Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process by which your website ranks as highly as possible in the natural search engine results i.e. the unpaid results rather than the pay-per-click adverts. In the UK Google is used for more than 90% of internet searches so our SEO efforts tend to be concentrated on the Google rankings. Organic Page 1 rankings achieved through SEO can be a much more cost-effective way of attracting high visitor numbers to your website.
The number of visitors you can expect to your website rises exponentially the higher up in the Google natural ranking your website appears. For example, for every 1,000 searches of a keyword the website at position 1 on page 1 could expect 420 clicks on average to their site, but the website appearing at position 10 on page 1 could expect only 30 clicks on average. Anything on page 2 or lower could expect substantially fewer clicks.
So achieving a high position can have a dramatic effect on the number of visitors to your website. However, our SEO Strategy does not focus purely on search engine rankings for any keyword. We ensure that we target the right keywords, which are the foundations of a successful SEO Campaign, in order to drive the right type of visitors to your site, increase sales and increase the online visibility of your company. In addition we enhance the title and description shown in the search results to increase the likelihood of a click-through and also look at ways to reduce bounce rate so that, once the visitor is on your site, they stay there.
Every SEO campaign can be broadly broken down into 4 areas:
- Keyword Research & Analysis
- Website Optimisation
- Off-site Optimisation (Link Building)
- Social Media
Keyword Research & Analysis
It is vital to get the keywords right before progressing too far with on-site and off-site SEO because the keywords are the foundation on which an SEO campaign is built and if they are not right then subsequent SEO efforts will be wasted. Where a PPC campaign has been running there will already be valuable data available on the effectiveness of certain keywords and their conversion rates, which can be used to enhance the keyword research. Various keyword tools can be used to research different keyword combinations, including longtail keywords, and view the estimated traffic volumes for each one.
A primary set of keywords is established for which a website can achieve a high ranking. These are not always the most competitive keywords, but those most likely to increase visitor numbers to the website and which will be most likely to convert into a lead.
A website is analysed for the elements that are factors in high-rankings such as internal link structure, keyword use in text content, bold text and headings and in the Title and Description Meta Tags and the Image Alt Tags. Changes are made where necessary and a strategy devised for adding new content on a regular basis, such as setting up a blog. Regular, new content is one of the most significant factors in achieving a high organic ranking in the search engines.
Many on-site SEO activities are one-off activities implemented in the early stages of an SEO campaign. The areas that this focuses on are described in more detail below:
META Tags & ALT Tags
These are internal website labels that are amongst the many factors that affect rankings. They include Titles, descriptions and alternative text descriptions for images. They must be written in an SEO-friendly way to have a positive effect on rankings. The Title and Description for each page should be unique and is used both for SEO purposes and to encourage potential customers to click through to the site.
Headers and Bold Text
Headers (H1, H2, H3 etc tags) and bold text are other ways of establishing the important keywords on a web page so need to be fully utilised within a website.
External links from within a website to other sites need to be carefully controlled to ensure they do not reduce the authority of your site. For example a few relevant links to well-known organisations can enhance your internet authority but multiple links to irrelevant or low-ranking sites will diminish your authority. Internal links provide the search engines with information about the importance you place on certain keywords and certain web pages on your site so must be established throughout the site to highlight to the search engines which keywords and pages are the most important.
Duplicate Content Issues
More than one URL displaying identical information (canonicalization) is seen by the search engines as an attempt to unethically manipulate search engine results and is detrimental for search rankings Duplicate content on different pages of your website can also be detrimental for rankings – search engines prefer unique content on each page.
Website Text Content
Every website needs well-written content that is grammatically correct and with no spelling mistakes. The content needs to be SEO-friendly by including some relevant keywords and also semantically relevant text. But it also needs to be user-friendly for your potential customers.
Off-site SEO activities need to be performed on a regular and recurring basis to ensure high rankings are achieved and then consistently maintained. These activities are typically carried out on a weekly or monthly basis in accordance with a pre-defined plan. Off-site SEO is predominantly about building high-quality, relevant links to your website using ethical methods (as described below) to generate these links. Reputable businesses will always focus on the quality rather than the quantity of links as this produces better long-term results in the organic rankings.
Google rewards sites for the uniqueness and quality of their content and the links to those sites; and the robots that crawl the internet are constantly looking for new content to match search criteria. Links should always be one-way links and not paid for or exchanged links, which can be detrimental to ranking highly and are in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines.
They should be built up gradually in order to achieve a natural increase in links, again because the search engines reward sites that have grown organically. All links should have high-quality attributes, where possible, such as relevant anchor text, the “do follow” attribute, come from a domain with a high Domain Authority (DA) and Trust Flow (TF) and be on a page with content relevant to the website.
The Importance of Page Relevancy
How relevant a page is that contains a link back to a website is an important factor in off-site optimisation. Google determines the relevancy by looking at the surrounding text and also the number of other external links on the page. Where the words of the surrounding text are semantically similar to the keywords in the anchor text the page relevancy is high and a page with relatively few links is most likely to be a high-quality page with few, if any, adverts and one that is less likely to be charging a fee for placing a link. Link farms typically have many outbound links per page, with little relevant text.
Buying or exchanging links which are placed on pages full of other, often irrelevant links, is an approach to SEO that may have worked in the past, but Google’s latest algorithms are well aware of these un-ethical tactics used to manipulate the search engine rankings and such methods no longer produce results.
At Ditto Digital we use entirely ethical SEO methods such as content marketing and guest blogging which add value for real people as well as for the search engine rankings, which is what Google wants the best websites to achieve.
The Importance of Anchor Text
Anchor Text is the text you can click on in a hyperlink. It is often blue and underlined, but it can be any colour, including the same as the surrounding text. It is used to indicate the subject matter of the page that it links to. One of the key factors in ranking well in the search engines is having links relevant to the search term. How relevant a link is can be determined by the content of the page on which the link resides and the anchor text of the link. So including keywords in the anchor text has a very positive impact on the final ranking of your web pages. Anchor text is important for links pointing to your site from external websites and also for the internal links between pages within your website. But the search engines are looking for natural patterns of behaviour so anchor text should be a combination of keyword terms and other related terms to appear natural and be most effective.
Building High-Quality Links
There are a number of ways to create high-quality links back to a webiste including:
- Directory Submissions to a carefully considered list of genuine business directories to increase exposure on the internet as well as the number of natural backlinks to a website.
- Content Marketing by writing and publishing articles related in some way to a business sector on reputable websites. These contain keyword-relevant anchor-text backlinks from within relevant content.
- Press Releases for SEO purposes will contain at least one anchor-text backlink to a site but they also enhance the online visibility of a company and brand across the internet. Press releases should only be submitted through recognised and reputable news and syndication services.
- Bespoke Links by researching other websites in a related field to build up a mutually beneficial relationship with another business to provide new content to the other site in the form of unique guest blogs which contain your high-quality backlinks. Bespoke links through this type of collaboration are a highly valuable part of any SEO campaign.
- Blogging should be an integral part of any successful online strategy; a business should have a blog and posts should be created on that blog regularly. Blogs are written in an informal style on a topic relevant to a business and provide regular, unique content for a website in order to attract natural links.
- Guest Blogging should also be an integral part of a digital marketing strategy; by writing on a topic relevant to your business sector and having those posts published on other relevant sites in return for a backlink.