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SEO platforms – There are many different SEO platforms that bring together many of the tools that SEO needs to optimize sites. Some of the most popular include Moz, BrightEdge, Searchmetrics and Linkdex. These platforms track keyword rankings, help with keyword research, identify on-page and off-page SEO opportunities, and many other tasks related to SEO.
Keyword research – Keyword research is often the starting point for SEO and involves looking at what keywords a site is already ranking for, what keywords competitors rank for, and what other keywords potential customers are searching for. Identifying the terms that searchers use in Google search and other search engines provide direction on what existing content can be optimized and what new content can be created.
Google Search Console – Google Search Console (formerly known as “Google Webmaster Tools”) is a free tool provided by Google, and is a standard tool in the SEO’s toolkit. GSC provides rankings and traffic reports for top keywords and pages, and can help identify and fix on-site technical issues.
Content – In addition to looking at links, search engines also analyze the content of a webpage to determine if it would be relevant for any given search query. A large part of SEO is in creating content that is targeted towards the keywords that search engines’ users are searching for.
In Google and other search engines, the results page often features paid ads at the top of the page, followed by the regular results or what search marketers call the “organic search results”. Traffic that comes via SEO is often referred to as “organic search traffic” to differentiate it from traffic that comes through paid search. Paid search is often referred to as search engine marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC).
Top SEO tools.
Link building – Because links from external websites (called “backlinks” in SEO parlance) are one of the core ranking factors in Google and other major search engines, obtaining high-quality backlinks is one of the main levers that SEO has. This can involve promoting good content, reaching out to other websites and building relationships with webmasters, submitting websites to relevant web directories, and getting press to attract links from other websites.
Search engine optimization is a key part of online marketing because search is one of the primary ways that users navigate the web.
Search results are presented in an ordered list, and the higher up on that list a site can get, the more traffic the site will tend to receive. For example, for a typical search query, the number one result will receive 40-60% of the total traffic for that query, with the number two and three results receiving significantly less traffic. Only 2-3% of searchers click beyond the first page of search results. Thus, even a small improvement in search engine rankings can result in a website receiving more traffic and potentially business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of getting pages to rank higher in search engines such as Google. Because search is one of the main ways in which people discover content online, ranking higher in search engines can lead to an increase in traffic to a website.
Page structure – The third core component of SEO is page structure. Because webpages are written in HTML, how the HTML code is structured can impact a search engine’s ability to evaluate a page. Including relevant keywords in the title, URL, and headers of the page and making sure that a site is crawlable are actions that site owners can take to improve the SEO of their site.
As a fairly technical discipline, there are many tools and software that SEO relies on to help with optimizing websites. Below are some commonly used free and paid tools:
Google Ads Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is another free tool provided by Google, as part of their Google Ads product. Even though it is designed for paid search, it can be a great tool to use for SEO since it provides keyword suggestions and keyword search volume, which can be helpful when doing keyword research.
On-page optimization – In addition to off-page factors such as links, improving the actual structure of the page can have tremendous benefits for SEO, and is a factor that is entirely in the control of the webmaster. Common on-page optimization techniques include optimizing the URL of the page to incorporate keywords, updating the title tag of the page to use relevant search terms, and using the alt attribute to describe images. Updating a page’s meta tags (such as the meta description tag) can also be beneficial– these tags don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, but can increase click-through rate from the SERPs.
Because of this, many businesses and website owners will try to manipulate the search results so that their site shows up higher on the search results page (SERP) than their competitors. This is where SEO comes in.
Backlink analysis tools – There are a number of link analysis tools out there, the two primary ones being AHREFs and Majestic. Backlink analysis tools allow users to analyze which websites are linking to their own website, or the websites of competitors, and can be used to find new links during link building.
How SEO works.
Site architecture optimization – External links are not the only thing that matters for SEO, internal links (the links within one’s own website) play a large role in SEO as well. Thus a search engine optimizer can improve a site’s SEO by making sure key pages are being linked to and that relevant anchor text is being used in those links to help improve a page’s relevance for specific terms. Creating an XML sitemap can also be a good way for larger pages to help search engines discover and crawl all of the site’s pages.
Social media – Most social media sites don’t have a direct impact on SEO, but they can be a good tool for networking with other webmasters and building relationships that can lead to link building and guest posting opportunities.
Search engine optimization done properly can have the potential to dramatically increase the amount of traffic that a website receives, but all of that search traffic won’t help grow a business unless it converts into paying customers. This is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in.
Content marketing – Once potential keywords are identified, content marketing comes into play. This can be updating existing content or creating brand new pieces of content. Because Google and other search engines place a premium on high-quality content, it’s important to research what content is already out there and create a compelling piece of content that provides a positive user experience and has a chance of ranking higher in the search engine results. Good content also has a greater chance of being shared on social media and attracting links.
Semantic markup – Another SEO strategy that SEO experts utilize is optimizing a website’s semantic markup. Semantic markup (such as Schema.org) is used to describe the meaning behind the content on a page, such as helping to identify who the author of a piece of content is or the topic and type of content on a page. Using semantic markup can help with getting rich snippets displayed in the search results page, such as extra text, review stars and even images. Rich snippets in the SERPs doesn’t have an impact on search rankings, but can improve CTR from search, resulting in an increase in organic traffic.
Understanding how search engines work is only the first step of the process in improving a site’s search rankings. Actually improving a site’s rank involves leveraging various SEO techniques to optimize the site for search:
The search engine optimization process involves optimizing each of these core components of search engine algorithms in order to rank higher in the search results.
Search engine optimization techniques.
Conversion rate optimization involves using methods such as A/B testing to make changes to websites and measure the impact they have on a site’s conversion rate. Successful search marketers know that just getting traffic to a site is not enough, what the traffic does once it arrives on the site is just as important.
Links – Links from other websites play a key role in determining the ranking of a site in Google and other search engines. The reason being, a link can be seen as a vote of quality from other websites, since website owners are unlikely to link to other sites that are of poor quality. Sites that acquire links from many other sites gain authority (called “PageRank” in Google) in the eyes of search engines, especially if the sites that are linking to them are themselves authoritative.
Search engines such as Google use an algorithm or set of rules to determine what pages to show for any given query. These algorithms have evolved to be extremely complex, and take into account hundreds or even thousands of different ranking factors to determine the rankings of their SERPs. However, there are three core metrics that search engines evaluate to determine the quality of a site and how it should rank:
But, you’re smarter than that. You recognize that consumer behavior has permanently changed, and marketing must evolve in order to remain profitable. You also know that it’s impossible to make the right investments in SEO if you don’t know what it is.
The technical performance and functionality of your website is a critical part of providing site visitors a good experience. Google’s Page Experience Signals are a collection of metrics used to measure website page performance, and in turn, user experience.
Businesses that don’t leverage SEO as part of their digital marketing toolkit miss out on a significant amount of potential revenue. Whether your goal is to sell more ecommerce products, generate leads, increase brand visibility, or even capture traffic from TV ads, SEO can help you achieve your goal.
What is SEO in marketing?
However, to be successful and safeguard against risk, it’s crucial to ask the right questions before signing any contracts. Blackhat SEO agencies may seem like a bargain until they land you in the Google penalty box for tactics like keyword stuffing or buying backlinks.
I won’t discuss the detailed nuts and bolts of how to do SEO . Instead, I’ll explain the fundamental elements of SEO that will help you make smarter investments in the organic search channel for greater marketing and business results.
The simplest way to see how your website scores for Core Web Vitals is to use Google Search Console or the Google PageSpeed Insight tool. This will also give you specific recommendations for improvements. For detailed guidance on Core Web Vitals and how to improve them, read our in-depth post.
NOTE: Although Bing and Yahoo are part of the search engine landscape, this overview focuses on Google given Google’s overwhelming market share.
Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content. However, in cases where there are many pages that may be similar in relevance, page experience can be much more important for visibility in Search.
That responsibility typically falls to the head of digital marketing or the SEO director. Additional team members would be responsible for various aspects of the SEO program, such as project management, topic and keyword research, content creation, page analysis, technical optimization, link building, etc.
The other three page experience signals Google prioritizes are:
Google is an integral part of our personal and professional lives. We use it to guide buying decisions, research products, and find answers to our problems. We use it to find local businesses and decide which pair of running shoes we should buy.
At the executive level, SEO should be the center of audience insight helping to drive all marketing efforts. However, many executives fail to capitalize on the full potential of organic search to create value for the enterprise beyond traffic.
How does Google determine whether a website is reputable? A few important factors include:
Reduce brand risk.
Then, search engine algorithms rank your content based on a specific set of criteria. For instance, do you have relevant content to satisfy a user’s search terms? Does your website perform well in mobile search? Are you an expert on the topic?
The above SEO statistics prove that there are significant business benefits to SEO. This further underscores why it should be an integral part of your digital marketing efforts.
If you’re an enterprise business, outsourcing to an SEO company is the most reliable way to scale your efforts. You’ll be able to hire a smaller, more nimble in-house team focused on implementation while your SEO partner does all the heavy lifting.
To rank in Google search results, you not only need to know what your audience is searching for, but also why they’re searching for it. Keywords are important, but they don’t tell the full story. Apply a bit of user psychology and voice of the customer (VoC) to to better understand the intent underlying the different Google queries. Another factor is the point in the customer journey at which they are most likely to make the query.
At a high level, search engine optimization amplifies growth and reduces risk, driving more revenue and increasing shareholder value.