What does SEO actually mean
and what is it used for?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is a term that is used regularly within the marketing world. SEO is a relatively recent marketing tactic and has been developed as a direct result of the internet boom.
Ten years ago, search engines were not used nearly as much as they are today. Now, the general population are heavily reliant on engines like Google to provide them with quick, easy, direct answers to what they’re looking for.
If you are a business that does not understand how to rank well through a search engine, then you might as well consider your online presence non-existent. If we’re talking about your bottom line, it means you’re missing out on crucial publicity and sales opportunities.
Today, SEO is an absolutely essential marketing tactic for all businesses, regardless of size, location or industry. SEO can do more for your company and revenue than any other form of marketing.
SEO in more detail
Basically, SEO is all about optimising a website with a focus on certain key words and phrases, so that search engines can easily recognise what the site is about, and present it to those who are searching for information on that topic.
A site with effective SEO will sit higher on the search engine results page (SERP). Significant research on the effect of rankings on SERPs has been conducted and it has been found that the higher a site appears on the list of results, the more traffic it receives.
When search engines filter through the huge amount of information available online, they look at a number of features. SEO is about knowing what they look for, and adjusting your site accordingly. By targeting the right things, you can have your website favoured.
Search engines are attracted to both on-site elements (the things you can physically see online) and off-site factors (technical things related to design, web speed and formulas).
To put all of this simply, SEO is required to get your site to appear as the one of the best matches to relevant searches. The higher your site ranks, the more traffic your website will receive, and that will result in greater online presence and brand awareness, ultimately leading you to more sales and business.
How does it work?
The important thing to remember here is that the digital world is a constantly evolving arena. Algorithms are constantly changing and an SEO strategy that worked last month may not necessarily work this month. That is why you need a professional SEO company that studies the online field on a day to day basis and updates its optimisation techniques accordingly.
The most important factors to address for effective SEO are split in two categories – on-site and off-site.
- Website structure: the way a site is mapped out and organised affects how search engine bots crawl the information
- Canonicalisation: ensures your site is being read by the bots as intended so you can gain content-appropriate traffic
- Content: must contain key words and phrases at the correct density, meet certain lengths and be informative, relevant, useful and rich
- Links: including links to internal pages make your site look more authoritative
- Title tags: must be optimised and fit in naturally with other on-site features
- Back links: links coming from reputable and relevant source directing people to your site (e.g. a link from Chiropractors Worldwide* directing people to your chiropractic clinic’s site would be a good back link)
- Social medi: an active online presence via social media enhances site authority
- Citations: Similar to back links but without the actual link (e.g. if your chiropractic clinic is mentioned on a list appearing on Chiropractors Worldwide)
*Chiropractors Worldwide is not a real organisation
Selecting the right key words
Researching which key words and phrases you need to focus on is a vital part of implementing an effective SEO campaign.
Firstly, they need to accurately represent what your business is about so they can attract the right kind of visitor. There’s no point ranking first for the phrase “large glass bathtubs” if you are an accounting firm. Even if people searching for large glass bathtubs click on your site, it’s not going to take them long to realise that you do not offer what they want.
Secondly, key phrases must be carefully and strategically worded. For example, an exchange program operating in Dubai would be much better off selecting a phrase like “moving to Dubai” over “living in Dubai”. People searching for the former are likely to be looking to actually move and are therefore more suited to the exchange programs’ services, whereas those looking for the latter are just as likely to be doing research on life in Dubai for an assignment, and would not be interested in the exchange program.
Thirdly, it is important for you to accurately assess how competitive a key phrase is before you select it. If you want to advertise your expertise in providing real estate advice for example, it would be redundant to make your key phrase “real estate”. The term is far too competitive and is used by huge corporations all over the world – the likelihood of a small business out-ranking big companies with a phrase like real estate is miniscule. But, if you include another word and your location, your chances of ranking highly are greatly increased. “Real estate advice Melbourne” is a far more strategic SEO choice because it will only bring you people that are actually after real estate advice in your area.
In a nutshell, for key words and phrases to be effective for SEO, research is paramount.
The content on a site has to be relevant and include key words at the correct density. If you don’t use the key words enough, Google won’t classify your site as relevant enough to appear on the first page of results. If you use them too much, Google will classify your page as spam. There are also word limits to consider, and a working knowledge of duplicate content is essential if you would like your site to rank (i.e. search engines do not trust anything that has been copied and pasted from another source, even if it’s just from another page on your site).
The back end of your website needs to be indexed in a certain way, and canonicalisation issues must be addressed before search engine bots will allow you on the first page of results. It is very important that your sitemap is also easy for the bots to navigate your system. We’ve all experienced how fast search engines pull up results – if your website can’t be processed quickly, it will never make it to page one.
A great way to make your site seem credible is by having other websites link to it. Search engines consider back links as recommendations. Just like references on a resume, recommendations are only valuable when they come from a reputable and relevant source. In the same vein, back links must come from authoritative sites that are in a related industry.
Social media is another way to incorporate back links.
Citations, like back links, helps your site gain credibility and are especially useful for Google maps.
Choose the SEO company that delivers
As the leading SEO company in Singapore, SEO Agency can provide you with a results-centric campaign. If you would like to find how search engine optimisation could benefit your company, contact us today.