22 November 2019 Ryan Lockwood

What is it SEO & Why You Need It In 2020

What Is SEO & Why You Need It in 2020 - New Age Explorer, Digital Marketing Agency

We often find ourselves speaking to clients who don’t fully understand what (SEO) Search Engine Optimisation is, how it works & why its beneficial to their business. While having an optimised website or sales funnel is crucial to your lead generation & sales efforts – acquiring traffic first & sending them to your website becomes important. If you don’t know what a Sales Funnel is, reads our blog “What is a Sales Funnel & Why Your Business Needs one to Succeed”.

While online advertising & social media is extremely beneficial in doing this, it can come at an expense. Organic SEO doesn’t only allow you to develop credibility about your business by ranking high on the search engine results page, but it drives people who are intently searching solutions to their problems and drives them to your website for the solution – for FREE. Today we change all your skepticism; giving you a simple understanding of what SEO really is, why your businesses need it and how you can go about setting up your businesses Search engine optimisation in 2020 for free website traffic & potential leads.

 

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website to users of a web search engine like Google, Bing and/or Yahoo. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (known as "natural" or "organic" results) and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement through Google, Facebook, Instagram and/or LinkedIn advertising.

Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, adding content, modifying HTML, and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords & phrases, and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. This is also done through titles, keyword tagging, metadata descriptions, internal links, as well as promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

Here’s a FREE comprehensive SEO analyser from Neil Patel that will help you understand where your websites SEO currently stands, and what you can still do to improve it.

 

Why do you need SEO?

Building a strong site architecture and providing clear navigation will help search engines index your site quickly and easily. This will also, more importantly, provide visitors with a good experience of using your site and encourage repeat visits while also enticing conversions.

When it comes to how much traffic is driven by search engines to your website, the percentage is substantial, and perhaps the clearest indicator of the importance of SEO. Of all organic traffic, in 2015 it was found that Google accounts for more than 90% of global organic search traffic. So obviously you need a strong presence on Google SERPs, but how strong? Well, according to this study from Advanced Web Ranking shows that on the first SERP, the top five results account for 67.60% of all clicks and the results from six to 10 account for only 3.73%. It’s therefore vital that your site appears in the top five results. So, the question becomes how are you going to achieve this? Continue reading to find out how…

 

What are Search Engines Looking for?

Relevancy

Search engines try to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query, whether it’s a simple answer to the question, to more complicated queries. How search engines provide these results is down to their own internal algorithms, which we’ll probably never truly determine, but there are factors that you can be certain will influence these results and they’re all based around relevancy… For instance: a searcher’s location, their search history, time of day/year, etc.

Quality

Do you regularly publish helpful, useful articles, videos or other types of media and/or content that are popular and well produced? Do you write for actual human beings rather than the search engine itself? Well, you should. Google is moving further towards longer-form content that understands a visitor’s intention as a whole, instead of using keywords based on popular search queries to create content. Basically, stop worrying about keywords and focus on the user experience and providing customers with valuable content & information.

User Experience

You need an easily navigable, clearly searchable site with relevant internal linking and related content. All the stuff that keeps visitors on your webpage and hungry to explore further.

Speed

How quickly your webpages load is increasingly becoming a differentiator for search engines. Google may soon start labeling results that are hosted on Accelerated Mobile Page.

Cross-device Compatibility

Is your website and its content equally optimised for any given screen size or device? Bear in mind that Google has stated that responsive design is its preferred method of mobile optimisation.

Internal linking

We’ve talked about the benefits of ensuring your site has clear and easy-to-use navigation, but there’s also a practice that editors and writers can carry out when publishing articles to help push traffic around the site and that may lead to higher trust signals for Google: internal linking. It provides your audience with further reading options. As long as they’re relevant and you use clear anchor text (the clickable highlighted words in any give link). This can help reduce your bounce rates. It also helps to improve your ranking for certain keywords. If we want this article to rank for the term ’SEO basics’ then we can begin linking to it from other posts using variations of similar anchor text. This tells Google that this post is relevant to people searching for ‘SEO basics’. Internal linking also helps Google crawl and index your site. Those little Googlebots that are sent out to fetch new information on your site will have a better idea of how useful and trustworthy your content is, the more they crawl your internal links.

Meta descriptions and title tags

Having a meta description won’t necessarily improve your ranking on the SERP, but it is something you should definitely use before publishing an article as it can help increase your chances of a searcher clicking on your result. The meta description is the short paragraph of text that appears under your page’s URL in the search results, it’s also something you should have complete control of in your CMS. Write succinctly (under 156 characters is good), clearly and make sure it’s relevant to your headline and the content of the article itself.

Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what your site is about in the most concise and accurate way possible. The keywords in your title tag show up highlighted in search engine results (if the query uses those keywords), as well as in your browser tab and when sharing your site externally. You should use a few accurate keywords describing the page as well as your own brand name. Only use relevant keywords though, and the most important thing to consider is that although you are formatting for search engines, you should write for humans. Always try to make sure that your descriptions & title tags include your business name, what you provide, where you are based, and most importantly - what is the main purpose for the particular page.

ALT Text

Many people forget to include the ALT text when they upload images to their content, but this is definitely something you shouldn’t overlook because Google cannot ‘see’ your images, but can ‘read’ the alt text.

By describing your image in the alt text as accurately as possible it will increase the chances of your images appearing in Google Image search. It will also improve the accessibility of your site for people using ‘screen reader’ software.

Domain name

You should use sub-directory root domains (searchenginewatch.com/category/seo) instead of sub-domains (searchenginewatch.category.seo.com) as this is better for your overall site architecture.

You should also stay away from hyphens (search-engine-watch.com) and alternative Top-level domain names (.biz .name .info) as these are considered spammy.

Having a ‘keyword rich’ domain name may lead to closer scrutiny from Google. According to Moz, Google has “de-prioritized sites with keyword-rich domains that aren’t otherwise high-quality. Having a keyword in your domain can still be beneficial, but it can also lead to closer scrutiny and a possible negative ranking effect from search engines—so tread carefully.”

Also, you should make sure that if you operate a site without the www. prefix, someone who types in www.example.com will still be redirected to your site. If this isn’t happening, Google may assume these are two different sites and your visibility could be compromised.

Headlines and permalinks

The headlines for your articles should be under 55 characters to ensure their complete visibility in SERPs. Make sure they’re snappy, attractive and as descriptive as possible (this is often an impossible balance). Just stay away from clickbait headlines, do not promise something that the content doesn’t deliver.

The permalink (or URL), which you can normally alter in your CMS even after it’s been set automatically, doesn’t necessarily have to match the headline exactly. Google has stated that you can use three to four keywords that you should put the most important keywords first.

Local SEO

Increasingly Google is serving results to users based on their location. This is particularly important to businesses out there in the real world who ned to catch a searcher’s attention just at the right moment, i.e. while walking down the street, on their mobile and looking for somewhere to eat. You should register with Google My Business and ensure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, such as opening times, contact information, customer reviews and that you're categorised correctly. Once your website SEO is complete – also make sure to register to the Google Search Console & upload your XML sitemap.

Social Media

The most obvious way that you can raise your site’s visibility through non-technical SEO means is of course through social media marketing.

You need to make sure you’re present on all relevant social channels (wherever your audience may be), and not just broadcasting your content in a faceless manner, but by using it as a customer service channel and genuinely interacting with people in a friendly, helpful and entertaining manner.

 

Final Takeaways

Clearly this isn’t everything that you can do to help your initial SEO efforts, but it’s a good grounding at least. After learning more about what is SEO and how it works, you can now work to make changes to your site in order to improve your SEO and boost your rankings on the search engine results page. Remember, there are a lot of factors that impact your SEO ranking, but the most important thing to consider is whether your content is valuable and relevant to your intended audience.

 

Need help building your SEO? If you’re not happy with your search engine rankings, send New Age Explorer an email at [email protected].

 

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