Last Updated on July 31, 2023
Understanding the Importance of SEO for Your Website
You might be surprised how little the fundamentals of SEO have changed in the eight years since I first wrote about search engine optimisation. I’ve also written this book to help beginners get their hands around the often slippery topic.
SEO All You Need to Know: Get Yourself and Your Website Found!
(2022 / 3rd Ed. April 2023)
A 7-Step Beginner’s Guide to Basic Search Engine Optimisation
My SEO course book is intended for those who are starting their search journey. SEO is an essential component of your online marketing strategy.
Paperback and eBook.
Auch auf Deutsch erhältlich!
What You Will Find in This Article on SEO
- Understanding the Importance of SEO for Your Website
- A little bit about our internet use …
- How Search Engines Work
- How We Use Search Engines
- SEO Limitations
- Creating Search Engine Friendly Websites
- Keyword Usage & Targeting
- Putting it All Together: SEO as a Process
We use the internet … a lot. Many of my clients ask us about SEO, and I’m not an expert in the field (only Google and Bing are the experts), I have a good grasp on the topic. So, sit back and let me share what I know with you (taken from an SEO Workshop).
A little bit about our internet use …
- + 14 hours a month watching online video (40 hours a month)
- + 50% mobile penetration (70%)
- + 60% purchase online (70% USA)
- + 86% do online research on products before purchasing (same)
- + 1 in 5 searches for information is for local information (Very important to know for mobile marketing) (72%)
- + 4 billion Google searches a month (4 billion a DAY)
- + Google accounts for 65% of search engine traffic (85%)
The above numbers are from 2015, but I have left them here for comparison with the current numbers which are in brackets.
How Search Engines Work
The first ranking position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic.
The second position receives 11.94%, the third 8.47%, the fourth 6.05%, and all others under 5%
- + The first ten results receive 89.71% of all click-through traffic
- + The next 10 results (the second page of results) 4.37%,
- + the third page – 2.42%, and the fourth – 1.07%.
- + Page 5 and further receive less than 1% of total search traffic.
Search Engines have four functions
These are: crawling, building an index, calculating relevancy & rankings, and serving results.
However the most important function is their ability to help you better understand your audience. People ask questions, and search engines are answering machines.
One of the most important elements to understanding SEO and search rankings is feeling empathy for (understanding) your audience.
Once you grasp how the average searcher, and more specifically, your target market, searches, you can more effectively reach them.
How We Use Search Engines
- + Experience the need for an answer, solution or piece of information.
- + Formulate that need in a string of words and phrases (query).
- + Execute the query at a search engine.
- + Browse through the results for a match.
- + Click on a result.
- + Scan for a solution, or a link to that solution.
- + If unsatisfied, return to the results and browse for another link or …
- + Perform a new search with refinements to the query.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of taking a page built by humans and making it easily consumable for search engine robots.
Problems that Search Engines face:
- + Spidering & Indexing: Online forms, poor link structure, flash and other plug-in content, non HTML formats
- + Content to Query Matching: Search unfriendly copy, internationalisation subtleties and language
- + The “Tree Falls in a Forest” Effect: Search engines have no inherent gauge of quality or notability and no potential way to discover and make visible fantastic pieces of content on the web. Only humans can do this. This is a task that demands Internet Marketing.
Creating Search Engine Friendly Websites
Google recommends the following:
- + Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- + Create helpful content.
- + Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as cloaking.
- + Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.
- + Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- + Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- + Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
- + Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).
Search engines are limited in how they crawl the web and interpret content to retrieve and display.
- + Search Engines are blind.
- + In order to be listed in search machines, your content must be in HTML text format.
Keyword Usage & Targeting
Keywords are the building blocks of search. Search engines keep track of these pages in keyword-based indices. Rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one database, the engines have millions of smaller databases, each centered on a particular keyword term or phrase.
Search Engines measure the way keywords are used to determine the relevance of a page to a search query. This, it is important to use your keywords in titles, text and meta data.
Keyword Density Myth
If two documents, D1 and D2,
consist of 1000 terms (l =1000) and repeat a term 20 times (tf = 20),
then a keyword density analyzer will tell you that for both documents Keyword Density (KD) KD = 20/1000 = 0.020 (or 2%) for that term.
Identical values are obtained when tf = 10 and l = 500.
Evidently, a keyword density analyzer cannot establish which document is more relevant.
Is the keyword relevant to the content your website offers? Will searchers who find your site through this term find the likely answer to their question?
Search for the term/phrase in the major engines:
Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high value keyword
Try this exercise to test your SEO:
- Begin a sample campaign for the keyword with Google Ads
- In Google Ads, choose exact match and point traffic to the most relevant page on your website. Measure traffic to your site, and track impressions and conversion rate over the course of at least 2-300 clicks
- Make an educated guess about the value of a single visitor to your site with the given search term or phrase
- For example, if, in the past 24 hours, your search ad has generated 5,000 impressions, of which 100 visitors have come to your site and 3 have converted for total profit (not revenue!) of $300, then a single visitor for that keyword is worth approx. $3.
Putting it All Together: SEO as a Process
Step1 (1 week)
- + Keyword research
- + Identify top keywords
- + Identify related / secondary keywords
- + Analyze industry trends
- + Research competitor keywords
- + Map keywords to relevant pages
- + Competitive research
- + Top 10 SER competitors for core terms
- + Research competitor citation sources
- + Competitor link report
Step 2 (1 week)
- + Site-wide optimization and on-page implementation
- + Page titles
- + Site and page specific meta description
- + Keyword usage
- + <h> tags include keywords
- + Review of sub headings
- + Image alt tags and titles Related internal links
- + Related external links
Step 3 (1 week)
- + Geo-local optimization via Google Places
- + Implement review process
- + Request local citations
- + Link building
- + Inbound links baseline
- + Add to local and industry directories
Step 4 (1 week)
- + Measurement (after 6 weeks)
- + Analytics baseline – visits / keyword traffic / goals / conversions
- + Track ranking for core keywords
- + What’s driving traffic – unique visits per keyword – are the right keywords bringing traffic?
- + Content Review
- + Keywords without matching content
- + Content that’s not performing
Step 5 (2 weeks)
- + Based on measurement and analysis of 6 week Search Engine Results (SER)
- + Site-wide re-optimization as needed
Forbes looked at SEO in December of 2014 and made some suggestions as to the trends for that year. Interesting to look back at that era: