May 17

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Guide To Google Rankings.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation 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.

SEO in Australia is no different to that in other countries and this guide is written for the Australian audience.

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.

 

What is SEO / Search Engine Optimisation?

What is SEO / Search Engine Optimisation?

Great SEO will improve the quality of traffic, the quantity of traffic and higher brand reach.

Quality of traffic from SERPS: The website once optimised for keywords will rank higher in those keywords. If the keywords you pick have a “buying intent” then the quality of the traffic you get will be very beneficial.

The quantity of traffic from SERPS: Basic on the page has shown to quickly rank web pages than those that have no on page SEO. SEO is just telling search engines what the page is about. By accurately describing the page, the search engines will provide higher rankings and higher quantity of web traffic.

Brand reach: Higher traffic and better quality of traffic will lead to better search engine visibility as well as higher brand reach.

Sales are what make or break a business, particularly a small one, and customers need to make those sales. Just like all of the most successful businesses, it is essential that people are aware of your business and able to interact with it, and SEO can help build the findability that you need. 

Although hiring an SEO company can add to your budget, we promise this little bit of investment will pay off in a tangible way. After a few months of professional SEO services, your findability will see a massive increase, equalling more traffic and therefore more sales for you and your business.

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.

Crawling: A process of downloading all the web pages on a website including images, style and other media files.

Processing: A process of filtering and processing the pages downloaded in the crawling.

Indexing: A process of entering the crawled information in a central database that will then be used to rank for specific user queries.

While SEO is critical to your online business websites and personal blogs, it’s important to understand the evolution of Search Engine Optimisation and why it is so successful today (as opposed to back in the day).

How to do SEO?

Effective SEO can be done using a methodology that is described in the following table

Number SEO Process Time
1 Keyword Research 3-4 weeks
2 UI/UX review 3-4 weeks
3 SEO Copywriting Ongoing
4 On Page SEO Small site : 3-4 Weeks Large Site : 12-16 weeks
5 Local SEO 1 week
6 Link Building Ongoing
7 CRO Ongoing
8 Review Every Quarter

In trying to achieve an enjoyable and productive browsing experience for anyone using their engine, Google aims to get the websites of the highest quality to the top of the SERPs. Google ensures this quality by ranking websites based on an algorithm that looks at a number of different factors. A good checklist can be found here.

We will now dive into each topic of SEO and how you can approach these topics. Often times clients get consumed in things like domain authority, page authority and other numnbers developed by tools like SEMrush,Ahrefs,Majestic but fail to fix fundamental issues with the site. Take this as a reminder that basics of SEO still trumps any score or metrics given by an external tool. Ensure that you meticulously follow the process below and you will see good results.

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.

UX/UI & Usability Review

Search Engine Optimisation is a continuous improvement process. Often, the real questions are about usability: What makes it hard for search engines and your users to navigate through your site and find the right information?

A user-friendly website sustains users. Plenty of factors affect your search engine rankings, and one of the most critical factors is user experience. By keeping your users happy, you keep your market engaged. Our SEO professionals will conduct a site audit to indicate areas of improvement. A Website Audit includes an initial review of the site design, web usability and site architecture.

Search Engine Optimisation is still about your customers. It is not about headless browsers and Document Object Model, (DOM) elements. Using dubious methods to trick algorithms is also not a long-term sustainable strategy. That’s why our product delivers steady, long-term organic traffic growth.

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

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.

On-page optimisation focuses on what we can do on your website to improve visibility to search engines. From simple title tag checks to site speed optimisation we optimise your page to outrank your competition. The technical side of the SEO audit will also check for Schema implementation and other meta-data that Google recognises and indexes such as:

  • Content type & taxonomies review
  • Node revisions
  • Meta tag analysis and review
  • Internal link structure analysis
  • External link structure review
  • Content analysis
  • Duplicate content
  • Review of URL’s, keywords, and images
  • On-page performance monitoring
  • Google penalties
  • Page fetch times
  • External links
  • Thin pages
  • Content/HTML ratio
  • HTTP response codes
  • Malformed & Excluded URLs
  • Crawl depth
  • Meta, Header, Robots Noindex

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. If you are a local business in Sydney or Adelaide, you are much more likely to get better SEO returns with optimising for the local population. If you are an ecommerce in Brisbane you are more likely to be successful with an international strategy or a national strategy.

Regional SEO seems to work great if you have location-based created for each type of service you provide. Google is specifically picking up location-based pages for queries with local intent. Online reviews along with anchor texts of your links play a crucial role in your business showing up local rankings.

Link Building

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.

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,

Google SEO Campaign in Australia

Having a great website and paying for good ads isn’t enough. 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.

There are three specific steps you should take when setting up your search engine optimisation plan in Australia. These steps will ensure that your website looks professional, backed by a trustworthy team, and ready to give a great first impression for your business.

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.

Remember the first impression of your business is not when a customer comes to your site. The first impression is much earlier when a customer reads the title and description of the page they are about to click on search engines. Once you have identified the customer, ensure that your content is targeted to speak to them.

Make your website your brand 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.

Ensure that you give a consistent brand experience to your customers. Consistency also helps with improving the user trust and overall user actions on the page. It is well known that google puts emphasis on user actions and user behaviour on the page.

Optimise for crawl. Optimise your store or site so that Google and Bing can crawl, process and index your site. Sorting happens after crawling and indexing. Ensure that you set up your site for better crawlability.

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.

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.

 

15 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

  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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. Basinik
    June 12, 2018 at 7:45 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.

    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. Alfred
    June 14, 2018 at 7:44 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.

  13. Dave
    June 19, 2018 at 7:44 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.

    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.

  14. Gregory
    June 19, 2018 at 7:45 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.

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