SEO Definition: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to rank better in the search engines for keywords that are related to your business. The goal of SEO is to drive higher quantities of targeted traffic to your website.

In this article, we’ll be explaining SEO and looking at some of the best search engine optimization tips that you can use to rank higher.

“SEO is the practice of increasing search engine traffic to a website.”

Digital Footprint’s Guide to SEO

Keyword Research

The first step in any SEO campaign will be to conduct keyword research. The goal of this is to find the keywords that customers in your industry are typing into search engines. You want to find keywords that are relevant to your business, have substantial volume and have intent behind them.

To conduct your KW research, you should use a tool like Ahrefs and LongTailPro or one of the many free SEO tools available. These will show you keywords in your industry that you could create content around.

Competitor Analysis

Once you’ve identified the keywords that you want to rank for you should analyze the competition. Your goal is to get more information about how difficult it will be to rank ahead of the websites that are already ranking on the first page.

To do this, you should look at three main factors; the depth of the content, the amount of links pointing to the page and how optimized the page is for the keyword.

SEO-Friendly Content

At this point, you know what keywords you want to target and you’ve decided that you are capable of ranking for them. Now, you should start creating your SEO-optimized content.

Later in this article, we’ll cover the on-page factors that you should pay attention to. When you’re crafting your content, you should ensure that you’re creating the content for your readers but also the search engines. It’s possible for your content to be SEO-optimized and also enjoyable to read.

Link Building

Google has admitted that links are one of their top ranking factors. The quantity and quality of the links pointing to a particular page will have a considerable impact on how high the page ranks on the results page.

Once you’ve published your content, you should try your hardest to build quality, relevant and authoritative links to your page. These links will improve the chances of your page ranking for the keyword.

Analytics

Once you’ve got traffic coming to your website, it’s important that you have as much information about it as possible. Google Analytics will allow you to see which keywords they are searching for, where the traffic is located and how they interact with your website.

Google Analytics is crucial to any business owner who wants to optimize their site and increase their conversion rate. It gives you information about the amount of time that users spend on each page and can show you the path that customers took to convert. This gives you extra information that you can use to refine your campaign.

Social Media

SEO is one of the most powerful sources of traffic, but you shouldn’t disregard social media. Even for B2B companies, social media can be a powerful way to gain brand awareness, connect with potential customers and drive traffic to your website.

Having a thorough and active social media profile is the sign of a real business, and some clients will check your social media pages before they purchase.

Email Marketing

You might have heard people say “the power is in the list.” Having your readers sign up to an email list gives you access to them at all times. It allows you to market to them, give them helpful information and to tell them about any changes in your business.

Every business should ensure that they’re dedicating appropriate resources to building, maintaining and growing an email list.

Why is SEO Important?

The vast majority of internet users find businesses through search engines. Ranking at the top of the results page for appropriate keywords can drive hundreds or even thousands of extra customers to your business each month.

SEO is the practice of improving your rankings so that you can access those extra customers. Without SEO you’ll struggle to gain any substantial traffic from search engines and will be leaving money on the table.

Doesn’t SEO Happen Automatically? Why Do I Need to be Involved?

SEO is a process. You don’t just ‘do’ SEO; you need to have it in the back of your mind at all stages of your website creation. When you’re planning and publishing content SEO should factor into the way that the article is structured and what words are used in the title.

Without actively working to improve your rankings the vast majority of businesses will fail to rank for any keywords of substantial value. We know that business owners are busy and might not want to use their valuable time to work on SEO and that’s why you might choose to delegate it to your team or outsource it to an agency.

When to Outsource SEO and When to do it Yourself

Unfortunately, SEO is resource intensive and time-consuming. SEO might be an employee’s entire role, or it could be half of their job. Deciding whether you should DIY or offload the work to somebody else will depend on how much time you have, your expertise and your budget.

If you’re a new company and have more time than money, it would be smart to learn SEO yourself and work on teaching it to future employees when you hire them. If you DIY you should make sure to conduct an SEO audit before you start.

However, if you already have a team or a marketing budget you’re better off hiring one of your local SEO companies and letting the experts work their magic. This will allow you to focus on what you’re good at.

What are Search Engines Looking For

Search engines want to serve the best results possible to their searchers. This means that the search should answer their question and give them what they want without making them go to the second page. Here are a few factors they look at:

  • Relevancy
  • Quality of Content
  • User Experience
  • Site Speed
  • Cross-Device Compatibility
  • Internal Linking
  • Authority
  • Meta Data
  • Schema Data
  • Image Tags
  • Evergreen Content
  • DA
  • Headlines & Permalinks
  • Comments
  • Local SEO
  • Social Media

What to Avoid When Doing SEO

Search engines know what they like and what they don’t like. The things that they recommend you don’t do are because it hurts the user’s experience. Here’s a few to keep away from:

  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Link Buying
  • Excessive Link Exchanging
  • Annoying Ads
  • Duplicate Content
  • Hidden Text

On-Page SEO Factors

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and content to rank higher for your keywords.

Optimized title tags

Search engines factor in the keywords that you use in important tags on your page including; title tags, meta tags, header tags, etc.

URL

Including your keyword in your URL is a good way to let the search engine know what your content is about.

Internal links

Links will drive ‘juice’ to your pages and linking between your pages is a great way to help readers navigate but to also improve your rankings.

Off-Page SEO Factors

Off-page SEO is the practice of acquiring links to your website and maintaining a social media presence. Both of these things can help you to improve your rankings.

Social media presence

As we mentioned earlier, an active social media profile is the sign of a legitimate business. It can also drive traffic to your website and increase conversions.

Link building

Acquiring links to your page is an effective way to improve your rankings. You should be looking for quality links from relevant sites.

Helpful SEO Resources and Infographics

Top SEO Blogs

SEO Books

  • SEO 2017 by Adam Clarke: Link
  • SEO Fitness Workbook by Jason McDonald: Link
  • SEO Marketing by David Scott: Link
  • The Sassy Way to Ranking #1 in Google by Gundi Gabrielle: Link
  • SEO for Growth by John Jantsch: Link

FAQ’s

How does search engine marketing work?

SEM works by improving your visibility within the search engines results pages. An SEM campaign will involve creating content, building links and even PPC advertising. Each of which will make your website more visible to searchers.

Why is search engine optimization so important?

More and more people are joining the internet and search engines will always be important. If you’re not ranking at the top of the SERP’s for a keyword, your competitors will be and they’ll be taking the customers instead of you.

What is the main difference between SEO and SEM?

SEO is just a single part of your overall SEM strategy. SEO is about optimizing your website and link profile to increase rankings whereas SEM is about increasing your visibility in the search engines through a range of different methods.