When it comes to the world of SEO, a lot of people are aware of its importance but, frankly, have no idea where to start. This is a peculiar problem that is really not that hard to solve. The field of SEO is quite complex but before you can delve into these subtleties, you need to master all the basics.
1. Understanding the specific industry
One of your first priorities in the world of SEO is an attempt to be as organic as possible. When choosing keywords, you need to pick the ones that belong to your industry and then make them unique/competitive. You need to know who your audience is and what is their interest in the service/product that your business provides. You also need to know who are your top competitors and what is it that they excel in. When it comes to your content marketing (which is also a part of the SEO), knowing the rules and trends of the industry will help you pick appropriate topics and keep your content organic.
Other than this, you need to be aware of the fact that each industry has its own subculture online. There are subreddits, forums and social media pages that your audience and people working in your industry are regularly visiting. There’s also the issue of terminology to deal with. This is not just something that you will have to worry about in your content marketing. It’s also present in technical SEO. Terminology is used in metadata which is a key component in making your content SEO friendly.
2. Writing SEO-friendly content
Previously, we’ve mentioned content marketing several times. This is due to the fact that an SEO-optimised content allows you to achieve quite a bit. First, you need to invest a bit of time and effort into increasing readability. The rules of this are fairly simple. First, you need to separate your text into segments, seeing as how the increased use of whitespace is known to boost readability. Second, make sure that every section has a headline (preferably H2) in order to make content more crawl-friendly. Finally, do not allow any of these sections to exceed 300 words.
Second, you need to worry a bit about the flow of your sentences. For starters, to make your text easier to read, you should avoid using the passive voice as much as you can. Second, you need to watch out for the word count. Generally speaking, sentences shorter than 20 words are easier to read. This allows you to achieve a much higher fluidity of text. The rule of thumb is that you should have at least 20 percent of the text in sentences shorter than 20 words. Try to stick to this as often as you can.
3. Keyword research
One of the most iconic and definitely the most important components of SEO is definitely the keyword research. First, you should start with keyword goals. Most commonly, these are sales, ad clicks and impressions, raising brand awareness and feeding different segments of your sales funnel. Next, you need to set the right parameters. For starters, you need to figure out which keywords are the most commonly used in your industry. You are, however, not going to be using these keywords (at least not without some adjustment). You see, what you’re looking for is the best unique keyword. Think about it, when using a keyword that everyone else is using, you’re unlikely to get to the top. This is why you want to tip the scales in your favour.
The next issue worth mentioning is the keyword spamming. In the past, this was the method that digital marketers used in order to quickly climb to the top of the SERPs. Nowadays, nonetheless, this kind of behaviour is not looked kindly upon. Generally speaking, your keyword should never exceed 2 percent of your total word count. What this means is that if the text is 700 words long, it shouldn’t appear in more than 14 words of the text. Fortunately, this leaves more than enough room. Needless to say, proper keyword research requires an adequate platform.
4. Outsourcing vs. DIY
There are a lot of guides out there promising complete laymen that they could tend to their SEO on their own. The problem with this idea lies in the fact that this is not entirely true. First of all, SEO is quite technical when compared to some other digital marketing methods. This means that knowledge, skills, practices and experience in the field play a much bigger difference. Sure, embracing a single SEO tip and applying it on your own will help, however, the end result will never be the same.
Other than this, keep in mind that an average website owner has so much to worry about even without SEO. Once you compose an SEO strategy and realise that you need to regularly produce and publish new content, create contextual backlinks, develop website content and work on local SEO, the favour clearly lies in favour of the professionally-run campaign. According to SEO Sydney experts, a lot of agencies are going for white label tactic, which allows them to gain a significant edge in quality against their closest competitors.
5. On-site optimisation
Another thing worth keeping in mind is the on-site optimization. One thing that every digital marketer needs to know is the fact that they have two types of audience – the human audience and the algorithm (consisting of crawlers/Google-bots). In order for the algorithm to interpret your content, you need to make sure that it is properly formatted. This is why you need to apply several tricks that will ensure that your pages are appropriate for SEO.
You should start with your keyword and include it in your URL. Using short URLs is also a handy trick that goes under SEO optimization. When including your keyword into the content itself, make sure to place it somewhere within the first 150 words. Other than this, using adequate headline tags (H1, H2 or even H3) can help out immensely, not just in making your content more SEO-friendly but also in making it more skimmable.
6. The metrics
One of the first priorities on your list is learning how to differentiate between crucial SEO metrics and vanity metrics. First of all, you have a bounce rate. This is a phenomenon where people abandon your page as soon as they enter it. This often happens due to misleading titles, click-bait and similar practices. It only takes a couple of seconds for your audience to decide that your content is not something that they’re interested in. Opposite to this, you have a visit duration rate and the organic CTR (click-through rate). Naturally, you have the SERP dominance but calling this a metric is a tad controversial, seeing as how it’s more of an end goal than a metric.
As for the vanity metrics, things like page views, average keyword rank and a number of social media followers are at the very top of the list. Sure, it would be outright wrong to claim that these metrics don’t mean a thing. Still, they’re not as indicative as you would have liked them to be. The biggest problem with them lies in the fact that they’re quite inefficient as SEO metrics. In other words, there’s no way of telling how these figures transfer to your SEO rank or your SERP dominance. All in all, while they are important, making an assessment based on them, exclusively, is not a very good idea.
7. Reporting and analytics
The last thing worth mentioning here is the analytics and reporting. First of all, if you want to know how your SEO is doing, you need to set some basic parameters. This can be seen in the reporting model. Provided that you use the same format at regular intervals, you will get a far better comprehension of where you stand. This is also one of the main reasons why hiring professionals to handle your SEO is such a good idea. Other than this, a uniformed reporting model will help you make this process a lot quicker.
As for analytics, you need to find the right tool for the job and make sure to regularly check the status of the market. Also, keep in mind that you need to pay attention to the rest of the industry, as well. Industry averages and some of your closest competitors need to be monitored closely, due to the fact that these things evolve over the course of time. Staying ahead of the curve means being ever-vigilant.
Regardless of your end goals or objectives, in order to make it work in the world of SEO, you need to start with the basics. Understand what you want, how you can get it and how you can keep track of how close you are to actually get it. While this may seem quite simplistic, the truth is that it’s the foundation on which the world of SEO and the entire digital marketing stands on.