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SEO - short for search engine optimisation - is the collective term for activities that you perform both on your website (onpage seo) and externally off it (off-page seo) to increase the chances of your website showing up as organic search results on the first 3 pages of namely the Google search engine, for the keywords that you are targeting, and - more importantly - get people to click through to your website.
Google is the dominant search engine in the world (outside China), so when it comes to SEO, we simply focus on the search result performance on Google.
Also, your goal should always be to rank on the first 3 pages of Google search result for your keywords, if you can’t get to the first page. Attention and therefore visibility is practically zero for search results beyond the 3rd page.
The short answer is traffic. Huge volume of intent-filled traffic, for free.
60% of all traffic on the internet begins with a Google search. And people search when they are usually looking to solve a problem or fulfil a need, maybe with a product or service. Perhaps, your product or service?
So quite simply put, the more visible your business is on Google search, the bigger the share of that juicy traffic you get to capture that can turn into more leads and customers. And this is achievable through SEO.
Because organic search results are generally considered to be more credible and trusted than paid ones (Google ads), SEO also helps boost the reputation and brand of your business online over the long term.
As technical as SEO may sound, it’s not that hard to start doing it yourself. Here are some tips to get you started.
Just as how a doctor can’t give you the right medication and treatment if he/she can’t diagnose your problems in the first place, you can’t start to fix your SEO issues if you don’t even know what the issues are.
So always start with a SEO audit, which includes both a technical and structural runthrough of your website, its pages and assets, as well as its content makeup and relevance. There are many free tools on the internet that can help you run a technical basic SEO audit, just google for “seo audit tool” and you should be able to try out some.
Most free SEO audit tools however only look at the technical aspects of search optimisation and don’t give you much insights on an increasingly crucial aspect that Google is looking into, which is that of user experience and user relevance. Full an in-depth, comprehensive SEO audit that covers all the critical factors, it is recommended that you consult a professional agency, like Stridec.
Supercharge your website for higher Google search rankings? Book a SEO audit now
The best advice is usually timeless, and it is no different when it comes to SEO. As we said earlier, Google pays significant attention to how relevant a website or webpage is in relation to the user’s search query and therefore, intent. And relevancy is highly dependent on having the right content to show the users when they land on your page.
So take another look at the content that you currently have on your webpages. Are they engaging and provides direct, actionable information to your target audience who may be searching for it? Is the content presented in a clear and easy-to-understand manner? Is the content talking more about your business and yourself, or how you can solve the reader’s problem?
Improving your content is one of the easiest and most effective way to improve your SEO performance, as it is something that is entirely within your control and can be done immediately.
Content should not be just paragraphs upon paragraphs of text. Again, consider the user experience: how boring would a webpage be if it’s all text and nothing else? Having a good mix of multimedia (e.g. images, videos and social media elements etc) together with your copywriting makes for a better user experience and signals to Google that your webpages deserve better search rankings.
Want to learn how to write better copy for your website? Download this free guide
Google now considers 2 factors in a big way when it comes to giving search result visibility to websites and there are loading speed and security.
Nobody likes to wait for a website to be downloaded. In today’s digitally-connected world, a 3-second delay in loading speed is a lifetime and a big enough push to send your visitors away from your website and into the welcoming embrace of your competitors’.
Having a fast website involves 2 parts: optimisation on the website itself (code and assets such as images), and server speed. The easier one to optimise is that of server speed, as it usually only involves a simple upgrade of your hosting plan to a higher one that prioritises more server resources and additional configuration to boost the server response time.
A simple way to know your website’s loading speed and what needs to be optimised is to head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Simply enter the address of your website and Google will scan your website for problems and potential issues that may be causing your website to load slower than desired.
Once you have the results, you can now go about fixing the issues, or pass to a web designer to do it for you.
Similarly, Google is also putting a lot of attention on secure websites which is hardly surprising given the increasing frequency at which websites - even of major corporations - are being hacked and breached into. Having a secure website not only improves your SEO performance overall, it’s also good corporate practice and customer responsibility as a growing majority of users - both public and commercial - become concerned with data privacy.
And just like speed, security has to be dealt with on 2 fronts: on the website itself in terms of writing and maintaining secure code, and configuration on the server.
One of the most basic security elements to put in place is that of a Secure Socket Layer - or SSL in short - certificate. Otherwise known as HTTPS (Secure HTTP protocol), a SSL certificate encrypts the communication between your website and the users’ browsers, and is represented by a padlock icon on the browser’s address bar.
Having a secure website demonstrates to your users that you care about and take their data privacy concerns seriously, which in turn builds trustworthiness, so your audience is more likely to click to your website and stay longer, improving your click-through rate (CTR) and dwell-time, both of which are significant factors when it comes to high ranking performance on Google search.
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SEO at the first glance may seem daunting to most people, but nothing can be further from the truth. It does take time and effort to get it right, but it’s not something that is out of reach, as long as you are clear about the foundations and willing to put in a disciplined process to go about doing it.
You do need to have patience for the results to show up though, as it can take a while. If your business is in a moderately competitive space, you can expect some ranking results to show up between 3 and 6 months. For highly competitive ones, do expect that it may take up to a year before your search rankings start improving.
SEO is a long-term investment and should never been viewed as a quick win strategy. If you are looking for instant results to drive tactical sales, Google and/or Facebook advertising may be more suitable for you.
But if you are serious about growing a long term business and more importantly a lasting brand, then you have to invest in SEO today, right now. Of all the digital channels out there that you can market your business on, nothing singularly beats the visibility, brand awareness, traffic impact and long-term ROI of a strong SEO performance.
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