Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO is an on-going marketing strategy that uses various tactics to boost and increase the natural visibility and ranking of your website within the respective search engines index of the web.

 

With more and more South Africans gaining access to the internet, the benefit of a high ranking website that appears frequently within various search engine result pages means more website traffic.  With more visitors to your website, the chances of converting them into customers increase.

The difference between Search Engine Optimization/SEO and Search Engine Marketing/SEM  

 

Search engine optimization or SEO should not to be confused with search engine marketing or SEM.  Both are used to attract and encourage traffic to your website, however SEO seeks to improve and increase the organic reach of your website over the long term; whereas search engine marketing is a short-term tactic used to attract website traffic immediately through the use of paid campaigns and adverts using Google Adwords.

To have a high and organic rank within search engine result pages takes time and commitment, however if your website’s SEO is done correctly, it will boost the natural ranking of your website so that you do not have to rely on paid SEM tactics.  To equip yourself with a few SEO techniques, we’ve provided a brief overview of on-page and off-page optimization techniques.  At this point it is important to note that one should never focus on one technique over the other as they work together.    To put it simply, Google recognises the demand and value of your content through on-page optimization, whilst off-page optimization indicates how valuable the content on your website is to other readers and websites who link to it.

SEO Tip 1:  On-page optimization

Google strives to offer a quality experience for its consumer and will present content that it regards as worthy of the consumer’s search, enquiry and time.

In order for Google to serve up your website, you need to develop high quality content.  From an SEO perspective, in order to rank good quality content, your content should feed into a demand.  Analyzing keywords will help you identify the demand and the type of content that you need to produce.

To help search engines identify and index your website content, make sure that your content is relevant and that keywords are found within:

  • Title tag
  • URL
  • Content on the page
  • The ALT text on the Image

 

SEO Tip 2:  Off-page optimization 

 

With Google advising that it uses more than 200 factors to rank websites, experts agree that inbound links to your website still play a huge ranking factor as Google establishes the quality of your content and authority of your website through the number and diversity of inbound links.

 

With content rearing its head once again, what is important to understand is that content must be linkable.  When other websites link to the content on your website it indicates to Google that you offer quality content.

 

Link building is one of the most challenging tasks that marketers and website-owners’ have to face and many have resorted to purchasing inbound links from “link spammers”.  Google quickly identified this loophole and penalized websites for its fake links in order to put a stop to this practice.

 

Over and above the number and diversity of inbound links, Google’s spiders require a well-structured website with internal linkages that allow spiders to crawl through and index every single page of your website.  Internal pages are often overlooked with poor or no internal links.  The result is that Google’s spiders are unable to crawl and index these pages.  These pages will therefore be as good as invisible for search or ranking purposes.

 

So in summary, ensure that you incorporate the following off-page optimization tactics:

  • Develop quality content and distribute it across various platforms, including social media channels to encourage and attract quality links.

 

  • Ensure that your website is well structured and that all internal pages have a logical pathway for crawlers to make sense of your website. Hubspot’s blog provides 3 ways to improve the internal linking on your website.

Over to you:

Does SEO form part of your marketing strategy?

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