SEO Basics You Need to Know
If you own a business, you probably already know that a brick and mortar shop does not even begin to suffice anymore. Or, you may be from the group that only operates online. But whatever the case is, chances are that you have a website (no matter how amateur) where you showcase your products. If you have been around long enough, you know that simply having a website is not enough, unless it ranks high on the Search Engine Result List. Some digital marketers have even gone as far as to call the second page of Result List the “safest place to hide a dead body” because nobody ever goes there.
If you really want to get noticed, even being on the first page may not be enough – you have to rank as one of the top 5, because “The majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the search engine results pages (SERPS)”. Which means, only the top 5 get any real visits and exposure, which eventually turns into greater revenue.
Feeling the pressure yet? Don’t worry too much about the abyss that is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for this blog will tell you exactly what it is and why you shouldn’t believe everything on the internet about it. Let’s get straight to it.
Now that you know the benefits of ranking high (the obvious one is higher revenue), you must be wondering how they do it, and if you are a small shop, whether you can ever do it at all. Luckily, SEO has little to do with size and more to do with relevance. Let me explain further.
SEO is a set of rules which determine how you will rank on a search engine. The better you can follow these rules, the higher your rank will be, the better your exposure and the higher your revenue (Yes, you get the point by now). Your first step, and definitely an important one if your website is relatively new, is to ensure that you pass the technical aspect of SEO.
Search engine crawlers go through your website and separate the images and texts. Through a solid technical SEO, you need to ensure that the bot can easily identify the various element of your website. if the crawler cannot identify elements of your website, it will not show up on search. But, once you get your technical aspect right, you usually don’t need to deal with it again.
Now that you have set your technical SEO right, you then need to focus on your on-site SEO, which ensures that the search engine crawlers can understand what your page is all about. Because these are bots, and not human beings, they must be given signals (such as keywords) to read your page. This is why SEO keywords, headings, alt texts, etc. are important to send the crawlers the right signs.
Finally, there is off-site SEO, which you probably know as “backlinks”. If your content is sited in well-known sites or government websites, it makes a huge impact on your SEO and your rankings go up significantly.
As many as 50% marketers believe that SEO is the most effecting digital marketing technique, about 10 times more effective than social media. With so much resting on having a strong SEO, it is easy to get flustered. But, like everything else on the internet, you shouldn’t believe all that you read about improving your SEO. Let’s address some of the widely popular myths on SEOs. How many of these did you believe were true?
Myth 01 – You have to run after keywords to rank higher.
Since 2013, google is now focusing more on what people mean, rather than the specific words they use, which is why, relevant content is now taking more priority than keyword optimization. That is why you must focus on high-quality and relevant content to become credible to Google.
Myth 02 – You must use keywords with a higher search volume.
You already know that the importance of keywords is decreasing as Google evolves to pay more attention to user intent. What does this mean for keywords with higher search volume, basically the keywords that everyone usually searches for? Anyone who uses SEO to improve their website rankings would try to use these highly searched for words, and so, the competition to rank high using these words would also be high. Instead, it is a better strategy to focus on long-tailed keywords (more than three word long) which account for 70% of searches.
Myth 03 – You need to focus Social Media
Social media will get you exposure, but that’s pretty much it. Posting more on social media will not increase your rankings, but it will gain you traffic, which is a whole different issue.
Myth 04 – Paid ads will bring you forward
Google pushes authentic content which is relevant to the particular search much more than it does paid content. the amount of money you spend will not be proportional to the small change you make in ranking.
Myth 05 – The way forward is to copy the bigger brands
Just because something works for a bigger brand doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Your needs and value are very different from that of a larger firm, so you should rather focus on what works best for you, not on works for them.
Myth 06 – You don’t have to worry about speed
Users wait for 2seconds for a website to load. Even if your content is relevant, if your site doesn’t load in those two seconds, user will leave your site and add to your bounce rate – which will hamper your SEO.
Myth 7 – Optimizing is a one-time thing
Except for the technical part, you have to keep improving your SEO, because the rankings frequently shift, so you always have to be on your feet.
What other SEO practices have you been believing to be true?