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Search Engine Optimisation

What is SEO and why is it important?

Those of us who lack IT backgrounds tend to approach most aspects of web development and technology with something like hesitation—this only worsens when acronyms like PPC, CPM, CPA, and SEO appear out of nowhere. Before you reach for that novelty stress ball on your desk though, take a few deep breaths—this article will explain SEO, the role it plays in your online presence, and how Matrix Internet optimises SEO to work for you.

SEO Performance

 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation you can tailor your website to improve your SEO and boost your online visibility and traffic. When an intrepid surfer of the net googles something, they usually stick to the first page—maybe the second—of Google results and don’t click through the subsequent pages of results. If your website’s SEO isn’t great, it risks getting buried in the many pages of Google results, which means less visibility and diminished online traffic.

What can I do to improve my SEO?

SEO TIPS

Improving SEO takes time and patience – some trial and error are involved and it can take a few tries before you get it right. Because of how sensitive SEO is, doing your research first is key – an initial report of how visible your site is online will show you what needs to be improved and what your competition looks like.

1. Visibility, traffic and conversions

SEO is the primary and the most important step to improve visibility and improve ranking for keywords related to your products and services. More visibility naturally leads to more (relevant) traffic, which in turn leads to increased conversions. A perfect recipe for successful digital marketing!

2. Keyword research and optimisation

Keywords are extremely important in ensuring that your site is a top search result—search engines try to show the most relevant and credible results near the top page. Using keywords that accurately portray the contents of your site is going to help your site claw its way to the top of the search results. Using tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads, Matrix reevaluates your keyword use and adjusts accordingly to ensure maximal results from your keyword use.

3. Matching content to search queries

Learn to think like your customer. It’s important to create content that’s focused on your target audience — not just search engines. To make this work, know your target audience, what they need, and how they search — for example, if they use voice search, intent-based keywords or other methods. This is particularly important for industries with their own internal jargon: your final user may not be an expert, and won’t use the same terms as you and your peers. Make your content stand out by making it informative, and don’t alienate the reader. Try to anticipate how people may search for terms, and tailor your content so they’ll find you easily.

4. Track and Alter

Testing and tracking how a site is doing is a must. It allows you to evaluate a site, see its strengths and analyse previously unforeseen opportunities. By regularly analysing your rankings via a rank tracker and your Google Analytics and Google Webmasters Tools account you keep abreast of any issues and ensure you can take advantage of all possibilities.

All of these factors are a part and parcel of SEO life, so consider them, and use the ones that will work for your site and improve your search visibility.

5. Local Targeting

The internet has made the world a very competitive place, increasing the need for local SEO. To help your business thrive among locals, it is crucial to focus on ‘local intent and audience. It is not as complex as it sounds — just focus on local keywords and create and optimise your Google My Business profile, claiming a place in local directories.
Google my Business alone can help significantly. Google doesn’t only show local results for keywords that contain a specific city or town. If Google thinks your search needs a set of local results, they’ll show it to you even if the keyword isn’t obviously local — so this further highlights GMB’s importance. This can lay a foundation of local targeting for your business and help you stand out from local competitors.

6. Connect with your customers

Answer questions from your potential or current customers. It is important to respond to

7. Keep It Human Friendly

Some websites add content tailored towards helping SEO bots find their website easier. A lot of this content is jargon and appears nonsensical when a user tries to read it. So keep it simple, don’t get too technical with your content and make it user-friendly. If a person can’t read what you’re putting up then they will be straight out of your website as quickly as they went in!

8. Keep It Mobile Friendly

This is more important than ever. Most people nowadays use their mobile devices or tablets to access the internet. People want to be able to read a website’s content straight from loading instead of having to pinch the screen.

If you don’t make your website mobile responsive the user will lose patience when trying to load your site. Before you know it your bounce rate will be through the roof! More importantly, however, a mobile-friendly website is actually essential for Google search rankings and failure to provide one will make it much harder for the website to rank highly.

9. Blog Often

This links back to the fresh content mentioned earlier. If you blog at least twice a week you can integrate both fresh contents and optimise keywords into your website. Make sure your content is relevant towards your main topic and easy for the user to read. If blogging is done correctly you can draw a significant amount of weekly traffic to your website. Quality blogs and quality content are so important. Studies suggest that Google and search engines are more and more interested in long-form content of over 1200 words or so and tend to rank it highly. These longer, in-depth pieces tend to offer better results for searchers and thus Google tends to rank them higher than shorter articles or pieces of content.

Blogging

10. Use Social Media

The power of social media can not be underestimated. The sheer volume of people using these channels on a daily basis is staggering. So it makes perfect sense to put your website out there across social platforms. Create efficient channels on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Provide direct links to your website while sharing your content and news. A well-synchronised social media channel can have massive rewards towards drawing traffic to your website.

The positive thing about this is that many SEOs tend to believe that social signals are being taken into account in Google’s algorithm and help rankings. Google hasn’t officially stated this; however, there are a number of studies to suggest they’re progressively becoming more important.

11. Structure your URLs well

A URL is the reference point to your website and it’s also the link that people refer to the most. You should keep a URL simple, short and user-friendly. A well-crafted URL provides both humans and search engines with an easy-to-understand indication of what the destination page will be about. Additionally, URLs are a minor ranking factor that search engines use when determining a page’s relevance to a search query. While they do give weight to the authority of the overall domain itself, keyword use in a URL can also act as a ranking factor.

12. Implement Schema markup

You may not be familiar with Schema mark-up, however, it’s increasingly important and can do wonders for certain sites’ visibility. Implementing schema markup if you own an eCommerce site for instance will mean Google may show your products with images in the results, increasing the chances of someone clicking on your site and ultimately purchasing your product. Schema is being increasingly integrated into results and is certainly worthy of consideration.

13. Sitemap implementation

A sitemap is essentially an archive of each webpage on your website. As search engines try to only present the most relevant results possible, search engines want to check out the nooks and crannies of websites to ensure that they are giving the best possible results first. If your sitemap is easily located by the search engine, it’s easier for the search engine to find everything on your site and ensure that your site is a credible and relevant search result.

14. Keep Your Site Up To Speed

Do this in a literal sense! Don’t add any unnecessary plugins, images, or flash banners that may cause your website to slow down while loading up. Web users are an impatient species. Even a slight split-second delay in page loading time will make them bounce straight back out of your website so keep it simple and cut out all the irrelevant content.

15. Regularly Update Your Website

This is a no-brainer really. Google loves fresh content and users love fresh content so give them what they want! Make sure to regularly update your website be it through blogs, reviews, news or current affairs. If people see the same content over and over again you can be sure they won’t be returning to your site anytime soon so keep up with the times and stay on the ball.

Trust

16. Create Trust

Google has placed an increased onus on trust in recent times. If Google trusts your site, it means your site is more resilient and also tends to rank better. But what do we mean by trust? Trust in the SEO regard is quite similar to trust in the academic field.
When we create an academic essay we cite certain sources in the bibliography.

These citations show we trust these sources and are willing to vouch for them. If you are the source and you are cited by a top academic in your field, which shows trust in what you’ve written is true.

In an SEO scenario, Google likes to trust sites that have links from high-quality, relevant sources. For example, large news websites don’t generally link to an untrusted source, nor do top-quality industry blogs or university or .edu websites.

By receiving links from these high-quality sites you gain trust in Google’s eyes and in turn, this improves your visibility in search results. There are other factors that create trust in a site, though links are certainly worth stating as a major contributor.

17. Build a strong backlink profile

SEO trends suggest it isn’t just about getting the tech stuff right. The days of “build it and they will come” are long gone. It’s all about marketing your site now. This is perhaps the most important aspect to understand search engine functionality. We could create the best website ever for you, but its content will stay invisible to search engines unless you promote it. Search technology measures the relevance and importance of content to display the best results.

By producing content that is relevant and useful to your company’s target audience, others will be encouraged to link to your content. You can improve your search engine rankings by getting other websites or blogs to link to your site’s page. Search engines use these links to determine the authenticity and validity of your informative web pages, thus improving rankings.

Understanding SEO and Google Updates

Google is undoubtedly the biggest and best search engine in the world. Google stays at the top of the search engine hierarchy by presenting results in order of relevance and quality.

This means that they try to make sure you have the most efficient experience possible when you use Google to search for something. Google does this in part by using crawlers, which crawl through your site to analyse it for relevancy and quality.

The score your site receives will correspond to its place in the chain of Google results.
This is where updates like Google Penguin and Google Panda come in – these updates slightly adjusted how Google assesses sites.

What is Google Penguin?

Regular updates keep Google Penguin relevant. Its purpose is to combat spam and sites trying to cheat Google’s SEO ranking system.

Google Penguin specialises in detecting bad links. Unethical SEO techniques will negatively affect your website and push you lower in Google’s SEO rankings.

However, a number of sources at Google have said that sites affected by Google Penguin just need to start building good links to recover their lost SEO standing. The newest iteration of Google Penguin is less harsh than previous versions and now only affects the ranking of the single, faulty URL in question, rather than the ranking of an entire site.

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda is another SEO tool that nobly fights against SEO corruption and spam, like “content farms” that use unethical methods to get their results at the top. With Google Panda, low-quality pages are given less of an SEO boost and high-quality pages come first. The update reportedly resulted in a rise in social media and news sites and it was a blow to sites containing a lot of advertising.

Due to the amount of secrecy surrounding Google updates, a veritable mountain of myths and rumours developed over how Google Panda discerns between high and low-quality pages. To learn all you need to know about Google Panda, check out this guide to Google Panda and how it affects your SEO rankings.

Will there be a Google Pangolin?

Most likely there will be another Google update. Google has become the powerhouse of the digits here partially because of its ability to constantly adapt. As Google puts out more updates however you can bet that we’ll be on top of them and learning how best to optimise search results in each iteration of Google.

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