in a WordPress website to receive all the benefits of various SEO plugins.
Please note: if you are developing your website in WordPress, please be careful on how many plugins you have installed at any one time. Not only can plugins open security vulnerabilities, but having lots of plugins installed is likely to slow your website down drastically.
Written by Gary Tylee
Source: Graphics Bite