It’s widely known that some disreputable ‘SEO consultants’ try to blind their clients with science and charge a fortune without showing much in the way of results, or even worse use practices that actually have a negative impact.
Here at The Smart Bear, we like to do things differently, and so we wrote this (and a series of related blogs) to educate consumers so they can purchase services with confidence.
What exactly is search engine optimisation?
There are 4 main levels of SEO, each level contributing to your search engine ranking (i.e. on which page you come up when someone searches on Google). When it comes to ranking, all 4 layers are important and no one layer is more important than the other; It’s great if you have a well build website but if no one knows about it, nobody is going to visit. Likewise, if your site is all over social media but no one wants to stay on it because the content doesn’t interest them, it’s a similar result…your ranking will suffer.
However, SEO should be built up by starting with the base layer and once you understand each level, you’ll know what you can achieve yourself and what you might need to seek help with.
What is Technical SEO?
The first layer at the bottom of our pyramid is Technical SEO. This is the base layer and mainly consists of the ‘behind the scenes’ work a web developer builds into a website.
Things like page speed, http/https, sitemaps, meta data, 404s, accessibility, responsivity, redirects, url structure and even the overall design can be part of Technical SEO.
All the other layers are built on top of this solid foundation. It is possible to fit technical SEO retrospectively but sometimes does require some specialist technical knowledge depending on how the website has been built.
What is Content SEO?
The second layer of the SEO pyramid is content, and it doesn’t just relate to what is written on the website but it’s also about how it’s written – the formatting and structure of it, and some ‘behind the scenes’ data.
It is also where keyword research and keyword diversity comes into play;
Content SEO covers things like uniquely valuable written content and different media, user experience/customer journey strategy, targeted and diverse keyword distribution, shareability and page structure.
The term ‘content is king’ comes up time and time again and it will always be true – it must be quality content in the right context for the website. I.e. content your target customer wants to read/see (and of course, this might change from time to time). It’s about adding value to the visitor, giving them a reason for visiting and staying on your website.
Is this the same as On Page SEO?
On page SEO is the optimisation of the content on the website page, both on the front end (the part the visitor sees) and the backend (the part Google sees). So it partly ‘content seo’ and dips into a little of the technical SEO.
If you’re not a writer or you haven’t the time to fully research content/on-page SEO, it’s worth leaving this section to the experts to see the best return on investment.
What type of linking helps SEO?
The third layer of the SEO pyramid is links – both outbound links, internal links and inbound links.
Outbound links should be relevant to your content and placed in context. I.e. not just a page full of links (which used to be the done thing on websites) without an explanation of why you are linking out to that particular url.
Internal links create a journey for the customer to follow. So if you’re talking about getting in touch, you’d link to the contact page. If you have similar products or blog posts, link them together perhaps in a ‘related’ section.
Inbound links (or backlinks) should be from reputable and related sources. For example listings in directories, newspaper or article sites, even social media although these types of links are treated differently by Google than the others.
This layer is something that can be DIY but to see better results, it’s worth employing a specialist to help create the right type of backlinks.
How does Social Media influence SEO?
Social media (including pay per click campaigns), as well as inbound links mentioned above can influence SEO because, if done right, it will increase domain visibility and popularity.
It’s a way of building your community, showing your skills and authority in a subject and ultimately driving traffic to your website.
When it comes to social media, it’s not the activity itself that counts but the result of the activity.
Except when it comes to Google Plus (linked with Google My Business) but that’s a whole other blog post waiting to be written. If you’ve not already registered with Google My Business or Google Plus, it’s definitely worthwhile doing so and post on there regularly.
If you have the time, this is one area where you can make a difference yourself without hiring an expert.