Just designed a stunning website? Great. But who cares if no one sees it? Read our beginner's guide to SEO, easy tips & guide to increase your visibility in Google, Bing, and other search engines and generate more organic traffic. With SEO becoming more important every day, it's critical to keep up on the latest trends.
SEO - (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to increase its visibility in organic search results for specific keywords. Good SEO basics translates into increased traffic and conversion on the website.
Table of content:
What is SEO - definition according to Fit Design London
SEO, also known as page positioning, includes optimization and other inbound marketing activities related to adapting to Google's guidelines and factors that affect your website positions in SERP (Search Engine Result Page). It is a process aimed at improving the website visibility, so that it generates valuable organic traffic based on the best key phrases for a given industry.
It is now standard that SEO services are combined with UX to achieve a dual goal: to satisfy both users and search engine algorithms. SXO (Search Experience Optimization) is a new way of work of marketers, it focuses on improving the position and increasing conversion at the same time by adjusting the website to the user's preferences and increasing their engagement.
What is SEO positioning?
SEO basics and positioning are often confused with one another, but they are actually quite different. SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it appears higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), while positioning is the act of placing your brand or product in a certain place in the minds of consumers.
It involves optimizing your website for certain target keywords, making sure your website is easy to navigate, and creating quality content that will encourage people to links to your site. Positioning, on the other hand, involves creating a unique selling proposition (USP) and differentiating your product from the competition.
While SEO and positioning are both important for marketing your website or product, they are actually two different things.
What is it SEO audit?
Preparing an SEO audit is a standard procedure before starting optimization and positioning. First of all, technical analysis allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your page and indicates what needs to be improved.
Thanks to a detailed analysis of the web page, you will find out whether the previous activities related to positioning have been carried out correctly, effectively and ethically, and whether the website is more visible.
The SEO audit should include the analysis of technical factors, content optimization, UX, company and competition link profiles. Its purpose is to identify as many issues as possible on the site (affecting organic search results) and factors that negatively impact the user experience on the site.
Improving them is a great way to increase traffic and conversion on the new site. An SEO audit also allows you to plan the optimization strategy for effective website positioning.
White Hat vs Black Hat
White hat SEO are techniques and strategies that follow the rules of search engines, including Google search engines whose main goal is to provide users with valuable content in response to their questions. They provide the best and long-term effects.
On the other hand, Black hat SEO is the so-called spamming techniques that some companies in the SEO industry still use. Unethical techniques mainly include the use of SWL (Link Exchange Systems), i.e. platforms that allow you to quickly obtain a large number of links. Other unethical methods are copying someone else's content and keyword stuffing, i.e. saturating the content on the website with target keywords.
Although spamming techniques often work, they are usually short-term, their use as part of the website positioning service is associated with the risk of imposing penalties, the so-called Google filters and / or indexing. Removal from search results for some companies, especially e-commerce companies, may even result in the necessity to close your business. Remember to be careful when choosing an S.E.O agency. Be wary of long-term non-termination companies.
SEO vs SEM
They are two different concepts. SEM is a broader term, means marketing in search engines. SEM includes activities aimed at acquiring traffic from free and paid (Google Ads advertising) searches.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the forms of search engine marketing. It means optimization of your website, which will allow it to be ranked higher in search engines. So, when searching for something on Google or other major search engines, your website will have a higher position in the search results' list. Both SEO and SEM are important to succeed.
What do SEO activities involve?
Search engine optimization (SEO) includes a number of activities (on-site and off-site) that make the website more visible on Google and useful for recipients. On-page SEO is something you have full and total control over, while this is not always the case with off-page SEO. First things first...
Onsite SEO tips
On-site SEO (also known as on-page SEO) is the process of customizing a website for the search engines. On-site activities include optimization of the content, improvement of the structure and technical aspects, i.e. optimization of the HTML source code (and not only in HTML :-)) of the page.
On-page SEO is a key element of positioning as it helps search engines to index and understand the content and structure of a website, and consequently display it in the search results displayed by the search engine for the most popular queries.
Guide to optimizing the content on the website
The texts on the web page have a direct impact on positioning and are a ranking factor. What's more, professionally implemented content marketing is about creating valuable content and has a positive effect on user behavior, determines the time spent on the website and reduces the bounce rate. The length of your visit is one of the factors that determine whether Google considers the content on your website valuable.
The content on the web page should both respond to user inquiries and provide comprehensive information about the offer and be presented in a clear, easy-to-understand form. Good content is one that search engines rank highly for popular key phrases.
SEO onsite content optimization essentials:
The content on the website cannot be a duplicate of content from other sources, e.g. the producer's site. If you want to check if the text on your page is unique, use Plagiarism Checker or Copyscape.
2. Content architecture
The use of HTML tags in the form of H1, H2, H3…. Headers allows to define their structure.
3. Keyword density
The number of exact and partial matches of keywords is one of the main ranking factors that influence your rankings.
4. Common words
It is important not only to use key phrases in the content. The content of the service or store website should also include words strongly related to a given topic, which appear on the ranking pages in TOP10. You can find a list of these words for any phrase in the Audit in Surfer.
5. Site structure
The structure of the website is one of the things you should think about even before launching your site. Editing the structure later can be difficult. A good, easy-to-understand site architecture is important for two reasons:
- Helps robots to index the page
- Remember, the page structure should not be too deep
- Makes it easier for users to navigate the site
SEO onsite title & meta description
The title tag is an important ranking factor. This is an HTML element nested under the head section. It defines the title of a given subpage with tail keywords. It is important that each page within the site has a unique title. This tag shows up in searches, so make sure that both include keywords and an incentive to click. In addition, it is displayed in the search results bar and when you share a link to your website visitors.
What affects the effectiveness of the title:
- Using a keyword - placing a positioned phrase in the title allows users and search engines to indicate and understand what the page is about, it is recommended to put a given keyword at the beginning
- Length - the Google search engine displays title tags up to 600px, which is approximately 60-70 characters.
- Brand - placing a brand mention at the end of the title tag builds brand awareness and ensures a higher click-through rate, especially in the case of well-known brands
Sometimes it makes sense to put your business name at the beginning of your title tag next to your keywords.
Like the meta title tag, meta description is an HTML element and is nested under the head section. Describing the content of the page on which it is located. Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor in SEO, but their content is displayed in the search results and has an impact on the click-through rate (CTR).
What affects the effectiveness of meta description:
- A concise presentation of the offer with the benefits of using it
- Length - we can use about 150 character
- CTA (Call To Action) - that is, an invitation to go to your website, usually placed at the end of a tag, e.g. Buy Now! Order Online!
Onsite SEO essentials to follow
1. Friendly URL addresses
The URL now shows up in the SERP above the meta title, so it's now even more visible than before. When creating URL addresses, make sure that they are as short as possible and contain the keyword for which you position your website. This is a better solution compared to URL addresses with a long string of random numbers and characters.
2. Graphics optimization
Graphics on website pages often have a huge impact on the page loading speed and positioning. It is worth remembering about a few elements, i.e.
- Compression - comperes files
- Correct format - if you do not need to keep the high-resolution image, use jpg or svg, for thumbnails and background images choose png.
- Show visitors loading graphics -is in progress or apply a lazy load, i.e. delay loading graphics until the user scrolls the website to the place where the graphics appear.
- Friendly - name the artwork
- Alternative tests - although search engine bots are able to determine what is in the photo thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, they also index alts, which provides the additional benefit of better image context for search engines. The alternative description (alt) is also intended for blind people who use special readers. Make sure alts are natural for people - avoid keyword stuffing.
3. Rich Snippets
Featured snippets are structural data elements that allow the appearance of the website to be distinguished among organic results in the Google search results by providing users with additional information, i.e. the number of opinions and average ratings, photo, video, knowledge graphs, site links, place and date of the event, publication date, author and others.
They show users even more precisely what they will find on a given page, displaying them increases the click-through rate. Deploying rich featured snippets as part of SEO basics does not guarantee that extensions will always appear in the browser.
4. Internal linking
Well-made internal links make it easier for robots to index, which is important for SEO basics and page positioning. The internal links structure allows the robots to reach all subpages within the page and keep potential customers on the website for longer. Internal linking consists of well-designed web site menu, schema for robots, site map (in the case of large web sites, it is better to divide it into several parts), pagination, similar products section, latest blog post, other customers also bought and links in the content between blog post, categories, products and home page.
5. Mobile version
If your website loads fast on computer but slow on mobile, Google will consider it slow. In Search Console, it's a good idea to check your website for usability issues on mobile devices. To see if all assets are loading correctly, use the Google Mobile Optimization Test. On the other hand, the speed of the website in the mobile and desktop versions can be checked using Page Speed Insight.
6. Page speed
As early as 2010, Google officially announced that page speed is a ranking factor. Moreover, a large proportion of Internet users leave the website if the page loading speed is longer than 3 seconds. If you want to check the speed, please use Page SpeedInsights to check the speed, the tool will provide you with personalized recommendations to speed up your website.
It is also worth changing hosting to faster and following several best practices regarding page speed, such as compressing images ,eliminating redundant code, removing unused scripts. Check out our guide to SEO and how to speed up your page and make your web site load faster.
Offsite SEO tips
While on-site SEO focuses on website optimization, i.e. improving the quality of websites, off-page SEO focuses on using other factors that affect search rankings. The main factors are links, citations, social signals, web authority and user signals. Links are the most important ranking factor in search engines. Citations enhance the ranking power of links and social signals. Social signals also influence rankings but to a lesser degree than link building, authority and user-related factors such as search, site engagement and bounce rate.
1. Link building
Acquiring links directly to a positioned website from other websites on the web. Builds trust and increases your Domain Authority (DA)
2. Social signals & user behavior
Action in social media, use of click to action (CTA) messages that makes users to interact and share your page, post, service etc.
3. Trust in the domain
Building a brand image and taking care of opinions on the Internet. Customer service should be your priority that demonstrates your values and quality.
You can influence some of them, e.g., if you get many valuable backlinks. However, you're limited to influence on how users behave on your website and whether they link to it. While Google's algorithms and key ranking factors are constantly changing, there is consensus in the SEO community that in most link building industries, they still play an important role in SEO. Backlinko's 2020 Ranking Factors Study found a clear correlation between total backlinks and page ranking on Google.
In conclusion, remember that SEO factors work in synergy. Well-optimized title tags won't make up for the lack of SEO optimization of your content. Good site speed or just link building strategy won't help if search engines can't index your pages with ease. That is why a comprehensive approach is so important.
SEO tools make it much easier for specialists to work in the field of diagnostics and optimization of the website, in terms of search engines, they help identify problems and find opportunities. There is no one perfect SEO tool but they’re all helpful like Google Analytics, and each one has a specific role, so it is worth using many tools when implementing website positioning. Correct analysis and interpretation of the provided data allows you to build an effective positioning plan.
Important SEO tools:
- Web page optimization that is Data Driven - Surfer
- To analyze the structure, images, CSS, script and other elements important from the SEO perspective - Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, OnCrawl, Audisto
- For analysis of individual elements of the page code - DevTools
- Google services - Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Trends, Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Structured Data Testing Tool, Google Mobile Friendly and others
- For link profile analysis - Majestic, Surfer, Ahrefs, Clusteric
- For visibility and competition analysis - Semrush, Semstorm, Senuto
- Plugins for analyzing factors within the website - Quaqe, Lighthouse, Meta Inspektor, MozBar, Tag Assistant, NoFollow, Link checker
- Page metrics & data - Pingdom, GTmetrix, Redirect Checker
SEO positioning practices
1. Good positioning practices
- Create pages mainly for users, not for search results
- Take care of website performance
- Get valuable links
- Analyze the activities of the competition
- Follow Search Console's guidelines and analyze indexing statistics
- Take care of the security of user data - implement an SSL certificate
2. Unethical Practices Better Avoided
- Automatically generated content
- Participation in link exchange programs
- Duplicate content, creating pages with non-unique content
- Cloaking, showing search engine robots content other than users
- Hiding the content e.g. by adding text in the background color
- Keyword stuffing
- Doorway pages, creating pages in order to obtain a good ranking for specific searches driving traffic to your website
3. Factors influencing the SEO results
- Age and history of the domain
- Algorithm changes
- The popularity of keywords
- The current state of the site
- Link profile
In the case of small towns and niche industries, it happens that a one-time optimization of content and technical elements is enough to take high positions in search engine rankings. However, in most cases ,positioning is a long-term process that requires constant work, acquiring valuable links, optimizing and adapting the website to the changing Google algorithms.
However, in the long term, search engine optimization is the most profitable form of inbound marketing. We should also remember that positioning is a cooperation that requires the involvement of both parties - the agency and the client.
How the Google search engine works
Internet search engines work around the clock, collecting information from websites around the world and organizing it. It is a three-step process that involves searching web pages on your site, indexing them, and then ranking them for specific keywords using search algorithms.
Search engines use automated scripts to search the web for information. Crawlers systematically visit each site on the list, navigating to internal and external links. They pay close attention to new sites and existing content that has changed. Robots create a constantly expanding map of related pages.
After finding a page, the bot downloads (and / or renders)it. Algorithms automatically decide which of those sites to index. The bot organizes this content into categories including images, CSS and HTML, text and keywords etc., which allows it to understand the content of the website. It then stores this information in the index.
In the last step, search engines search the index and return the most relevant results for each query. Google uses a whole series of algorithms to determine your position in search results. Knowing how search engines work allows you to effectively implement SEO activities.
Web analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data on traffic sources, visited subpages and user behavior on the website. The analysis of the collected data allows you to get to know the potential customers who can be acquired by your company and determine the activities aimed at improving online visibility and conversion (sales, registration, newsletter subscription, etc.).
An SEO expert should check if Search Console and Analytics have been verified at the beginning of cooperation and create a Data Studio report for the client.
Do you need help?
At Fit Design London, we have an expert team of specialists that monitor algorithm changes on an ongoing basis. We know how to position in accordance with the current Google guidelines and trends.
We operate comprehensively, as part of optimization activities we indicate which phrases are worth positioning, we implement various changes in the content and source code of the website for clients', we obtain valuable links and constantly analyze. We offer support in the field of website management and other internet marketing channels. Send a msg via social media or email.
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