When SEO first started, things were a lot simpler back in the day, Google's ranking factors only boiled down to two: keyword density and a site's number of backlinks.
Today ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is a whole new industry, and there’s a lot of SEO tools and more optimisation specialists for everything. First there are a whole lot of Pay Per Click (PPC) specialists, then here comes the Facebook (FB) Ads gurus, social media managers, email blasters, Technical SEO techs, and link builders. Not all digital marketing agencies have the skill sets or access to experts and talent within these fields, but often they can claim to the contrary. We at 1768degrees.com offer Pay Per Click setup and keyword analysis for free to our SEO customers, but we are by no means Pay Per Click experts. SEO on the other hand is an area we like to believe we thrive, from Technical SEO through to on-page SEO.
Within your company you might be tracking website metrics like your results are the stock market and you’ve got creatives doing ethically responsible videos to rank on search engine result pages. But keep in mind, SEO is a long process, the results don’t show until much later (that’s around 4 to 8 months) so don’t expect miracles overnight. However, it will happen and once your site is indexed by Google, you can expect traffic to trickle in and even surprising brand mentions to come out of social media.
No matter where you are in the world, business owners and marketing teams have made funding their Search Engine Optimisation war chest a priority- they want an excellent ad spend budget on paid ads, great copy and on top of that, pricey SEO tools for tracking.
If you do a search right now using your target keywords, notice who’s on top? Because that’s your goal- to be the first search result on the first page, to topple the current king of the searches under your niche. And it takes good SEO techniques to get there!
Why Care about Search Algorithms
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is fast-changing, and Google is famous for continually evolving its algorithm, one on top of the other, sometimes two may run parallel, addressing queries or just out there to penalise the online foolhardy. Google never sleeps. When it comes to SEO, Google has one eye open to check what people are doing to their websites. Or what they’re not doing. Some argue this is done solely to drive customers to their Google Ad Services, whilst others would argue it’s about maintaining relevance for their customers. One thing is for certain, you can’t sit it out, with SEO, there is no time to dawdle, and you can’t wait for your content to go stale.
To be effective in your SEO campaigns means you understand what Google’s current algorithm is looking for. Each algorithm change typically builds on the last and they are usually named after animals:-Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon. If a web design agency like ours starts talking about Penguins and Pandas, don’t panic we aren’t thinking about our weekend trip to the zoo.
So what are these four Google algorithms known for? Here are some insights:
Understanding SEO Optimisation
Stay Relevant with On-Page Optimisation
On-page SEO is the optimisation of website content through the use of targeted keywords and phrases. The main reason behind Google’s many algorithm changes is to keep information relevant on a global scale.
Before you start, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask what would they search for – Do searches for appropriate keywords and phrases and then the next task is to integrate these keywords throughout your content. But such a move remains a balancing act of sorts, you have to create enough association between your site and your target keywords, but avoid overdoing it that the site reads like a formulaic and spammy content farm. Also, consider LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), so all those algorithms are finally paying off for Google’s AI as it now understands Search Intent, and can look into a query in depth and find meaning in it rather than just resorting to exact keyword matching for your results. So when you search for useful keywords and phrases, also include their synonyms and related language expression, and build your second tier of secondary search keywords.
For example, with our SEO On-Page strategy, instead of just going for websites Whangarei, we felt we had to go the extra mile and build another tier of important keywords such as Affordable websites Whangarei and Digital marketing agency Auckland. It’s a maximalist approach in using the best targeted keywords that highlights your core business. Yes we aren’t in Auckland but we serve the Auckland market, and for a digital marketing agency in Whangarei would you neglect New Zealand’s largest market which also happens to neighbour your city?
Remember your On-Page execution should always be organically done. Keywords should flow on the webpage as smooth as warm butter rolling off hot crumpets. Use your keywords or phrase in the most natural way (in the right context, of course), mention them once every 100-200 words in an article-length of around 800 to 1,500 words; this is the idea for on-page keyword density at 1-2%. But always keep your reader in mind, if the keyword use comes off clunky, don’t force it.
Find Value in Off-Page Optimisation
Off-page SEO refers to all the things you can do outside of your website to get more traffic. A significant way of doing this is through tapping high-authority sites (BBC, NZ Herald, local dailies such as for us Whangarei Leader) or hands-down trusted sites (.gov and .edu). A backlink from one of these is worth more than a hundred links from low-ranking sites.
You need to look for the very best sites in your industry niche, even if it’s your competitors site don’t ignore them, as they are doing something right and maintaining search rankings. Don’t consider best sites to necessarily be the prettiest or flashiest. The best sites are ultimately the sites converting the most customers, ranking higher and driving ROI to the owner. Once you identify the best sites in your industry, ensure you match or better the quality of content they produce and yes, consider asking how you can get a link from their site – probably not the best idea to ask your competitors however. Perhaps you can get their attention initially by engaging them through social media. Word of warning, emoji Gifs may not be the way to go.