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What Is SEO?

What is SEO?  – A simple definition 

Onsite SEO is a collective term for all you need to do to make your website search engine friendly. To do this requires ongoing adjustment and tweaking of your website to make it accessible to the crawlers so they understand the content and structure. This software is also known as spiders, robots or bots with Google’s web crawler recognised as Googlebot. These search engine spiders are basically software programmes that search engines use to ascertain what is fresh or new on the internet. They visit websites and read their pages and any other information to determine entries for a search engine index.

When you enter a search query or request for specific information in Google and then click on Enter you will see a list of Web results appear that reflect your query description. Website users, including your potential customers, are inclined to click on websites at the very top of this list as they intuitively consider them to be more applicable or pertinent to their search query. The positioning of websites in a rank order on that list automatically indicates how effectively SEO is actually working for them. Those ranking at the top are infinitely more credible as the best source for providing you with the information and service you are seeking online. It is no accident that they appear in a particular order but rather a calculated high powered marketing technique known as SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. That coveted place at the top of the rankings is indicative of successful SEO campaign techniques, strategies and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to that particular website through organic search. In conclusion, SEO is a technique which assists search engines to locate and rank your website higher than millions of other sites in response to a search query. Consequently, when applied, Search Engine Optimisation enables you to acquire qualified traffic from Google that will lead to resulting sales conversions provided your website is fully fit for purpose and gives the customer a clear navigation experience and  pathway towards the purchase process. Always start by analysing your current position with regards to site metrics. Our SEO Services Dublin  experts are here to offer a free site audit if you think it would help. Check out one of our customers in the Irish Independent.

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How SEO actually works

As Matt Cutts from Google explained, “ when searching Google you are not really searching the web but Google’s index of the Web”. Google indexes the web with software programmes called spiders or bots which begin by fetching a few web pages. They then follow the links on these pages and fetch the pages they direct to, duplicating the process until a considerable wedge of the web is indexed. Pages are crawled or scanned for search terms and are indexed in turn. Spiders ask questions as regards what particular pages should be indexed. To assist this procedure Google  collates information about every page on the web then uses an undisclosed recipe called an algorithm to convert all that information into search results. If you are a website owner then search results really matter. Pages with higher rankings certainly lead more people and potential customers to your website. The pivotal factor is ensuring your website possesses all the constituent parts Search Engines require for their recipe. This process is what is commonly known as SEO. The Googlebot indexed page is stored in a massive database from where it can be retrieved at any point. What the spider looks for are particular keywords that clearly define the search queries most appropriate response. That is why the inclusion of Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are so important in convincing the spider to appreciate the relevance of your page and to index it accordingly. Different algorithms give weight to certain factors such as keyword density, content relevancy and authority, trustworthy backlinks, vintage domain name, redirects and white hat strategies in general. What you do not want on your web pages are things that are not viewable by the Googlebot – such as :  images without Alt Tags, Flash Movies, JavaScript, frames, password-protected pages and directories. Remember that the worst scenario is your web pages going totally unnoticed by the Googlebot as if they do not exist. It is essential to avoid any elements that render the page unviewable for them.  To deliver search results Search Engines have to perform a number of actions. They include, in chronological order, – crawling, indexing, processing, calculating relevancy and retrieving.

The greatest influential factor in successful website marketing is unquestionably “content.” This has been highlighted in successive Google algorithms which have specified the overarching need for relevant, creative and authoritative content. Rich content is rewarded by the crawlers. Conversely, thin content can be penalised as can plagiarism and duplication. The claim that content is king remains a very potent factor in all SEO considerations.

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The benefits of SEO

There are many benefits to SEO but the overarching goal is to drive increased qualified web traffic to your website which can then be converted to successful optimal sales outcomes. There are a number of key advantages to SEO which we will enumerate and define:

  • Organic listings are essentially free. It is low cost in comparison to Adwords and PPC. Once achieving a top position in the rankings it is easier to maintain it with a little effort and even if your positioning drops at any time it will not drop to nothing when your SEO stops.
  • Improves site usability. SEO has the added bonus of rendering your site better navigable for users. By manipulating site architecture and links to make pages within the website easier to access and navigate, it not only makes it easier for spiders to crawl your site but also provides a more intuitive way for users to search and find information on your website.
  • By using analytics and reporting tools to provide you with relevant data that you can use to redress deficiencies in the system or marketing strategy, you will see an increase in traffic. It will gradually improve over the optimisation period and with tracking traffic through relevant tools you can calculate necessary amendments along the way to optimise site traffic and increase sales.
  • By implementing SEO and achieving top rankings in the SERPS you can gain valuable brand name credibility to build your reputation as a reputable company. That is more influential than using ads extensively which can be very annoying to web users, many of whom have ad blockers installed on their browsers. Google is trusted by people so a first listing with them in SERPs brings a lot of credibility and brand building capability.
  • Based on analytical metrics 4% of clicks from SEO convert into a sale while only 2% of every 1000 visitors from paid ads result in an actual sale. This indicates clearly that SEO gives you a better return on investment. Google searches draw in people who searched for the tag in your website. SEO is therefore a cost effective marketing strategy which targets users who are actively looking for your goods and services online.
  • High Ranking web pages undoubtedly attract greater social media exposure. There is a bilateral relationship with SEO and Social Media with each benefitting the other. High exposure to Social Media definitely boosts SEO and in turn SEO creates more social media visibility. Searches are more inclined to like or tweet a page holding first position in the search engine results as opposed to a page further down the rankings.
  • Your competitors who have recognised the benefits of SEO will gain a march on you if you fail to appreciate the benefits of an active, managed SEO strategy and campaign. You need to use a reputable SEO company to strategize your SEO marketing techniques and campaign and to implement them in an informed and positive way to improve your listings in Google Rankings and stay ahead of the competition. This needs to be done on a regular ongoing basis as Google algorithms are updated and changed as a daily routine. This is why you need a dedicated team of SEO specialists to achieve and maintain the highest Google ranking possible for your website. Remember, your online presence  is effectively your digital sales tool or virtual shop window and as such  requires the most prominent position in SERPS to make it clearly visible to all potential customers.
  • SEO can transform your company into a position where you need to expand to service the growing number of customers it brings to your website on a daily basis. It is a really great investment for your company and may be exactly what you need to take it to the next level.
  • With over 300 million websites on the web, SEO is what will make you stand out from the rest by boosting online visitors and resulting in increased sales.
  • Securing that top position with first clicks on the most relevant keyword is worth the investment in an SEO campaign. Customers who know exactly what they want will always go for that top listed site accessed with a single click on the most effective keyword that delivers exactly what they are looking for. Once achieving that coveted top position in Google’s SERPS your website will carry credibility and create confidence as the best online store for customer requirements.
  • You will be able to access customer data that will allow you to make more informed decisions in implementing better ways of influencing online visitor behaviour.
  • SEO results are permanent – the opposite to advertisements. The beneficial effects continue even if you stop paying for them. Once the number one position in SE rankings is achieved it is much easier to maintain it.
  • Free SEO reports from reputable SEO companies will permit you to assess, through standards of measurement, the efficiency, performance, progress and quality of your website and its marketing strategies. From that analysis you can chart the future direction of your SEO campaigns as well as manage site issues so it becomes a more effective and productive sales tool and sales magnet.

Whilst the benefits mentioned are not inexhaustible they do cover many of the major advantages of SEO.         

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What are SEO Site metrics

Site Metrics are a set of data or measurements provided by Google Analytic Tools that study the impact of a Website on its users and allow SEO gurus to create more effective and strategic digital marketing campaigns through for example – keyword focus –  with a view to impacting traffic building and increasing online sales.

Site Metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are values deployed by marketeers to achieve a performance measurement of their desktop or mobile website for organic search results. The underlying premise of measuring SEO success is that it should demonstrate how connected SEO outcomes are to business objectives. Performance measurement can be ascertained through the use of a suite of free Web Analytic Tools such as the Google Analytics Traffic Tracking Tool which is one of the best and most powerful tools for tracking your website visitors. In tracking visitor behaviour you can follow their online journey on your site and deduce what elements of your site, technical or otherwise, may be hindering their progress towards a sales conversion. Some elements may require tweaking to create the right online environment for successful customer outcomes. Site metrics permit you to measure how well your site is performing as an effective digital sales tool. They correspondingly provide the necessary data for you to recalibrate and change any aspect of all its working parts to effect better processes and outcomes so your business objectives can be achieved. There are many other web analytic or data collection tools designed to provide data on different aspects of your website’s performance. One of the most pertinent metrics you can track is the Conversion Rate which indicates the percentage of people who achieved a target on your site. Targets or goals include actions such as making a purchase, filling out a contact form or viewing a particular page on your site.  Collectively they provide a plethora of data that can give you the essential information to make positive website performance corrections or calibrations in terms of SEO and organic traffic flow, visitor engagement and conversion.

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Building Website Metrics

It is inspiring to have a wealth of Website Metrics at your disposal but the ultimate gain is in knowing which particular ones are relative to your website’s performance and how to use them to effect positive outcomes and meet your business goals. That is what truly dictates the benefits of the data they provide. Google attaches much kudos to metrics like domain authority, trust flow and citation flow as ranking factors. It is now easier, since software has been developed to analyse links, for Google to produce measurements from the data flow so it can be applied to influence page rank in Google Search rankings.

Citation Flow describes how popular a link is in a site but does not necessarily equate popularity with quality. If the links are of inferior quality which can skew the Trust Flow then you will have problems. Generally, if a link pointing to your website is authoritative and qualitative your trust flow will usually increase but if you have for example links from porn sites with a high Citation Flow  but a low Trust flow then it will have a negative impact on your Trust Flow.

The latter indicates how trustworthy a site is by assessing its quality. Your site’s trustworthiness and quality is dictated by the relevance, quality and trustworthiness of links pointing to it. It is more difficult to build a good Trust Flow than Citation Flow as irrelevant backlinks and directories can invasively point to your website even though you may be developing a qualitative linking strategy. It appears that there is a direct link between organic traffic and Trust Flow and Google is currently rewarding good quality backlinks with higher ranking. Scientifically it seems that the perfect ratio of CF to TF is 1 and the average trust to citation should be 0.50. High ratios will be given to authoritative sites and if the CF is much higher than the TF it is obvious that the website is hosting a lot of low quality links.

Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score that forecasts how a website will rank potentially in Google’s Search Engine Result Pages. Higher scores on the scale of 1 to 100 suggests the website’s ability to rank higher in the SERPS. It is easier to grow your score on the 100 point logarithmic scale, decided by your website’s popularity, from 20 to 30 than 70 to 80. Sites at the top end of the scale invariably enjoy large numbers of high-quality external links. Fewer inbound links will deliver a lower DA score and new websites will start with the basic DA score of 1. It is wise to treat this score as a comparative metric rather than a fixed one and realise that there are many other metrics contributing towards higher ranking positions in SERPS.

Other site metrics include crawl analysis, Indexable pages, Page Authority, No-Index Pages, Load Time, HTML quality, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Pages with Tag and Duplication issues, 4x Errors, Site Traffic, Exit Pages, Bounce Rate and search keywords or phrases.

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What content is needed for onsite SEO

SEO content is any information that exists on the web and that can be consumed by internet users. If you combine the two concepts of Search Engine Optimisation and Content you arrive at the business goal of SEO content being created to attract search engine traffic. SEO content can include Product Pages which are the core of E Commerce retail or wholesale sites, as they must impress and engage the customer as well as satisfy the search bots in their crawling and indexing process. Blogs can provide a consistent stream of SEO content for your website whilst building authority and attracting links. Another important content factor is Articles which inform through news, interviews or feature write-ups. Lists, which are basically articles written in a list format, describing for example ten ways to lower your cholesterol, are easily scanned by the spiders and appear user friendly in social media feeds and search results. Guides are a good SEO generator as long as they view on a single page. Videos are an ever increasing popular form of information dissemination and since they are outnumbered by text pages they can compete better than an article and rank on page one for a competitive keyword. Customers react much more positively to a video illustrating some aspect of your business or products than on page text. You can even optimise your videos with infographics and slideshows provided you create Alt tags for your images or illustrations so the crawlers can read the content in an acceptable and accessible format. Search Traffic can be captured  with Glossaries and Directories as they are useful sources of information to support a particular theme or subject matter. The possibilities for SEO content are practically limitless and content types are invariably determined by your website goals. In creating content you also have to be aware of your audience and in the great scheme of things you have to be prepared to continually analyse, assess and reassess to use SEO content to its optimal advantage. Successful content strategies can be repeated whilst older less effective content can be changed and updated to provide better page rankings, improved traffic flow and increased conversions. Creating content is a skilled operation and requires a set of parameters and advice from experienced successful SEO marketers and gurus. The CEO of Moz qualifies as one of those SEO gurus and his words are pearls of wisdom that can set you on the right path to content creation.

According to Rand Fishkin the co-founder of Moz “ many factors directly and indirectly impact SEO. To be as successful as possible, you’ll need to find some way to influence them.”   One of those important factors is content and if you are “au fait” with the latest Google algorithms and updates you will accept that “content is still king” in spite of mistaken claims to the contrary by some dubious commentators.  It is unquestionably a great influencer in onsite SEO techniques and strategies. Content creation is moving forward with certain criteria governing its effectiveness in terms of Google algorithmic requirements and its ability to help achieve higher rankings in the Google Search Engine results pages. There are a number of criteria that content must adhere to in order to influence the crawlers sufficiently to achieve top status in Google rankings. Content influencers include the following criteria:

  1. Uniqueness: there must be no other content of its kind on the web.
  2. A propos: to the purpose – you need to have content that answers the query very precisely and gives the searcher exactly what they are looking for.
  3. Quality Response: The information elicited must be on the button by immediately solving the user query.
  4. Offers unique value: The search provides a valuable result that is unequalled in validity and quality by any other search on the web.
  5. Unparallelled user experience: searching online should be a seamless, pleasurable and fruitful experience. – This all adds up to the necessity for a responsive design.

This is the minimum content criteria requirement that you should adhere to in creating effective onsite SEO. These pointers provide a sound basic framework, springboard and paradigm for effective content writing that can positively impact search rankings.

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What are SEO Meta Details

Meta details include on page elements that are vital for search crawlers to read and index  information relevant to a web page’s content. You must remember that bots do not read human language but rather computer language. Understanding this basic premise is key to realising that the meta title and meta descriptions which we write to describe our online products are only readable in HTML to the Googlebot.

Meta Tags are short pieces of information or text that describe a page’s content. They help inform search engines what a web page is about. Meta Tags do not appear on the pages themselves but only in the page’s code and their value in SEO terms is bound up with the search engines reading them in order to match up keywords with related visible content.  

Another element that is connected to the bot’s reading of meta tags is meta description.

It is a 160 character shred of information, a HTML tag, that summarises the content of a page. It does not provide any direct ranking advantage as Google do not use it in their ranking algorithm but it does provide a click through rate which is a means of assessing if you are a worthy result. Optimising meta descriptions and securing more clicks on your page can improve your ranking indirectly. Writing effective meta descriptions is essential. They should include calls to action, structured content, for example, the price could trigger a click; the search keyword should reflect text in the meta description and the element of uniqueness is paramount to the exclusion of any duplication of meta descriptions.

Title Tag is the text that is visible at the top of your browser and it is seen by the search engines as the title of your page. It is required in every HTML document as a definition of the document in the browser toolbar and is vital to SEO and user experience. Though they bear no weight in terms of  ranking criteria, title tags still possess great value for on-page  search engine optimisation.

Meta Page Titles are one of the most important on-page ranking criteria and must be treated accordingly by SEO consultants. This aspect of meta details is very cogent in SEO terms as your page title tags appear in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS). It is essential to observe advice from Google when writing Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. Though the advice is not prescriptive you ignore it at your peril as it is designed to help you structure your titles and  meta descriptions whilst observing keyword frequency limitations. Relevant on-page meta details will win you better rankings in general and will generate increased traffic to your website.