What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Step-By-Step Guide

What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? Step-By-Step Guide

So, you have heard about the SEO (Search engine Optimization) and you have been informed that SEO is important and that it works very well for online business. But at some point, you have probably thought about what makes SEO so important.

What exactly is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of generating organic traffic to your website from major search engines through non-paid methods. The most popular search engines such as Google, Bing etc use multiple factors to determine which are the best results to display. Here is where SEO comes into play. The SEO process optimizes your website so that it’s content can be easily indexed by the search engines.

 Is SEO only for large online business?

Absolutely not. If you have a website, whether you are an online retailer or an offline store, it is important that you have an optimized website. Think about it, where do most people begin their search- it’s on the internet. In fact, 80% of the people research a company or brand online before dealing with small business. In a way, SEO turns your website into your super star salesman and this in turn helps you generate leads and qualify prospects.

So essentially SEO is not just about your website ranking, it also about getting more clicks and views, or keeping ‘bounce rates’ optimal. In addition, an optimized website will help build your credibility and make your brand stronger. Apart from being an essential tool in your overall digital marketing strategy, SEO is also a very cost-effective tool. How so? Well, effective SEO can attract hundreds of targeted prospects to your business website and increase your conversion rates by delivering a solution to the problem that they were facing.

What basic steps do small business have to take for SEO?

Here are some of the basic SEO steps that you need to take to ensure that you have an optimized website. These are the most important factors to consider when optimizing your site

  • Keywords: Each page should have two keywords that are most relevant to the overall content. Choose a primary keyword and a variation of that keyword.
  • Page Title: Choose a unique page title of not more than 60 characters for your web page. Ensure that the selected primary keyword is part of the page title.
  • Meta Description: This description appears just below the Page title in the google search. Consider this as the call to action that will help potential customers decide whether to click no your link or not. Keep this meta at about 160 characters. Ensure that the primary keyword is part of the meta description.
  • URL: the web page URL should have the primary keyword that has been chosen for the page. Each word in the URL should be separated using dashes (-).
  • Content of the web page should contain the primary keyword a few times. Try to bold or underline the keyword at least once.
  • Internal Links: if you have mentioned the keyword of the web page on other pages then link to this page using the primary keyword as the anchor text.
  • Images: Any images used on the page should be optimized so that search engines can “read” the image. Optimize the most prominent image on the page using the primary keyword, and then use the primary and secondary keywords for any other images. There are two ways to optimize images on your page.
    • Filename: Each word should be separated with dashes (-),
    • ALT text: The alt text should match the file name, without dashes

Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Yep, that is actually a thing to consider, specially if you are a small or mid size business owner! Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. If you search for “best Thai restaurant”, then Google will provide you with results that are the closest to you. The most important step in local SEO strategy is to claim your Google My Business page. Next step is to complete all the information Google asks for.

Just filling the information does not complete the task. You need to login to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing. Yes, you did read that right, someone/anyone can make edits to the information you have filled in. So, don’t forget to go back to your dashboard and check the details you filled in on regular basis.

Now you have to optimize your listing. You can do this by

  • On the contact page show your NAP- Name, Address and Phone number
  • Ensure that your phone number is clickable on mobile devices
  • Add your location map
  • Add testimonials or reviews
  • If you have a blog, then create local content (local is the keyword here!)

Special Tip: You’ll also want to set up profiles on the social media channels relevant to your target demographic.

 Final tips to boost your SEO Ranking

Some quick tips that will help with your website ranking

  • Think mobile first when designing your website. Google algorithm gives priority to mobile friendly websites
  • Don’t forget the Sitemaps: Google uses the sitemap to index your web page.
  • Speed matters: A fast loading site will fare better on Google ranking.
  • Add keywords and image file name to all the images on your site
  • Backlinks are important, including internal linking

But remember

  • Higher content length does not mean better rankings. Quality in content matters way more than quantity.
  • Quality of backlinks matter.
  • Don’t believe anyone that says SEO is dead. SEO is very much alive and an integral part of your strategy.

Now you are all set to start on your SEO. Don’t let your business get left behind.

Stay tuned to our blog. Our next one will explore the Pillar pages concept and how this can help your search engine rankings.

5 Easy Steps for SEO Audit – A Quick Reference Guide

5 Easy Steps for SEO Audit – A Quick Reference Guide

So, in our last blog, we set out to demystify this scary, little understood area in the Digital marketing-Search Engine Marketing (SEO). Now its time to put some of the learning from the last blog to use. Its time for the (dreadful) SEO audit! Don’t worry, we will make it as simple for you. After all we know that most SEO audit are

  • Either too technical
  • Or takes days to complete

Lets understand why a SEO audit is important. One simple reason! Things change too fast in the digital space. What works today, may not work a few months from now. This makes it necessary to perform a SEO on your site at least 2 times in a year.

Convincing enough? Well then, lets get started.

1.Getting ready to SEO.

First up, make sure there is only one site version that is browseable.

Next, start a website SEO crawl. You can do this by using tools such as Beams Us Up  its free). You will have a detailed report ready once the manual process is complete.

2.Checking Indexing Status

Google is the biggest search engine. And if Google can’t find your website, well then no one can. You can use the Index status report in the Google Search Console to check the number of pages Google has crawled from your domain

Google Search Console > Google Index > Index Status.

Alternatively, you can simply search the site in google by typing in “Site:<your domain name>. While this will show how many of your pages have been indexed by Google, it is not going to be as accurate as the Google Search Console report.

3.Securing your site

And HTTPS site is better than the HTTP site. What’s the difference? An HTTPS site is a secured site and Google ranks secured sites better. So go and get that SSL certificate and secure you site. HTTPS provides encrypted communication with a web server. If you are an ecommerce site, then a secured website is a must.

4.Ranking for your brand name

Ideally when you type in your site name in the google search bar, your site should be the first organic one. Until unless you site is a very recent one, or if you have used a generic word as your brand name.

5.On-Site SEO Checklist

Here are a few more factors that you need to take into account in order to ensure your site is optimized.

  • Page titles, Descriptions and URL Structure
    • The Title and description for each page should be unique and well within the characters limits (70 for the title and approx. 160 for the description. Titles and meta descriptions should be optimized to entice potential customers to click. You also need to make sure that the URL is unique and properly formatted. A good URL includes the keywords, use hyphens(-) to separate the keywords.
  • Content- Consistent, Relevant and Quality
    • The content on each page has to be unique. It should contain the keyword 3-4 in the nature way. Keyword stuffing is not really encouraged. The content should drive value for the reader and it needs to be relevant to your product, industry and service. Remove any duplicate content from the site.
  • Mobile First
    • Given that more than 50% of the people now use their mobile devices to search online, a mobile optimized website is a must. Ensure that your web design is a responsive design that adapts to different displays/ devices- mobile, tablet etc.
  • Speed matters
    • A slow loading page can really bring down your SEO rank as search engines favour faster sites. Use Google PageSpeed insights to check site speed on your mobile and desktop version of the site.
  • Links
    • Internal and external links are important. Make sure you have the relevant internal linking structure that are valid and easy to follow. External links can help with your website ranking but ensure that you focus on quality backlinks and not low quality spammy links. The links should not be “broken” as this affects the “link quality”
  • Images
    • Search engine bots can’t read or understand an image (yet) so it’s our job to describe images to them using alt text. Therefore, when it comes to an alt text, we check to make sure each image is labeled clearly and concisely.
  • XML Sitemaps
    • XML sitemaps help with listing of pages with the search engines. This is especially helpful when you have new content that may not have many inbound links pointing to it yet, making it tougher for search engine to find that content.

There you have the basic steps for conducting your site SEO. Not so scary now, is it? If you are still stuck or need the experts to step in then drop us an email on sales@inboundheart.com

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Use your company’s blog posts to opine on current industry topics, humanize your company, and show how your products and services can help people.