Improving Search Engine Optimisation in 2021
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
SEO encompasses the techniques and processes used to increase a website or webpages ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs.) The purpose of this is ultimately to increase both the quantity and quality of web traffic to any given website or page. This can be thought of as a form of organic or unpaid digital marketing as search engines like Google rank pages more highly based on relevancy as opposed to ad spend. SEO and Google Ads should therefore not be confused as they are very different in nature, although they both appear in Google’s search results page. You might be asking yourself how this relevancy is determined? Although the process of achieving optimisation requires various facets to work congruently, the overarching objective is content quality. Google defines this relevancy under the umbrella term “PageRank”.
Achieving a high organic page rank in SERPs is becoming increasing difficult because Google is constantly adapting algorithms by disguising paid ads, increasing the use of knowledge panels (information panels that appear when you search various topics) and displaying image and video packs above organic listings. Business’s and their web developers therefore need to work harder and smarter than ever before to create better webpages and faster websites to better their competition and be discovered (clicked on) more frequently by their desired target audience.
This process can seem very daunting without the assistance and expertise of an SEO specialist. We’re here to help you achieve your objectives within budget by taking a holistic approach to SEO.
How Do We Improve Optimisation of Search Engine Results?
We begin by testing your websites performance to determine your page rankings based on keyword searches. This will identify where your pages rank overall in relation to certain keyword searches, indicate search volumes and trends as well as how pages might rank relative to your competition. The effectiveness of an SEO strategy can then be measured again in this way when certain methods and techniques have been given time to rank your pages higher and receive more traffic.
These are some of the broader techniques we use to improve organic search results:
- Improving User Experience Across Your Entire Site
Developing your website to improve look and feel, speed, navigation, functionality and mobile usability will keep a user engaged on your site for longer and click on further pages. This reduces the bounce back rate from your site or webpage to the SERP, which google then identifies as engaging and relevant content. The higher the bounce rate the lower a page ranking and vice versa. A bounce is technically classified as a person landing on a page without taking any further action on your site. This isn’t always a bad thing. For instance, if a user lands on your page, finds the relevant information they require and leave (without clicking on another page on your site) then the search result was successful. Therefore, the bounce rate should not be viewed in isolation but should be viewed in relation to other factors including the overall objective of your page or site. If the page is purely informational then a bounce rate is not as important. If the objective is to have a user buy a product or browse further products, for example, then a high bounce rate is more problematic.
- Understanding User Intent
Google is constantly developing their algorithms to be smarter. This means that keywords alone are becoming less effective as Google tries to identify the intention of a user through topic clusters. Understanding target audience and building “buyer personas” will ensure that your keywords and topic clusters are more focused and drive your desired audience to your page. A buyer persona incorporates all aspects of a targeted customer including likes, dislikes, demographics, hobbies, pain points, fears and goals. Topic clusters work by linking relevant content to a central topic or theme.
- Length of Content
SEO studies have shown that longer form content typically improves discoverability and ranking. Refreshing old content with added length and new information can improve ranking, however a common-sense approach to this is important. A single page or piece of content can be designed to target multiple types of users either looking for detailed information or who intend to quickly browse and move on.
A diversified backlink portfolio including links to your site from both small and larger sites improves ranking. A sure way to increase backlinking over time is by creating quality content that other sites are likely to share. As your site gathers back links from reputable sites, Google acknowledges this by rewarding your site with a higher ranking based on quality and credible content.
- Technical SEO Aspects
There are a host of important technical SEO fundamentals that should be carefully considered and constantly improved. These include site security an encryption, for example, ensuring your site is HTTPS (secure.) Another important aspect is optimising HTML Tags which essentially highlight key information in your site and assist search engines to find this information. This includes headings and sub-headings (H1, H2, H3). Enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), that display pages for mobile based on the type of mobile device that is accessing the page, will improve user experience which in turn improves page rankings.
- Optimising for Local Searches
This function is particularly important for brick & mortar businesses, in other words businesses with a physical store front or office. Nearly half of all Google searches are for local listings regarding information on local shops, opening hours, contact details and addresses. For example: Search Engine Optimisation Specialist Cape Town South Africa. Ensuring all contact information and listings you have created are up to date will improve discoverability. To ensure your page or business is identified and included on a shortlist of results requires actively targeted keywords and phrases embedded into your websites visible content as well as meta content like meta titles, meta descriptions and Image alt tags.
Implementing the above techniques is useless without measuring the effectiveness of their implementation over time, which is why analytics are vital to the overall process. Not only will this help identify areas where your discoverability can be improved but also identify what content is appealing to users or customers. This can then help you shape and inform your offerings and highlight potential trends and behaviours.
With quality digital content, web development and technical aspects playing an important part in search engine optimisation we are able to grow your digital footprint, discoverability and conversions by executing every aspect outlined above in precise and thorough detail.