If you are an owner of a business which has something to do with online sales you definitely were wondering how to attract potential clients with the help of the Internet and make it as effective as possible. The answer to the question is obvious: take advantage of advertising. The first variant is pay-per-click advertising and promoting your business in social media, however, these options are not always sufficient. If you want to get clients through search queries in Google or Bing then it's better opt for search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engine optimization allows you to improve a website's ranking and bring it to the top of search engines. Being listed at the top of search results drives an explosive growth in traffic and these are visitors genuinely interested in your product or services, as they get to your website by entering search queries related to your business.
What does SEO include?
You should understand that optimization for search engines is a long-term process which requires investing both financial and human resources. It must be taken into account that optimization requires a qualified specialist, otherwise your Internet resource may be screened out by a search system.
If you've made up your mind to go in for optimization and hired a staff of experts or decided to have this project outsourced you should be aware which processes you will face and what things to look at first.
The process of search engine optimization has 2 phases:
- internal optimization - the work on general site status (structure, design, content optimization, improving technical parameters);
- external optimization - attracting visitors from outside sources (search systems, specific Internet resources, blogs, forums).
Work on internal optimization
The processes on internal optimization start with a technical audit of the web-project. This is an important process which makes it possible to find mistakes in the work of the resource from the point of view of SEO. Any mistakes can influence optimization in a search system as well as the possibility of being listed at the top of the results.
1. Technical audit
A site audit includes an analysis of many parameters, however, the main of them are:
- The presence of
- Headings embedded into appropriate tags
- Having your website run through
httpsprotocol instead of
- The presence of
- The availability of a site version adapted for mobile devices.
- The availability of 404 page with an appropriate server response code.
- Creating correct URL-addresses that do not contain technical information like
It is necessary to perform a technical audit at the initial stage of the project development, which helps to identify certain errors in the course of development and fix them instantly. The audit is also required after the poject completion before a release, in order to make sure that all requirements are satisfied and that the project is technically optimized.
2. Work with content
When all technical issues are fixed, you can proceed to the following phase of work related to content and creating a semantic core.
Semantic core is a set of keywords (including phrases and morphological variants) that describe the product or service offered on a site in the most precise way. You can put together the number of impressions (the average number of searches for a certain keyword) and estimate the traffic that can be gained by a website after getting to the top of search results.
If you are going to create a semantic core by yourself then you can use a free Google Keyword Planner tool available in Google Adwords. In this tool, you will find not only the number of searches for a keyword but also will get a list of similar queries used to search for related content.
This is a labour-consuming process that requires more than just selecting keywords with the help of tools, but also a thorough analysis of semantic core of your top-ranked competitors.
After compiling the semantic core, you can use it to create content for your website. This work includes writing various texts and descriptions for sections of the site and for a thematic blog as well as selection of graphical and video materials.
A well-structured content with robust language allows improving behavioural factors that have influence on search engine rankings. Ranking is the order in which your website appears in the search results through sorting and by taking into account certain parameters (rating, content's relevance to users' queries, internal and external links and their quality).
It's worth noting that behavioural factors include:
- The time spent on pages of the Internet resource.
- The number of views of every page.
- Engagement metrics. This indicator reflects how a user is engaged with content and whether or not he moves on to the next pages.
- Bounce rate. It counts users who spend less than 10 minutes on the page.
- Returning visitors. This is a highly indicative behavioral factor as the fact that users return to the site confirms that it meets their requirements.
3. Usability analysis
When talking about usability, we are referring to ease of use of the site. Users can leave pages not only because of absence of a product or its high price, but also if they failed to find the right section, if the page doesn't load properly, if menu is too compicated or if contact form doesn't work.
Let's go through a several parameters which usability analysis includes:
- the compliance of pages to business goals;
- attractive design;
- unique, useful and high-quality content;
- correct processing of main elements, navigation menu, forms and dialogue boxes.
Works on external optimization
Backlinks to a site is a key indicator that is taken into account by Google. Thus, work on links underlies the external optimization. Everybody has their own ways of link acquisition, but the main principles come down to using various sources:
- guest blogs;
- running your own blog;
- thematic forums and catalogs;
- publications in media and social networks.
If you are looking for guest blogging options to reach your audience and get backlinks, check this List of 1500+ Websites and Blogs That Accept Guest Posts.
While conducting external optimization, you should consider parameters of the website you are getting the link from. Here are some of them:
- domain rank;
- a topic of web-resource;
- traffic volume;
- the number of incoming and outcoming links.
These and other characteristics are taken into consideration so that your website could earn links from high-qullity sources. Search engines are serious about links and they are constantly improving their algorithms.
Currently, Google is using the algorithm named Google Penguin. The main task of this algorithm is to improve search results by decreasing positions or removing websites that use spammy link building techniques. In other words, Google Penguin algorithm is set to analyse the backlinks mass.
Analytics is an important tool for a SEO specialist and for search engine optimization as a whole. Once you conducted internal optimization and developed a strategy on attracting visitors, it is necessary to install a statistics-gathering instrument on a site. It will help you understand what effects your steps on optimization will get, what number of visitors will come to pages, how they will behave.
When certain statistics data is gathered you can make changes or additions to your optimization strategy, experiment with different indicators and achieve the best results.
The main tool used to collect data is Google Analytics. This is a special service that allows you to collect all the data about visitors of your site, make handy reports and analyse the effectiveness of your search engine optimization efforts.
SEO specialist during project design stage
When creating a web application, it happens that the search optimization modules are missing or not all parameters are taken into account. In one case, it occurs because an app developer may not know what is needed for search engine optimization. Actually, he doesn't have to understand the subtleties of a search promotion as there's SEO specialist for that.
In the second case, such modules are additional functionality that requires extra development and implementation costs. Therefore, if you are planning to promote the project in search engines after its release, you need to discuss with your developer whether it is possible to implement needed SEO functionality as early as at the negotiation stage.
To control the process and to make sure that all the elements needed for further promotion are properly implemented, SEO specialist has to be involved in all stages of development, including the initial discussion stage.
Finally, all steps mentioned above are important for search promotion. The correct and qualified approach to SEO will ensure your high ranking in search results, constant traffic flow and therefore a profit for your business.