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Posted On: 15 August 2018

SEO is a perfect way to improve the success of your business website—with much less investment required than other advertising methods. Getting SEO right will continue to pay dividends for years to come, and draw ideal audiences to your business.

2excel are Adelaide’s best digital marketing firm, with over 15 years of experience helping businesses thrive through improving their digital marketing strategies and website design.

We’ve created this quick guide to getting SEO to work for you to help you understand how SEO can help your business grow—just through improving the planning of your website.

Want to chat more about how we can help? Your chat with us is obligation-free. If you’d like to meet with our team in person, we can organise that too. Just let us know!

2excel—we make the web work! Contact us or call us today! 1300 884 340

​After commencing operations over 15 years ago, I’ve come to understand how business owners feel about the digital disruption sweeping the Australian market, and how confusing online marketing can be. Initially many of my clients felt online marketing was either to risky, too expensive or simply didn’t understand how it works, and didn’t have the time to learn. But what they found was that we didn’t need a lot from them to make our program work!

-2excel founder, Edward Deane

​Why Is SEO seo1Important ?

On any given day, people conduct more than 2.2 million searches. And that’s just on Google —not mentioning any other search engines.

​Having your business show up on the front page of Google results can be the deciding factor between your business thriving and dying. But to get an idea of the competition out there, consider this: WordPress users alone publish over 2 million posts every day, which works out to 24 blog posts every second—and that’s not even counting posts from any other blogging platforms. The huge volume of content being produced every day makes it tough for you to stand out, but it’s essential you do if you want to remain competitive.

​Most people start their search for something with a search engine, namely, Google—almost 75% of searchers start their searches on Google. Now, consider the fact that the first five results on Google get 67% of all clicks, and you’ll start to see just how important of search engine optimisation is. If your business content (whether it’s an article, product, website, or blog post) isn’t on the first page of Google results, it may as well not be ranking at all.

​Why Is SEO Important ?

SEO is all about increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, and increasing audience exposure to your brand.

The majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. Search engines are getting smarter, but they still need our help. Optimising your site content will help you better information to search engines so your content can be properly indexed and displayed within search results.

SEO is a one of the few online marketing channels that can continue to pay dividends over time, if set up correctly in the first place. If you provide a solid piece of content that ranks for the right keywords, your site traffic can snowball and increase over time—compare this to traditional advertising avenues, in which continuous funding is needed to send traffic to your site.

SEO isn’t just about search engines—it’s about people, too. It’s about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they’re seeking, the keywords they’re using, and the type of content they’re hoping to find. By leveraging this data, you’ll be able to plan high-quality content that your visitors will truly value, which will help build your rankings over time.

Getting the SEO process right is a big step towards your business getting noticed, and by the end of this guide we hope you’ll have a better grip on how to improve your results. To get there, we’ll need to take a look at what SEO means and how the search process works.

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​​What Does ​SEO Mean?

You probably already know that SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Wikipedia’s definition of SEO is: “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results.”

Let’s break it down: search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your online content so a search engine will prefer to show it as a top result for certain keyword searches. 

But what part of your content do you need to optimise? The design, the writing, the links? The short answer is it’s all of these things—and so much more besides.

​​What Does ​SEO Mean ?

To simplify it even more—if you have an article about a gym workout, you want it to show up as a top result when anyone types in “gym workout” to a search engine. SEO involves three parties—your business, the search engine, and the searcher—that you’ll know how to successfully bring together for the best results at the end of this guide.

​​​Search Engine Basics

To better understand SEO, it’s essential to get your head around how search engines work. Search engines are designed to give you, the searcher, answers. They have access to billions of content pieces across the internet, which they obtain through a discovery and cataloguing process that is known as “crawling” and “indexing”—during which they go through endless web pages, PDFs, images, videos and so on.

​​​Search Engine Basics

​Search engines are drive by unique algorithms that evaluate thousands of different factors to determine which content is most likely to answer your search.

​Changing Rules

It’s important to note here that the “rules” of SEO are changing all the time, as companies like Google continue to alter the algorithms they use, and continue to protect much of their list of factors used to determine your search results. Backlinko have done a great job of compiling as many of Google’s “determining factors” as possible into one list. That said, the strategies in this guide will certainly help your business to move up in the search engine rankings, but just keep in mind the goalposts are always moving—to stay ahead of the game, keep your eye out for tech industry updates and the latest information on how search engines are working, and consider how this will impact on your business’ SEO strategy.

​Organic Search Results

Simply put, organic search results are non-paid search results (i.e. they are not advertising)—and you can influence these results through effective SEO.

Today, search engine results pages are filled with more advertising and more organic results formats (called “features”) than ever seen before.

Some examples of search engine results pages features are :

  • Featured snippets (or answer boxes)
  • People Also Ask boxes
  • Image carousels

New features are continuing to emerge based on the type of searches people are making—for example, a search engine results page might show you the weather, maths answer or currency conversion directly, rather than the searcher having to go through multiple websites to find their answers, which is convenient and time-efficient for the searcher. One goal of a search engine is to generate revenue from advertising, so ideally they want to keep searchers on the results pages, and keep them coming back—this is why they’ve started answering queries directly on the results pages.

​Know Your Limits

Another quick note to remember—there are some search features that typically won’t be influenced by SEO, even though they may not be paid advertising. Often these features involve data acquired from proprietary data sources (e.g. Wikipedia, WebMD, IMDb). There is plenty you can do to increase your content’s ranking outside of these features, however!

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​​​​Google Webmaster Guidelines

Webmaster guidelines provide useful direction for the type of content you include on your site. Webmaster guidelines do vary from search engine to search engine, but the underlying principles stay the same: provide your visitors with a positive and unique online experience, and don’t try to trick search engines for dodgy purposes. Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging, and base your site around this.

​​​​Google Webmaster Guidelines

The basic principles of Google Webmaster guidelines :

  • Make pages primarily for users, not search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

Things to avoid :

  • Automatically generated content
  • Participating in link schemes
  • Creating pages with little or no original content (i.e. copied from somewhere else)
  • Cloaking — the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
  • Hidden text and links
  • Doorway pages — pages created to rank well for specific searches to funnel traffic to your website.

​​​​​Your Website Goals

To get ahead with your SEO, make one of your first steps getting know your website, or client’s, goals. These goals will dictate which areas of SEO you should focus on. Your website goals will also determine what areas you should track conversions in, and what type of benchmarks to set. Each business is unique, so the goals for each business’ website will be unique.

​​​​​Your Website Goals

Take a minute to out your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your SEO work—what will be your measure of success for your organic search efforts? Write them down—and keep coming back to your notes as you navigate the SEO process so you stay focused on your goals.

Here are a few common KPI ideas to get you started :

  • Sales
  • Downloads
  • Email signups
  • Contact form submissions
  • Phone calls

If your business has a local component, define KPIs for your Google My Business listings as well, which might include​ :

  • Clicks-to-call
  • Clicks-to-call
  • Clicks-for-driving-directions

No matter the nature of your business, conversions will be one of your key goals. Website traffic and rankings will mean nothing if your traffic doesn’t convert to help you reach your business goals. If your content gets 50 people to convert from 200 visits per month, you’ll end up much better off having this smaller number of visits rather than having thousands visit per month with only one or two conversions.

​​​​​​Fulfilling User Intent

Understanding and fulfilling user intent is critical to making SEO work for your website. When a person searches for something, they have a desired outcome—it might be an answer, tickets, or a product—and that desired outcome is known as their “user intent.” The aim of SEO is to quickly provide users with the content they desire in the format in which they desire it.

​​​​​​Fulfilling User Intent

The most common user intent types are :

  • Informational: Searching for information
  • Navigational: Searching for a specific website
  • Transactional: Searching to buy something

You can quickly evaluate user intent by searching for your desired keyword(s) and evaluating the search engine results pages you get. If there’s a photo carousel, it’s likely people are searching for photos when they are using those particular keywords.

While you’re there, check out your top-ranking competitors and see what they’re delivering with their content—are there ways you could provide better value? Improving your content and making it relevant and high-quality will help your website to rank higher in search results. It will also give you credibility and trust with your online audience, which will only benefit your business in the long run.

​​​​​​​Keyword Research

​Keyword research is crucial to understanding your target market and seeing how they are searching for your content, services, or products. Once you understand these things, it will help you to become increasingly strategic with your SEO and get better results. Keyword research will provide you with specific answers to important questions like :

  • What are people searching for?
  • How many people are searching for it?
  • In what format do they want their information?

​What Terms Are People Searching?

Do you know how people search for the product, service, or information you provide? The terms they use might be different than you think. Finding your answer to this question is a crucial first step in the keyword research process, and successful use of SEO.

​Keyword Discovery

There’s probably a few keywords you have in mind that you would like to achieve a high ranking for—keywords that revolve around things like your products, services, or website topics. These keywords are great starting places for your keyword research.

Start by entering those keywords into a keyword research tool to discover average monthly search volume and similar keywords. This will help you find variations of your keywords and see which variations are most popular among searchers. You’ll also discover other helpful keywords, common questions, and popular topics for your content that you might have missed otherwise.

​​​​​​​Keyword Research

As you do your research you’ll notice that the search volume of various keywords varies. Keep in mind that it’s not always better to go for the most popular keywords—while you’ll definitely want to focus on a few of the most popular terms, it can also be advantageous to target terms with lower search volumes because they’re far less competitive. Using both popular and lesser-searched keywords will give your website a big strategic advantage.

​​​​​​​​Search Volume

​​How often are your targeted terms searched? The higher the search volume for a given keyword or keyword phrase, the more work is typically required to achieve higher rankings. This concept is referred to as keyword difficulty.

Keyword difficulty sometimes incorporates search engine results page (SERP) features—if things like featured snippets, knowledge graphs, carousels, etc) are clogging up a keyword result page, the keyword difficulty will increase.

Achieving rankings through high-volume keywords can be a years-long effort and a difficult uphill battle if you’re not a big brand—big brands most commonly take up the top ten results for high-volume keywords. If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to remember that you could be up for years of waiting to see your efforts with high-volume keywords pay off. The higher the search volume, the greater the competition and effort required to achieve organic ranking success.

​​​​​​​​Search Volume

If you aim for keywords that are too low in search volume and keyword difficulty, you will risk not gaining any searches for your site. So how can you get around this and strike a balance? The key is to target highly specific, lower competition search terms—known as long-tail keywords.

​​​​​​​​​Understanding Long Tail Keywords

Always assuming that the most popular keywords are the answer to improving SEO is a mistake—sometimes, keywords with very high search volumes may even indicate the searcher is ambiguous about their intent. For example, a search might type in “clothes”, but this probably won’t result in high conversion rates—this is much more likely if they’ve search for something specific, like “yellow jumper” or “size 10 jeans”.

​​​​​​​​​Understanding Long Tail Keywords

So, never underestimate less popular keywords, and use them to your advantage. Long-tail keywords with lower search volumes often convert better because searchers are usually more specific and intentional in their searches, as we’ve shown above.

Popular keywords that have tens of thousands of searches a month can be great to try to attain some success with, but these terms only make up a tiny portion of all the searches performed—so if you target these terms rather than more specific ones, you could find that you’re drawing the wrong types of visitors to your site (people who aren’t looking for the type of information your site provides)‚ which obviously isn’t ideal for your business!

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​​​​​​​​​Search Volume Strategy

​A strategic part of your keyword research (after finding relevant search terms and corresponding search volumes) can be to look at the content published by your business competitors and work out if your audience keyword searches might differ by season or location.

​​​​​​​​​Search Volume Strategy

​Keywords by Competitor

To prioritise your list of keywords to tackle, a good strategy is to prioritise the keywords your competitors are not currently ranking for—this is great to capitalise on your competitors gaps in strategy. Conversely, you could see which keywords your competitors are ranking for and prioritise those to compete with them—this is an openly aggressive strategy which sets you up for strong competition.

​Keywords by Season

Keeping aware of seasonal trends can be a vital part of a successful content strategy. For example, if you know what products are popular in the lead-up to Easter, you can have your content prepared months in advance and have it in place ready to publish and promote when Easter comes around.

​Keywords by Region

You can target a specific location by narrowing down your keyword research to specific towns or states in the Google Keyword Planner, or evaluate “interest by subregion” in Google Trends. Location-specific research can help you to make your content more relevant to your target audience, and ensure that you’re using language to suit your target audience.

​​​​​​​​​​Tools for Determining the Value of a Keyword

​How much value can a keyword add to your website? The below tools will help you find out and will be valuable to your keyword research :

  • Google Keyword Planner : historically has been the most common starting point for SEO keyword research. Keep in mind though, it does lumping keywords together into large search volume range buckets, which restricts search volume data.
  • Google Trends : great for finding seasonal keyword fluctuations e.g. Halloween and Christmas.
  • AnswerThePublic : A free tool that outlines commonly searched for questions around a specific keyword. You could also use this tool in tandem with another free tool, Keywords Everywhere, to prioritise ATP’s suggestions by search volume.
  • SpyFu Keyword Research Tool : A free tool that provides some great and competitive keyword data.

​​​​​​​​​​Growing Popularity Through a Link Campaign

For decades search engines have treated links as a measure of popularity and importance, and strategic use of links can help you improve your rankings. Search engines evaluate link data and assess sites in part on this data. Keep in mind links aren’t everything within SEO, but they can certainly help.
Search engines tend to use links to measure metrics like trust, spam, and authority—for example, trustworthy sites tend to be linked to other trusted sites, whereas spam sites receive very few links from trusted sources.

​​​​​​​​​​Growing Popularity Through a Link Campaign

Search engines rely on a number of signals to help build a rating scale of link value, and some of these metrics include the following:

​Ranking for Relevant Search Terms

You can find out how much a search engine values a given page by searching for some of the targeted keywords and phrases on the page—particularly those in the title tag and headline. If you can earn links from pages that already rate highly for the keywords you’re targeting, you’ll be on the right track.

​Competitor’s Backlinks

​Check out websites that already rank well for your target keywords, and assess what inbound links have helped them achieve this ranking. You can then try to target these links in your own link building campaign.

​Number of Links on a Page

The value of link can be diluted by the presence of other links on a page—so being linked to by a page with a few links is better than being linked to by a page with many links—this is just something to be aware of as you conduct your link building campaign.

​Potential Referral Traffic

Links that create high amounts of direct click-through traffic tend to provide better search engine rankings. They also send targeted, valuable visitors to your site—which is the basic goal of all digital marketing.

You can check out your referral traffic through page visit numbers or page views in your site analytics. You could also use Google Trends to give you an idea of domain-specific traffic—but be aware this number will likely be less accurate that your own site analytics.

​​​​​​​​​​4 Quick Tips to Up Your SEO Results

​Build a Blog

Blogs are perfect for creating and publishing the fresh, interesting and original content that will capture the attention of your audiences and up your SEO success. It’s one of the few link building success techniques personally recommended by Google. Through a blog you can earn listings and links on other blogs, and put out fresh content consistently. Just make sure you put the effort in to make it informative and entertaining for your visitors!

​Get Your Customers Linking

A good way to think about customer links is comparing it to bumper stickers—a way of getting your brand visually out into the world. If you have loyal customer and/or regular business partners, you can ask them to share graphic icons or links back to your site (for the ecommerce aspect of your site or otherwise) which will help to build up your rankings.

​Create Viral Content

This is also known as “linkbait” in the SEO world—creating something that will inspire viewers, bloggers and/or readers to share the link with their friends until it becomes viral. This type of content can be a great way to build brand awareness, audience trust and build on your rankings.

​Do Something Newsworthy

​It sounds simple and it is—getting attention from the media and other corners of the internet (bloggers, social media) is a failsafe way increase the success of your SEO and have people linking to your content. How? It can be as small or as simple as giving away something for free, an amazing new product launch, or stating something controversial.

We hope this guide has helped you with some quick ideas to get SEO to work for you.

Want to chat more about how we can help? Your chat with us is obligation-free. If you’d like to meet with our team in person, we can organise that too. Just let us know!

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​We make the web work !


2excel’s ultimate pay on performance marketing model

Call us today !

​1300 855 340

Contact us at 2excel

​Office: Level 3, Suite 310, 147 Pirie St Adelaide, SA, 5000

About the author 

Edward Deane (TED)

Found & Director 2excel