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SEO: Everything You Need To Know

Search engines like Google provide users with the most relevant results based on their queries. They do this by crawling and indexing websites to come up with the most appropriate list of results for any given user. Search engines also rank results in order of relevance and authority, so that ideally, the best or most relevant content is seen first.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the task of ensuring your website and its content are correctly tagged, indexed and categorized. This includes your web pages, hosted files, written content, videos and images. The goal of SEO is to a) ensure your company is appearing for all relevant queries and b) increase the visibility of your company by boosting its ranking.

In the early days of SEO, increasing a ranking was relatively simple—littering content or tags with the most popular keywords would increase your presence tenfold—but times have changed. Algorithms are getting smarter and there are now hundreds of factors that determine which sites appear in search results. These factors include but are not limited to:

  1. Authority
  2. Quantity and quality of links
  3. Quantity and quality of content (including length and uniqueness)
  4. Page loading speeds
  5. Website popularity
  6. Quantity and quality of brand mentions (PR, social media)

Google got smarter over the years and businesses need to get smarter along with it. To understand the search opportunities available to your business, we recommend undertaking an SEO audit and developing a strategy based on the results. Here’s a brief overview of our strategy and process for Search Engine Optimization.  

Stage One: Audit

Identify your current search rank, understand your audience and how they search, and determine where your opportunities are relative to your competitors. This includes:

  • Brainstorming your competitors, content and messaging
  • Researching your demographic; what do they search for? This is probably different to what you think they search for, so use analytics tools to get concrete data - it may surprise you!
  • Keep alternative search methods in mind; how does mobile differ from desktop? Is voice search something you should be thinking of (hint: it is!)
  • Identify which keywords are currently bringing your site traffic, then research similar phrases and find keyword gaps
  • Refine the resulting list down to a shorter list based on your business priorities, including targeted landing pages, and opportunities to boost traffic

Stage Two: Test

You’ve developed your strategy, but you now need to validate your theories. Testing is crucial here and this is where things get interesting! Work through some of the following tasks to ensure the keywords you have identified in stage one are the ones that will give you the best results:

  • Search engine marketing can help to validate the best performing keywords; set up some small-budget trial ads and see how they perform
  • Set up conversion tracking on your website to determine the best performing landing pages and content
  • A/B test different copy and keywords to further refine and optimize

Stage Three: Implement

Now you know with pretty accurate data which keywords and SEO strategy will result in a boost in traffic, so you can work on implementing the strategy across your website. There also may be some back-end fixes you need to make that will increase your search authority and boost your rankings. Some of these technical fixes will have been identified in the audit phase in stage one. Some fixes you may need to watch out for are:

  • Page titles (unique, optimum length)

  • Description tags (keyword weighting, accuracy, length)

  • URL (structure, length, keyword optimization)

  • Text formatting (H1, H2, etc.)

  • Content (keywords, uniqueness, length, duplication, internal links, 301 redirects)  

  • Images (file names, alt tags)

  • Page loading speeds

  • Links (ensure all links are active, accurate or redirected)

  • User experience (404 pages, content structure and user journey, navigation, sitemap)

  • Off-site (quality and quantity of inbound links)

Lastly, your search engine optimization will need to be tracked and monitored to ensure it stays in good shape. Keep up with competitors and their strategies, monitor your organic search traffic and overall ranking, and continue tracking conversions.

There are lots of fantastic tools that will help you with your SEO strategy. Some of our favourites include SEM Rush and Moz. Google AdWords and Google AdWords Keyword Planner offer excellent support when it comes to paid advertising.

Flywheel Strategic is currently offering a completely free SEO audit for businesses interested in working on increasing their ranking in Google and other search engines. Click here to book your free digital evaluation.

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