We work with clients of all sizes and all the time we hear questions like, how can I outrank my competitors? How can I get more organic traffic to my site? How do I get to the top of page 1?
Well in short, there’s no easy answer to any of those questions, if it were as simple as just following a 5 step process, then every business would in theory be able to rank number 1 for any keyword they wanted. So let’s dive in and have a look at a basic introduction to SEO and see if we can help answer some of those questions you may have.
So firstly, what does SEO even mean?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In the most simplest terms, it is the actions you take both on and off your website that can directly influence Google algorithms to ultimately help your website rank higher. Those action items we refer to can be grouped down into 3 core categories that ultimately define SEO. In reality there are approximately 100+ contributing factors that can all determine where your site ranks on Google. No one knows 100% for sure what these contributing factors are but for years some of the world’s top SEO technicians have tested and theorised around what makes a website rank.
So those 3 core categories that SEO can be defined into are; technical onsite optimisation, content and network development. We’ll have a look into each of these.
1. Technical Onsite Optimisation
If you’ve had a site built by Oxygen, we build with
SEO in mind and so for this category, a good 80-90% of the technical optimisation work is done while we build your site. In the simplest terms, technical onsite optimisation is the things that Google can read behind the scenes on your site. On the front end, a user will see the colours you choose for you site, the logo, the imagery, the type of font you used, the video etc etc. Google doesn’t see this (to some extent).
Google see’s this above. All the code that makes up your site. They read this code and determine from this how relevant your site is in relation the end user. Are you providing value for your relevant search terms? Does you site follow best Google practices?
There’s a huge list of items that go into making a site technically well optimised. A few of which include:
- Page structure: Do you have one h1 heading tag on your page, is this followed by 2-3 H2 tags followed by h3’s and h’4s etc.
- Site speed: How fast does your site load on mobile and desktop?
- Responsiveness: Is your site mobile friendly?
- Anchors: Do you have anchor tags in you content pointing to other relevant content?
- Domain: Does your domain reflect the rest of your business?
- Authority: How much weight does your domain hold?
- Keywords: Do you have exact match keywords on your site?
The list could go on. These are just a few things that contribute to the technical onsite aspects of your website.
Your content plays a huge a part to how Google reads and ranks your site. The content you have on your site needs to be relevant, readable, dense and accurate. If you have a website about ‘plumbing in Taupo’ New Zealand. There’s no chance you’re going to rank for the keyword “Used Ferrari’s Johannesburg” because you have no content that is in any way related to this keyword. So really, you would need content that is related to all things plumbing. This is where we start our SEO programs for our Oxygen clients, we conduct keyword research and work out what you should be ranking for based on volume, competitiveness and what your customers are actually searching for. So for a plumbing business, the keyword list would include keywords like “drain laying Taupo”, “pipe fix Taupo”, “water leaks Taupo”. Keywords that customers may potentially search for.
Once we’ve established your keyword list we look at what content currently exists on your site for these keywords and workout what content you need to have added and to what pages. Some content makes sense to have on the home page, some needs to exist on standalone pages, all of which should be written by a decent SEO content writer, this is where experience within the SEO space starts to play a part.
3. Network Development (backlink acquisition)
The third and final core category to help a site rank higher on Google is network development, or in other words backlink acquisition. This is one of the first stages of an SEO campaign where the work is actually done away from your website. Backlinks are links on other websites that directly link from their website to yours. Google see’s this essentially as a referral and also see’s this in a similar way to real life. If you have a stranger tell you to go buy this new black t-shirt and they tell you it’s the best t-shirt you’ll ever buy, you’d probably be a bit skeptical, you’ve never met this person and they expect you to trust them. Now if a friend who you’ve known and trusted for 10 years tells you to buy it, you’d probably be more inclined, this friend has more authority, has been around longer than the stranger and you trust them. Well, Google works in the exact same way. If you have a website that links from their site to your site, Google looks at, the age of the domain linking to you, how strong is their website, how much traffic does their site receive, how authoritative is this website, how relevant is their content to your content etc.
Gaining these backlinks is a time consuming process which we have outlined our typical journey for below. This process is called outreach.
- Find websites simply through Google that relate to our clients website, they have similar content, maybe it’s a blogging website that blogs about this particular topic or keyword we want our clients website to rank for.
- We reach out to this website and see if they’d be interested in featuring a blog on their website with a link back to our clients. Sometimes people say no, sometimes they say yes. It’s a bit of pot luck.
- We then provide the site an article for free that our content writer has written and ask them to publish this on their site.
We then review how the blog is performing and continue with the next stage of outreach.
So there’s a fairly standard 3 levelled approach to SEO. Having the knowledge to understand these SEO principles and then also implement them purely just comes down to experience. SEO isn’t the kind of thing you will learn over night. It takes yearly of learning and researching Google’s best practices and adapting to algorithm changes at the drop of a hat.
If you have any questions on starting an SEO campaign for your business. We’d love to chat. Contact our friendly team today.