Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is about patience, perseverance and having a method in place!
If you don’t have either of these then SEO is not for you and you should look at other marketing channels such as paid ads and social media to generate traffic and leads.
This is the honest truth and this is what we say to our clients before we even get talking about their requirements.
If you still think that SEO is the right marketing channel then read on…
In this blog, we would like to share our insights into how an SEO campaign should be approached, breaking down the entire process into a number of activities and the tools you can utilise to undertake these activities.
This is the first and the most important step towards embarking on an SEO journey.
Keywords are search phrases that users use to find a product or service.
Without knowing what a user types into the search engines you just cannot optimise your website.
It should be noted that keyword research should ideally be done even before you design and develop your website. This is because it will allow you to create a structure that will not only satisfy the users but also the search engines.
If SEO is an afterthought then you will need to put in a lot of effort into restructuring the website and create relevant content to target keywords effectively.
Here is an example of what we mean – A hospitality consultant approached us in early 2016 with a flashy new website wanting to undertake SEO.
Doing our initial research we found that the whole website needed to be restructured because there was no page that could effectively target the keywords that were relevant to the client’s business.
To make matters worse, the choice of the CMS was not the best either. We could not edit basic html tags without having to edit the code.
So, make sure you do invest in a few hours with an SEO consultant prior to starting your build.
What tools to use for keyword research?
- Google Keyword Planner
- Answer The Public (For Content Marketing Ideas)
- Jaaxy (To get keyword ideas)
- Google Search Console (Once the campaign has already started)
This is an activity that involves finding out the strength of your competitor’s search presence by looking at some key metrics. These include DA, PA, Number of Backlinks, Quality of Backlinks Spam Score etc.
Apart from the above it also provides us access to the competitors backlink profile which can be very useful for our link building efforts.
Come to think of it, the main aim of SEO is to beat your competition. So, if you have all this important information about your competitors then it makes your job a whole lot easier.
This will help you a great deal in carving out your own backlink strategy.
What tools to use for keyword research?
- SEM Rush
- SEO Spyglass
This is where all the SEO magic starts. Once you have completed your on-page optimisation, you will start to see your website rankings on the search engines.
It is a widely held belief within the SEO community that on-page optimisation makes up about 30-40% of your SEO efforts. So, you need to do it right.
So this takes us to the next question, what really is on-page optimisation?
On-page optimisation refers to optimising various elements of a web-page in order to help it rank on the search engines.
Things you should concentrate on while undertaking on-page SEO include:
- Create a clear sitemap/navigational structure before building a website.
- Do your keyword research and include pages in the sitemap that will be used to target these keywords
- Choose a SEO Friendly CMS
- Create deep and meaningful content for all your target pages. Use different variations of the keyword within the content
- Title tags and Meta description tags need to be very well thought of and should include the main keyword.
- Structure a page content using Heading tags
- Use alt tags for images.
- Utilise Schema Markup and any other HTML tags (Canonical Tags, No Follow etc.) as you deem necessary.
- Use both internal and external links on your pages.
What tools to use for on-page optimisation?
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Site Checkup
- Moz On-page Optimisation Grader
Technical SEO is closely related to on-page optimisation and includes technical aspects of the website. Aspects that search engines like you to get right in order to achieve a better ranking on search.
Some technical issues include:
- Including a sitemap on search engines.
- Using clean code on the website.
- Utilising all HTML tags correctly across the website.
- Presence of a SSL certificate
- Having a mobile responsive website.
- Checking for any broken links and fixing them.
- Inclusion of a Robot.txt
- Not having content duplication
- Website Speed Optimisation
What tools to use for technical SEO?
Unfortunately, there is not one single tool that can give you a complete technical analysis for your site and you will have to use a number of different tools, each focusing on a particular aspect of technical SEO.
- Mobile Responsive Test
- GTMetrix – Website Speed Test
- Broken Link Checker
- robots txt file generator
Off Page Optimisation (Link Building)
This is where all the SEO fun begins. SEO Experts believe that off-page optimisation factors carry around 60 to 70% weight when it comes to optimising a website.
Off-page SEO refers to the popularity of a website on the web i.e. the number of backlinks it has coming from other websites.
There are plenty of different forms that link building can take including:
- Directory Submissions
- Guest Posts
- Utilising PR Agencies
- News articles
- Social Media Posts
- Content Marketing
Off-page SEO can take many different formats but the aim for all these activities is similar and that is to build authoritative links.
What tools to use for off-page?
- MOZ Link Explorer
- Google Search Console