Even newbie digital marketers know for a fact that search engine optimisation (SEO), when done correctly, can do a lot of good things for brands. For one, SEO has been proven to be helpful in putting businesses on the top of search engine results page (SERP) ranking, bridging the gap between brands and target consumers.
It has been long established that SEO is one of the best ways to promote a business online. However, ensuring an SEO campaign’s success requires a lot of skills. In many ways, it could even mean trying different methods just to get the results needed. Put simply, SEO has a comprehensive ecosystem that may easily overwhelm and discourage the uninitiated.
It Pays To Know The Basics
If you own a business in Australia and you want to rule the SERPs, the best route for you to take is to work with SEO specialists who’ve been in the industry for quite some time now. As they say, leave it to the experts. But this doesn’t you can just leave everything to them without you understanding even the basic principles of SEO.
SEO is a collaborative effort between the brand and the team of specialists. It would be best to understand what it takes for your website to get to the top of the SERP. In this article, our SEO specialists here at Search Insights have listed 12 ways how a website could land to the top of the search results.
Understand what the business truly needs.
You can build a decent and durable house if you don’t have a blueprint. In any SEO campaign, understanding the brand’s current state is synonymous to laying down the foundation. This is why it is important for the brand to communicate their insights about their products/services so the specialists will have a better grasp of what the business needs.
For the SEO specialists to come up with a solid strategy, they need to know the following things:
- What is the current performance of the website in the SERP?
- Who is the brand’s target audience?
- Who are the close competitors of the brand?
Audit the site.
Experienced SEO professionals know that you can’t have a successful search engine marketing campaign if you don’t conduct an SEO audit of the business’ website. Through the SEO audit, you would know the specifics of the website’s strengths and weaknesses.
Generally, what specialists do to audit a website include:
- Analysing the website’s design to know if it is user-friendly and readable, and provides ease of navigation.
- Examining the website for any bugs that could affect its load speed.
- Knowing whether the website has been penalised by Google.
- Analysing if the website is performing well in the SERPs for targeted keywords.
- Knowing if the website’s content is optimised for conversions.
SEO audit is one of the first crucial steps that should be carried out for the specialists to draw solid strategies.
Understand how Google’s RankBrain works.
If you haven’t heard of RankBrain yet, that’s totally acceptable. It is safe to say that only the people in the digital marketing industry know what it is all about. However, business owners like you should also have a clue.
Basically, RankBrain is an AI-powered processing algorithm that depends on machine-learning to filter millions of search queries. Its algorithm is beneficial for Google because it helps the search engine deliver the most relevant results to the users. One of the main uses of RankBrain is that it helps Google weed out websites that have content that isn’t unique and filled with unnecessary keywords.
For a website not to be devalued by RankBrain, it needs to have pieces of content that are unique, relevant, and informative.
Level up your keyword research.
The bread and butter of any SEO campaign are keyword research. It is important for SEO specialists to determine which keywords are best suited for the website. When you have the right keywords, Google will be able to list your content as relevant for the users.
It is also important to practice the best methods for keyword research and implementation. If filling content with dozens of keywords works best years ago, this isn’t the case today. As mentioned in the previous item, RankBrain can now analyse the content of the website, so it is not a good practice to trick Google.
Experts recommend to sparingly insert keywords into the content. The keywords must also sound natural and of course, readable. Remember: write for the audience—not for the search engine. It is also advisable to optimise the content with a mix of local, branded, and long-tail keywords.
Produce the best content possible.
More than ever, content is king. For a website to have a higher ranking in the SERPs, it needs to have unique and informative content.
Per the latest Google update, the search engine favours websites with content that have a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Simply put, if the content is worth sharing, accurate, interesting, and unique, it will rank higher in the SERPs.
Improve the site’s load speed.
As highlighted in Search Insight’s previous Google Page Speed Update blog post, a website’s load speed can affect its SEO performance. Basically, a website that has faster load speed may rank higher than its slower counterparts.
It is the duty of SEO specialists during the audit phase to determine whether the site’s load speed is acceptable. In case it fails the load speed test, the specialists would conduct different methods to improve its speed, such as reducing HTTP requests, using compression tools, allowing the browser to cache, resizing images, and removing unnecessary plug-ins.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
According to statistics, it is predicted that in 2019, smartphone penetration in Australia is pegged to be at 84.3%. Needless to say, the majority of Australia’s Internet users are on mobile. With this, it is completely logical to pay attention to mobile searches.
As of March 2018, Google practically rules the game as it owns a whopping 92.86% of mobile searches worldwide. Hence, it is vital for a site to be mobile-friendly for it to have the upper hand in the mobile SERPs.
For your site to be considered mobile-friendly, it should have a responsive design, provides users with the best experience, has good quality content, crawlable text, images, and videos, correct meta descriptions, and structured URLs.
Improve the site’s authoritativeness through backlinks.
As mentioned, Google is favouring sites that have authoritativeness. So how can your website be considered ‘authoritative’? The short answer is: through quality backlinks.
Link-building is still one of the most important components of SEO campaigns. Google considers a site to be authoritative if several good-ranking sites link users to it. So you don’t want your site to be associated with poor backlinks because it could and would affect your SEO performance.
Also, it is worth noting that deceiving readers with inaccurate and keyword-loaded anchor text is big a no-no. With the Google Penguin Update 4.0, anchor texts need to sound natural.
While Google didn’t announce any guidelines on anchor texts, this pie chart will give you an idea of how to properly do it:
Install an SSL certificate.
If your site still has HTTP instead of HTTPS, it is time to install an SSL certificate. This certificate is especially important for websites that ask for users’ personal information and bank details, such as online shops. Google give so much importance to security so it is natural for it to favour websites with SSL certificates.
A website that has an SSL certificate would rank higher in the SERP because Google treats it as a secured and trustworthy website.
Take advantage of schema markups.
If you want to optimise your site even further, don’t discount the benefits of using schema markups. Schema what? It is basically a code that you place in your site to help Google hand over more informative search results to users. According to experts, the code can boost a site’s performance in the SERP.
If you want to take advantage of schema markups, Google has a helpful tool that can help you pull it off. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper allows you to choose the type of data you want to markup. Visit this site to have a better clue on how to use the tool.
Make your URLs SEO-friendly.
Wait, what? Yes, you can also make URLs SEO-friendly. If your site’s URL uses gibberish and code-like URLs, it’s time to change them. Google reward websites with readable URLs as they give users an idea on what the link contains.
It is also good practice to incorporate the keyword in the URL but don’t overdo it. You would also want to avoid using very long URLs. A URL with 50 to 60 characters will be a good choice. Furthermore, as much as possible, use a dash instead of an underscore when separating words.
Basically, your URLs should not confuse readers. Once they see the URL they should have a good idea on what they are about to see. Remember: write for the users, not the machine.
Keep an eye on the site’s performance.
No matter how well-executed your SEO campaign strategy is, there will come a time when you need to change your plans. Stick to the goal but don’t be afraid to change the plan. It is important for you to keep a fluid line of communication with your SEO specialists to know your site’s performance.
There are a good number of platforms SEO specialists use to analyse the performance of a website, including Alexa (for traffic statistics), Pro Rank Tracker (for SEO rank tracking), and Google Analytics (for monitoring the overall site’s performance). These sites will give a preview on your site’s current performance.
The data you would retrieve from those sites will let you know of the things that need to be improved for your website to climb up the SERPs. So if the current strategies your specialists aren’t working as expected, the data will help them craft a better plan.
Honestly, SEO Isn’t An Easy Task…
…if you don’t have the proper training and experience. But don’t be discouraged. As we mentioned, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. If you want your Australian brand to have better leverage in attracting more consumers online, it’s wise to invest in the right people to do the job for you.
SEO from a decade ago is simpler, but now, with all the updates Google has been rolling out, only the skilled and experienced specialists can adapt. So if you wish to optimise your site with the help of professionals, make sure that you only work with people who have a proven track record.
Our team of SEO specialists has been known to provide the best services possible. With an unblemished record to boast, you can be assured that we can help your business in all aspects of online marketing. Call us or send us an email to know more about our SEO solutions.