SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Why do we need Search Engines?
The success of any online business depends on its capacity to be seen by as many prospective customers i.e. its Target Group (TG) without advertising and Search Engines, precisely aid a great deal in doing this work
Since Online Business has its store opened through its Website, it is imperative that whenever someone does a Google Search, your website shows up as close to the 1st result – if it’s not the 1st one
What are Search Engines?
Search Engines are websites that does a work like that of a book as it makes it easy for the readers to understand its contents.
This is done by searching the information on your site and presenting it to your audience. Some top brands that are involved in these directions are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, Ask, Baidu, So
You can review videos on YouTube to understand a little more
Alt Tag – SEO makes your site appear like searching through Big, Beautiful Libraries
Caption – SEO makes your site appear
Search Engine’s Working
There are 5 steps to how the SEs (especially Google) do their work
Step 1: Crawling; Step 2: Indexing; Step 3: Searching; Step 4: Presenting; Step 5: Analyzing
Google’s software called Google Spider goes through the entire website and screens the data that is available on the site
Google uses its knowledge to determine, if the site is of a good quality – termed as Neighborhood
It then, gives this information to Google Search Console – Earlier called Google Webmaster’s tool since this was required by the web developers who created the website
Google’s one consistent activity is to keep updating its database by Crawling all sites regularly – It’s kind of automatic
A proprietary coding language is used to understand the data on the site – EML (Extended Mark-up Language) is the method for undertaking this activity
Google then, sets this data up, properly so that it can be read by the users
It has to be ensured that the content is unique and free of plagiarism / copying
Google’s timeline to do this activity depends on the quantity & quality of the content on the website
It also depends on few more important factors like Back-Linking
You need to double-check to ensure that the content is unique and has not been copied from anywhere (You can use SEM Rush or Copy scape to check this)
Google will rummage through this data which is also called Searching
The penultimate process is to ensure that the data is presented in a way that is readable / usable by your potential customers
This is not a step in the entire process. But Google uses it internal logic to make sure that the information is updated every time, a result shows up
So, the next time, you do the same search – you might end up with different results
So, it important that you keep working on the website content and keep it fresh
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the mechanism of making your site’s content relevant in the eyes of your customers.
The internal story is that, if you are able to do that, it automatically becomes pertinent in Google logic and hence this becomes the best Advertising Strategy available in the online space
Why do we need SEO?
It improves the chances of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), which is separate strategy but basically enhances the chances of your closures
It is the most important strategy for new entrant in the market, as there is No Investment
For a brand that is already in the market for a few years, SEO strategies makes it a Legacy Brand
The other benefit for a company is that it improves the knowledge of the brand – Brand Awareness
Close to half of your customers do Search; 2/3rd of your customers can potentially click on the Organic Links
Almost 80% of the customers ignore the Ads, which is the 1st in search; Your brand needs to be in the 1st page of the results as most of the customers don’t go beyond the 1st page
However, getting to the 1st page requires time, money and proper strategy
SEO will be needed in $ 1 trillion industries
Amazon /Flipkart / Walmart / Reliance Retail are some big players in this industry model where the Business sells to Consumers – directly using their online presence: Close to $ 150 billion
When Consumers interact / deal with other Consumers, it’s another model of business like it’s done on OLX / Quickr / Snap Deal / Sulekha / Car Dekho etc. This is a $ 150 billion industry
India Mart / Alibaba / Trade India are players who are involved in handling large transactions that benefit bigger organizations that need to sell their products like Lenovo (www.lenovo.com), HP, Dell (www.dell.com) etc. and this is close to $ 700 billion
The last, but not the least segment that has a unique business model where individual players aid companies in the online space are mostly Affiliate Marketers who are tied up with single brands like www.fourpecent.com or multi brands like https://affiliate-program.amazon.in. This is also a $ 150 billion industry
All the four industry models need SEO strategies to enhance their two critical business requirements – brand awareness and lead generation
Types of SEO
White Hat, Black Hat, Grey Hat – ‘Google them’!!! You will find some interesting answers
Google’s Algorithm looks at various factors
SERP (Search Engine Result Page) is the ranking / position that your website has when a search is made using Keywords and this is determined by the concept of DA (Domain Authority)
DA is calculated based on various factors which contribute to your website’s standing among the peers in the same space
One of the factors that contribute to the strength of your website is how many good sites are vouching for your credibility – This is called Backlinks; the number of such links is a good determining factor
Any clickable link is called Anchor Text and it should be relevant i.e. the information on the link should be pertinent to the data on the LP (Landing Page)
One more key element that Google uses to determine your website’s position is ‘How many’ have clicked on the Anchor text, which is called CTR (Click Through Rate)
Key benefit of SEO – Higher ROI
- Higher traffic does not mean higher revenues as some of the clicks would be just to see the information
- SEO might aid in Upsell / Down sell / Cross sell / Back sell (Selling to existing customers)
- It enhances the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) that improves the closures
SEO aids in SERP
Keywords focus, Architecture, Free Traffic, Quality & Quantity of traffic, Patient Implementation, Mobile responsiveness, Authoritative content
- Long Tail Keywords
- It is a very important strategy since it focuses on potential customer who have a higher chance of closure…
- Buy sports shoes for winter Vs Sport Shoes: The first search has a higher chance of conversion as the potential customer is considered as being at the BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) stage of buying and is termed as a Long tail keyword – generally more than 4 words
- SEO strategies around this has a better chance of closures and the big benefit is that most players over look or ignore this
- This takes more effort as the team has to think through from the customer’s angle, but the benefits are much better
- One additional benefit is that when Google notices that you are trying to bid for long tail keywords, it optimizes it for future campaigns using its ML (Machine Learning)
- You can find relevant key words using various ways like
- Analyzing what your competitors are bidding for
- Tools like Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Trends etc.
- Good Web Design
- Don’t have too many iterations – Make it like building a house: Do the designing first and then develop the website based on the resources that you have – time, money and technology
- Have the domain name reflecting your brand – personal / business.
- Have a proper hosting speed – local server or technologies like CDN (Content Delivery Network) that aids in making a duplicate of the server, locally
- If a CMS (Content Management System) is used for development, then use proper systems so that all the benefits of such a system is taken
- Website Audit
You need to regular audits of your website so that it is maintained at its peak performance.
It should include elements like speed of the site, how secure is the data, competitor’s site, any hazardous issues, data retrieval, analyzing any potential situations, any penalties due to Google’s changing algorithm and conversion optimization
- It should cover the following elements
- Keywords that the business represents – Are this present across the pages that the website is about?
- Are the pages completely different so that there is no overlap of content?
- The pages should be structured in a way that the information flows in a logical sequence
- The users of the site should be able to navigate easily across the site so that they are ware of where the information that they need is there
- Internal linking should be thought through properly when designing the content of the site
On Page Optimization
This is a strategy that involves making the content on the website readable by Google.
As an SEO expert who is involved in improving the quality of the content on your website, On Page Optimization means that the person takes care of improving various elements that represent the content there. These include various elements like Meta elements / content / Images / H1 to H6 tags
You can search for these terms to understand what it means – These are various options available to improve the data on the site
The H1 tag should contain your targeted keywords, ones that closely relate to the page title and are relevant to your content; The H2 tag is a subheading and should contain similar keywords to your H1 tag; Your H3 is then a subheading for your H2 and so on.
This is a method of having proper references from other sites so that Google feels comfortable that your site has relevance in the eyes of your other similar players in the same domain
As a person who is involved in Off Page Optimization solutions, the work involves submitting information in other sites that Google feels is correct, so that they endorse you
There are various strategies like Article Submission, Press Release, Social Bookmarking, Local Listing, Paid Reviews or Blogger Outreach Program
Article Marketing is a method of enhancing your brand presence by reaching out to sites which publish articles / newsletters. This is also a a method to improve conversions
Press Releases are aimed at sharing good news content with potential customers. E. g. DIGG. It’s a site that has a curated home page that aggregates news from various disciplines like science / politics
Another site that does a similar work is TOPIX which accumulates American internet news.
RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a type of web-feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format
Social Bookmarking is a method of informing different sites about various activities that your business is performing. These could range from general data to specialized information like that on a video
Forums is one more opening that aids in enhancing your reputation from a personal branding standpoint. Elon Musk / Richard Branson are such examples. Their names stand out more than their organizations
You need to ensure that some basics like avoiding ghost profiles or having signatures while responding should be part of your protocol when interacting on forums
Local Listing is one more option that ensures that when local searches are made, your business gets shown up first in the SERP. Google My Business (GMB) makes it easy to create and update the listing, so it can stand out, and bring customers in.
Paid Reviews are ones where the person is paid for reviewing your product or service. To make it more authentic, you could give a free sample for the reviewer so that they are able to give the correct feedback.
Blogger Outreach Program is a strategy that is similar to Paid Reviews, but here the person is attuned to your business and understands the nuances at a much deeper level
Google Search Console (Earlier GWMT) – A key SEO tool
- It is a free tool that is available to use for anyone who has a website that has been created with a proper domain and hosting plan
- It aids in showing up the data properly to Google so that it understands the content that is present there
- It provides the updates about the latest algorithm that Google is using
- All malicious attacks from viruses and other online issues are highlighted before it becomes a problem
- Data Highlighter depicts how your structured data is on your website
- There are various reports that are available to understand the performance of your site
- Structured Data report highlights the errors in the that prevents Rich Snippets from being displayed on the page
- Rich Cards report helps you fix errors in carousels, image or other non-textual UI elements
- HTML Improvements report shows crawling and indexing issues.
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) report gives information on Mobile version performance
- Search Analytics report helps in identifying the searches that a user did on Google
- Links to Your Site report highlights the Internal Link’s strength i.e. how are the links faring – quality & quantity wise and
- This is a parameter for Google to judge the criticality of the page
- Manual Actions report highlights the difference between how a human sees your site and Google sees it. Cloaking is the mechanism to ensure that this does not happen
- International Targeting report shows the hreflang errors – how the data appears in other languages and also which language is the primary one
- Mobile Usability report shows pages that have issues on the mobile. It has a graphical and textual representation
- Index Status report gives details about the URLs that got indexed recently – This is the most important report, as the search is completely dependent on the URLs that got indexed by GSC
- Blocked Resources report highlights the robots.txt directives, which is direction to Google that these URLs should not be indexed
- This is a very useful feature, when you are only creating draft versions and you want others to review it, before making the page live
Integrated activities to enhance SEO
As a Digital Marketer, your work is to ensure that all the above-mentioned strategies should be integrated in a way that the returns are maximized. Some closing thoughts…
- You can enhance the taking of you site by having a higher number of sites linking to it – Higher Quantity
- The other strategy is to ensure that the type of sites that link to your site – Higher Quality
- These two steps are the crux of SERP
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