Think that SEO (search engine optimization) is complicated and don’t know where to start? Then this article is for you. It’ll give you a good overview of what SEO is.
SEO essentially is a service to boost your website up the rankings on keywords that you want to rank for. For example, if you run a dental clinic, you might wanna go for keywords like “dentist singapore, “best dentist in singapore” etc.
How do you know what keywords to go for? You decide based on 2 factors:
- Search volume – you want keywords that have high search volume. There’s no point in ranking for keywords with little or no search volume. How do you find the search volume of keywords? There are some good tools out there, but the most basic (it’s enough for most people) and free tool is Google Keyword Planner
- Buyer intent – compare the these two keywords: “what do dentists do” and “best dentist in Singapore”. Which do you think have a higher buyer intent? Obviously the keyword “best dentist in Singapore”. People who search for this keyword are more likely to be looking for a good dentist that they can trust with polishing/washing their teeth or for some dental surgery. These people are more likely to buy from the websites that they visit from the first page of Google compared to people searching for “what do dentists do”. These people are more likely researching the profession of dentists, the career prospects, how much they earn etc.
Okay, so that’s a brief explanation of how to choose keywords for your SEO campaign.
SEO basically consists of 2 components:
- On page
- Off page
On Page SEO
Like what the name suggests, is whatever happens on the web page. This is about how relevant your website is to Google. Google have bots that crawl your website to determine the relevancy of your site.
Google determines the relevancy of your website based on various factors:
- Content – the content you put on your website. The title, headings, meta tags (meta title, meta description, meta keywords), bolded words, alt tags for media files (i.e. pictures and videos).
- Domain age – how old your domain is. The older your domain, the more trustworthy your site is, and hence more relevant to whatever you have on your site. Google doesn’t really like new websites. Everyday, there’s thousands or even millions of new websites popping up. Many of these websites are just created by solopreneurs, your average Joe etc. Google don’t trust that these sites provide relevant and accurate information for their users
- Site load speed – how fast your web page loads (each web page will have different loading times. Because some web pages have more media content than the others, hence causing a longer loading time)
- Number of social shares – the more social shares your content garner, obviously the more relevant it is for that keyword term/phrase
- Time on site – how much time visitors spend on your website. You can optimize your site for those factors mentioned above. Whereas for this factor – time on site – you got to write exceptionally high quality content so that visitors stay and read. If visitors come and go in a very short time, this is telling Google that your content is not relevant to what users are searching for. Remember, Google’s main purpose is to provide highly relevant search results for it’s users. That’s Google’s strength, and that’s how they dethrone Yahoo. Yahoo doesn’t have complicated algorithms to provide very relevant results to its users, unlike Google.
- Number of pages visitors click to on your website – once a visitor lands on one of your articles, does he/she read another article? And another? The more he/she reads, the better it is. That’s why when you read sites like Mashable, in the middle of the content, they will have a related post link that they encourage you to read. Having that link in the middle of the article will make visitors interested and click on it. See the example below
- Site structure – is your URL structure SEO friendly?
Is it like www.xavier.com/blog/post1, or is it more like www.xavier.com/blog/how-to-do-seo-singapore-business.
By site structure, it can also mean this. Let’s say your website is a Sports news site. Is your URL structure more like www.sportsnews.com/post=1, www.sportsnews.com/123, or is it more like
second URL structure is alot clearer for Google to understand what your website is about. When Google Bot comes and crawl your site, it’ll know that your website is about 3 things: Football, Rugby, Tennis. Knowing that, you’ll have a higher chance of ranking for football, tennis, and rugby related keywords on Google.
Whereas for the first URL structure. It’s messy. And doesn’t really tell Google anything. Many traditional websites have unfriendly URL structure.
So, as you can deduce from the On Page SEO factors that, the higher the quality of your content, the better. The more relevant your content will be, the more shareable your content, the more social shares you’ll get, the more links you’ll get from other websites, the longer people will stay – all these will increase your SEO rankings.
Off Page SEO
The second component of SEO is Off Page SEO. This means what happens outside of your website. So On Page SEO is about how relevant your website is to Google. Off Page SEO is about how much of an authority you are in the eyes of Google.
How to increase authority? Get more links (hyperlinks) from other websites/social media platforms. When one website links to your website, in the eyes of Google, that means that website is casting one vote for you, for that keyword. Take a look at the screenshot below.
You see the red link, Paper Bags? Clicking on that link will lead you to, let’s say, paperbag.com.
That means, having an anchor text, in this case, “paper bags”, linking to your website, in the eyes of Google, that means one vote for you as an authority in the field of “Paper Bags”.
That means, if you get 1000 links with the anchor text “paper bags” pointing to your website, there’s a high chance that when I Google “paper bags”, I’ll find you at the top few spot of Google.
So that’s a brief summary of what SEO is about. If you want to read more in depth articles on SEO, you can read these 2 guides:
Read those 2 articles, and you’re more or less ready to do SEO for your website.