Everyone thinks they should be on the first page results of google, but not everyone deserves to be there. Your business, brand and website have to earn that seo success privilege for your target market and it take skill and effort. Unlike paid ads that can be up and running in hours, SEO strategy and implementation takes months.
Google uses 200+ ranking factors in their seo algorithm for scoring web traffic and every year, they make 500 ~ 600 of quality improvements (changes) to their search algorithm.
SEO services are designed to increase visibility within the algorithmic ‘organic traffic’ (free) search results to deliver high quality, targeted traffic to your website target audience.
If you are new to digital marketing or just taken your first business online then this whole seo strategy and need for such seo services may seem foreign, if that’s you in particular then read on…
Successful SEO requires extensive knowledge of how search engines work. If you have a seo strategy and hire a reputable seo company or seo specialists, then you can achieve first page listings but it does take time.
In 2021 you will find that search optimisation is part of most leading businesses overall marketing strategy. If you have not conducted a seo campaign chances are you are not ranking for target keywords and most likely only ranking for company name.
How Search Engines Work
When you use Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc), an algorithm works in real-time to bring you what it considers the most appropriate search result.
How does Google determine the search ranking results?
Well even though Google doesn’t disclose the inner workings of its algorithm, based on filed patents and statements from Google, we know that websites and web pages are ranked based on.
To put the search rankings in an order that produces the best at the top, they primarily rely on three elements of their algorithm for ranking websites:
If you search for ”new car”, you don’t want to see web pages about truck tires.
That’s why keyword rankings are so critical. Google looks first-and-foremost for pages that are closely-related to your keyword.
Authority is just like it sounds: it’s Google’s way of determining if the content is accurate and trustworthy.
How does Google know if a page is authoritative? Well, they look at the number of other pages that link to that page. Links from other pages are known as “backlinks”, in general, the more links a page has, the higher it will rank.
Content can be relevant and authoritative. But if it’s not useful, Google won’t want to position that content at the top of the results.
Google measures usefulness largely based on “User Experience Signals”. In other words, how users interact with the search listings. If Google sees that people really like a particular search result, it will get a significant search rankings boost.
Search engines are designed to measure different signals across the Web so they can find websites that people like most. Play right into their hands by making those signals real and not artificial, thereby ranking at the top of search pages (SERP).
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO works by optimizing your website rankings for the search engine that you want to rank for, whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…
Specifically, SEO done well is to make sure that a online search returns your site as the overall best result for a specific search. How they determine the “best” result is based on that algorithm again that takes into account authority, usefulness, relevancy to that search query (plus the other 200+ factors).
I should point out that there are two sides of the SEO strategy game, and you need to choose yours right now.
White hat vs. Black hat
Black Hat SEO tactics Include:
– Duplicate content
– Invisible text and stuffed keywords
– Links from sites with non-relevant content
White Hat SEO tactics Include:
– Relevant content
– Well-labeled images
– Relevant links and references
– Complete sentences, high quality spelling and grammar
– Standards-compliant HTML
– Unique and relevant page titles
As you might expect Google is not a fan of Black Hat and its algorithm is continually being updated and rewards websites and content that is aligned to its standards. Be cautious of any seo companies offering black hat seo strategies.
It should be made clear, SEO is a zero-sum game.
Your competitors will do whatever it takes to reach the top. As a result that displaces you, pushing you further down into obscurity. Think of SEO as a battle and ideally you need the best seo company with the top seo specialists on your team.
Organic vs. Paid Results
Search engine results pages are separated into two distinct sections: organic and paid results.
Organic search results (free results) are results that rank based 100% on merit.
In other words, there’s no way to pay Google or other search engines in order to rank higher in the organic search results. Search engines rank the organic search listing based on hundreds of different ranking factors.
But in general, organic results are deemed by Google to be the most relative, trustworthy, and authoritative websites or web pages on the subject.
When we talk about “SEO”, we’re talking about ranking your website higher up in the organic search results.
Paid search listings are ads that appear on top of or underneath the organic results.
For example, if you search “new car” the first four results are paid ads. The 5th result down shown in green is the first organic result.
Paid ads are completely independent of the organic listings. Advertisers in the paid results section are “ranked” effectively by how much they’re are prepared to pay for a single visitor from a particular set of search results (“Pay Per Click Advertising”). As you might expect most seo agencies offer both seo and ppc digital marketing services.
Are SEO Services Worth It?
Fact, around 60% of all traffic on the web starts with a Google search. If you combine traffic from other popular search engines (like Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube), over 70% of all traffic originates from search.
The importance of SEO becomes clear with a basic example:
Let’s say that you run a Melbourne based Financial Planning Firm. According to the Google Keyword Planner, 8100 people search for “Financial Planning Firm” every single month. Considering that the top search results in Google gets around 20% of all clicks, that’s 1,620 visitors to your website each month if you show up at the top.
How much are free visitors worth?
The average advertiser for that search phrase spends about AUD$9.08 per click. Which means that as pay per click (ppc) digital marketing web traffic of 1,620 visitors is worth roughly AUD$14,709 a month or a massive AUD$176,508 per year. A good seo agency should get you this organic traffic ‘free’ by ranking top of first page.
And that’s just for that search phrase. If your site is SEO-friendly, then you can rank for hundreds of different keywords and that’s why it is such an important part of digital marking and there is constant demand for seo specialists.
On-page SEO vs. Off-page SEO
There are two broad categories of SEO: on-page and off-page.
On-page concerns all of Google’s ranking factors that they determine by directly looking at the page you try to optimize, such as your headlines, content, and page structure.
Off-page refers to all variables Google takes a look at, and they aren’t exclusively in your own hands. They depend on other sources, such as social networks, other blogs in your industry, and a stack of other variables.
They’re different, but you need to get both right in order to do well with SEO.
Side note, when a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page, Google considers that a bounce. The higher your bounce rate (number of visitors who leave your site instantly), the worse your page will rank on Google.
There are three big categories of on-page SEO that need to be considered. The first and most important is content.
You’ve probably heard it before “Content is king”.
Google search success is when customer is happy because they found the result that serves their needs in the best way.
When you Google “quick and easy homemade choc-marble cake” Google will put all its energy into delivering to you what Google believes is the best recipe on the entire web.
It doesn’t look for just the quickest recipe, just the easiest recipe, it tries to give you exactly what you asked for.
Google always tries to give you the best experience possible by directing you to the greatest content it can find.
This means that as a business website or blog owner your number one job to do well with SEO is to produce great content.
Search optimisation is no different than any other skill, great results will always come from above average effort.
Here are the factors that make up great content as far as leading search engines are concerned:
* Quality – While the times where just delivering the best-quality content would make you stand out from the crowd are long gone, it is still the starting point for any successful SEO effort
* Keyword research – Doing this research up-front is a crucial part of great content.
Since you ideally want to include your targeted keywords in your post’s headline and throughout the article, you need to choose your target keywords before you start writing.
* Use of keywords – Google has gotten smarter over the years. While you should, of course, use your keyword throughout your content, jamming your keyword into your text as much as possible will hurt your rankings rather than improve them.
* Freshness of content – Posting more frequently improves Google rankings. However, posting new content is only one way to signal Google freshness. There are plenty of things that you can do with content that you’ve already published to make it more up-to-date.
Backlinko, for example, has only published around 30 posts in two years. Yet, they keep all of their posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information.
* Direct answers – I’m sure have seen this, Google can sometimes provide searchers with direct answers right on the results page. If you write your content clearly enough for Google to recognize it as an answer to a particular question, it will show up directly beneath the search bar.
For example, search “how much is SEO services” and you should find:
Once you’ve made sure your content is top quality, the next area of on-page SEO you have to take care of is HTML.
You don’t have to be a professional coder or get a degree in programming by any means. But, running an online business without knowing the basics of HTML is definitely a disadvantage.
The four parts of HTML that should be optimized for each and every single piece of content you produce are:
Title tags – Title tags are the online equivalent of newspaper headlines. They are what shows up in the tab of your browser when you open a new page.
The HTML tag for them is called title. But when it comes to blogs, it often becomes an h1-tag, which stands for heading of the first order. Every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google.
Meta description – Meta descriptions are what show up as an excerpt when Google displays your page as a result to searchers. It’s easy to spot who’s done their SEO homework and who hasn’t by the meta description.
When you optimize a meta description result, Google will never cut it off and end with “…” or make it seem like it ends mid-sentence. Optimized meta descriptions also often mention the content’s keyword up-front.
Schema – Schema is the result of a collaboration of several search engines. It’s basically just a subset of specific HTML tags that will improve the way the search engine result pages display your content.
Subheads – Subheads help format and structure your content and give your readers easy reference points, but they also affect SEO. Compared to your h1-tags, your h2, h3, h4, and further subheads have less SEO power, but they are still important.
How to diagnose these HTML improvements – Google’s Search Console has an “HTML Improvements” report that will help you spot some of the issues that I highlighted above.
Google uses your site’s metadata, including the title tags and meta description, to figure out exactly how to classify your site and then tell users about it.
Inside this report, you’ll be able to diagnose if:
- You have duplicated them across other pages or posts on your site.
- They are too long, truncated, or cut off before people can fully read them.
- They are too short so that they’re not descriptive or helpful enough.
- They simply aren’t informative enough and are lacking keyword intent.
The last part of on-page SEO is site architecture. While this part gets very technical there are a few simple things everyone can and should take care of to improve SEO rankings.
A good website architecture leads to a great experience for the user when he or she navigates your page. It focuses on things like fast loading times, a safe connection, and a mobile-friendly design.
You need to optimize a few things for a great “search engine experience.” The more accessible your website is to Google, the better it will rank.
Easy to crawl – You can make this job easier for Google by creating a sitemap and submitting it.
Duplicate content – A common mistake is to think that everything on your page should be original. However search engines do not penalize websites for duplicate content. Duplicate content and broken links (or 404 errors) are the two most common crawl errors impacting most websites.
Mobile-friendliness – Let’s face it: if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you are missing out big time. Around 60% of eCommerce is conducted exclusively on mobile devices.
The importance on mobile friendliness has never been more important!
Page speed – Today users value time more than anything. Long loading times can absolutely kill your conversions. Google’s recent speed industry benchmarks proved this point. Their research shows that “the probability of someone bouncing from your site increases by 113 percent if it takes seven seconds+ to load.”
Keywords in URLs – Including your targeted keywords in the URLs of your blog and news posts is a must.
HTTPS and SSL – Security has been considered a ranking signal for some time now. Google now actively warns users when websites are not secure.
Now let us run through the four big areas of off-page strategy.
PageRank, the formula that the founders of Google invented is not the only measure they check when ranking pages in the top ten results. Trust is getting increasingly important, and most of the recent Google updates have hit spammy and obscure websites.
TrustRank is a way for Google to see whether your site is legit or not. For example, if you look like a big brand, Google is likely to trust you. Quality backlinks from authoritative sites (like .edu or .gov domains) also help.
There are four parts to building trust:
Authority – Google determines the overall authority of your site by a mix of two kinds of authority that you can build:
- Domain authority, which has to do with how widespread your domain name is. Coca-cola.com is very authoritative, for example, because everyone has heard of it.
- Page authority, which relates to how authoritative the content of a single page (for example a blog post) is.
You can check your authority here on a scale of 1-100.
Bounce rate – Your bounce rate is simply a measure of how many people view only one page on your site before immediately leaving again.
Google Analytics Behavior Overview for www.photolight.com.au
Content, loading times, usability, and attracting the right readers are all part of decreasing your bounce rate. Do the math, the right readers will spend more time on a site that loads fast, looks good, and has great content. Data for Photo-Light site above shows they could do much better!
Side note: Many eCommerce businesses rely soley on ppc advertising to achieve business objectives as seo is seen as a long term play. However if you plan to be in business for 12 months then seo should be included in the marketing strategy along with social media marketing, ppc marketing, and other online marketing channels.
Domain age – Domain age matters. Who would you trust more, a brand you have never heard of or a brand that has been around for years. Securing an expired domain that has been around can work around this factor.
Identity – Having a brand or personal identity online is a significant trust signal for search engines. Makes sense right? More often than not, people prefer brands they recognize over ones they don’t.
Just by how far you’re into this guide already shows you that the common conception of “backlinks are everything” is not true.
They’re only a part of effective SEO strategy just like all the other areas covered.
Consider these three factors when trying to get backlinks:
Quality of links – While links are not everything, when looking at links, their quality is everything.
Anchor text – The anchor text is the text that other sites use when they link to your site. Essentially the more natural the link text sounds, the better.
Number of links – Lastly, the number of total links you have matters as well, but they must be high quality.
The third category of off-page search engine optimisation that’s worth taking a look at is personal factors. While many of these are out of your control, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of reaching a certain audience.
Country – All searchers see results relevant to the country they’re in. Open times of recommended stores and restaurants appear according to your time zone.
City – The geo-targeting goes even further. It goes down to the city level. That’s why you usually see results from right around the block when you search for a fast-food chain.
Searcher’s history – If the searcher has been on the same page before, or even if they’ve just visited your site in general, you’re more likely to show up because Google thinks you’re a relevant result for them.
Finally we look at the social factors of off-page. Besides social signals directly from the searcher, there are other ways good results on social media will help you rank better.
There are two main factors of in the mix here:
Quality of shares – As with the quality of backlinks, who shares matters more than how often. Google recognizes influencers, and when they share your content, their share has more SEO impact than your average share.
Number of shares – The secondary social metric is the number of shares. Landing a viral hit is every marketer’s dream, but it is somewhat overrated. There are a lot of tips and hacks out there, but basically just focus on making great quality content.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
To start with many seo companies offer a free seo audit service. If you contact us and mention this blog Nxsys will provide our audit seo services for free!
However the going rate for SEO audit is between AUD$500 ~ $800 if done as a specific scope of work, the top seo companies may charge a bit more but are likely to be similar outcomes but you should be getting amazing customer service.
Often SEO companies provided seo services by way of a ‘SEO Improvement Package’ or similar. As the process takes upto 6 months to get results the SEO services are provided over that time frame.
Typically these packages include the following SEO services:
- SEO Audit (meta tags, meta descriptions, url structure, site structure, site performance, plus other technical seo factors)
- Keyword & Content Research (on page SEO)
- Backlink Strategy (Backlink count and quality, plus multiple other factors)
- SEO Reporting and SEO Results Tracking (Monthly reporting to show ranking improvements)
Pricing for quality SEO packages varies however you should expect to pay anywhere between AUD$1,200 ~ AUD$2,500 per month for 6 months for an effective seo strategy. Custom seo services may cost a little extra and may include specific content development.
Where a client is seeking an immediate boost in traffic it is not uncommon for other online marketing / digital marketing strategies to be run in parallel. These strategies may include social media campaigns and pay per click (ppc advertising) campaigns. PPC is discussed in another blog here.
I hope this guide helped you understand that search optimization isn’t optional anymore, it’s not a nice to have. While it might not take a lot of effort to get a few SEO basics right, it significantly impact your online presence and search rankings if you don’t.
Don’t worry if you’ve already made some SEO decisions in the past that might not have been the great choices as your knowledge of SEO was limited.
Commit to getting started on a SEO campaign today as it can take you 6+ months to a year to see results. SEO campaigns need not be expensive, in reality if done right an the benefits should provide an excellent return on the investment.
Do your keyword research before you write your next blog or news post. Use your keyword data to optimize the basics, such as your title tags and descriptions.
Next time you press publish your odds of getting higher rankings will be much greater.
Free organic traffic is the best traffic! To make it happen get moving on your seo strategy, if you don’t have the skills find a local digital marketing firm or seo agency.
Hire A SEO Company…
If you are looking move up the search engine rankings and need a local seo digital marketing agency contact us to discuss your first or next seo campaign strategy.
Nxsys Web Services provide seo audits and seo consulting for clients in Melbourne and Australia wide. Nxsys has the tools, skills, and experience to get you more traffic of the free variety 🙂 More traffic = more customers for your business.
As part of our digital marketing services our team of seo experts have delivered many successful seo campaigns with exceptional customer service. For small business we are your SEO experts and for big business we become an extended part of your local seo marketing team.
For more information you can contact the seo Melbourne team here