What are the benefits of SEO for your business’ online presence?— Lord Vincent Van Mendoza (@digitallourd) February 28, 2021
As we are living in the digital age, we normally consult search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, AOL when looking for answers to our questions or solutions for our problems. The same is true with your potential clients. They also use search engines to look for the best products or service providers online.
This is where SEO comes in. This should be a BIG deal for any business owner like you because normally, we first pay attention to the results found on the first pages on search results.
In this blog, I have provided a simple definition of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I even presented the benefits of investing in SEO for small businesses. I then included some helpful SEO strategies you can apply to boost your presence in the digital space.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of maximizing the visibility of websites in search engines. In the results, we can generate and get the optimum level of relevant traffic directed to a site. It can be considered both as a science and an art.
It is all about traffic (first of all). It is common knowledge and in fact, statistically proven that the higher up or earlier a website appears on a search engines results page, the more traffic it is likely to get from the users of a certain search engine. The second factor to influence traffic is frequency of appearance on the results page, or how many times a certain website appears on a search engine’s results page. The basic goal of search engine optimization is to maximize both these aspects of appearance to direct more traffic towards a website from a search engine.
The ones responsible for optimizing web pages are the ones used by search engines referred to as the internet bots or ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’. Such index web pages on the World Wide Web and keep their indexes updated. This process is called crawling. With the help of these bots, algorithms are written to generate results from the indexes created by such internet spiders.
Basically, SEO deals with improving the ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ results that a search engine generates for search results. Organic or natural means that the results are not optimized through paying the search engine (paid advertising). Still, that is another tactic in Search Engine Marketing. However, just to be clear, SEO deals with results not influenced by paid traffic.
If you’re asking why this should bother you, well here’s my two cents. Search engines are the virtual highways through which the majority of internet traffic flows and finds its destinations. According to Forbes magazine, at the end of 2013 Google made up 40% of all internet traffic. And that is just Google alone. So if your web page is not doing well in its relationship with search engines, it is literally missing out on the majority of the traffic found on the internet.
SEO as a marketing strategy
One of the most important uses of SEO is its beauty as a marketing strategy for businesses and entrepreneurs. Having better visibility and rankings on search engines can make all the difference in the success of a business when it comes to getting ahead and having an edge in today’s competitive market (on the internet). A simple way to understand this is to think of the internet as a network of roads and the search engines being the main highways through which travelers (your customers) navigate their route and discover places that have something valuable to offer them. The search results on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL are like sign posts on a highway. They show you what is where and give you access to places you might not even know existed.
The more people find your page, the more they are likely to become frequent visitors and convert into consumers of whatever your website has to offer — be it a service or a product or whether you are simply sharing information.
Search engine optimization is a way to enhance your relationship with search engines. You ultimate goal here is to be seen as much as possible. Using our previous metaphor, it means to make as much sound as possible. Investing in SEO is quickly becoming an integral part of the marketing strategy of businesses, groups and individuals alongside other methods, which take up the bulk of the marketing budget, such as advertisements, endorsements, social media marketing etc. The reason for this is very simple – experience. Investment in SEO pays off and businesses/organizations witness significant results popularity and revenue after making SEO a part of their marketing strategy.
Essentially, search engine optimization is a part of internet marketing, and as such it overlaps with other forms of internet marketing, such as paid advertising and social media marketing. For example, when it comes to paid advertising, SEO helps you create landing page that will affect the outcome of paid advertising. When it comes to social media marketing, it is said that social media send so-called social signals that might affect search engines when determining ranking. Even though this might be the case, what we know for sure is that when you use a search engine to look up a certain query, you will see the results from social networking websites, especially if those are popular accounts with lots of activity and lots of followers. Therefore, you will frequently see the results from Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks ranked high in the search result page, which supports the fact that social media marketing can also help you improve visibility of the website on the internet, fulfilling the same goal as SEO.
Common SEO strategies and techniques
Generally, there are 8 SEO strategies under which there are techniques you can (and should not) apply for your own digital web pages.
1) White-Hat SEO
White-hat SEO refers to all the optimization techniques which abide by any search engine guidelines. While one needs to be patient to see results, this is sustainable and creates goodwill around your brand. White-hat SEO is low-risk and has high rewards if you do it right. Examples of white-hat SEO techniques include authoring useful and relevant content after doing extensive keyword research, earning links from high-authority sites based on the merit of your on-page content, and fast page loading times.
Here’s a comprehensive list of white-hat SEO techniques you should employ (eMarketing Institute, 2018):
- Making the website abundant in keyword-rich text and key phrases to anticipate as many search queries as possible. It includes the addition of relevant keywords to the metatags of the website.
- Creating dense and unique title tags for every page. It helps search engines understand the contents of a page by providing them a quick reference.
- The creation of media content such as press clippings, e-zines or newsletters to maintain a threshold of inbound links.
- Maintaining the search engine saturation at an optimum level and making regular comparisons with competitor websites. (Search engine saturation is a term denoting the quantity of pages of website that have been indexed by search engines. It is a measure of how efficient optimization efforts have been and are a good marker of the site’s visibility and accessibility.)
- Using online resources such as Google Trends and Google Analytics to understand current online behaviors and patterns in context of what is trending.
- Varying search phrases and employing them in the first 100 words of content.
- Employing a backlink from a web directory.
- The use of canonical metatag or 301 directs to achieve URL normalization in case of multi URL webpages.
- Crosslink between pages of the same site.
- Providing greater number of links to the main pages of the website.
- Using other websites to link back to the original.
- Employing a mixture of keywords and key phrases in conjunction with brand/business being promoted.
2) Black-Hat SEO
Black-hat SEO consists of techniques, which are disapproved of by search engines and should not be tolerated. This can lead to your website being penalized, which means losing ranking or being completely removed from the search engine results. This effort is not geared towards creating better content and developing a committed user base or content visitors. This is solely concerned with climbing to the top of the search results page through tricks.
Here’s a list of recognized black-hat SEO tactics (Wordstream, n.d.):
- Content Automation
- Doorway Pages
- Hidden Text or Links
- Keyword Stuffing
- Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
- Sneaky Redirects
- Link Schemes
- Guest Posting Networks
- Link Manipulation (including buying links)
- Article Spinning
- Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Automated Queries to Google
- Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content
- Pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware
3) Grey-Hat SEO
Grey-hat SEO tactics are often used by SEO agencies due to pressure to see quick results from a client and fall in between white and black hat SEO in terms of approach. Although Google’s webmaster guidelines do not explicitly say that such methods are prohibited, they are still frowned upon and can lead to undesired search outcomes.
Here’s a list of sample grey-hat SEO tactics (Infidigit, 2019):
- clickbait content
- paid reviews
- link exchange between sites
4) Negative SEO
According to SEMRush, negative SEO is any malicious practice aimed at sabotaging search rankings of a competitor’s website. This is generally considered “black hat SEO” for its malevolent nature.
Listed below are the examples of negative SEO:
- Hacking a website.
- Creating toxic backlinks with spammy anchor texts pointing to the website.
- Scraping a website’s content and creating duplicates of the website.
- Posting fake negative reviews about the website.
- Removing a website’s backlinks by sending out fake removal requests to webmasters.
5) On-Page SEO
Moz (n.d.) defines on-page SEO as the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.
Example of some on-page SEO action items include:
- Optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions.
- Writing in-depth, quality content.
- Cleaning up your site’s code.
- Streamlining your site’s navigation.
- Speeding up your website.
6) Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to everything made outside of your site to fare better and feature higher up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In laymen terms, off-page SEO helps search engines understand what others think about your product, services, or website. Even having just a few links from strong, relevant sites with high levels of authority will increase your chances of ranking higher. Off-page SEO isn’t just about getting a link to your site from just anyone; it’s about getting a link to your site from the right one. And, you want to make sure that you’re getting the “link juice” from the backlink too.
Here are some off-page SEO ideas you can try:
- Brand Mentions
- Influencer Outreach
- Guest Authorship or guest blogging
- Broken Link Building
- Social Networking
- Social Bookmarking
- Content Marketing
- Questions & Answers
7) Local SEO
Yoast defines local SEO as the practice of optimizing your website for a specific local area. If you have a local business, like a shop, restaurant, or agency, you want your website to pop up in local searches. But optimizing the website of your local business is also about making sure people are able to find you in real life.
Have a look at the ranking performance of one of my clients (Grandeur) on Google:
- Optimize your homepage.
- Optimize your metadata.
- Create a page for every product, service, and location.
- Use local businesses, organization, product, and service schema.
- Claim your Google My Business Page.
- Update NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Numbers) citation on your website.
- Add your business to local directories.
- Setup social media signals.
- Prioritize reviews.
- Implement SEO best practices throughout your website.
8) Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to improving the technical aspects of a website in order to increase the ranking of its pages in the search engines. Making a website faster, easier to crawl and understandable for search engines are the pillars of technical optimization.
Here’s a technical SEO checklist:
- Specify a Preferred Domain
- Optimize Robots.txt
- Optimize Your URL Structure
- Navigation and Site Structure
- Breadcrumb Menus
- Implement Structured Data Markup
- Canonical URLs
- Optimize 404 Page
- XML Sitemap Optimization
- SSL and HTTPS
- Website Speed
- Mobile Friendliness
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
- Pagination and Multilingual Websites
- Register your site with webmaster tools
If you need a figure why you should consider SEO for your business’ digital presence, here one: Data from Statista put SEO on top with 32% of marketers worldwide saying it offers the highest ROI; a significant 41% say it offers medium ROI. The long-term average advantages of SEO are impossible to overstate.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be given priority alongside other online marketing initiatives so that you can get on top of the competition. Apple the ethically accepted SEO strategies and techniques in order to establish genuine search reputation.
If you are looking for an SEO specialist in Davao city, I can be the guy for the job! If you have SEO projects you want me to do on your behalf, you may reach me via email at email@example.com or you may call me at +639760030342 .
Hello! I’m Vince. I am a digital content marketer and SEO specialist, event host, and educator based in Davao city, Philippines. I help small business owners in the metro by boosting their online presence and generating more leads for them. On weekend, I am just a night owl doing my online marketing thing.