May 17

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the method of structuring and phrasing written online content for maximum visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. SEO is more than just about search results though. If done right, it can bring in more sales, build brand awareness and increase your website’s conversion rate. An effective SEO strategy not only helps your site rank well in search results but also improves your business prominence online. Our SEO guide will serve as a brief history of search engines with the state of search today and help you do better with your search engine optimisation.

What is SEO / Search Engine Optimisation?

What is SEO / Search Engine Optimisation?

 

What is SEO?

What is SEO?  is the most common question people ask us as soon as we tell them what we do. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is essentially the art and science of making sure that your business or personal websites are being “read correctly.” In fact, without the right SEO on your web pages, you can easily find yourself becoming invisible online.

SEO is impacting the unpaid or not sponsored listings on search engine result pages (SERPs). SEO is also often referred to as organic SEO or natural results. SEO works on the basis of relevancy of your web pages. If your pages are more relevant to a user’s query the search engines like Google or Bing are more likely going to classify your website higher in the SERPs.

How Does SEO Work?

Google or Bing crawlers also known as bots crawl the web for web pages and then process, store and index them. The indexing usually is followed by ranking the pages based on a user query. The ranking is based on a complex algorithm devised by the search engine to detect the most quality page for a particular search query.

While SEO is critical to your online business websites and personal blogs, it’s important to understand the evolution of Search Engine Optimization and why it is so successful today (as opposed to back in the day). Remember to read this as a light history and a light overview of current techniques, not some massively detailed manual you must get through. This journey is pretty exciting and you’ll find yourself wanting to explore our SEO web services even further.

A brief history of search engines

When the internet started and become widespread and public as little as 18 years ago, everyone was learning about how to do things and how to configure it so that we can all get the information we need and want. Webmasters began improving the findability of their site as early as the 1990’s. The dot-com boom brought along a lot of web companies that had the capabilities to “crawl” and “index” the web as a catalogue. At the earliest stages, you had to “submit” your URL to search engines for them to crawl and index your pages.

The process involved having companies like Google or Bing crawling and downloading the web page of your site and storing it in their database. The stored pages then undergo processing by an indexer to extract useful information like outbound links, document outline, words it contains and their related densities, images and any other media files.

The earliest crawlers and indexers were very inefficient and were easy to game. The following outlines an evolution of search engines and their methodology in general.

General Terms

Earlier search engines focused on treating search engines as a QA system with knowledgebase architecture. Earlier, Search engines treated each query as a question, retrieved a set of relevant document, extracted the relevant portion or applicable answer and served the results.

Search engines of the type QA systems date back to 1960’s. Baseball is a good example of such a system.

What they did: At first, search engines were optimised for general terms, like “black notebooks for sale” and “how to mow your lawn.” Such crawling and indexing was the most straightforward way of doing things back then.

Why it didn’t work: New users using search and web became far more sophisticated far faster than anyone thought they would. Soon, they wanted “bulk office supplies” and “multi-coloured 3×5 inch notebooks.” However, they were still getting the search results for “black notebooks for sale” and the more general terms which were not a good user experience.

In the late 1990s, the search engines or more specifically companies building such systems shifted their attention to a more general purpose information retrieval system which was akin to open domain QA system. The search engines tried an approach which moved them away from being simple QA banks (knowledgebases) towards an information retrieval system which was less domain dependent.

Ask Jeeves Search EngineSearch engines (back then, it was AskJeeves and Infoseek) tried to provide better and more simple search results for users, but the highly sophisticated algorithms used today were just not built and would have required better personal computers. For example, individual computers 18 years ago were slow (taking a full 20 minutes to load each internet page on a dial-up connection) and were quickly slowed down by large web pages and media-rich content.

Therefore, the text had to become really interesting and well written. Writing smaller pages with better information representation was just not possible and only users who enjoyed long pages of text were the early adopters.

Recommended reading

Keyword Stuffing for Search Engine Optimisation

What they did: The next great idea that the search engines had was to start identifying “keywords” so that they could target the web content to people’s searches. If any article or block of text had a non-prepositional word (such as a noun or a verb) in it repeated at least five times, it was considered to be about that particular word.

 

Keyword stuffing

Why it didn’t work: Unfortunately, this nice, simple way of reading web pages immediately got overused by content writers and web page owners who knew about keywords. They started using a lot of “keyword stuffing” which colours meant that each article was unreadable by people who had half a brain and any readable articles were under-represented in search results.

 

Such practices led to people having to scroll down through pages and pages of search result links to finally find the right search results. Such an experience for a user was almost as inefficient as the “general terms” problem listed above. The search engines needed something that was more natural and organised to people’s tastes and preferences when searching for content online.

This was quickly followed by URL stuffing. Search engines ability to understand and read URL’s has improved dramatically over the years. A URL structure is now a solved problem for search engines because of the amount of engineering that has gone in understanding the problem. A URL structure is now easy to deduce including the GTLD and CCTLD for Google and others.

URL structure including port,path and other addendumsRecommended reading

Poor Media Content and Editing

What they did: The internet evolved, and support for all media arrived with it. Next, web designers tried to use more organic formats for people to engage with the internet. They started posting pictures and videos which are hard to disguise as anything but a good quality or bad quality piece of media. Within five seconds of looking at media, users almost always knew whether it was something they wanted to see or not. For a while, this worked on the internet because people were getting back to the kind of correct formatting and nicely polished media that they were already used to in television.

Why it didn’t work: Videos and pictures were painful to “read” by the tools available to search engines and their sophisticated search algorithms. In fact, this was a time when the number of views on a website did not yet affect actual search engine results. Even if your page had 10,000 views per day (which would have been almost unrealistic back then, anyway), it did not mean that old search engines would necessarily pick up on this fact very well. Popular media items, the videos, and pictures that everyone loved were not tagged by keywords very well, were not correctly formatted, Such practices lead to them not necessarily being ranked according to popularity, as search engine results are ranked today.

Article Spinning

What they did: Soon, both hackers and legitimate web page owners wanted something which made the process of putting out web content much easier. Hence, the invention of the article spinner. An article spinner is a simple program which takes an article and replaces nouns and verbs with dictionary synonyms. Even today, article spinners are used by spammers to copy and change already published web content.

Why it didn’t work: Article spinners have never, ever worked because they turn simply phrases like “the dog walked to the park” into unreadable formats like “the canine ambulated to the village square.” Non-English speakers don’t always understand that this is complete gibberish in the English-speaking world and that nobody wants to read that dribble, so they continue attempting to use article spinners to this day.

automated content at DuckDuckGoIn recent years, more advanced and sophisticated article spinners have arisen which have almost reduced this inherently flawed process to a readable format. However, it is still quite evident to people who speak the native language, and it still grates on the nerves. Non-native speakers should remember that there is a proper way to do things and an improper shortcut and that the inappropriate alternative always takes longer than the legitimate process.

Recommended reading

How Search Engines are Designed Today

Today, search engines like Google and Bing are brilliant and impressive and sophisticated and people-friendly. They take our simple searches and produce a mountain of possibility and we hardly ever have to go to the next page in the search results. Almost always our needs are immediately satisfied right away, thus producing a sweet, chemical high, and keeping us going back for searches.

Search Engines are Designed for People, not Machines

As the internet became something that everyone used, not just techy computer scientists and research assistants, the user-friendliness of the internet became ultra-important. Now, people of all ages wanted to get on the internet, shop around, search for new and exciting things, and download pictures that they could print off for birthday cards.

Such indexing/processing and ranking were quite tricky in the beginning because there were no social media available to tell us how much everyone loves cute pictures of puppies and kittens. Instead, big companies were hiring techy computer geniuses AND publicist publishing consultants and then crossing their fingers that these two groups would get along well enough to create an online dream experience for their customers.

From very early on information digitization was very scarce. Search engines were primitive in that they were unable to satisfy users query by providing direct, relevant answers leading to lower engagement and high user time to information retrieval.

Search queries that have broad intent often return intractably large result sets. Faceted search evolved as a way to narrow or refine search results and the early Google iterations showed the faceted search in action. Google soon refined this and search results these days are clustered for better information segmentation.

The Internet was impressive, but it was poorly designed
While fantastic software developers were combining user-friendly programs and high-tech data (the first successful combination of the two), the internet remained something that only perpetual readers of the news and kids who spent all of their time investigating things knew well.

The internet itself had to go through massive transformations and companies which led the way were often bypassed by companies which learned from them and then took it further. There was an enormous movement to jump forward and search engines themselves evolved into useful objects of inquiry.

Remember: Search engine results are about clarity and fact, not about perception or vague, amorphous concepts linked to your site. The more precise you can be with your SEO, the better. Having real, authentic human voices in your site is what will turn it from better to a shining star.

Real Media, such as Pictures and Video Content, Now Really Matter

Tagged Pictures are now trendy. Pictures with proper tags have the colours, the items, and the point of the article you are using the image in all within 6 to 8 good quality, descriptive tags.

In fact, tagged pictures are well-defined in keywords, and search algorithms love the media of well-placed photos and digital images. It is well-known that search engines rank both photographs and videos highly today. Always take advantage of this fact by using picture tags and using several in each article or web pages on your site.

Well-Watched and Shared Videos are the perfect way to get high user engagement, lots of comments which produce high natural filler content, and to tell the search engines that this video is a great find, here’s where to suggest it to future viewers.

Video tags, correct titles, full transcript (really important), lots of colour, and lots of human and awesome personality are what makes good videos great. In fact, the more you produce transcribed, colourful and informative videos, the more shares and comments you will get, and the better overall user engagement you will have. At that point, you will be so popular with search engines; they will list you high up on a lot of related lists.

People want “human content” today, not just pages and pages of text

As more and more people join the internet revolution and as the age of said revolution is continuously expanding in both directions (older and younger), the need to make search results more “human” and more “personal” has suddenly skyrocketed. People want to see content related to themselves and the rest of humanity, not just tech-related jargon and the push for modern technology.

They want to see moments in humanity, clear-sided arguments, brilliant topics of conversation, and stimulating discussions and pictures of all of their favourite topics to watch.

This push for “more humanity” has made the user-friendliness of the internet even more relevant today than it was only five years ago. People want things which make them feel good, which educate them clearly and simply, and which don’t have a lot of over-the-top hype attached to them.

For example, if you’re looking for mailboxes or pictures of cats, then the best answer — if there is one — is highly subjective. For searches that are subjective to a user experience, the ideal search experience is a set of results that you can scan, compare, and ultimately narrow down to a small subset.

Businesses are now considering this when they start marketing to their ideal customers. They show that their line of products or services has a deeper meaning and a more precise vision than just “buying off the rack.” They want their new clientele to see WHY they are in business, not just HOW they are in business. Query refining and query understanding now form a part of every enterprise’s SEO plan.

Fallacies are now valued above Perfection

YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and other top media sites now have a new rule: Personal Over Perfection. In their user research, all of the top major media sites have found that people prefer imperfect, the flawed, and the homespun far above their preference for perfection, robotic calmness, and monotoned and scripted video presentations.

Even big companies which advertise over these sites have found that the “most perfect” they are allowed to get with their users is “homey” or through “authentic conversation.” The idea that they are perfect and flawless is no longer appealing to users of the internet. We now all want to see the REAL STORY, the magic behind the curtain, and the personal histories behind the brand.

The text-filled spaces of yesterday are now being filled with silent videos (you can turn on the sound, but they are no longer the annoying pop-ups that drive everyone crazy) and imaginative pictures and short, clear sentences describing the whole point of the article in 400 words or less.

When you advertise your business, remember that the text and photos and videos should all complement one another, not overwhelm each other or ignore each other. The user experience today is “whole-sensory” based, not based on cram-this-into-this-space mentalities.

The Birth of AI Software that can Detect Real Human Writing and Real Human Media Content

Finally, all major search engines have highly developed Artificial Intelligence software which can detect the difference between crappy, machine-based writing or poor language skills and fresh, bold, original content.

This means that, no matter what you do or how you communicate your website to other people, you’re going to have to do it creatively and authentically. You will not be wise just to sit down and type out a few words and hope that will do it for your business. You will need fresh content updated monthly; you will need real pictures of real people, useful analogies, active context, and personal stories… always have the personal stories in your business.

Does that mean the internet is becoming more holistic? Yes, it does. In fact, we are proficient in understanding how much your Search Engine Optimization needs to show this vast array of real-world context, deep and meaningful history, and uplifting stories. We know that the technical side of things, which we are about to describe to you, is just one side of the story and we know how to make your business shine, both in the real world and online.

SEO Strategy & SEO Optimisation Today

Speaking of the technical side of things, what are some of the tools we use to help your business?

SEO Keywords or Keyword Research

Keyword research is perhaps the most important and one of the most underrated processes in Search Engine Optimisation. Keywords are generally broken down into two categories. High volume generic searches with low user intent and long tail keywords with high user intent.

Generally speaking, keyword research should focus on identifying terms with high user intent and buying actions. The early papers on Google design relied heavily on crawling the web and classifying documents based on their density of words.

User intent or query understanding is a very broad topic and quite a few different technologies have been built to improve our ability to understand and process a user query. Some of the most common concepts with improving a search query/keyword relevant search results are

  • Query understanding and query rewriting.
  • Head queries match and query intention.
  • Power law distribution
  • Language identification
  • Query filtering
  • Breaking down a query or tokenization
  • Query expansion
  • Query rewriting
  • Search improvements for head queries
  • Improving results for small search results
  • Human intervention to provide an optimal user experience
  • Executing changes incrementally

Keyword research involves not only using the keywords which accurately describe your products and/or services, but also finding the keywords users most often type in to find those services. Not everyone thinks alike, and some keywords are simply used more often than others. Using every possible keyword relevant to your business is what defines how your company is seen to search engines.

When we think or look at search architecture, we traditionally think of search result pages as documents that provide relevant information. However, searchers usually look at search engines as engines that answer their questions. This information should be leveraged to improve one’s organic SEO or visibility in any search engine.

Recommended reading

SEO Copywriting

Content is what a search engine seeks. Technical SEO focuses on improving your existing website crawlability but one of the largest contributors to high traffic is a very volume of content on your website. Search engines crawl content and that is exactly what they want you to produce if you wish to rank. In the SEO world, content is regarded as king.

SEO Copywriting is the act of writing and designing entire articles, web page content, video descriptions, and photo descriptions centred around the central theme of your business, using keywords relevant to your product and services, and adjusting for your particular ideal client.

Copywriting should be unique, creative, original (never copied or spun), and explicitly describing the exact emotional benefits which your preferred clientele will get from you. The facts will back up and “justify” their emotional decision-making, but their emotions are what makes the decision to buy from you, in the end.

Recommended reading

On-Page SEO / SEO Audit

Each page of your website can be optimised for search results. Optimisation of particular pages for specific key terms is called “On-Page SEO” as it is done on your site and pages.

On-Page SEO occurs when you write text, embed images and tags, and put metadata on a specific page which makes it especially crawlable and easily read and categorised by Google. It’s a simple concept, but unfortunately, a large number of websites get it wrong. The basic list of things that must at least be done properly are as follows

  • Title tags must be clear and relevant to the page content.
  • The meta description should describe the page in detail and should be treated as an extension of the Title tag.
  • Alt attributes should be used to accurately describe any image on the page.
  • H1 tag helps users clearly know what the page content is about.
  • Internal links help link related content on the website. It also helps with navigation to relevant subjects.
  • External links indicate your trust for the external source. Be careful about who you link and how many times on the page.
  • XML sitemaps signal search engines of any new content or existing content update.
  • Clean and clear navigational structure helps to establish the hierarchy of the website.
  • Rich media like javascript can be hard to crawl by search engines.
  • URL structure should be friendly and avoid dynamic parameters.
  • Robots.txt should be present and have a clear guideline for robots.
  • Manage anchor text and prevent or refrain from abusing it to rank for keywords.

There are a lot of other on-page factors that impact the visibility fo pages or websites. Great on-page is key to online success and should be given a lot of importance to improve your online visibility.

Recommended reading

Local SEO

Local SEO is exactly what it sounds like. It is the specialisation of local, brick-and-mortar businesses getting local traffic and will sales by putting their specific location into the search engine result pages (SERPs).

This is often done just with City and State, but it can also be narrowed down to plazas, squares, streets, and so on. For example, both “Melbourne, VIC” and “Melbourne” would be appropriate tags for a specific location. “South Yarra” or “Paramatta” would also be appropriately detailed forms of Local SEO to narrow down the search results even further and let businesses in a collective group derive collective search engine optimisation from each other.

Recommended reading

Link Building is one of the most important and highly ignored forms of search engine optimisation. It involves other sites linking back to your website. The goal is to get other website owners to post a link to your site on their site, thus encouraging traffic from their site to yours.

Link building sounds simple enough, but the real goal is to get links from high-quality, high-traffic websites to link to yours. High-quality organic links tell Google and the other search engines that your site is worthy of citation and is reputable.

Recommended reading

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short, is the tactic of increasing the percentage of overall site visitors which become buying, paying customers.

If your site gets 10,000 views per day, and your conversation rate percentage is 20%, then you’re in pretty good business, and we congratulate you! If, however, your conversion of those 10,000 visitors into customers is less than 2%, then something is amiss. If you are an ecommerce store and trying to sell online your ecommerce SEO should have a CRO plan to improve your conversion rate,

A Perfect SEO Campaign Starts With Basic SEO For Website.

Having a great website and paying for good ads isn’t enough. You need the follow-through, the intended action, to be taken by your site visitors. You need them to arrive on your website, browse a little, and then take the action you want. You can improve your CRO to make these things happen. A great SEO Package can dramatically change the way your business grows.

Sites like Mouseflow give you the ability to see where the majority of visitors mouse pointers go and revolve around on the screen. This gives you a very accurate idea if they are taking the intended action you mean and want for them to take.

Why Your Personal Stories are the Most Important Part of Your Business

There are three specific steps you should take when setting up your search engine optimisation plan. These steps will ensure that your website looks professional, backed by a trustworthy team, and ready to give service at a moment’s notice.

Identify your target audience. Identify the ideal customer or client your business is targeting. Your SEO can specifically reflect tags and metadata for these people, so make sure that everything is designed around your target audience.

Make sure your entire brand reflects your personal and business story. Don’t get “too creative” and start designing a webpage with mixed themes. Just like a clothing outfit can look jumbled and unattractive with too many different styles of elements added, so also can a website look distrustful and iffy when the themes, story, and context do not match each other. An example would be if your website markets to baby boomers but the colours and style are all in Modern Parisian Millenial style. Instead, the colours should be warm, homey, and indicative of the 1970’s.

Give your customers different layers of rewarding content, services, and products. Don’t make your site all text-based or all video-based. Instead, easily format it so that pictures and videos and text are all throughout the main pages. Keep in mind that your visitors should want to keep scrolling down the page, so try to format it so that your information is visible, but still accurately supported by your videos and pictures.

Another great way to engage your site’s visitors is to offer free e-books, the app version of your business, and other fun freebies so that they can get a taste of your style before they buy from you.

SEO Movie

The SEO industry even produced a movie about SEO and how it works.

In conclusion, SEO is a widely varied and technically precise art form which uses the accuracy of technology and the humanity of creative expression to bring in millions of site visitors.

You may want to try and do everything alone, but we recommend consulting with our high-quality marketing services to bring in visitors, conversions, and plenty of consumer actions. We want to help you make a site of which you can be proud. Your business success is what our business is about and if you have any questions, we would love to answer them. We hope you have enjoyed our short SEO tutorial and that you were able to understand what our SEO agency does a little better.

27 Comments

  1. Gre
    May 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm · Reply

    Great overview, thank you. This gave me several things to fix I hadn’t been aware of, and my site generally already does well with on-site SEO.

  2. Mai Hunyh
    May 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm · Reply

    What do you recommend for ongoing monitoring of the things flagged by wget scripts? I could assign it to my programmer. I also think Moz or similar services handle that automatically. It might be more effective just to outsource it to them?

  3. Greg
    May 17, 2018 at 4:31 pm · Reply

    There is only ONE sustainable seo strategy outside of getting the technical parts right and that’s to be an indispensable resource for your target market…with content that cannot be found anywhere else…and that your users cannot live without!!!Mistrust the first internet sites that pop up when you search for debatable issues

    • Gregory
      May 17, 2018 at 5:17 pm · Reply

      Transparent spam and plagiarized content are easy for Google to detect, but private blog networks are a major component of modern SEO, as are several other non-organic schemes that Google has no simple algorithmic method to detect (barring slip-ups that make it obvious, though even in those cases, Google seems reluctant to punish domestic PBNs). I know of entire offices staffed with “link builders” whose entire job is to figure out how to get backlinks, and to be fair, “write really good original content” is somewhere on their list, but it’s not very close to the top.

      Just a counterpoint. “SEO” is still a thing. Google is a high-value target and it’s worth a lot of money to game them. It is quite naive to believe that they’re impervious to it. You can rank OK with “honest, well-written content for humans” as long as no professionals are competing with you.

  4. Kevin
    May 17, 2018 at 4:31 pm · Reply

    Great list. Can’t think of much you’re leaving out there from a technical standpoint.

  5. Wilson
    May 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm · Reply

    Why make it play go with your site when you can make it play checkers?

    Nobody’s claiming Google can’t figure out the visual structure of a page or determine the canonical page within a set of duplicates, but evidence[0][1] has shown that making it easier for Google to do those things has a positive effect.

  6. Brett
    May 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm · Reply

    Flooding pages with keywords and link farms doesn’t get you anywhere in the long run.If you find yourself adding content in hopes the search engine will pick it up, that is a short-term gain for long-term pain. Do have your title match your content. Do try to write unique phrases that are applicable to your content. And try not to copy/paste content around your pages.

    • ROn
      May 19, 2018 at 6:14 am · Reply

      Sadly a lot of people are using this technique, especially new people who have not yet researched what it really takes to build successful websites, how to get traffic, monetize it etc.

      However I have seen a few people doing this successfully with landing pages that have affiliate referral links (most popular with cryptocurrency now) and this way they earn commission from any transaction that takes place as a result of them generating that lead through their landing page. You can also use landing pages to build your mailing list/s.
      The problem with this method is that 90% of the time it is not sustainable because you are not going to gain much trust with a landing page as you would with your website that has a professional theme, about page, privacy policy and lots of great regularly updated engaging content.

  7. sda
    May 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm · Reply

    Do things like meta description tags and site map submissions still matter? Just curious.

    • Kamil
      May 19, 2018 at 7:44 am · Reply

      Meta description tags will show up in SERPs just under the clickable link and although it doesn’t affect the search engine rankings, it is a great opportunity to give a brief summary of what your site or post is about so the user can decide if the content they looking for is relevant or specific to their need.

      Submitting a site map definitely helps Google crawl and rank content much faster and is still very relevant today as far as I know.

  8. smulle
    May 17, 2018 at 5:16 pm · Reply

    Sitemaps are still useful. Eg. my previous employer ran a very large site with hundreds of millions of possible pages to crawl. You can use the sitemaps to help the crawler prioritise given limited crawl budget.

  9. redion
    May 17, 2018 at 5:17 pm · Reply

    A competitor with a private blog network and professional spam apparatus started outranking us just with “link building”, i.e., posting links on the PBN they controlled, within 1 month of launching (we had about 15 months of content at this point). They had no content on their site at all, just a landing page that included a few of the keywords they were using in their link building. There was no blog, there was no “well-written, honest content for humans”.

    On a past enterprise, I believed the lie “write good content and it will magically rank” and paid a content writer for about 9 months. She posted lengthy original content about 3 times per week, all highly relevant to the search terms we cared about. I did the same about once a week.

    Google had no qualms ranking them based on the link text despite their lack of supporting content. This competitor brutally beat us in organic search traffic until both businesses were shut down due to legal threats from a F500 cowering behind the CFAA.

    Our blog is still online. There is no significant search traffic to speak of. While the content may have aged some, it’s still the best resource for a lot of the things we posted about. It’s buried pretty deep on Google’s search.

    • HNNews
      May 17, 2018 at 5:20 pm · Reply

      The MD wanted to follow a similar technique to our parent company, which was working well for them. This was essentially paid-for spam, and I felt really uneasy with this approach, so I suggested that we ignore a lot of the current SEO tactics and respect Google for what it is – a very smart search engine built by people that are smart enough to fix the common SEO tactics of the day. Thankfully, the MD listened to the dev team, and the focus was on building the best service possible. Instead of getting crappy backlnks, we ran competitor analysis tools to figure out why some people were doing well, and making our service better than theirs. Essentially, instead of playing the game, we wanted to deserve the top spot. We had content writers reviewing content regularly, a marketing manager that (eventually) backed us, and a manager that was happy to have a wildly inexperienced dev team fuck things up in the name of getting better.

      Things went well for us, and we made some slow progress. After a while the Panda update happened, and we skyrocketed to the top of a lot of valuable terms, while the parent company (using spammy technqiues) crumbled, losing around 70% of their traffic. I think investment bailed, and we split out on our own. We ended up getting millions of visitors a month, and the company was acquired because of the work that was put into the product.

      Since that experience I’ve almost completely shunned the SEO side of things, favouring organic online marketing. I know that a lot of the techniques that agencies would use worked – I saw them work myself on our competitors, but I also knew that they were a short-term fix with no long-term gain. By focusing on clean markup, good content, a clear architecture of information, and fast loading times, we beat the competition, and those values haven’t changed eight years later.

  10. gredub
    May 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm · Reply

    Between link building and content generation, which takes up more budget/time? Asking as I’m trying to decide which one to focus more on.

    • Rantjan
      May 19, 2018 at 2:49 am · Reply

      That is a great question.

      Both link building and content generation can be done for free but would take up time to do it yourself.
      If you don’t have the time you can hire both link builders and content writers.
      In most cases link builders are cheaper to hire than content writers and/or SEO editors.

      Long term it is best to concentrate on content creation and optimizing SEO to generate a good flow of organic traffic and returning visitors. It takes longer to create content than link building but you also need engaging content on your website to keep your audience interested and possibly become regular visitors. You should produce fresh content each week and keep your readers up to date regarding your chosen niche or product/s.

      If you planning to link build, your main aim will be to find sites that are already generating a lot of traffic and then finding strategic (policy abiding) ways to place links that leads that particular website’s visitor to your website.
      Eg. You can join a forum related to a specific niche, create a signature with your website link (if that is allowed, on most highly rated sites this privilege has to be earned) and each time you leave a comment on that forum your link will be visible to anyone who reads your comments.

      Another great way to do this is find sites that write reviews on businesses and blogs, in most cases you have to pay for this service but you can also find freelancers that may be interested in mutually exchanging reviews with you.

      I would say link building is easier short term but might also only produce short-term or non-sustainable results. It really depends on what works best for your site and I would encourage you to have a balance of both link building and content generation but focus more or creating QUALITY content, especially at the beginning stage.

  11. Millison
    May 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm · Reply

    If you structure your site properly and make it accessible, search engines will crawl and index it properly. Make your content accessible from a technical standpoint.

    Clean up your HTML

    Make your URLs reflect your content, cleanly

    Build and submit sitemaps

    Make the navigation on your website simple and effective

    Make your website load quickly

    Stage 2: Content – Make great stuff.

    If you build great content, people will share it. They will link to you.

    Build great content

    Make things that help people

    Stay within a niche if you can

  12. Sorna
    May 19, 2018 at 5:03 am · Reply

    When I was doing my certification course at Wealthy Affiliate they taught us that content was king and SEO is the main part of how your content should be organized and structured in order to become VISIBLE online. Ultimately you want to create content that is helpful, engaging, entertaining or insightful and adds value to your audience.

    There are some really great content writers out there that start a blog and after posting some top quality articles wonder why they don’t have visitors on their website. Being a great writer is just half the work, if you intend to build and monetize a long term blog, you need to understand how to generate traffic using SEO basics and perhaps some advanced techniques if you have a lot of competition within your niche. That’s why things like keyword tools are a great advantage.

    The first keyword tool I learned how to use was Jaaxy.
    After publishing a few pages and posts on my website without using the aid of keywords I started applying things like the “alphabet soup” technique to help me find the right keywords and immediately saw the results and how organic traffic slowly increased and used Google Analytics to verify what keywords people used to find my content.

    SEO is vital for every authority site out there.

  13. Brad
    May 19, 2018 at 5:44 am · Reply

    What online courses would you suggest for SEO in 2018 and how important is it to stay up to date?
    For example, when Google makes changes like ‘Panda’ (a change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm), how does this affect current rankings for written content?

  14. Cricket Boy
    May 20, 2018 at 1:45 am · Reply

    It might not seem like ‘site speed’ or ‘page speed’ is very important but it actually effects how Google indexes your content. Improving your page speed can help Google index your content faster or more of your content will get indexed depending on the crawl budget.

    There are a few ways to improve your page speed.
    Some of these fixes might seem technical but it’s not rocket science if you have the time and patience to learn otherwise your IT guy should be able to handle it 🙂

    1. Compress CSS, HTML and Javascript files.
    You can use Google to find software like “Gzip” to do this.
    Don’t use Gzip for image files though!
    If you using WordPress you can find a plugin called EWWW Image Optimizer which will reduce jpeg, png and gif files.

    2. Make sure the server response time is under 200 milliseconds.
    Make sure your web hosting provider is up to standard. Be careful with cheap web hosting providers because they will most likely offer shared hosting. Preferably you want VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting.
    Dedicated hosting is the best but most expensive, usually for larger businesses and content holders or those who want a private network they have complete control over.

    3. Remove Render-Blocking Javascript.
    Before rendering a page the browsers have to build a DOM (Document Object Model) by parsing HTML. If the browsers encounter a script during this process it has to stop to execute this before it continues.

    4. Reduce the amount of Redirects.
    Every time a page redirects to another page your reader waits longer for the HTTP request-response cycle to finish.
    An example of this is when your redirect pattern looks like this: sample.com -> http://www.sample.com -> m.sample.com -> m.sample.com/home. So each of these 2 redirects will make your page load slower.

    5. Leverage Browser Caching.
    To enable browser caching you will need to edit the HTTP headers and set expiry times for specific types of files. You can easily find the codes online and Google the procedure of how to get this done.

    6. Optimize Images.
    Make sure your images are in the right format and that their size is optimized.
    You can also use CSS sprites and create a template for frequently used images like your icons and action buttons etc. This will combine all your images into one large file that loads all at once and displays only the ones you want shown. It will save loading time to load once instead of all the images loading one by one. You might have been on sites that seem like the page is loading up forever and this is probably due to the lack of image optimization.

    There are many other tips and suggestions you could try to improve your page speed but if you already have a good internet and hosting service provider they should be able to take care of most of these factors that effects how your content is crawled and ranked.

  15. Ron Red
    May 20, 2018 at 3:34 am · Reply

    Some SEO Tips

    – Pick a niche and narrow it down as much as possible.
    Say you chose ‘Men’s Health Products’ as a niche, narrow this down further.
    Men’s Health Products – Men’s Facial Care – Men’s Beards
    and then create a website called ‘bath4beards.com’ or something similar, build a theme that represents the content and possibly the product/s and choose specific keywords that people mostly use to look for information about men’s beards and beard treatment.

    The reason you want to narrow down your niche as much as possible is so you will have less competition when it comes to things like keywords that will affect your Google ranking that ultimately determines your visibility online. If no one can find your content, you won’t have any traffic, no traffic = clients and no revenue / conversions.

    – Google likes it when we have internal links on our websites.
    An internal link is a link that leads the visitor back to one of your posts or pages from your own website.
    You might be writing about kittens on your site and have an older article about kitten toys that you might want to share with your audience by simply creating a link to that article, that would be an example of an internal link. You can also use hyperlinks in images which can be a great way to catch someones attention. So they click on a image that has an internal link.

    – Use keywords in your images.

    – Linking to other websites with content that relates to your niche might seem like you helping the competition but in actual fact this can help you build trust with your audience if you providing them with other reliable sources that might have more authority. Your readers will also appreciate that you provide quality links and might visit your site more often as a result.
    You can go a step further and get in touch with the person that you featuring on your website and ask for a mutually beneficial exchange. A lot of authority bloggers and entrepreneurs started this way.

    – Always stay up to date with aspects that influence your content ranking and indexing.

  16. David
    May 20, 2018 at 4:05 am · Reply

    Good Day

    Thank you for such an informative post.
    There is a lot more to SEO than it seems at first glance. It’s not just about keywords and phrases to land you on page one, position one on SERPs.

    The algorithms Google uses to index and rank is getting more sophisticated and a lot more data is being processed to determine if you deserve that number one spot in Google search.

  17. Basin
    May 20, 2018 at 5:02 am · Reply

    Here are some interesting facts about SEO.

    1. Google punishes for copied content but not for duplicate content.
    2. Google ranks events based on how popular they are so this will help users to choose the most interesting event when multiple events take place simultaneously.
    3. Your chances of showing up on Google page 1 are increased when you have a video on your home page.
    4. Google can detect certain objects within images and this is also one of it’s ranking signals that cannot easily be altered.
    5. Most top 10 sites according to Ebizma are not content based sites. Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, Bing eBay and MSN, even though most of these sites are filled with content they are considered as “content gates” and not content based sites like Wikipedia would be considered.
    6. Search Engines like Yandex do not take links into consideration as a ranking factor.
    7. Mobile is the medium of choice for searching according to Google.
    8. Businesses that have a strong keyword within their name rank 1.5 spots higher than businesses without keywords in their name.
    9. On a average day nearly 40% of people search using only their mobile phone (Google 2016).
    10. Google receives an average of 57000 searches per second.

  18. muelrr
    May 20, 2018 at 5:12 am · Reply

    Hi

    This is a great detailed description of SEO.
    Where would be the best place to start learning about SEO or what type of courses are recommended?
    Is it compulsory for a blogger who intends to monetize their website, to know everything about SEO or can they learn while they build their website? What is the best route?
    Is it possible to rank high with Google without having much content on your website?

    Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards.

  19. Mashar
    May 22, 2018 at 8:53 pm · Reply

    Thank you so much for this highly informative article. I never knew how valuable real-images are in web content until I read this. I will definitely incorporate video tags and pictures that are relevant to my content. Basically, all that you have said in this article leaves me saying “Yes, and Amen!” That’s how much I appreciated it. However, looking at the comments everyone is saying, I cannot help but agree with some. Google’s practices mirror the political structures and systems of the modern world. This is a system that oppresses the poor and expands the gap between the poor and the rich. Come to think of it, Google seems reluctant in penalizing domestic PBN’s and powerful websites that are guilty of link-building and backlink tricks. Still, I believe developing quality content is the greatest key to success for any website.

  20. Alfred Boyd
    May 23, 2018 at 8:23 am · Reply

    Hi Ajay,
    Thanks for the insightful piece. I appreciate the fact that you have clearly indicated all about Google algorithm the ranking factor and how good it is to place your website on the good books. I’d like to ask if there are any other ways of optimizing your website apart from SEO. Could you please explain to me in a lay man’s language. I will appreciate.

  21. Sandra
    May 23, 2018 at 7:43 pm · Reply

    As someone who is new to all of this this article was so helpful. It gives me so much informations about SEO that I couldn’t understand on other sites that I have visited. I loved the historical part of article because it gives us clear picture of the evolution of SEO. It shows us all different methods how to become SEO experts and that is really important nowadays, because everybody uses internet and the internet is future of selling industry, soon there will be no need for stores, it would be much easier for us to buy all we need from internet. So this is something that everybody should invest in.

  22. Dan A.
    May 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm · Reply

    The concept of SEO grew in relevance with the emergence of great search engines like Google. Its history is somewhat similar to the evolution of society: first, there is the beginning of SEO at the early 1990s; then there was also an SEO’s dark age in the early years of 21st century when black hat tricks were thriving and unchecked. Good enough Google began the renaissance and rolled out update after update that really reduced those underhanded black hat tricks. Soon after, quality links have become the norms. SEO is still evolving, and with the great improvements in the algorithms of Google, we can surely expect a fairer online playing field for website owners.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *