SEO for beginners: Learn the basics
SEO for B2B companies is something they need to be investing in. It has the potential to bring them success that no other digital marketing channel can offer.
Getting your website to the top of Google can be a business changing achievement.
It can bring more traffic, more eyes on your website’s page, more click thoughts, more sign-ups, and more conversions than you could imagine.
What is Search Engine Marketing (SEO)?
SEO is the process of getting free or organic traffic to your website from search engines.
Many business owners don’t understand the power of SEO or they do but don’t know how to do it. They also don’t realise SEO is the most powerful digital marketing channel to invest in for a long-term marketing strategy. Don’t believe us? Then ask yourself this question:
How do people find a website?
That’s right they come from a search engine. In fact, 93% of online experiences come from a search engine. So being at the top of Google for the keywords that apply to your business is essential for success in the digital world.
Just look at these facts:
- 61% of digital marketers say that improving SEO is their top priority
- SEO delivers higher quality traffic than almost all marketing channels
- Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results
- 67k searches are performed on Google every second
Looking at these, you can see, SEO is important. But not just important, it’s also lucrative for business owners.
Now that you know what SEO is and how it can help your business, the question is ‘How do I do it?’
Getting started with SEO
SEO is not for the short-term strategy. On average, it takes 3 months to start seeing an improvement and 12-18 months to start generating a return but don’t let that turn you off, because that return can be huge!
Google has over 200 ranking factors that it takes into account when deciding where to rank your website. While all 200 play a role, there’s 4 that are considered the most important:
- Page speed
- A secure website
These ranking factors alone can make all the difference when it comes to rankings.
Content is referring to every word and image on your website.
Google search relies on keywords. These keywords are the things that people are searching for. It might be ‘Best financial SaaS platform’ or ‘where can I buy a white t-shirt’, it’s all keywords that Google uses to try and find the best content for that search.
This means that your content needs to be optimised for the keywords that you want people to find you for. Spending just an hour going over your content to ensure that those keywords are included can make a huge difference.
But there’s another part to content – actively creating new content. Generally, this is in the form of blog posts. Blog posts enable you to pick up new keywords, instead of relying on static pages.
If you’re not blogging, that should be your very first course of action or at least putting into place a strategy for getting content consistently developed.
If you decided to develop content, the length of your content will have a huge effect on where your content ranks. Try to create blog posts with a word count of at least 2,000 words.
Page speed is referring to the time it takes for your website to load once a user has been directed to it.
Page speed has been referred to as one of the most important ranking factors. Google’s main aim is to improve a user’s experience and having a website that loads fast will certainly ensure that. With this, Google has also put importance on mobile page speed which was announced in 2018.
You can check out your page speed with this tool.
There are lots of factors that play into the speed of which your website loads:
- Size of images
- Number of redirects
- Page size
- The website’s hosting
- Plus a lot more!
Luckily, the tool where you can check your page speed will also tell you what’s wrong and suggest fixes, if any are needed.
We recommend getting someone who knows what they’re doing to do this as it could break your website!
Links are what power search engines. The only reason you can find or access anything on the web is because of links. So of course, they play a crucial role in ranking.
When we talk about links, there are three types that we’re referring to:
- Inbound links – links that direct to your website from another
- Outbound – links that direct from your website to another
- Internal – links that direct from one page on your website to another
Out of these, inbound links are the most important.
Google determines how authoritative a piece of content or web page by using the help of how many inbound links direct to it. So with that knowledge, you can connect how important it is to generate good quality content as that will lead to other websites linking to that piece of content.
See, it all works together!
Ideally, you want to high authority sites including relevant links on their website that directs traffic to your website. For example, if the Financial Review was to link to your website that would be more powerful than a random website with low authority.
In a perfect world, you would have very few low-authoritative or quality links to your website. You can check this with a tool called SEMRush.
A secure website
Google puts a big focus on secure and safe websites for users. Recently, Google announced that the websites with SSL will be ranked higher than those without.
Other things Google is looking for in a secure website are:
- A website that’s created on a well-coded, trustworthy platform and uses a well-coded theme.
- A site map that lists all of the website’s pages in an order that makes sense. You can also do this with Yoast SEO.
Bonus – technical SEO
Don’t be scared by the word technical, there’s no coding involved. It’s referencing the way your website or page is set up. There are a few key points here:
- Using keywords or phrases in the titles of your page. This is where Google looks first.
- Using the right headers to create a hierarchy. This means If your title for that page is a H1 (most important header) then your subheader needs to be a H2 and so on, to show what is the most important content.
- All your pages and posts should have URLs and meta descriptions that clearly show what the page or content piece is about. A great tool for this is Yoast SEO. As it guides you through the process plus gives you SEO recommendations.
- Correctly name your images, ensure they’re website optimised and add correct meta descriptions.
These 5 ranking factors alone, when done correctly in conjunction with frequent and consistent content being created, can put into motion a website that will start to rank higher and higher.
Here’s an example of proper headline use:
Longtail keywords vs. keywords
When it comes to understanding SEO, it’s important to point out the difference between keywords and longtail keywords.
Keywords are generic keyword searches. Searches like ‘white t-shirt’ or ‘digital marketing agency’ are considered keywords. These keywords have two important things to remember:
- They have high search volumes
- They are very competitive to rank for
That’s why when SEO is first being implemented, a good strategy will be aware of the keywords that you want to rank for but it won’t focus on ranking for them. Instead, a good strategy will focus on ranking for longtail keywords.
Longtail keywords are longer searches, closer to phrases. A search like ‘V-neck white t-shirts for sale in Sydney’ is considered a longtail keyword. It’s more descriptive and will lead the user to a much more target search result. The two things to remember with longtail keywords are:
- They have low search volumes
- They aren’t very competitive
When SEO is first being implemented, a good strategy will focus on acquiring as many longtail keywords as possible because not only are they easier to rank for, they also have a much higher conversion ratio. In fact, longtail keywords convert 3x more than keywords.
What does SEO cost?
Not like other digital marketing channels, SEO performance can rely heavily on the amount you pay.
Paying too little will be ineffective and could be dangerous for your website. Often these agencies and freelancers will use tactics that break Google’s policies to get results. Which in return will result in your website being de-ranked or completely unindexed.
Paying too much, on the other hand, will mean you are forking out too much money without getting any results.
You want to be paying a reasonable amount for SEO services that include SEO, reporting and on-going maintenance monthly. Often you can also get content development included.
For what you should be paying, here’s the breakdown:
- Too little: $1,000 or less – Anything below that mark will be inefficient and could damage your website
- Entry-level: $1,000-$2,000 – You can get ok quality SEO in this range. You’ll see results but don’t expect fireworks
- Affordable: $2,000-$6,000 – If you’re looking to take SEO seriously and want to see real results, this is the range you want to be in
- Expensive: $6,000+ – Don’t be turned off by the word ‘expensive’. The spend on SEO is limitless depending on what you need. At this level, you can expect to see more things being done – backlink building, content partnerships, blog posts and all the other things that play a key role.
What separates amazing SEO from bad SEO?
These are the factors that define good SEO:
- Market research – good SEO will take into account research on audiences, customers, competitors, products, and more.
- SEO audit – An SEO audit will be performed on a website to determine the current state and anything that needs to be fixed.
- Strategy development – Based on the research and audit a strategy will be developed.
- Keyword research – this will result in a long list of keywords that need to be targeted.
- On-page optimisation – fixing and perfecting all the keyword ranking factors that are on a page. For example, fixing header tags, site structure, meta descriptions, and more.
- Off-page optimisation – this includes backlink building, reviews, guest posting, social media, and more.
- Content development – developing high-quality content for your website
- Analysis and reporting – one issue businesses have with SEO agencies and freelancers is the lack of communication or reporting. Good SEO will always include monthly reporting and constant communication.
And there you have it!
You now know the basics of SEO and can now start making a move on implementing your new knowledge.