What is SEO?
Understanding the basics and why you need it!
Before you invest in SEO services Halifax, it’s important to understand the basics. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is described as the art and science of creating information online that ranks well on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Search engines are designed to show only the first 10 results in a page. This means that businesses must compete for the same searchers by making sure they appear on top of SERP. In fact, research shows that businesses which appear at the top of SERPs get more than 90% of search traffic. This translates into more leads and conversions for the business. As a result, SEO techniques can be implemented by your business to improve its conversion rates.
Understanding how search engines work
Before we get to explain more on SEO, it’s very critical to understand how search engines work. Many businesses invest in SEO services before getting a basic understanding of what they want to accomplish with the search engine optimization.
Search engines are part of our day to day life. Whenever you want to find information online such as a product or service, the first thing you do is to Google it online. You type a query on a Google search box, or using voice search, and get a list of results that are relevant to your search. As any other searcher, you expect that the results you get will answer your question. Within seconds, Google shows you results, and you have a choice of clicking what you think is most relevant to you.
For the search engine, which is Google in this case, to give users responses to their search as fast and accurately as possible, it needs to prepare a lot in advance. Search engines do this by first crawling and indexing websites and then ranking them based on the content they find.
What’s crawling and indexing?
In the world of search engines, crawling and indexing are commonly used terms to explain the processes in which search engine algorithms work. It simply means that Google first creates an index of all web pages that are publicly available on the web with just the important information. During indexing, search engines will maintain information such as the title of the website, how many pages it has, type of content and number of external and internal links on that site. This information which is entered in a database for further processing is obtained by crawlers or search bots, and later used in the ranking process.
One thing that’s quite important to note is that search engine crawlers don’t just look for new pages when indexing your website, they also monitor changes made to existing pages. In fact, search engine crawlers are extremely good at what they do and can quickly index very important information such as an earthquake or breaking news.
We’ve tried to simplify how crawlers work but in the real sense, the process is extremely technical so it’s impossible to get into the finer details. What’s important for you to understand is that your web pages are being monitored by search engines and making relevant changes to content or adding great content regularly positively impacts your site rankings.
Where to get started?
Perhaps, you may need to start off by finding out what search terms your competitors are ranking for. If you have certain industry leaders ranking for the most important search terms, beating them will be difficult or expensive for your business. However, if most of the people ranking for important search terms are average brands which are not very highly established online, you have a chance to implement certain SEO strategies to boost your website’s rank.
What makes a well-established brand rank better than you in SERP? This could be a combination of different factors such as:
- The age of the site
- It’s Google PageRank
- Inbound link count
- If they have important sites linking at their site such as educational or government URLs
- If the business is listed in major directories
- Other people linking to their site such as bloggers
All these factors could improve a site’s ranking on SERP.
Keyword Research: What it is and why it’s important
Keyword research is a process that involves understanding what your target website visitors are searching for. Proper keyword research can help you to drive qualified traffic to your website. At the end of the day, you need people who are interested in your products or services to be sent to your site through organic traffic. If the organic reach doesn’t involve the right search terms, it will result in high bounce rates which ultimately affects your SEO.
There are tools used to perform keyword research such as Google Keyword Tool. This tool will give you keyword ideas with daily search estimates, but you need to narrow down your options based on what’s relevant to your business. The traffic estimates suggested by keyword research tools may not really give you an accurate volume that you should expect. They are usually estimates and you may end up getting more traffic than what was suggested.
Performing keyword research manually
Aside from using a keyword research tool, it’s important to think about what your customers would type on Google to find you. Since you have past customers, think of what they search for and how they landed at your business. Why did they choose you? What problem does your product or service claim to solve?
You can get more keyword ideas by:
- Reviewing your customer inquiries and FAQs
- Visiting forums and community sites to see what issues people face most
- Reviewing competing websites to find content that resonates with your audience
- Reviewing your website searches and server logs
Keyword research is a very critical aspect of our SEO services Halifax and it must be effectively done for your campaign to emerge successful.
On Page SEO
On page optimization involves making changes on your website that impact your search engine rankings. This means you’ll need to really work on your page content. It involves including keywords and related phrases in your page copy. However, you need to avoid keyword stuffing when optimizing your page content. Just because search engines need to see certain keywords and related phrases on your website, doesn’t mean you should repeat them on every single paragraph and page compromising the readability and quality of the text. Keywords need to flow naturally and blend with the rest of your website content. Don’t just write page copy for search engines; remember your web visitors and create content that serves their unique needs.
On page SEO can also be done by creating unique page titles, changing the meta titles and meta descriptions of your URLs. These page titles are what appears on search results when people are looking for certain information which they can find on your site. If your titles are not catchy and relevant to their search, then they won’t click on them. Properly crafted meta description tags can be a huge game changer if your website is struggling with low click through rates. They help you to reinforce your offer and get people to click on your website.
Avoid duplicate content
An important area of on page SEO is to make sure your website contains original content on every page. Duplicate content does more harm than good in the long run. If search engines find copies of your content on different sites online, they will not rank it well and in some cases, you could face a serious penalty.
Get high-quality links from reliable sources
Link building is a very important aspect of SEO. Each link is considered by search engine crawlers as a vote. Some votes count more than others. In fact, links from untrusted sources can harm your search rankings. There are many ways to get high-quality links from your community. First, you will need to invest in the right content. Create shareable content that people want to be associated with. Unique and relevant content is the kind that people talk about and share with others.
Factors that affect SEO Rankings
Google algorithm considers more than 255 factors to determine how to rank different sites online. All these factors determine the quality of a web page and how relevant it is to certain searches.
First, there’s the technical SEO which involves making changes to other aspects of your website that have nothing to do with its content. When you begin by focusing on the technical aspect, the main goal is to make sure search engines don’t come across any issue that prevents them from indexing and crawling your website. This doesn’t involve making changes to the content on your web pages.
Once all technical issues are resolved, and you’re sure that search engines can seamlessly crawl and index your site, it’s time to focus on on-page SEO. On-page SEO is what helps search engines to understand what your site is about. This is where the keywords and great content comes in.
Lastly, you’ll need to invest in several off-page SEO techniques. This involves activities that you will undertake beyond your website design or page content.
Why SEO matters
If you’re wondering whether you’ll get any value from investing in SEO services in Halifax, we’ll show you why your business will be left behind if you don’t practice SEO.
First, through search engine optimization, you’ll get to rank higher in Google. This will translate to more traffic to your website. With more website visits, you can generate better conversion rates for your business. Whether you’re looking for sales, subscribers or conversions, more website visitors mean more opportunities for your business to meet its goals.
Secondly, SEO helps you to get targeted traffic. You can get traffic from different sources such as social media but there’s no traffic that is as relevant as search because it serves users content when they are in need. When people type search terms on Google, they have a specific intent. If someone lands on your website with an intent to purchase a product/service you offer, there’s a high chance that you’ll convert this client. This is because the searcher has a need and is looking for a solution, unlike paid traffic where people may simply visit your website because of curiosity or being driven by an ad.
Thirdly, SEO generates long-term results. Though it may take a while before your web pages rank highly, you’re going to enjoy free traffic for the longest time if you maintain it. Unlike paid traffic, which stops when your budget runs out, SEO allows you to continue enjoying free traffic even without spending any money on ads. All you need to do is take the right steps to maintain top rankings. Users will be visiting your website years later and you continue to get leads with minimal effort.
How to grow your business with SEO
Whenever Google performs an algorithm update, some websites get affected and end up losing their rankings. The only way to stay away from a penalty when Google updates its algorithm is to know the rules and avoid breaking them. You need to consistently work on improving your site rankings. Avoid shortcuts like poor link building and duplicate content as they may have a negative impact on your business. When planning your business growth, incorporate SEO as it can help you to generate more leads and get closer to reaching your bottom line.
Other benefits of SEO
Businesses incorporate SEO strategy to benefit them in other ways. For instance, a business may optimize its pages to enhance brand awareness. When the website is seen as the first in SERPs by thousands of users, it gives the business more visibility.
Other businesses use SEO to boost trust. Because users trust what Google serves them through search, a business that appears top for relevant searches is likely to be trusted by users. Furthermore, websites are likely to link to web pages that have a top ranking on Google. This helps your site to get more backlinks and further improves SEO.
The Importance of Content Marketing in SEO campaigns
After you have done your keyword research, you will need to create quality and relevant content that is optimized for those keywords. This is a process well known as content marketing. This is a very critical step in any SEO journey because it helps you to provide information which satisfies user’s intent. In fact, every SEO campaign is reliant upon great content marketing. So be prepared to create and publish lots of content.
Yes, there’s lots of information online with millions of websites that provide content on the web. However, many of these are outdated and search engines are always looking for fresh content to engage users. This means that as soon as you discover the right keywords for your business, you can begin creating content that suits your users.
Quality content is:
- Relevant to the reader
- Fresh and engaging
- More insightful and more thorough than what’s already on the web
Bear in mind that coming up with great content is far from easy. It certainly takes a lot of time and effort and perhaps it’s going to be the most straining SEO task. However, stick to the right guidelines and the content you create will have a huge positive impact for years to come. Don’t just create content that gives you exposure in SERPs, you need to try to publish content that is better than what’s already online for specific keywords and topics. Users need a reason to like and share your content and you can give them an opportunity to do this if you take a little more time creating good content.
Does social media help in SEO?
Many of our clients always want to find out if their Facebook likes or shares will improve SEO. Search engine algorithms do not consider links like shares from social media as backlinks. However, the importance of getting more people to share your content on social media is not undervalued. When more people see your content on social media platforms, you have a better chance of improving your website traffic and getting the same users to potentially link to your content. Ideally, social signals should help to put your web pages in front of the right eyes and give your business more visibility.
Next Steps to Build Your Website Rankings
With so many websites online, don’t be intimidated and give up on earning top search rankings. There’s a lot of room for everyone online and if you invest in proper SEO consistently, you can begin driving the right traffic to your website and getting more leads and conversions.
First, begin by understanding your goals or what you want to achieve with SEO. Remember, it’s never about cheating search engine crawlers to rank your site higher than the rest, it’s about providing both users and search bots content they understand and find relevant. Secondly, hire an expert to offer SEO services and perform a thorough keyword research for your business. Lastly, invest in content marketing campaigns that generate long-term results for your business.