SIMPLIFIED SEO FOR SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL MARKETING
SIMPLIFIED SEO FOR SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL MARKETING
We need to simplify SEO for successful digital marketing. Search Engine Optimization, Keywords, Rankings, Click-through Rate, SMM, Conversions, Digital Marketing, Organic traffic, so on and, so forth. This is the trending and latest digital marketing jargon.
For the commoners unaware of today’s Digital Marketing Bible, these are cringe‑worthy words.
We know it is very important. All the same, it is intimidating. This is because we do not understand it in its entirety.
Digital marketing is a very vast subject. The understanding gets better with practice. It is not something you can just read and learn. It is something that needs to be done and dealt with practically to gain insights and understanding.
Worry not. Google Guidelines help you sail through this process with some ease.
Let us try to simplify the dynamic field of Search Engine Optimization for a successful Digital Marketing Strategy.
At this very moment, as I write this article, as per the Internet Live Stats, there are 1,718,356,4XY number websites, and 3,608, 5XY blog posts online. Pray, how do we then rank on Google and strive for visibility?? SEO is the answer.
It means that if you are not visible on the first page of Google, your existence does not matter. It is of no value. This is because most internet users find answers to their questions within the first page. They hardly ever need to look into subsequent pages.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, in a nutshell, is optimizing visibility on a search engine.
The process that ensues in improving the visibility and ranking of a website is the Search Engine Optimization itself.
WORKING OF SEO:
To understand how it works, we need to have a basic knowledge of how a search engine works.
What does a search engine do? It gives output (the most relevant answers) relative to the input (question asked). The output here is the “results”. The results are nothing but websites ranked in order of search engine optimization. The input is the “search query/question” asked.
The results are in the form of websites, blogs, videos, or articles. It is any content that has relevance to the search content.
The “search content” is the keyword. So, it is imperative that the results/answers in the form of blogs/articles have the searched keyword.
Delving into this subject a little further, let us discuss the three key principles of search engine optimization.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS OF SEO:
Basically, there are components or factors that when optimized/improved upon lead to the “Search Engine Optimized” tag. What are these factors?
These are aptly called the “Three Musketeers of SEO.”
Relevance is about how pertinent or appropriate your content is in the context of the search query. It is all about optimizing content. Create relevant content that is link-worthy. Let me explain this with a simple example.
If I search for “home décor tips,” all data relevant to home décor shows up. Since there are millions of websites, only the top 10 which are most relevant show up on Page 1 of Google.
As you can see, all content that contains “relevant” keywords such as “décor tips,” “best home decorating ideas,” “52 best interior decorating,” etc are displayed.
Thus, using keywords that are search-relevant is an important deciding factor in SEO ranking. Keep the focus on visual appeal too. Add appropriate infographics and images to the content to keep the readers engaged.
The more relevant the content is, the more value it provides to people. The more value it provides, the more likely are the shares and links. Thus, we conclude that good content i.e., SEO-optimized content, auto-generates social shares and backlinks.
Authority is a qualitative measure that indicates the visibility and ranking of a website. It depends on the quantity and quality of backlinks and also social shares.
Backlinks are an integral indicator of authority. One proven way to increase backlinks is guest posting.
When you post a blog on someone else’s website as a guest, it is guest posting. In the blog you write as a guest, you can insert a hyperlink to your own website with relevant content and gain a backlink.
Authority is further divided into the Page Authority and Domain Authority. Higher the page authority better is the ranking potential. Domain authority is another metric that predicts the ranking of a website on a search engine.
Aiming for better domain authority involves practices like reducing bounce rates(visitors trailing off your webpage), increasing user engagement, interlinking (to older posts), and adding in external links.
Finally, the TECHNICAL aspect of SEO. The technical aspect is nothing but enabling Google to find and index your website.
Is the digital marketing jargon overwhelming you again?
Let us break this down with an example again. We decide to buy a two-wheeler for instance. The model we have chosen is super stylish, sleek and classy. It has great fuel capacity too. But wait! What about the core part of the mean machine such as the mileage, the weight, the engine capacity, etc? These factors are important as well.
Similarly, the technical aspects are essential in SEO ranking. Technical SEO is a huge subject per se. For the sake of understanding, we will just mention the factors that come under it.
Google Search Console is one of the most useful digital marketing tools that checks for any site errors. It even guides on how to fix them thus improving site performance. Mobile optimization, site structure, page or site speed, meta tags, UR, etc, comprise some of the components of technical aspects of SEO.
BLACK HAT vs. WHITE HAT and then the GRAY HAT:
With the basic understanding in place, we will now move onto Black Hat, White Hat and Gray Hat Search Engine Optimizations (Philosophy/School of Thought).
This is a short way to quick bucks/ranking. In digital marketing, this form of SEO strategy focuses on short-cut methods to rank better.
In other words, content optimization is not for people to consume but for search engines to find and rank the websites.
Black Hat focused strategies use duplicate content, invisible text (keywords in white text on a white background such that it is visible to the search engine but not viewers), keyword stuffing (overusing keywords), redirecting users to other sites/pages, and links from sites with content that is not relevant.
Black Hats bend and break the rules to get to their motive. They are unethical. Their innovation lies in newer ways to dodge rules. It ultimately results in content that is surely not read-worthy. They are often penalized for breaking the rules. They most often than not create SPAM.
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This, on the other hand, inculcates and promotes all good practices to obtain high rankings. As opposed to Black Hat, the White Hat strategies focus on researching and providing relevant content, optimized images appropriately labeled, good quality content that is grammatically correct, HTML compliant standards, and of course links and references that are relevant.
White Hats prefer going by the book. They constantly strive to make the best use of available resources. They produce valuable content that is rank-worthy too.
As the color suggests, it is something in between Black Hat and White Hat. It is something that is riskier than the White Hat methods yet not negative enough for penalization like the Black Hats.
Gray Hats is manipulating the said rule in a way that it does not fall under Black Hats. For, without using some tactics, it is impossible to rank high on Google in a short span of time.
One good example to explain this is acquiring links. When we try ways to attract or acquire links, we have already moved from the White Hat to Gray Hat strategy.
ON-PAGE AND OFF-PAGE SEO:
Interesting right? Moving on, we will now broach the subject of On-Page and Off‑Page SEO. Both On-Page and Off-Page aspects are critical for SEO-success in Digital Marketing.
It refers to all optimizations made on the page to ensure ranking on a SERP. On-Page factors determine what your webpage will rank for.
Let us briefly look into the different aspects that help optimize On-Page SEO.
- Keywords: Keyword optimization, avoiding keyword stuffing, and using more of long-tailed keywords is a good practice.
- Meta Description: The short description below the URL on a search engine, just below the headline, is the meta description. An efficient way is to keep the meta tag descriptive of the page, as well as incorporate the primary targeted keyword.
- Title Tag: Refers to the headline that appears in the search engine. It should be engaging and again, should incorporate the keyword.
- SSL/HTTPS: Enabling this is crucial to security and trustworthiness. It is a factor that boosts visibility.
- URL Structure: An organized URL structure enables easy crawling by search engines. Again, the URL too should contain keywords reflecting the page content.
- Alt-Text: This optimizes images. It is a phrase or word attributed to the picture to enable its search and indexing.
- Internal Linking: As already discussed, the internal linking of related web pages is an important factor in search engine optimization.
- Page Performance: The page speed matters greatly and how! No one likes to wait long for anything. So is the case with web pages too. If your webpage does not load quickly, chances are it will never be visited. The consumer will skip to the next site for information. Hence, always optimize your site speed.
- Mobile Responsiveness: This factor has never been more crucial. Mobile usage has seen a drastic upward trend with more and more people using the internet via mobiles. Hence mobile responsiveness, optimizing content and images for the mobile view is of utmost significance.
It refers to all optimizations made off the page to ensure ranking on a SERP. Off-Page factors determine how high your webpage will rank.
Let us briefly look into the different aspects that help optimize Off-Page SEO.
- Backlinks: It is a qualitative and quantitative measure. The quality and number matter in terms of backlinks. It is the most critical element to boost rankings under the Off-Page. Great content is the way to achieve this. Content that is valuable, link-worthy, and share-worthy will attract backlinks organically.
- Domain Authority: As mentioned above, the better the page authority and domain authority the higher the potential for better ranking.
- Social Shares: In today’s scenario, social visibility does matter. Though time‑consuming at times, it is well worth your time. In the age of influencers, the quality and not just the quantity of shares is of significance. It is one platform that has many sub-platforms to promote your content. The inevitable truth is that promoting your content is vital for rankings.
Combine the On-Page and Off-Page Search engine optimization to sail your content through faster and enable it to rank better.
We discussed a lot about the process itself. Now, how about we have a look at some tools that help us reach our goal of search engine optimization?
People also read 10 Best Free Digital Marketing Tools That Work Great
There are hundreds of tools online to aid in the complicated Search Engine Optimization process. We will list some of the best down here.
- Answer The Public: This is an awesome keyword footprint generator. It has a lovely interface and can generate N number of questions from any set of keywords. You can easily get even the title of your blog from the questions therein.
Get It: Answer The Public
- Keyword Tool: Keyword research is the primary task before writing content, a tool for the same is of utmost importance. Keyword Tool, which has been called the #1 alternative to Google Keyword Planner, is a great tool. It uses Google autocomplete to generate long-tail keywords that are relevant.
Get It: Keyword Tool
- Google Page Speed Insights: Page loading speed is crucial in determining the success of a webpage. Increased load time is disappointing. Faster loading leads to user satisfaction and ultimately higher rankings.
Google Page Speed Insights is a free tool. It not only checks the page speed but also provides solutions to fix problems if any.
Aim for a score of 90+ for better user experience. This tool can check speeds on the desktop as well as mobile. It also provides inputs to better the webpage performance.
Get It: Google Page Speed Insights
- Mobile-Friendly Test: With mobile viewership increasing by the day it becomes imperative to check all parameters with respect to mobiles as well. If you happen to check Google Analytics for your website, you will know for a fact that more than 50% of the views as of today on any website are those on mobile devices.
Mobile-Friendly Test is a free tool that verifies the mobile responsiveness element of your website. As with other tools, it provides suggestions to optimize the site.
Get It: Mobile-Friendly Test
Want some more tools?
- SEMrush: This is truly one of the best ever and finest tool out there that is like an “All-in-One Genie.” Use it to believe it! From keyword research, topic research, competitive analysis, backlink analysis, content analyzer, etc, it has IT ALL!
This tool explores each and every aspect of content and prompts and suggests inputs for improvements. It is also used for competition analysis. SEMRush also displays traffic to a site and organic competitors. The free version has a limited number of searches per day.
Get It: SEMrush
- Google Search Console: If Google lays down the rules to play by; it also provides a lot of lifelines. Yes! Yet another indispensable tool from Google, the Search Console is most reliable with respect to site ranking.
This free tool helps monitor the site traffic, optimizes content with search analytics, site performance, and even provides solutions to fix issues. It even provides URL inspection. All in all, awesome features for a free tool.
Get It: Google Search Console
- Small SEO Tools: This is one tool that offers many tools. You will find a tool for every task. The most popular SEO tools on this site are plagiarism checker, grammar check, word counter, SEO checker, etc.
There are a host of tools pertaining to content, keywords, image editing, backlinks, website management, website tracking, proxy tools, domain, meta tag, password management, online PDF, development, unit converter, binary converter tools, etc.
Get your hands on this one to enjoy the benefits of multiple tools.
Get It: Small SEO Tools
- Google My Business: For those aiming at the local business, this is undoubtedly the #1 tool to go for. This is yet another free tool serving the purpose of local SEO.
It helps attract new customers, monitor, and keep your business profile updated, share regular and latest updates, etc. Surely, the best way to boost your business and engage with your customer base and thus build loyalty. With this tool, you can create a free website in minutes for your business.
Get It: Google My Business
- Yoast SEO for WordPress: This is a plugin for WordPress, a plugin that has made a mark for itself. It is the most trusted WP plugin yet and in line with that, the most downloaded. Five Million active installations!
It has multiple checks that leave your content search engine optimized. It covers all elements like title tag, content optimization, meta tag, keyword density, readability analysis, SEO analysis, social media, etc. A WordPress site is truly incomplete without this plugin.
Get It: Yoast SEO
- Screaming Frog: It has a free version and a paid version with limitations in the free one. It is essentially used for SEO audits. This helps as a website crawler and a log analyzer.
This tool efficiently crawls small and large websites and analyzes results in real-time. It is advantageous to find broken links, analyze page title and metadata, discover duplicate content, view URLs, generate XML sitemaps, etc.
When integrated with Google Analytics it fetches valuable additional data.
Get It: Screaming Frog
GOLDEN SEO RULES TO FOLLOW IN 2019:
Wrapping up our in-depth understanding of search engine optimization, let us walk through some Golden Rules to Follow in SEO to boost success in Digital Marketing in 2019.
These are the dominating trends in Search Engine Optimization through 2019. Since SEO is dynamic, expect the rules/trends to keep changing with time.
- More power to RankBrain. It is a machine-learning AI system helping Google rank pages. RankBrain performs an analysis of web pages for relevance.
- LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are more pertinent in keyword research. These are words or phrases that have a high correlation to the target keyword/topic. This is indeed a welcome move for genuine content. It is a step away from keyword density which leads to keyword stuffing most often than not.
- Voice Search is growing and how!. With Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, users are using the voice search queries much more than conventional search. So, get your website optimized for voice search and improve the chances of a better ranking. Again, mobile optimization takes priority.
- Videos growth is phenomenal too, in 2019. People prefer visual media to print media. This is because visuals have a more lasting impact. Make sure you use relevant videos and up the quotient of your landing pages.
- Long-form content rules the roost. In-depth and valuable content has always been a rank achiever and continues to do so in 2019. Just make sure the content is relevant.
- User experience can make or break a business. Enrich your website with an intuitive design, good page load speed, etc, for seamless user experience. The better the user experience, the better the ranking.
- Mobile-first indexing is now the way forward. No hassles here as starting July 01, 2019, mobile-first indexing is by default enabled for all new websites. Google‑backed AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) further enables the same user experience and ease of navigation to mobile users, as on desktops.
With that being said, SEO is indeed a complex and expansive subject. Not to forget its dynamic and ever-changing nature.
The best way to understand and learn it is to get your hands into it and do some practical SEO. No amount of reading will give you the insights that you can get by implementing it.
Are you confident enough of making a start in implementing search engine optimized content post this article? Feel free to post your views and comments below.
Image Source: Google.