Ingredients for SEO success

Improving your google ranking is a fundamental part of any good business marketing strategy, however SEO strategies have changed over the years. What once worked before doesn’t necessarily mean it will work now. & as of early 2015 some of the old tactics you may have been using may not only keep your traffic sluggish, but they even may actually cause a significant drop in your traffic! In this quick guide our team looks at some of the key points that make up a good successful SEO campaign.

 

Always focus on high quality content

After the notorious Panda 4.1 update in September 2014, smaller unpopular websites who focus on good quality content saw a huge spike in their traffic. These websites also avoided mediocre, small, poorly written content, & doorway page sites with black hat tactics. Therefore it’s more important to focus on good quality content, & we feel Google are rewarding these smaller sites, who featured much lower down the Google ranking compared to more popular sites. You’ll never go wrong with this simple strategy of focusing on witting high quality content, & we think it’s the backbone of SEO success.

Correct grammer

Business owners make the mistake of failing to realise that www.business.com & http://business.com are read as different pages by search engines even though they may point to the same page. This can have a detrimental effect on your SEO campaign as results will be diluted between the two pages & any efforts to bolster your SEO campaign go adrift. The solution to this is to tell Google that you wish to have all data & views of www.business.com to be counted towards http://business.com. This can be implemented rather easily by using a permanent redirection from one page to the other, more commonly technically known as a 301.

Research of popular keywords

Keywords are one of the most fundamental factors for any website to rank well on search engines. Keywords research are an important starting point to a good strong SEO campaign, as it gives you an idea of which keywords are being used by internet users to look for your business/website. You should try to figure out those keywords that have a high search volume but relatively low competition as this will help them rank better. However these are limited as competitors also make use of similar ones. One of the options is to include long tail keywords as these are specific to your page, & therefore improve the chances of getting listed for a relevant search.

Knowing how to talk to Google

It’s important to understand how to technically optimise your website so that search engines like Google can read & link to your website. The URL structure should also be short, kept ideally below hundred characters. Minimise special rarely used characters & for spaces use dashes instead of underscores.  Use an unique title tag which includes basic keywords also in the beginning of the title. A meta description is also important, with no more than two short brief sentences desiring the page. Where possible avoid the duplication of content as this will lead to confusion for search engines. Finally a XML site-map is required for the website, which should be submitted to Google webmaster tools to get the content checked. It’s important to note that every time new content is added to the website it’s important to re-submit an updated XML site-map.

Quality of website

We always stress the importance of good ui, & uxd, & believe that a good quality website that is easy for users to find what they are looking for whilst giving them a good experience will do wonders for your traffic. It’s easily overlooked with SEO strategies, however emphasis needs to be on the ease of use of the website. For much of todays business advertising themselves on the web, a simple one page responsive page is no more than they really need. This will also work well for SEO as well as keeping your visitors happy & alway coming back for more. A blog which lets your customers be more involved with what you are up to can also gain strong backlinks & increase the relevance of the website. Infographics are always a big hit with our team which we feel go a long way & contribute to getting your information across immensely.

Social Media Integration 

Integrating social media has become a vital part of a good SEO campaign as linking these sites creates very strong backlinks. We have our own tactics at Supafonica & well versed in which media streams to deploy, advertise & link to your business. A word of caution though, as it’s important to know which streams to connect to as social media can have a detrimental effect to your business. None the less we feel that for the now & the future taking into consideration Google’s new strategies for how they rank websites it’s extremely important to know how to use Social Media. It goes without saying that if you connect with people who have additional followers then information will be shared more quickly.

Keeping up to date with recent trends

Recently Google made a change to their algorithm which includes news sections that are not specifically connected with typical large news sites. Along side media giants such as CNN, & the BBC you’ll now be able to see more blogs & articles from the general public. This is significantly important to SEO executives as we feel you should concentrate on top end content on the relevant subject. Getting featured & including in the news section of Google is a huge advantage & play an important role in good SEO practices.

Creating a multi responsive website

A responsive website optimised for tablets & phones for example, will increase popularity, improve the visibility of your business, & increase page rankings. With the trend these days to mobile portability it’s more important than ever to have a website that manages to work effortlessly well on these devices. More recently Google have now added a mobile SERP label if your site is mobile friendly which simply says “mobile friendly”. We feel that Google is constantly rewarding sites that are mobile friendly which can only mean a better google ranking.

 

In conclusion you have to play by Google’s rules & their rules alone. Knowing what these rules are is vital in playing the game of SEO marketing & improving your Google ranking. Focusing on good quality content is more important than ever as since the Penguin algorithm update relevancy of links have become more important than their quantity. More experienced people would know that these rules are governed by an established algorithm, which is always changing and evolving, therefore it’s important to know what Google are looking out for & being a step or two ahead of everyone else.

Understanding SEO data

Data is the sole method through which one can make any assessment as to the success of an SEO campaign. The kind of in depth data analysis facilitated by Google Analytics and other tools is one of the core components that differentiate digital marketing from offline marketing and TV advertising. It is also both intrinsic to the success of a campaign and the strongest selling point for any honest agency.

Data is intrinsic to the success of an SEO campaign

It is only through analyzing and understanding the data generated by and pertaining to your SEO campaign that you can begin to understand the impact the SEO is having. If you do not know what traffic volumes your website is receiving or what the sources of that traffic are, then you will not be correctly positioned to be able to understand the value that the SEO is having.

Data is the strongest selling point for SEO

Data can completely validate the success of a campaign and conversely can prove the ineffectiveness of one. If you understand what the data is telling you, it becomes possible to make an accurate assessment of whether or not the work is working. It is because of this that such high levels of transparency can be provided by an SEO agency.
This is why data is so important at a fundamental level for both a client and an SEO consultant.

Misleading data

Top level data such as total website traffic can be misleading if taken either outside of any context or in the wrong context altogether. To illustrate this point with a real world example; if you had instigated an email marketing campaign in February and this delivered 1,000 website visitors… However your SEO agency provides you with top level traffic stats only, which reveals that traffic went up in February compared to January by 1,050 visitors. This would, using a cursory glance, appear to be a very significant improvement and thus prove the value of your SEO. The reality of this situation is that traffic increased by 50 visits, once the email marketing campaign traffic is deducted.
Furthermore, and continuing the example above, where did those 50 visitors come from? Were they from search engines, were they direct visitors, were they delivered from other websites? Have you excluded your own IP address from the analytics data, if not 30 of those visits could be you! Are you looking at visits or unique visitors? Understanding all of these aspects and many more will shape the very meaning of the data.
Another simple and effective example of misleading data is this; let’s assume that traffic in January reached 1,000, but in February traffic remained at 1,000 visitors. On the face of it there is no obvious improvement month on month… BUT, February has only 28 days and January has 31 days, SO; in January the average visitors per day was 32.2, whereas in February the average visitors per day was 35.7 AND this means that traffic actually increased by 10.7% when comparing a like for like period of time.

What is good data?

This is the very crux of this article, good data is useful data. Good data should always reveal rather than obscure meaning. To some extent all data has the potential to be useful but it must be supported by other data and your analysis of that data should consider all contributing factors.
Breaking down top level data into the following categories is a very useful way of understanding the sources of those data and how they relate to one another.
Total Traffic | Conversions
Organic Traffic | Conversions
Organic Traffic (excluding brand name related searches) | Conversions
Direct Traffic | Conversions
Referral Traffic | Conversions
The above list of metrics through which to analyse the top level data is a great starting point, you will be able to assess how much traffic has come from what source and how many conversions are attributed to it.
The metric “Organic Traffic (excluding brand name related searches)” is acquired by filtering out keywords from the organic traffic that are related to the name of the company. This is a very important metric as it pertains specifically to the traffic to the website coming from completely natural search.

Conversions

Conversions and the tracking thereof, where possible, should always be implemented. Conversions are nearly always very close to the bottom line for clients and are usually the best measure of a campaign’s success. Conversions (or goals) can be very easily setup in both Google Analytics and AdWords, either by using the existing tracking code or by adding some to a confirmation page.
As mentioned above though, one must understand where these conversions are coming from not just from the generic source but also from what keywords. This can reveal how people find your site prior to converting, and thus make you efforts more targeted. Traffic is vanity compared to conversion data, much the same way turnover is to profit; it is possible to deliver thousands of visitors to a site but if they do not convert then they offer no value to the website owner.
Use analytics to look at conversion funnels, see where people drop out and try to establish why they drop out. Understanding why conversions fail by analysing the data for that can be equally as valuable as seeing what converts and when.
Again be mindful or wary of sweeping general statistics like; “your site converted 60% more visitors in May 2012 compared to May 2011″. As we have illustrated above this kind of data is fine so long as it is accompanied by a more in depth look at what is happening. Were those conversions from organic sources? It is possible that your conversion rate jumped up after a website redesign or rebranding launch, or some other marketing endeavour?

Comparing data

Comparing data sets is another valuable statistical trick that can reveal hidden treasures in the data. For example, compare your keyword rankings and the traffic for those keywords; this could uncover some gems… Keywords which aren’t ranked well but deliver a lot of traffic and long tail traffic could be worth your attention during your next retainer. Go further still and compare competing websites, traffic and rankings to get a feel for what keywords will deliver the best results in the shortest time.
Comparing PPC data to organic data and ranking data could also yield valuable results; see if you are bidding on keywords that you already rank number 1 for organically. If you are it is possible to run some tests, to see if the additional paid clicks that you receive are worth the money.

Summary

The aim of this blog is to stress the importance of understanding your data and we hope we have given some good examples of what is good and what is bad data. Nothing short of clarity is required when dealing with data, in part because data & statistics of any type are easy to misrepresent or obfuscate the true meaning behind them. Equally, it is easy to misunderstand data by not looking at it either logically or thoroughly.

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