What is Search Engine Optimisation?SEO is a growing industry and deals with the world’s largest search engines, including Google, Yahoo! and Bing As mentioned, Search Engine Optimization is the industry currently transforming digital marketing as we know it. But what do we mean by SEO? See below for a definition: “Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of web traffic by increasing the visibility of a website of a web page to users of a web search engine.” For those outside of the marketing and tech industries, this concept may appear highly complicated. However, the process is just as much about what makes people tick as it is about search engines. This includes what people may be searching for; the answers they need, as well as the words they use and the types of content they prefer to engage with. If you know your audience, you are halfway to understanding SEO.
SEO Fundamentals & ConceptsWhen we try to get an understanding of what SEO is, it is helpful to imagine search engines as a form of answering machine. Using automated bots known by the industry as ‘spiders’, search engines delve deep into the web, analysing and examining billions of pieces of content, including images, videos, web pages, blogs – basically every element of digital content out there. All of that content is catalogued through a process known as ‘crawling and indexing’. This content is then ordered according to how well it answers a query (this order is commonly referred to as ‘ranking’. Where you rank on these pages will largely depend on where your site stands regarding SEO optimization. As it stands, there are dozens of SEO ranking factors to consider – yet no static SEO guidelines exist. This is because the algorithms which determine SEO relevance are in a constant state of change: Google updates its secret algorithms on a daily basis, meaning that those working within the industry are continuously adapting to these changing patterns. However, an authority website on the subject can be seen in an official Google SEO guide, which changes its recommendations on a regular basis. See below for some top Google search engine optimisation tips, straight from the guide itself. Google ranking factors are in a constant state of change, as previously mentioned. However, some core principles steer SEO – so familiarise yourself with these principles and get optimising.
What do I Need to Know About SEO? The Basics
Think of the user:
When it comes to improving the SEO of your website, knowing how to get to know your target audience is a crucial step. This is a step which you should continually revisit at age stage of your marketing strategy. User experience is a core element of what drives SEO – so make sure that your website is secure, user-friendly and visually appealing (for more tips on user experience and SEO, see later in the guide).
Honesty is the best policy:
Attempting to deceive your users using weak or dishonest tactics is a sure way to harm your SEO credibility. Techniques now known as ‘black hat SEO’ include ‘stuffing’ keywords into irrelevant areas, or placing keywords in white text across your website. Where these tactics may have worked in previous years, Google’s algorithms now swiftly detect these tactics – so be honest and achieve real results for your brand (our advice – always ask yourself: “What will my customers gain from this?”).
Make it original:
Nobody likes cheap rip-offs of books or television series. So why should they be expected to tolerate cheap rip offs of high quality content? The key here is to ‘make it new’ – avoid hosting automatically generated content and building pages with little or no original material. Plagiarism, or even sharing duplicated content with consent on your page will be quickly detected. To this end, it is essential that you share optimized content as part of your SEO strategy.Now that we have honed in on some of the basics of Search Engine Optimization, we can begin to discuss SEO and where it should begin for your business: the website.
SEO and User Experience
Whilst SEO may be largely steered by aspects such as links and high-performance keywords, other elements are critical. One such aspect is the actual design of your website, and how it contributes to your users’ experience. Commonly referred to as ‘SEO UX’, this factor is determined by the appeal and usability of your website. UX and SEO go hand in hand – so check out some of our top tips on some UX SEO best practices. In a nutshell, it’s all about the visitor!
Use Relevant Title Tags:
This is the real, ‘clickable’ link that appears for your website in search engine results. This is where your user experience SEO should start. Use your small space here to include valuable, relevant information about your business. This is an ideal opportunity to include keywords in an essential location on your site. It’s important to get your SEO title tag right.
Optimize Your URLs:
Also known as the ‘breadcrumb’, your website’s URL is the trail which follows your title tags. This is an essential step in search optimization, as it offers an extra signal to web users as to the relevance of your site. If your URL doesn’t match your customer’s intention for searching, it may become lost amongst the many pages of results. When it comes to URL, follow the same approach used in creating your title tags: make it relevant and make it optimized.
Engage Your Audience with Meta Descriptions:
This is an important element in search engine results, and getting this right is an essential step in content optimization. Put simply, your meta description is the short description which comes following your URL. This functions as a brief description of what the page contains, and should be written to catch your audience’s attention (indeed, getting your meta description right is a key element of modern audience marketing). As usual, make it optimized, make it accurate and make it engaging.
Maintain Your Visitor’s Attention:
SEO search ranking is not solely decided by how many visitors access your site: how long they spend on your site is equally important. To this end, holding the attention and interest of your visitors is essential. ‘Keep the scent’ with a website that is secure, visually appealing, and above all else: user-friendly.
Establish an Identity:
One of the core aspects of marketing is establishing a unique identity for your brand. The best place to start is by creating a logo as one of the first things visitors to your site will see. This should be obvious and separated from the rest of the content on your website. Google’s bots have become adept at assessing the value of images – so make sure your logo is present, prominent and well-placed.
Reinforce Your Message with Header Tags:
Header tags are a strong website ranking factor. Users of your website will immediately look to headers at the top of the page to confirm whether the page they have arrived at will offer them the information they desire. The very top heading of your page is referred to as a ‘H1’ – and each page should only contain one of these major headings. This should provide a message that is similar to that of your title tag. Essentially, your H1 should reinforce the message around the content that comes below it. Again, this is an ideal opportunity to include keywords that you wish to rank for. As one of the core SEO signals on your website, you should maximise the potential of header tags with relevant, optimized content.
Make Your Site Easy-to-Navigate:
In many cases, your Google SEO ranking can be significantly affected by the navigation on your site. But what do we mean by this? Put simply, navigation involves linking to various pages or elements of your site, frequently grouped into relevant headings. This offers an opportunity to showcase the full value of your site, whilst inserting valuable keywords in prominent places.
Have a fast website:
The speed of your website is one of the most important SEO factors to consider. Regardless of whether the search is carried out on a phone, tablet or PC, slow pages will cause your website to face constraints from Google. This will significantly limit your exposure – and this is certainly more likely to occur with those using slow connections. It is important to consider that this is just as important to visitors as it is to search engines – so ensure that your site is relevant and quickly navigated.
Drive traffic with Calls to Action:
The presence of calls to action are one of the most important search engine ranking factors. Whilst navigation is critically important, calls to action which indicate the page goals (eg. ‘buy now’, ‘find out more’, ‘subscribe today’) are essential. This will keep the visitor engaged on your site, significantly increasing the chances of sales conversions.
Now that we have addressed some SEO top ranking factors around user experience, it’s time to move on with our Guide to SEO Optimization. Keep reading ProfileTree’s SEO learning guide to find out more about the practice, including advice on SEO keyword research, local SEO for beginners and mobile SEO. Check it out!
Getting Started with SEOAs you will now understand, the SEO landscape is one which is incredibly complex. However, it is helpful to note that when put simply, SEO is about producing content that delivers for your visitors. This means that where possible, you must fulfil the web searcher’s requirements. But how do we do this? The answer is simple: SEO by nerds is the best out there. The key lies in a process called SEO Content Optimization. This entails lacing your content with high-performance keywords – and knowing how to research keywords is an essential step in placing your content in the places that really matter. Understanding how to optimize content for SEO lies in understanding your target audience behaviour. Keyword research techniques can provide you with valuable data to help you answer important questions about your potential customers. Such research can provide information on key rank signals, including:
What users search for:This is the actual term which people will enter into search engines (yes – this is the ‘keyword’ element). It is important to narrow down the exact terms that people are using, in the style of language they prefer. For example, food lovers in Northern Ireland may search for terms such as “best restaurants in Belfast” or “places to eat in Belfast”. Likewise, people interested in hairdressing may search for “top hairdressers” or “best salons”. Understanding these terms and which of those are relevant to your business is essential.
How popular is the keyword?:When we ask ourselves this, we ask ourselves what the ‘search volume’ of the keyword is. In a nutshell, this asks how many people are searching for that specific keyword every month. Assessing the value of a keyword based upon volume is a delicate process: you must balance your capabilities against that volume. For example, a keyword with over 1,000 searches every month will be extremely difficult to rank for, requiring months (or years) of work. After all, meta keywords and SEO go hand in hand!
What format does your audience prefer?:Carrying out strong keyword research can help you narrow down a number of information points, including the format of content that they prefer to engage with. This is essential when putting together your own content strategies, and is one of the most important SEO metrics.
Choose your tools:There are dozens of keyword research tools out there, each offering their own individual features. Whilst simple, one page websites may succeed with very basic tools, companies with a larger content marketing strategy may opt for more complex analytical tools. At ProfileTree, we recommend Wordtracker Scout, Keywords Everywhere and SEMRush. The final point in our Getting Started with SEO section brings us onto one of our favourite topics, and it’s something that we regularly stay up-to-date with: the best SEO tools, the most popular SEO keyword generator tools, seo key phrase generators and our favourite SEO optimization tools. Keep reading, try them out and make an informed decision for yourself.
SEO Plugins and Research Tools: Our Top PicksAcross the course of the guide so far, we’ve touched on some of the most important elements of SEO strategy, including SEO keyword research, SEO and User Experience (UX) and more. However, when it comes to deciding on your choices of optimisation tools, there’s a huge amount of variety out there. Some tools may offer a very basic set of functions, such as a keyword research tool or a basic SEO checker function. Depending on your goals or objectives, something basic and fairly straightforward like this could be perfect, and we’ll touch on some of the best examples of these as we progress through our total guide to SEO. However, businesses and organisations with more complex needs and requirements may prefer an option that is more substantial and complex in its offering. For businesses who wish to pursue a more measurable and acutely researched SEO strategy, there’s plenty of solutions out there. Some solutions offer comprehensive research features like organic traffic measurement, keyword overviews and cost-per-click analysis. In many cases, however, the most popular SEO tools will offer a total overview of your site (and many other sites online, for that matter). Where you rank on these pages will largely depend on where your site stands regarding SEO optimization. As it stands, there are dozens of SEO ranking factors to consider – yet no static SEO guidelines exist. This is because the algorithms which determine SEO relevance are in a constant state of change: Google updates its secret algorithms on a daily basis, meaning that those working within the industry are continuously adapting to these changing patterns. However, an authority website on the subject can be seen in an official Google SEO guide, which changes its recommendations on a regular basis. See below for some top Google search engine optimisation tips, straight from the guide itself. Google ranking factors are in a constant state of change, as previously mentioned. However, some core principles steer SEO – so familiarise yourself with these principles and get optimising. WordPress plugins allow for the quick and convenient optimisation of blog content and more. We talk about some of the best examples later in this guide. This means that beyond offering information on keywords and search engine rankings, these tools will often take things one step further, offering vital information on metrics such as organic traffic, bounce rates, time spent on site and some really awesome crawling features that help to identify issues like dead links, faulty images and pesky 404 pages. At ProfileTree, we recommend going for a more substantial offering that offers these more comprehensive features – and we recommend this whether your business is big or small. This is because search engine rankings affect businesses of all shapes and sizes, and identifying crucial information like high performance keywords and traffic stats can often make that critical difference between success and failure. However, we recognise that each business will have its own set of needs and requirements, and many will have their own objectives around search engine optimisation. With this in mind, here are some of our top picks for SEO plugins and research tools.
SEMRushThis is a great set of tools that are perfect for SEO analysis, research and website auditing. This is certainly one of the more comprehensive choices in the market, built specifically for use by SEO and PPC professionals, as well as Social Media Managers, PR experts and content marketers. SEMrush contains over 20 nifty tools and reports, assisting you across every step of optimising your website to boost search engine traffic. In our opinion, this is the best SEO checker. Something that is definitely worth pointing out is that SEMrush offers the world’s largest keyword database, containing a whopping 8.3 billion keywords across 118 countries, as well as industry-leading features such as backlink management tools, rank tracing, on-page SEO analysis and a technical SEO audit tool. Our favourite aspect of SEMrush has to be its adaptability and versatility. Premium users can install SEMrush plugins to popular word processors such as Google Docs, helping you with rich keywords across your content creation process. It’s also reasonably affordable for what you get, starting at $99.95 per month, per user. There’s also a free trial, and we seriously recommend trying out all of SEMrush’s features before you commit to a lengthy subscription. The cognitive SEO content analyzer is really similar – check it out!
Google Search ConsoleSearch engine optimisation is largely focussed on appealing to the world’s biggest search engines, including Yahoo!, Bing and the biggest and most recognisable, Google. So why not look into SEO products made by Google themselves? At ProfileTree, we have seen real benefits to using the Google Search Console, which comes packed with a range of SEO tools engineered to identify duplicate metadata, indexed pages, security issues and more. The Google Search Console offers its ultimate value as an overall health checker for websites. The suite of tools is adept at identifying crawl issues, quickly highlighting problems which could impact your positioning on search engine result pages (SERPS). What we really love about the Google Search Console is how it allows you to submit your sitemap directly to Google to have it crawled by one of its indexing spiders. Beyond having your site immediately assessed by Google, it also gives convenience lists of keywords for which your site is ranking – an essential step in any successful content marketing strategy. Like every set of SEO tools and optimisation plugins out there, the Google Search Console isn’t perfect. The issues reflected in the Search Console can be highly technical, making its use a difficult process for those who aren’t experts in the field. Another con is that the Search Console doesn’t accept HTML sitemaps – but with Google constantly innovating, we can expect this to change in the future. We also love the Majestic SEO toolbar – check it out!
Keywords EverywhereWe love using Keywords Everywhere, and we aren’t surprised that this is one of the most popular SEO tools in the market. Keywords Everywhere functions as a highly convenient plugin, accessible via a button at the top of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. This is by far one of the most compact yet useful SEO plugins we’ve had the pleasure of using, and even the free version is really useful for providing a quick overview of keywords on any given web page. One of the best aspects of Keywords Everywhere is how it collates essential elements of information into one handy interface. This means that you won’t have to use one tool for research, and others for metrics like search volume, CPC and competition data. When it comes to SEO plugins, this is an awesome little hack that can point you in the right direction very quickly. Keywords Everywhere comes in a range of packages and payment plans, but pay-as-you go seems to be one of the most popular formats. Our favourite feature? The ability to export keyword research and essential SEO metrics as Excel files. Check it out! We’ve also previously asked “are bluehost seo tools worth it”. Follow the link to discover ProfileTree’s bluehost SEO tools start review.
Yoast SEOWhen it comes to SEO plugins, Yoast is about as popular as it gets – and we’ve previously published a Yoast SEO guide. The world of SEO is inextricably linked to the world of content marketing and copywriting, and having experience using Yoast can really separate the best content writers from the rest. Much of the internet is run on WordPress, and Yoast has been built specifically as a WordPress plugin. At ProfileTree, we’ve found that Yoast is the most convenient way of optimising meta tags and content, as well as generating sitemaps. Even the basic version is one of our top free SEO tools. Yoast’s most useful feature has to be it’s handy SEO scoring indicator, which assesses your blog post, web page or meta content for SEO performance, ranking it as you go along. It will recommend some quick fixes, including keyword placement suggestions across key locations in your content, including headings; SEO titles, meta descriptions, slugs, image alt descriptions and more. The toolkit will even make basic recommendations based on wordcount and inserting internal and external links. We use Yoast every day, and for today’s content writer, tools like this are absolutely essential. Like all SEO plugins and optimisation tools, Yoast comes in a range of packages, from free versions right through to premium versions. Whilst even the free version is helpful, we recommend using Yoast premium to get the full benefit of the platform. We also love seoptimer central – so be sure to check that product out, too. Click here for a free Yoast SEO course!
Screaming FrogScreaming Frog is a fantastic tool, and we have found its features particularly useful across various stages of website development. Any successful website launch should begin with a thorough and comprehensive audit, and Screaming Frog is a truly unique tool that offer auditing and health check features that are unrivalled in the field of SEO. Essentially, this is an SEO spider and website crawler for Windows, Mac OS and Ubuntu, used by thousands of agencies worldwide for website audits (and yes, we are one of those agencies). Screaming Frog allows you to crawl websites’ URLs to analyse & audit technical and onsite SEO, and you can even buy a licence to remove any crawl limits and access some awesome features. With this choice of SEO tool, you can crawl a website instantly to find broken links and server errors – you can even bulk export the errors and source URLs to fix, or send them directly to a developer if that isn’t your skillset. This is definitely one of the best seo tools for webmasters. One of the best features of Screaming Frog is its ability to quickly identify temporary and permanent redirects, as well as duplicate content. Even the free version of Screaming Frog is useful, however we do recommend going for a premium subscription to ensure strong SEO health for your online business.
Moz and Moz ProMoz have worked really hard to develop their SEO tool, and it is certainly one of the most popular and effective optimisation options on the market. Similarly to more substantial options such as SEMrush, Moz Pro offers a comprehensive range of features which can help businesses of all sizes achieve success on SERPs. At ProfileTree, we’ve used Moz Pro across various aspects of our own content marketing strategy – and there’s no real criticisms from our end. The standard plan is charged yearly at a rate of $79 per month. For smaller, mid-sized businesses, we recommend trying out the medium packages, priced at $143 a month. For most businesses, Moz Pro’s medium toolkit will offer an armoury of SEO tools that may confuse those who are only beginning their first foray into the complex world of search engine optimisation. This package allows 10 active users – and even if you have more staff than that, this limitation can be easily managed by sharing access to login details between teams. You can, of course, go for a basic monthly, no-strings-attached option, but that kicks the minimum price up to $99 per month. We advise trying out the monthly package for your first couple of months, giving you a good chance to test it out against some of the other choices on this list. Looking across all the features offered by Moz Pro, it’s easy to pick out some of our favourites. Keyword reports are hefty, containing up to 5,000 search terms and up to 30 keywords lists every month – and that can be multiplied by going for one of the more advanced packages. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of businesses won’t need to run thousands of monthly reports and monitor thousands of keyword rankings. However, even the baseline package’s offering of keyword rankings, branded reports and crawled pages per month can provide an easily digestible and visually appealing breakdown of your SEO efforts. Moz Pro is top class. Plagscan Seo tools are remarkably similar, and we recommend trying these out.
Wordtracker & Wordtracker ScoutSometimes the most useful information in any successful SEO strategy is found as soon as we arrive at a website. Wordtracker does just that, and we’ll begin by talking about Wordtracker Scout, their awesome browser plugin. At the click of a button you can get a quick overview of your market’s high-performance keywords, giving a quick yet accurate impression of the search terms that matter most. If you are just entering the world of SEO and haven’t got a comprehensive search engine optimisation strategy in place, you’ll find that Wordtracker Scout can reveal valuable information about a keyword’s value without much work. This means that you can use this product to build up a basic SEO strategy to start out with. Wordtracker and Wordtracker Scout have proved to be immensely popular with smaller and medium-sized businesses, and it’s not hard to see why: information is easily digestible and recorded in simple columns. This entry on our list is amongst the easiest to use, and it’s one of our top choices for SEO beginners. However, that’s not to say that Wordtracker & Wordtracker Scout doesn’t offer serious value to a company with more complex marketing requirements. The way in which information is articulated in simple graphs and columns presents it as an ideal choice when presenting to clients. One of our favourite aspects of this SEO tool is how it cuts out some search terms that have poor readability, placing more focus on the reader than some other choices in the market. We think that this product is one of the best SEO report generators out there.
Rankmath SEO PluginEarlier in the list we touched upon Yoast SEO, a neat little plugin that fits in perfectly with WordPress. We couldn’t talk about the best SEO plugins for WordPress without highlighting Rankmath – a relative newcomer to the market with more and more active users every month. Rankmath comes as a serious contender to Yoast, and it’s not hard to see why: straight out of the box, this little plugin comes with a treasure box full of useful SEO tools. Its developers have described it as a ‘Swiss Army knife’ for SEO. Whilst that is a bold claim, it is well backed up and certainly worthy of competing with Yoast. Rankmath offers one of the most useful ranking indicators for WordPress, reflecting your blog post or web page’s predicted performance for SEO. Whilst no product on this list offers definitive answers for getting to the top of search engine result pages, the handy feature can point you in the right way, offering some suggestions to improve the potential success of your post. Beyond its handy SEO indicator for blog posts and web pages, Rankmath comes packed with features that are new, and certainly fresh in comparison to Yoast’s more established tools and features. Rankmath’s toolbox comes fully equipped with an integrated SEO analyser, working instantaneously after every change made to a post or page. You can even back up settings – a really handy feature if you’re planning on making any development or design changes to your website.
In Conclusion: SEO Optimisation ToolsThis list isn’t exhaustive, and there are hundreds of alternatives out there. It’s important to remember that no single SEO tool will provide you with definite answers, or totally accurate directions in which to drive your strategy. It’s equally important to remember that not all businesses will need access to tens of thousands of keyword reports, nor will they have the time, resources of financial ability to really use monitor all of these platforms to their ultimate potential. For businesses just getting started with their SEO strategy, we recommend trying out a few of the names on this list in combination with each other. Our experience is that the best and most transparent products offer free trials – so shop around and don’t be afraid to pay-as-you-go.
Taking the First Steps in Your SEO StrategyOnce you’ve made your choice of tool and keyword research products, you’ll want to get started with your SEO strategy. There’s nothing simple about SEO, and some strategies will warrant more complexity than others. To get started with our overall strategy for search engine optimisation, it pays to take a close look at a conceptual pyramid that has become well recognised across the industry of SEO and content marketing (and we’ll be discussing content marketing and its relationship to SEO more as we progress through this guide. It’s called Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs, and has been used as a general rule of thumb in the world of search engine optimisation for quite some time. You can see these seven essential steps in the image below. Across the course of ProfileTree’s Total Guide to SEO, we will give some of our own advice on how to take these seven steps towards SEO success (or at least in the right direction):
Crawl accessibility:you’ll want to ensure that your site is well connected and effectively bridged together with links to pages that are live, functioning and relevant.
Compelling content:SEO isn’t all keywords and bar charts. Getting your page to rank needs content that engages, informs and inspires: we’ll show you how.
Keyword optimised:There’s many ways to carry out keyword research, and that could get an article of its own. Nonetheless, we’ll give some top tips that we like to use ourselves.
Great user experience:Great UX is hard to master, but we do have some tips around how website development works at ProfileTree. Our web developers have chipped in to help.
Share worthy content:No matter what keywords you use and what website development tools you use, people just want engaging content. We will take you through the basics of content marketing strategy, and why you should place it at the heart of your content marketing efforts.
Titles, URLS, descriptions:This is one of the most important series of technical tweaks you can make to your digital content, and taking the right steps can take your blog post or web page to higher search engine ranking positions.
Snippets & Schemas:This is the first thing that many search engine users will see. We will offer our industry-leading advice on optimising this content, courtesy of our world-class content writers.
In the next step of our guide, we elaborate on Mazlow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs, highlighting another concept which has become fundamental to search engine optimisation as an industry. After that, we’ll get a quick overview of taking the first step on Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs: crawl accessibility.
The Three Pillars of SEOBy mastering the Three Pillars of SEO, you can ensure you website graduallly increases on visual scales such as the one above. In the last chapter of the total guide to SEO, we touched upon Mazlow’s Hierarchy of SEO needs, which highlights 7 key principles that can help guide an online business or organisation towards digital success. However, this isn’t the only concept used as a rule of thumb by SEO professionals, digital strategists and content marketers. Indeed, these experts often turn towards a concept known simply as The Three Pillars of SEO. But what are these so-called pillars, and what relevance do they have to boosting brands online? The Three Pillars of SEO are authority, relevance and trust. When you think about it, this makes sense. Think about how Google ranks its content. The world’s most popular search engine wants to respond to search queries as accurately as possible. It will prioritise expert voices and leading organisations, making the answers to such search queries more accurate – or at least more believable to the average web user. Fundamentally, Google will want to provide an answer to your question that is absolutely relevant. Let’s take a brief look at the 3 Pillars of SEO and what they represent:
Relevance:When it comes to the world of search engines, including Google, Yahoo! and Bing, relevance rules the roost. It is absolutely crucial to make your content as relevant as possible to your industry or business. For example, consider an online business selling lamps. If they were to load their site full of keywords and contents around sports or dairy products, they could expect to perform poorly in search engine result pages. However, relevance doesn’t begin and end with your own content and choices on your own website. Indeed, linking pages and linking sites can equally impact how valuable or relevant a particular link may be.
Trust:Trust has been one of the more complicated SEO pillars, and this is one that continues to develop with each and every algorithm update rolled out by Google. In many cases, the trustworthiness of a site can often be judged upon the concept of trusted links. But what does this mean? In a nutshell, trusted links are links to sites or outlets that are well-established in their industries and thought leaders in their fields. Let’s say that your business offers Ford vehicles. By linking to Ford’s website and having Ford’s website linking to yours, you will have achieved one of the three pillars of SEO. Please note that this is a purely hypothetical example – getting links from huge multinational corporations can be a near-impossible challenge.
Authority:How do Google’s legion of crawling spiders assess the authority of any given website? In many cases, this is judged according to links and citations, giving search engines the impression that your website is a trusted source. However, authority can go deeper than this. Indeed, technological features of your website can be picked up by Google’s indexing spiders, reporting information back to their servers that your site, technologically speaking, is an authority in comparison to other sites. We will touch upon some of these technological aspects of website SEO later in this guide. However, simple examples point towards various underpinnings of a site including URL structures, XML sitemaps, HTML codes and more. The Three Pillars of SEO are a guiding principle. There are no definitive answers when it comes to achieving success with search engine optimisation – however, many of these tips and guidelines can be used as a general rule of thumb when plotting your own SEO strategy. When it comes to assessing the trustworthiness of a site, you’ll want to exercise your own due diligence as opposed to relying on the abilities of Google. Trustworthy links are super important, and you can normally tell the trustworthiness of a site by taking a quick look over its design and content standards. At ProfileTree, there are a few indicators we use to judge whether a linking opportunity is viable or not. Check them out below.
Avoid link sellers:Websites who “offer” and “sell” links to others should, from our experience, be avoided. These websites place profiteering at the core of their model, and neglect the fact that digital content should be made to engage, inform and inspire. These websites will normally be filled with cheap articles with useless information. Link farming isn’t always a good thing, and sharing links with poor quality websites should be a red-line issue for any SEO strategy that is going to be successful.
Avoid bad content:It doesn’t take a Pulitzer Prize-winning author to know what bad content is – and the truth is, the internet is absolutely full of it. We’ve all seen poor content – poor layout, spelling issues, dead links, dead images; useless, keyword-stuffed content. At ProfileTree, we call this “writing for Google”, and any successful SEO content will instead take care to balance between writing for Google and writing for the user. Bad content means bad content strategy, bad standards, bad leadership and a bad reputation. If you’re going to call yourself a content expert and rank with the very best in search engine result pages, then avoid cheap, outsourced content and invest in a writer who is qualified, experienced and passionate about the work they do.
Avoid disreputable sites:In our previous tip, we highlighted that all of us have had experiences with poor quality content online. However, poor quality doesn’t begin and end with fancy blogs and eloquent language. We also advise staying away from sites that are disreputable, whether that is based on the loading speed, their choice of web design and other aspects such as functionality and security. For example, if a website isn’t secure, we highly recommend distancing yourself from them. It’s also a really bad idea to link to sites that aren’t secure. We’ve all seen dodgy websites. If you associate your website with websites like that, you may be seen by Google as effectively ‘stooping’ to their level. When it comes to mastering the 3 Pillars of SEO for your own online business or organisation, it pays to remember and implement some of the tips listed above. However, we can summarise our approach to the three pillars very simply – exercise due diligence. We all know bad content when we see it, and many of us visit poor websites each and every day. Search engine optimisation is one of the most expensive digital marketing services that money can buy, and there’s no cheap way of getting to the top of Google search rankings. Today’s digital marketplace is supported by content that informs people, and encourages them to part with their money. With that in mind, it is no surprise that content marketing is also one of the most expensive services that a company can invest in. But why are we reminding our readers of these facts? Highlighting the amount of money a successful SEO or content marketing campaign can cost should serve as a warning: all of your progress and all of your money spent can easily be put at risk by associating your website with one that is seedy, cheap and filled with purchased links. People want good content – so avoid cutting corners, invest in the right people and give your readers something that respects their intelligence, their interests and, of course, their most popular search queries.
Crawl Accessibility: An SEO FundamentalWhen it comes to SEO strategies, many businesses and organisations make the error of prioritising aspects of SEO such as keywords and backlinks, ignoring one hugely important factor: crawl accessibility. Few things can make or break your SEO strategy like this frequently neglected factor, and we are going to give some brief impressions of what this complicated term means. At ProfileTree, we believe that the best way of understanding crawlability is to avoid some of the jargon around it. In a nutshell, you’ll want to ensure that each and every link on your page is functioning and directing towards a page that is live and in order. You’ll also want to ensure some development essentials such as ensuring a decent loading speed, and not utilising too many add-ons to your site which may slow it down. Crawlability, of course, refers to crawlers. Crawlers, also known a ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’, are an important way that search engines both discover and register (ie. index) pages. The concept of a crawler is to pass through and analyse billions of pages on the internet, passing through millions of pages per day, following links on the web. But what is the purpose of deploying these spiders across the internet? In a nutshell, the purpose of a web crawler is to find and index new content on the internet. These bots have been created by the engineers and developers at Google, and they travel through billions of web pages, moving from link to link and bringing data about those specific web pages back to Google’s almighty servers. No matter how fast your site may be or how well it is designed and presented, it will not perform well in search engine result pages unless it provides a free-flowing and accessible environment for the spiders. In essence, you want your website to offer good crawlability and good indexability. But what do these terms mean, and what are the inherent differences between them? See below.
Crawlability:This term describes a search engine’s ability to both access and crawl content on a page. This ability can be helped or hindered by crawlability issues, including dead ends and broken links. In essence, crawlability issues impact upon a spider’s ability to access specific content on a site – meaning poor SEO results and potential damage to your overall SEO strategy.
Indexability:This term refers to a spider’s ability to analyse a page and index it in a search engine’s servers. Even if your website is free from crawlability issues, it might not be able to index pages. Similarly to our previous point, this can have serious ramifications on your overall SEO strategy. Such issues are called indexability issues, and we will explore those shortly. In the next section of ProfileTree’s ultimate SEO checklist, we will discuss how to improve the crawlability and indexability of your website. Check it out and thank us later!
Crawlability and Indexability: Getting it RightAs we have already mentioned, SEO is a highly complex practice, encompassing several tools, strategies and methods of analysis. There’s no single quick fix when it comes to positioning your site or page on the world’s leading search engines. However, at ProfileTree, we’ve found that placing emphasis on crawlability and indexability across all stages of your website development and later content marketing strategy can ensure quick gains. You will, of course, want to ensure ultimate crawlability and indexability at the time of your website’s launch, as starting off on a bad footing can be a time-costly and expensive problem to fix. Let’s look at some of the main issues that can compromise the crawlability and indexability of your website, before looking at ways that you can take action to transform these important elements of SEO.
Crawlability & Indexability IssuesAs we have previously mentioned, there is a huge range of issues that can affect the crawlability and indexability of your website. This list isn’t exhaustive, and many finer details that can compromise the SEO prospects of your website will be concerned with web development and web design issues. However, there are a number of actions that you can take as an administrator to improve the crawlability and indexability of a website. Check out this list below of the core issues that can compromise the work of indexing bots.
The structure of your site:If we were to describe these indexing bots as spiders, then we must surely describe websites as their ‘web’. This is absolutely correct, and we should visualise websites as a network of bridges that may help or hinder an indexing bot in doing its work. The informational structure of your website has a major role to play here. If your site contains pages that aren’t linked to from anywhere else, a spider may have difficulty accessing and indexing them.
Internal links:No matter where you are getting your guiding information from, all sources highlight that one important fact: internal links and internal link structure is one of the most crucial elements of any successful SEO strategy. A spider can only access and index pages that are linked to from existing content. This means that a solid and well-connected internal link structure will allow the bots to reach all pages within your site – no matter how deeply embedded these pages may be in your overall page structure. Getting your internal link strategy right is extremely important – sending a spider to a dead end can have serious implications on your SEO strategy.
Looped redirects:Re-directs: you can’t live with them, can’t live without them. There are a range of issues that require a redirect – perhaps you made an accidental change to a URL, deleted a page or made a mistake when adding internal or external links to your content. If we fail to execute redirects properly, we can expect spiders crawling our sites to encounter dead end after dead end, 404 page after 404 page. Again, this can effectively stop an indexing spider in its tracks, seriously harming the SEO prospects of your website.
Server Issues:There are a huge range of issues that can affect the crawlability or indexability of your website, and as we’ve seen, many of them concern the power of linking and how it can make or break your SEO strategy. With some of our clients, we’ve found that broken server redirects and other server issues can actually prevent those spiders from crawling and indexing your website, as they can’t access all of the content your site has to offer. To improve the crawlability or indexability or your website, keep on top of your digital housekeeping by keeping server problems to a minimum. We recommend going for a professional website hosting package to keep these issues at bay.
Blocking content:At first glance, this first step may seem a little unusual. However, in certain situations and circumstances, deliberately blocking spiders can actually have some benefits. Let’s say you’ve just created a time-sensitive page that you don’t want the public to access yet. To ensure that this page isn’t prematurely crawled and indexed, you can opt to block it from search engine crawlers until you, the administrator, decides it is fine to do so. ProfileTree has some pointers around blocking content: make sure you don’t block other pages by mistake, and take care with coding – it’s too easy to block an entire section of a website with a simple coding error. These are some of the main issues that can adversely impact the crawlability or indexability of your website. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of getting these factors right. Why is this so important, however? The answer is simple: poor crawlability and indexability issues can seriously compromise your wider marketing, content marketing and SEO efforts. For example, investing the time and resources into creating a high-quality blog will greatly improve your site’s SEO prospects. Equally, however, creating a blog post that is poorly linked, poorly designed and fraught with issues can severely harm your SEO prospects. Investing in strong content marketing is always a good idea. Beware crawlability and indexability issues, however, as they can put up huge obstacles which can make other aspects of your strategy a total waste of time and resources. Now that we’ve highlighted some of the most important issues affecting the crawlability and indexability of your site, we’d like to move onto our next set of tips around this issue: how to make your website easier to crawl and index.
How to Improve the Crawlability/Indexability of Your WebsiteAs we’ve already discussed in our ultimate guide to search engine optimisation, there are a huge number of issues which can adversely impact the crawlability or indexability of your website. Many of these issues centre around link building, whilst others issues may be more technical and attributable to server issues. In the next step of our guide, we pick out some of our top tips around improving the crawlability/indexability of your website. Check them out and hold them against your current efforts. We’d love to hear your results from implementing this advice in your own strategy – so feel free to drop us some feedback in the comments!
Enhance and fortify your internal linking strategy:This one may seem obvious, and we have already touched upon the importance of internal links and how they can often make or break your wider SEO strategy. However, we wouldn’t be doing this beginner’s guide to SEO properly if we didn’t highlight this again in this round of tips. Ensure that your content is well-connected with functioning links and reap the benefits of higher search engine rankings for the pages on your site.
Update content and post often:This is a really big one, and essentially highlights the importance of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. We will discuss content marketing in greater detail later in this guide. In a nutshell, however, regularly updated content will vastly improve your site’s crawlability, helping your online business to attract new visitors, with an increased chance of actually converting those visitors into real, paying clients. Regularly updating existing content will encourage spiders to crawl and index your site more regularly – and that’s certainly a good thing in the worlds of Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Submitting Your Sitemap:When we talk about crawlability and indexability, we are usually referring to bots managed by Google. So why not engage with Google directly to improve your SEO prospects? A sitemap is a tiny file which lives in the deep recesses of your site’s domain, containing links to every single page on your site. By submitting your sitemap directly to Google, Google’s search console will be notified about your content, ensuring that any changes or additions made to that content are appropriately crawled and indexed.
Don’t do duplicates:When it comes to the complex worlds of content marketing and search engine optimisation, the duplication of content is something to be entirely avoided – and that applies to whole pages and blog posts as much as it does to individual paragraphs and headings. Improving your website’s positioning on the world’s leading search engine result pages is highly complicated and multi-layered, but one thing is certain true: Google, Yahoo! and Bing hate copied, duplicated content. Whilst duplicated content can harm your overall ranking, it can also decrease the frequency with which spiders crawl and index the pages on your site. If you have issues in this area, we recommend using the services of a professional content writer. In many cases, these wordsmiths will be able to effectively ‘break down’ duplicate pieces of content, repurposing them into something that is at least mostly original.
Boost your loading time:If your website is to be represented as a series of interconnecting webs, then it is essential that spiders can crawl these webs quickly, allowing them to effectively index your content and report it back to Google. Creating a digital environment in which spiders can move quickly depends on a short and convenient loading time. The loading time of your website is a huge factor in the online success of your business – and that’s not just because visitors will leave your site if they are kept waiting too long. Improve loading time by not ‘overstuffing’ your website with complex, unnecessary features. Many loading time issues can be resolved by experienced developers working in collaboration with experienced designers – try this out with your own team before outsourcing these duties. We’ve talked about the best ways of improving the crawlability and indexability of your website. However, you might be wondering what the best tools are for measuring and implementing these concepts. When it comes to indexing tools, we absolutely must recommend Screaming Frog. Our top choice of tool for assessing the crawlability and indexability of your website has to be Screaming Frog, which we touched upon earlier in this guide. This nifty little tool comes packed with an impressive armoury of features, and we regularly use the baseline product to undertake a comprehensive audit of a page, including general health checks and wide-sweeping analysis to identify dead links. This product will even identify duplicate content. It pays to think of Screaming Frog as your own spider – so sign up, try out the features and ensure that your site is a well constructed network of adjoining, functioning bridges. Now that we’ve talked about crawlability, indexability and how to improve them, we’re going to move on the next topic. This next step is frequently underestimated, and often omitted from SEO strategies. We of course refer to those changing algorithms, and how you can keep abreast with their constant changes. Check it out!
Managing Changing AlgorithmsTime and time again, we’ve seen online businesses performing well in search engine ranking pages, only for them to lose everything overnight. This isn’t down to classic reasons like cyber attacks, malware or the site being pulled offline. In fact, many of these businesses lose their search engine positioning following an algorithmic update from Google. In many cases, these problems could have been avoided by keeping abreast with the latest changes. However, this is no simple task. Google is infamous for its regularly changing algorithms, and SEO as an industry is inextricably linked to these algorithms. Some of these updates are only minor, whilst some are hugely significant. Either way, one fact is certainly true: Google updates its millions of search algorithms, thousands of times every year. It isn’t possible to plan for all of these changes, but paying attention to significant updates can really help you to stay ahead of the curve. Some examples of highly significant updates to Google algorithms have been given their own names, which have become universally recognised in the field of search engine optimisation. These include the Florida update, as well as Penguin, Panda and RankBrain. It’s important to note that many of Google’s algorithm changes are so small that huge numbers of them go unnoticed to the internet-using public. In cases like this, the only reason we know that updates have occurred is down to reports from algorithm watchers and tracking tools. Notably, Google has never actually confirmed any of its updates. That means that the onus is on us as digital marketers to keep abreast of any changes. Why is it so important to keep up to date with Google’s algorithm updates? Well, if you’re in the content marketing or search engine optimisation industry, keeping up to track with changes that impact SEO will affect your job significantly. In fact, knowing about these changes will be part of your ‘bread and butter’. These changes can affect many things in the online world. In regards to your own online business, keeping abreast with Google’s changes can, for better or worse, impact your:
- Position in search engine result pages (SERPS);
- Amount of organic search traffic arriving at your site;
- Volume of sales conversions and overall transactions;
- Overall revenue and general profits
Google Algorithm Tracking ToolsKeeping up to date with Google’s ever-changing updates doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out and costly affair. Before you do decide to sign up for an algorithm tracking tool, it does pay to take a step back and ask yourself some questions. Do you have enough content on your website to actually be concerned about an algorithm change from Google? If there was a major change, would you have the time, resources and skills to manage that change and benefit from it? If you decide that tracking the tools is in the best interests of your online business, you should browse the market and make your choice very carefully – and there’s a huge variety out there. There are a range of products on the market which are especially engineered to analyse and register changes in Google’s algorithms, and not all of them involve an expensive subscription. We’ve tried and tested many of these ourselves. So, here it is: our top picks for Google algorithm tracking tools. Try them out and thank us later!
Mozcast:Earlier in ProfileTree’s total guide to SEO, we picked out some of the best tools for keyword research, as well as tools for auditing and optimising content. Moz Pro was a natural choice, and the company has another fantastic offering when it comes to monitoring changes to Google Search algorithms: Mozcast. This free-to-use product is highly effective for tracking and monitoring Google Analytics, detailing information in visually-appealing, easily-digestible graphs. The only weakness that we can mention is that reports only focus on the previous 30 days, limiting their effectiveness when trying to get a long-term picture of your SEO efforts.
Algoroo:As far as Google algorithm tracking goes, Algoroo is a handy little platform that comes as one of the most visually appealing and easily digestible options on the market. The system is totally free to use, meticulously monitoring a carefully curated selection of keywords, reporting and documenting any fluctuations of positive or negative movement. These fluctuations are charted together into a single SERP flux metric indicating volatility in Google’s search results. It’s worth noting that most of the time, low volatility will be displayed, indicating that searches won’t have been significantly changed by any algorithmic changes. Taking a look over their timeline is extremely useful, and looking out for red and orange spikes usually highlights updates rolled out by Google. Convenient and totally free, there’s really no reason not to use Algoroo.
SERPWoo:SERPWoo is a nifty little set of tools which, although not free, really pack a punch for what it offers. Unlike many SEO tracking packages out there, SERPWoo can be commended for creating a set of reverse engineering tools for those working across a range of digital industries, including search engine optimisation, reputation management and content marketing (and we will discuss content marketing in more depth later in this guide). What is really handy about SERPWoo is how it offers quick glances and overviews of the top 20+ search results for any given keyword, giving great impressions around how and why websites may be fluctuating. This information is immensely valuable and can help you to plot your own successful SEO strategy.
SERPMetrics:You may not have heard of SERPMetrics. If you haven’t, don’t panic – it’s one of the oldest analytical tools in the history of search engine optimisation. This is a robust platform which allows comprehensive search engine rank monitoring, including a full-featured created specifically for professionals working within the fields of SEO and content marketing, including SEO agencies like ourselves. For those who need a solution for bulk keyword tracking, SERPMetrics is superb, processing billions of results for its users every month. The system shows results for the previous 30 days and reflects information in a line graph – perfect for those digital strategists out there.
Rank Risk Index:Rank Risk Index is an awesome set of tools created by the folks at Rank Ranger, one of the most well-respected brands in the field of search engine optimisation. This is an all-in-one SEO product, but we find that this is an immensely useful rank tracking tool in its own right. Unlike many other choices in the market, Rank Risk Index measures SERP fluctuations for over 10,000 domains and keywords, and also offers an easily accessible archive which reflects a lengthy history of Google Algorithm Updates. What is truly unique about this product, however, is how it tracks Google SERP features and helps to determine whether ranking fluctuations are being caused. This is well worth a try and, and Rank Risk Index is an awesome sidekick for any of the more substantial choices contained in this guide.
Grump by Accuranker:Accuranker is one of SEO’s most popular tools, and we love Grump, their neat little sidekick. Grump is absolutely free to use, and a quick check on Accuranker’s homepage brings you straight to this handy little page. Accuranker’s ‘Google Grump’ rating highlights both positive and negative fluctuations in search engine result pages, offering a range of useful filters allowing the tracking of changes by country and device. Fundamentally, Accuranker’s Grump claims to be a ‘mood-checker’ for Google, with various activity indicators providing potential clues around Google updates. If ratings show an upward trend over the next few days, it is likely that Google’s ‘mood’ is about to change, meaning that a significant update could be on the way. You can even sign up for email updates for when that does happen – perfect for presenting to clients.
SEMrush Sensor:At ProfileTree, it’s no secret that we are huge fans of SEMrush, and we use the full suite of packages on a daily basis, both for our own content marketing strategy and for those that we deliver for our clients. The SEMrush Sensor measures volatility in Google’s search algorithm, publishing a score on a daily basis. The higher that score happens to be, the more likely it is that a Google update is on its way. However, this product offers a lot more than that. Unlike many other SEO ranking tracker tools on the market, SEMrush Sensor offers specific data around various elements of search engine optimisation, including featured snippets; local packs, shopping results, knowledge panels, top stories, instant answers and top ads. We’ve covered quite a lot of material in our complete guide to SEO. Once you’ve made yourself aware of Google’s constant algorithmic updates and made your choice of tools to monitor those updates, you’ll want to begin plotting your own strategy for search engine optimisation. In the next step of our guide, we will talk about the devices that consumers love to use, and how best to optimise content for these devices. So, let’s get started with the most popular digital device in the history of humanity: the smartphone.
Mobile SEO: An IntroductionToday’s marketplace is digital. But what do we really mean by this? When we use this phrase, we mean that consumers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions on digital platforms, where they may have previously visited small shops, malls and department stores. Shop and store windows are now accessible via the modern screen, and increasing numbers of economists and business commentators have cited the rise of smartphone technology as a significant catalyst behind the decline of the high street. It is therefore certain that businesses who refuse to adapt to certain technology trends will be left behind. With recent algorithm updates, Google has confirmed that mobile-optimised sites will typically perform better in their result pages. The smartphone is huge, and the most significant receptacle for marketing content known to man. We’ve picked out some statistics courtesy of TechJury which we think demonstrate the importance of the smartphone – and why search engine optimisation should place special emphasis on this device. Check them out – we’ll discuss mobile SEO in more depth later in ProfileTree’s beginner’s guide to SEO.
- In 2019 alone, over 204 billion apps were downloaded.
- Worldwide smartphone usage is expected to hit 3.8 billion in 2021.
- In the US alone, mobile apps will create $188.9 billion in revenue in 2020.
- 56 percent of website traffic worldwide was generated via mobile phones in 2019.
How to do Mobile SEO: Top Tips by ProfileTreeWhat is mobile SEO, and how does it differ from search engine optimisation generally? Put simply, mobile SEO concerns the search engine optimisation of sites IN COMBINATION with viewing on smartphones and tablets that is smooth, flowing and as close to flawless and possible. It’s important to note that the ‘combination’ element is extremely important here. Mobile SEO isn’t just about optimising pages for high performance keywords and metadata: the practice places equal importance on accessing those pages properly on mobile. Why is mobile SEO important? Well, we’ve touched upon some smartphone statistics in the previous section, and it is without a doubt that the mobile phone is the most popular device in the history of humankind. We are spending more time than ever on our digital devices, and hearing your digital efforts towards offering the best mobile experience possible is a no-brainer. More than half of web users report browsing the internet on their smartphones on a daily basis. Furthermore, both smaller and larger, more significant algorithmic updates from Google appear to place preference on mobile-friendly sites. Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly will guarantee some pretty quick gains. It’s also important to note that when overseeing the development of your own website, you place due focus on making that site look and function just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. Google also announced an indexing priority for websites, and you’ll want to ensure that your website qualifies.
How to Improve Mobile SEOHave you neglected your mobile SEO strategy so far? That’s bad news, but there’s still hope. If your website has been previously optimised for search engine purposes, most of the work has already been done. From this point on, there are only a few extra steps you need to take to ensure your website achieves its ultimate mobile SEO potential. We’ve listed some of the most important points below. If you’ve never taken this action on your website before, we’d love to hear what results it has given. So, as ever, try these tips yourself, embed them into your own mobile SEO strategy and drop us some feedback in the comments.
What users search for:This is the actual term which people will enter into search engines (yes – this is the ‘keyword’ element). It is important to narrow down the exact terms that people are using, in the style of language they prefer. For example, food lovers in Northern Ireland may search for terms such as “best restaurants in Belfast” or “places to eat in Belfast”. Likewise, people interested in hairdressing may search for “top hairdressers” or “best salons”. Understanding these terms and which of those are relevant to your business is essential.
Start with design:Too often we encounter companies that try to incorporate mobile-friendly design at the very end of their design process. At ProfileTree, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of considering mobile-friendliness across each and every step of your web design and web development process. Going back a number of steps to ensure mobile-friendliness can be a costly and time-consuming process, so you’ll definitely want to make sure that you get this done properly from the very beginning. Smartphones have largely simplified site design for mobile devices – so get on board if you want your online brand to succeed.
Avoid pop-ups:We’ve all experienced it: websites with popups that jump out at you following each and every click, slowing up the process and causing immense frustration. Yes, it’s true – in most cases, advertising pop ups are cheap, nasty and are poor indicators of authority and trust. However, as we all know in the current age of GDPR, some pop ups are necessary – especially when it comes to data consent and cookie release purposes. Apart from when necessary, try your very best to avoid popups, which don’t tend to open and close well on mobile devices or tablets. If you use pop ups more than necessary, you can expect to experience a high bounce rate on your site, significantly damaging the SEO prospects of your website.
No to Flash, yes to fat fingers:This piece of advice may sound a little silly, but it makes perfect sense. Flash can be extremely problematic, not least because many flash plugins are unavailable on today’s smartphones. The fat fingers part makes even more sense in today’s world: touch screen navigation reigns supreme, and accidental clicks are common if the buttons on your site are too big, too small, or in the way of a scrolling finger. Build your website around these core principles and expect to enjoy strong mobile SEO prospects.
Think big, but think local:When you are planning and implementing your own SEO strategy, it pays to take a step back and view things objectively. Will your business ever be competing in the world stage? Are you really going to overtake Coca-Cola in search engine result pages? The likely answer to both of these questions is no – so, optimise your website’s content for mobile search. Actions to ensure this is successful include standardising your site’s name, address and phone number across your entire website. You’ll also want to include local info in your metadata, including city and county names. Here’s an example: “We are ProfileTree, a content marketing agency based in Belfast, Northern Ireland”. Luckily for our readers, we will discuss local SEO in greater detail later in our guide.
Don’t forget your meta:This piece of advice may sound like a no-brainer. However, we often meet clients who – whilst designing a website that looks fabulous on mobile – neglect to optimise crucial information, including titles, slugs and meta descriptions. It pays to remember that you are working with significantly less screen space than in the case of a desktop computer, for example. Streamline and optimise your content by being as accurate and concise as possible. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of maintaining a balance here between information that is concise and brief whilst also being engaging and relevant. After all – nobody likes reading poor quality content.
Configure your site:Like some of the other pieces of advice in this chapter, configuring your site for mobile may sound like a no-brainer. Again, however, we frequently meet clients who make important decisions around configuration at the very end of their web development and design process. At ProfileTree, we recommend taking configuration decisions from the very beginning, choosing between responsive, dynamic serving or a separate site configuration altogether. Whilst all three of these configuration options carry their own advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to remember that Google tends to place preference on responsive design.
Go responsive:We’ve already touched upon the importance of configuring your website for mobile from the very beginning of its construction, and we’ve highlighted that all choices carry their own advantages and disadvantages. At this point, we would advise all of our readers to opt for responsive design wherever possible. Responsive design will display the same content to users across a range of devices – something that is achieved using a flexible, grid-style design. This will automatically adapt to the size of a user’s screen – just about as handy as it gets. Notably, responsive design can display content based on aspects such as resolution, orientation and screen width. Like much of the advice contained in the chapters of ProfileTree’s total guide to SEO, this list of mobile SEO points isn’t exhaustive, and there are several measures that you can take to increase the search engine prospects. We’ve already highlighted that advancements in technology have been the most significant driver behind the rise of SEO as an industry. Now that we’ve covered mobile SEO and how to do it properly, we’d like to move onto another emerging trend and how it is transforming content marketing as we know it: voice search.
Voice Search SEO: An IntroductionVoice search SEO has us all talking – literally. Previously in ProfileTree’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, we highlighted that advancements in technology have been the driving force behind the exponential growth of search engine optimisation as an industry in its own right. Smartphones and tablets have had a major role to play here, and as technology within smartphones and tablets continues to evolve, so too does the nature of search engine optimisation itself. This brings us on to the next chapter of our total guide to seo: voice search SEO. We’ve all become familiar with voice-assisted technology, and tools such as OK Google, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri are playing larger and larger roles in how we browse the web, interact with our favourite brands and make purchasing decisions around our favourite products and services. How this has fundamentally changed SEO is in how we use these technologies to search for various key terms. For the vast majority of users, using speech to search for these terms will be radically different to typing out words. For example, let’s say we were searching for a barber close to the area in which we live. For voice search, we might say “show me barbers nearby” or “barbers near me”. Meanwhile, if we were using a standard keyword search, we would be more likely to use a search phrase like “barbers in Belfast”, “barbers Belfast”, etc. The key to understanding the difference is understanding what is natural. We are speaking to our voice assistants and expect results that are accurate and delivered immediately – and the simplicity of our voice commands will tend to reflect this ultimate objective. Optimising your website to cater to the growing needs of voice assisted technology isn’t just desirable – it’s essential. And for those who are cynical about the importance of voice search SEO, it helps to look at some statistics which truly illustrate the role that these technologies will have in our future. 99firms and Wordstream have highlighted some fascinating figures around voice search. We’ve highlighted a few of them below – check them out:
- By 2020, half of all online searches will be carried out via voice search (comScore)
- According to Gartner, roughly 30 percent of searched will be conducted without the use of a screen
- Over half (52%) of people keep voice-activated speakers in their living rooms.
- Meanwhile, 25% of people keep voice speakers in their bedrooms, and 22% keep them in their kitchens.
- According to Google, 72% of people who use voice-activated assistant technology said that they used these types of devices as part of their daily routines
How to do Voice Search SEOAs we’ve already discussed, the key to understanding how to do voice search SEO is in understanding how we ask questions and how we vocally interact with voice assistants, including Siri, Alexa and OK Google/Google Home. Regardless of what language you speak, it is a common habit with people in general conversation that they approach voice search with a rolling, conversational style. Doing voice search SEO properly is no easy task, and does require considerable work in identifying keywords that are often niche and high in character count. However, we find that before plotting your voice SEO strategy, it pays to take a couple of steps back and ask yourself a few questions about the nature of your business or organisation.
What makes my business or organisation different:This should be a central question, not just for a successful voice search SEO strategy, but any successful content marketing campaign in general. What separates your business or organisation from its rivals and competitors? What can your business or organisation do for people that others can’t? What problems can your product or service solve for potential customers? Create a brief list of questions that your business or organisation is regularly asked.
Who am I optimising for:This is a really important one, and closely relates to our previous discussion on target audiences and how to define your target audience for content marketing. In essence, this means thinking very carefully about who exactly your content is written for and who your ideal client would be. Narrowing down this information can make that critical difference between success and failure when it comes to your overall search engine optimisation strategy.
How would people describe my business or organisation:This piece of advice may seem like common sense advice that most people wouldn’t be inclined to forget. However, we regularly encounter highly specialised companies that use keywords that are too bland, too general, and often too competitive to rank for on search engine result pages. Voice searchers will be more inclined to use descriptive terms like ‘best’, ‘favourite’, ‘award-winning’ or ‘top’. So, when it comes to plotting your strategy for voice search optimisation, it really does pay to think like your customers and use descriptive language such as the adjectives mentioned. Once you’ve taken notes on these key questions, you can begin to take steps towards properly optimising your website for voice search users. That brings us onto the next step in ProfileTree’s definitive guide to SEO: voice search SEO techniques and tips.
Voice Search SEO Keyword ResearchNow that we’ve covered some of the most basic concepts of voice search SEO, it’s time to get into this subject in a bit more detail. At ProfileTree, we find that regardless of whether a strategy is for voice or otherwise, the most important step before any other step is getting your keyword research right. Whilst SEO for voice and general SEO move towards the same overall objective (ie. driving more traffic, more engagement, and therefore more sales to your online business), there are some major differences that you should definitely be aware of. Before we go into our detailed advice on voice search SEO tips and techniques, we are going to share just a few points on getting the keyword research right in your voice search optimisation strategy. Check them out, try them yourself and keep reading the rest of ProfileTree’s ultimate guide to SEO to learn more tips and tricks for doing video SEO properly.
Think about questions:This is possibly the most important piece of advice we have to share around keyword research for voice search SEO. Yes, question keywords should be targeted as frequently as possible, and the reasoning for that is fairly obvious: voice searches tend to contain at least one question word. Your keyword research should aim to prioritise targeting terms like this. But what are examples of question keywords? There’s hundreds to choose from in the English language, but in many cases we see that ‘how’, ‘where’ ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘when’ are the most popular. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Long-tail keywords:This term may seem a little unusual. However, the concept of a long-tail keyword is really quite simple. Long-tail keywords are the terms that frequently finish our questions, and in many cases they are the same terms we tend to complete questions with when we are in a state of general conversation. It is absolutely critical that you absolutely don’t ignore these extremely important keywords when you are either plotting or implementing your own keyword strategy for voice search.
Don’t forget those filler phases:You are probably looking at the first line of this piece of advice, asking yourself what a filler phrase is. In a nutshell, the filler word is the most commonly used type of word in human conversation, and these are the terms that make voice search queries infinitely more natural than your regular search terms. Examples of these kinds of words include “of the”, “to”, “and” and “for” – we’re sure you get the impression.
We’ve covered some of the fundamentals behind getting your SEO keyword strategy right for voice search. These are only basic pointers, and we discuss keyword research for voice search optimisation in greater detail in other blog contributions. Now it’s time to move on to some voice search SEO tips and tricks in greater detail.
Voice Search SEO Tips and TechniquesJust like general search engine optimisation, there’s no single definitive action that can guarantee your rise through the ranks of Google result pages with voice SEO. However, there are some guiding principles which we feel are really important to embed in any strategy – and that is true regardless of the size or nature of your business or organisation.
Voice Search SEO Rich AnswersWhether you are optimising your content for voice or standard keywords, one thing is certainly true: getting your content optimised for rich answers is absolutely essential. As businesses and organisations, we can all aspire to eventually having our content reflected in rich snippets, and those rich snippets really do make a significant difference. In a nutshell, you will want to ensure that content on your website offers a rich answer for questions that your business, organisation or industry will typically face. To understand what we mean about voice search SEO and rich answers on Google, it helps to break down the featured snippet as we understand it.
The knowledge graph:This is the most data-rich part of a featured snippet, and reflects the might of Google’s entire knowledge base. This part effectively stores, registers and indexes various pieces of rich information on places, people, things and anything else that can be imagined.
The knowledge panel:This is one of the most important elements of a rich snippet, and is what the web users view will be first drawn to when they complete their search. Put simply, this is the little small box of information that we see in the right of the search engine result page whenever we search for a certain word or phrase.
The knowledge box:Graphs, boxes, panels – this might seem a little confusing, right? Don’t panic, because again, this part is actually quite simple. The knowledge box is very similar to the knowledge panel, and appears quite similarly to other search results.
Featured snippet:This frequently comes from third-party sources and is one of the most important elements of SEO for any business or organisation, regardless or their size or nature. Google shows this data above organic search results, above advertisements with a citation highlighting the source of the content. When it comes to getting fast and accurate answers to your query, the featured snippet will try its very best to give the best answer possible. All of these elements combine to form a rich answer, and all SEO and content marketing strategies should aim to have their content reflected in this way. It pays to remember that Google does this in order to offer the best possible user experience to those millions of daily searchers. So, focus on creating high quality content that is accurate, concise and as tailored as possible to your target audience. Think about it this way. If your content is displayed in one of Google’s rich answers, this means that you are performing as best as you can possibly perform, with your content, your website and your business appearing at the very top of a search engine results page – even before the first organic search result.
Voice SEO Content: Use Conversational LanguageEarlier in the list we touched upon Yoast SEO, a neat little plugin that fits in perfectly with WordPress. We couldn’t talk about the best SEO plugins for WordPress without highlighting Rankmath – a relative newcomer to the market with more and more active users every month. Rankmath comes as a serious contender to Yoast, and it’s not hard to see why: straight out of the box, this little plugin comes with a treasure box full of useful SEO tools. Its developers have described it as a ‘Swiss Army knife’ for SEO. Whilst that is a bold claim, it is well backed up and certainly worthy of competing with Yoast. As technology continues to evolve, so to do the ways that consumers choose to engage and interact with their favourite brands. At ProfileTree, we can help you stay ahead of the curve. A flowing and conversational style is one of the key features of a voice search query, and it’s absolutely essential to take account of these across each and every step of your wider search engine optimisation and content marketing strategies. Essentially, if we use plastic, robot language, the fewer chances we will have in appearing in voice search results. Writing using as much natural language as possible offers huge benefits, not least because you’ll essentially be matching the style of verbal questions. Natural language is nice, natural language is beautiful. So, embrace it, nurture it and use it wisely. This also raises an interesting point about local dialects. Think about how descriptive words or phrases, or special, localised terms might be used in your locale. Let’s say you are a business based in Belfast, just like ProfileTree. Ask yourself, what is the conversational style of people in Belfast? What type of questions are usually asked the most, and what style of answers tend to respond to those queries in the most appropriate way? In most cases, data provided by the best SEO tools can really help you in refining your online content for voice search. In many cases, comprehensive keyword research tools allow you to tap into specific locations and markets – and sometimes multiple locations and markets depending on what type of product or package you’re going for. This will often give you some useful insights into what people search for verbally. We’ve already covered our top choices in SEO tools for carrying out SEO keyword research. However, just to finish off this point, we’d recommend more robust products such as SEMrush, Moz Pro and Wordtracker.
Audit and Reconstruct Your Content for Voice Search SEODepending on the size and nature of your business, it could well be true that you have diverted lots of resources into optimising your content for general search engine optimisation. This is perfectly understandable, and we regularly encounter clients who have displayed a strong level of knowledge of general search engine optimisation, but may have more recently neglected other, fresher elements of the practice – and that includes voice search. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – one of the best ways of launching an SEO strategy that actually breeds results is by undertaking a comprehensive audit of your entire website. And, it’s important to note that this step is equally as important for general search engine optimisation as it is for search engine optimisation for voice assisted technology. Undertake a comprehensive audit of the content on your website, revisit your content marketing strategy and transform the content on your site so that it is more appealing, relevant and engaging to those searching for products or services using voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri. But how is it possible to repurpose the content on your website for voice search queries? Whilst there is no definitive answer to this question, research suggests that the world’s leading search engines tend to place preference on answers that are short and incredibly concise. This is supported by the Google average, where the typical voice search result averages at around 29 words in overall length. It also helps to repeat the point around building content that places preference on answering search queries. There’s a huge number of tips and tricks that can help you do this. To get started, we recommend taking this step, and it’s a step that we at ProfileTree recommend to each and every one of our clients who are interested in improving their voice search SEO potential: create an FAQ page on your website. Frequently-asked questions are perfect for creating content that works well according to voice search SEO principles. Answers will tend to be quite short, boosting the chances of your website’s content appearing as a rich snippet on search engine result pages. To get your FAQ page right for voice search SEO requirements, it helps to break your content up into digestible paragraphs or bullet points, with appropriate choices in your headings and subheadings.
Improving Page Speed for Voice Search SEOAcross the course of this guide, we’ve consistently highlighted the importance of page loading speeds when it comes to positioning your content on the results pages of the world’s top search engines. It may seem odd that we are pointing out this piece of advice yet again on our chapter on how to do video SEO properly. However, time and time again we encounter businesses and organisation who rightly allocate resources towards creating a beautiful website, filled with content that is optimised from front to back. We would like to reiterate that regardless of the strength of your site’s design and development architecture, your page will not perform well in search engine rankings unless it offers quick page loading times. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Google and other leading search engines such as Yahoo! and Bing tend to abandon websites that take a long time to load, and tend to place preference on websites that are speedy, secure, flowing and functioning. A lot of this goes back to the points we previously made on crawlability and indexability, and how Google’s indexing bots face difficulty with slow page loading times and other digital barriers such as 404 pages and faulty redirects. When it comes to page loading speed and ranking on search engine result pages, Google has been prepared to put its money where its mouth is, enforcing this principle with the Speed Update. Indeed, having brief loading speeds on your website is now not just a desirable feature, but one that is absolutely essential to remain competitive. It’s also important to note that it’s not just Google’s crawling and indexing spiders that you have to worry about it. Yes, it’s true – humans tend to despise long loading times, and who can blame them? In today’s busy world, consumers expect responses to their query that are accurate, concise and delivered immediately, and in many cases, they will simply close the tab or change the website when faced with a long loading time. When a visitor arrives at your site and immediately leaves, the industry of search engine optimisation refers to that action as ‘bouncing’. If your website has a high bounce rate, that means visitors are bailing, and fast. If this is the case, there is something fundamentally wrong with your website that you must address immediately. When it comes to improving the loading speed of your website, there are a range of actions you can take. Some can be quite costly and will require the assistance of an experienced developer. Meanwhile, other measures are relatively cheap, and some are even cost-free. Here’s a brief checklist on measures that you can take to boost your website’s loading speed for voice search optimisation. Try these tips yourself and let us know in the comments how they have improved your speed:
Go compressed:When it comes to improving the loading speed of your website, it is always to use compressed versions of media where possible – and this includes images and videos. Non-compressed versions can take up extra space, and in many cases will be larger and lengthier to load than what is really required. Compress your media and enjoy the benefits of faster loading times and improved ranking positions.
Monitor your internal link structure:This is a really important one, and we have previously highlighted the importance of maintaining a link structure that is flowing, functioning and going to live links. Reducing the number of redirects on your website can make a significant difference to your website’s overall loading speed. We also recommend reducing the usage of plugins and needless extras, as these can really push your website’s loading time through the roof. Trim the fat off your website and reap the benefits of improved ranking positions.
Do mobile SEO:This is an absolutely critical one, and we can’t emphasise enough the importance of optimising your site for mobile – and that’s especially relevant when charting and plotting your SEO strategy for voice assisted technology. After all – the majority of voice searches are presently conducted on mobile and smartphone devices. Google prioritises mobile content more than ever, and your site should be prepared to offer an awesome experience for smartphone users. Build a mobile-responsive site, optimise its content accordingly. This is one of the most important pieces of advice in this entire guide to SEO and shouldn’t be put on the back shelf. Those are some of our most important tips for doing voice search SEO properly, and we’d love to hear your feedback around how this has yielded results for your online business or organisation. Now that we’ve covered the importance of page loading times and their relationship to the world of voice search, it’s time to move onto the next step of our advice for mastering voice search SEO: Google My Business Listings
Take Advantage of Google My Business ListingsFor any given search term, we may expect to get hundreds of thousands of results, with those results displayed across thousands of search engine result pages. Think about the amount of businesses and organisations who may show on these pages, and how they are in a constant battle for top position. You already know that many web users will typically use voice search for those standard ‘near me’ style key phrases. What really matters in terms of how you rank for these terms depends upon the strength of your Google My Business listing. This is the perfect means of letting the world’s most popular search engine know that your business is based within a specific location. If a web user submits a query asking Google to give an example of certain businesses within a particular geographic location, getting your Google My Business listing done properly could potentially rank your business or organisation for that query. What are the most important elements of getting your Google My Business listing done properly? Similarly to a phone directory or the old Yellow Pages, your Google My Business listing must contain basic yet essential information on things like the name of your business, its official postage address, as well as any phone numbers or faxing numbers that your business may currently be using. However, getting your Google My Business listing right isn’t just about including accurate sets of contact information. It is absolutely critical that you also choose appropriate business categories for your Google My Business listing, and it’s essential that you choose these categories accurately and appropriately. For example, a hair and nail salon may opt for tags such as “hair care”, “hair styling”, “nail technician” or “health and beauty”. These would certainly be the correct choices for a hair and nail salon, and should help that particular business position well within Google search engine results. However, if that particular hair and nail salon were to choose categories and tags that were completely irrelevant to their nature of business, they should expect their Google My Business listing to fail spectacularly. So, for example, if this hair and nail salon opted for categories like “cocktails”, “construction” or “fast food delivery”, their search engine result page positioning would be likely to do tank significantly as a result. It’s all about giving Google honest and accurate information here – so don’t try to cut any corners or go for any cheap tricks when it comes to your Google My Business listing. In many cases, we’ve found that properly submitting and optimising your Google My Business listing can guarantee some pretty quick gains when it comes to positioning your page on the world’s most popular search engines. So, if you’ve been having limited traction with your current search engine optimisation strategy, try taking these simple steps and reap the benefits of increased online prominence. Now that we’ve covered all the major steps behind doing search engine optimisation properly, it’s time to move on to the next section of ProfileTree’s ultimate guide to SEO: the relationship between search engine optimisation and content marketing.
SEO and Content MarketingAcross the course of ProfileTree’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, we’ve consistently pointed out that search engine optimisation as an industry and as a practice is inextricably linked to content marketing. It is extremely important to take those essential optimisation steps across your entire website – and that includes optimising its meta data, optimising it for mobile viewing, optimising it for voice search SEO and improving its crawlability and indexability. These are absolutely critical, and should form the bedrock of your overall social media strategy. However, no matter how many technical steps you take on your website to improve its ranking position, it won’t get anywhere without high quality content. And, in today’s competitive marketplace, content marketing is absolutely crucial. After all, the means by which we now decide to browse, engage and complete transactions with our favourite businesses and brands are changing – and fast. The advent of smartphone technology and the rise of SEO as an industry in its own right has transformed, and there’s plenty of reasons for that. Indeed, whilst consumers were previously targeted on areas with high footfall using advertising billboards and large posters, modern content marketing instead seeks to target those same consumers in the digital world. However, what exactly do we mean when we use the phrase “digital world”? Put simply, this can take several forms, including GIFs, memes and infographics as well as text, video and audio content. The content marketing world is full of vibrance, colour and creativity, and your business or organisation should share content that inspires, informs and engages with your chosen target audience. But before we get into this in more detail, let’s answer that beginner question: what is content marketing, and why is content marketing so important?
The Value of Content Marketing in Today’s Online MarketplaceIn today’s online marketplace, content is all around us. This is only set to grow continuously – a fact aided and abetted by the inexorable rise of tablet products and smartphone technology. But what do we really mean by content? In essence, digital content is basically anything that can be published online. That includes things like infographics and videos, as well as animations, images, blog posts, text and audio files, GIFs, memes, and pretty much anything that you can see with your own eyes. The vast majority of the time, you will be engaging with online content. The value of content marketing is therefore clear, and there are few more effective ways to advertise your product or service to potential customers. The world of advertising has transformed how we consume content. Indeed, online content marketing has emerged as one of the most critical elements of consumer engagement since the historic birth of radio and television. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Why is Content Marketing Important?Why is content marketing so important, both in terms of positioning in search engine result pages and advertising your product or service? The answer lies in how marketing techniques and their applicable technologies have evolved over the past decade. The rise of the smartphone has had a significant role to play here. Research conducted by Statista found that a whopping 2.71 billion people currently use the devices on a daily basis. This is absolutely huge, and amounts to a breath-taking 35.13% of the world’s population. What should marketers take from this hard hitting fact? The most important element to take from this piece of information is that over a third of the world’s population currently engage with digital content online. Indeed, as the inexorable rise of the smartphone continues, more traditional methods of advertising and marketing are beginning to lose traction. While there will always be an important place for traditional advertising and content marketing, the fact remains that today’s marketplace is digital, and those who fail to recognise this will fall significantly behind their competitors.
Content Marketing BenefitsIf we haven’t already made it clear, content marketing carries huge benefits for modern businesses, and that is true regardless of the size or nature of your business or organisation. However, in the next step of ProfileTree’s definitive guide to SEO, we’d like to pick out some of our favourite advantages of content marketing. Check them out!
Boost your brand awareness:Branding and marketing with content are inextricably linked. Modern companies with successful marketing strategies place an overwhelming emphasis on building their brands online, and that is an effort that is made from the very beginnings of their website development right through the ongoing publication of blogs, videos and other types of online content. Research and recent studies have shown that businesses typically enjoy greater returns on their investment than if they had allocated the same amount of resources to traditional advertising and marketing methods.
Cut your marketing and advertising costs:One of the most significant benefits of content marketing is how cheap it is in comparisons to other, more traditional methods of advertising and marketing. In many cases, the activities required to oversee a successful marketing campaign are extremely expensive, and the expense of traditional advertising (including TV or radio) is well documented. However, the most effective examples of content marketing to be found anywhere online are often delivered at a small fraction of the cost of a traditional equivalent. Cost effectiveness is one of the most important decisions that businesses will take before making any decision. This makes it a perfect choice for small to medium sized businesses who may be working to a tight or limited budget.
More sales conversions:This is by-far the most significant benefit of content marketing, and this is just as applicable to established multinational corporations as it is to small, local brands. Today’s modern consumer prefers to browse and buy products and services online, and the ongoing decline of the high street is well documented. Different kinds of content marketing have often yielded a significant increase in sales conversions when compared to more traditional forms of marketing and advertising. So, get online, get marketing and enjoy your increased profits. We’ve covered our top four benefits of content marketing. Like much of the content in ProfileTree’s beginner’s guide to SEO, this list isn’t exhaustive, and the advantages of content marketing are plentiful. Now that the benefits are clear, it’s onto the next question: how do businesses use content marketing to engage with potential customers? Keep reading to find out!
How do Businesses Use Content Marketing Successfully?As we’ve discussed across the course of ProfileTree’s definitive guide to SEO, marketing is a huge industry that is largely driven by engaging and persuasive content. The industry is truly colossal, composed of several digital channels, as well as a historic list of styles, influences and thought leaders. But how do business owners take account of all of these things to boost their brand online? The secret to doing content marketing properly lies in properly understanding principles known as “the 4 purposes of marketing” or “the 4 Ps of Marketing” for short. It helps to familiarise yourself with these – so here they are – the 4 purposes of marketing: product, place, price and promotion.
Product:Your product will either be a good or a service, and first and foremost that product or service should aim to solve the problems, or meet the needs or desires of consumers. This applies to all businesses – even businesses that may sell information, for example. Getting your marketing right can make huge differences when it comes to highlighting your product – so you absolutely must ensure that you know your product better than anyone else out there!
Price:In today’s digital marketplace, price isn’t everything – although it is close to it. Once you have an unrivalled understanding of the product or service your business or organisation is promoting, you can begin to make decisions around its pricing. This is one of the most important series of decisions that you will ever have to make as a business owner, and it’s not hard to see why: pricing will frequently determine the supply and demand of a certain product or service, as well as your wider profit margins and marketing methods.
Promotion:Now that you have established both your price and your product, it’s time to start thinking about promotion – and when we use the term promotion, we refer to the range of actions taken across several marketing channels. These include a range of professional marketing tactics including traditional advertising and marketing methods; email marketing, video marketing, social media marketing, public relations and more. Whilst this can largely depend on the size, stature and nature of your business or organisation, using fun, off-the-beaten track tactics and separate your brand from the competition and create a truly memorable advertising or marketing campaign.
Place:The final ‘purpose’ of marketing is place, and when we refer to place, we mean locating a product with the right price at the right place at the right time. Simple, right? It is absolutely essential that you undertake rigorous research around product placement, basing your choice of place on its potential ability to convert the basic web browser into customers that are real, paying and ready to part with their money. Whether you decide to go for a digital marketing campaign, a sleek content marketing campaign or even a traditional, classic style of marketing campaign, place will undoubtedly form a key question. You may be asking yourself how this particular set of tips relates to the world of search engine optimisation and positioning your brand online. The answer lies in how Google and other leading search engines (including Ask, Yahoo! and Bing) interprets and evaluates the content on your website. In the next section of ProfileTree’s Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimisation, we look at various kinds of content marketing and how they can play a significant role in catapulting your site upwards in search engine results pages. Keep reading to learn more.
Benefits of Content MarketingWe’ve already highlighted that content marketing can come in hundreds of potential forms. Examples of content marketing include anything that we can engage with – whether we are watching that content, looking at the content, listening to the content or reading the content. What separates marketing content from standard content (such as information, instructions or journalistic content) is the purpose for which it is created. It’s really important to know this, and we’ve shared the five purposes of content marketing below:
- To encourage online attention and increase lead generation
- To grow your audience and base of potential customers
- To boost your online sales, bookings and general transactions
- To enhance your brand awareness and generally improve your credibility
- To engage and interact with your online community
Own your content, own your audience:Writing, filming, designing and publishing your own unique content gives you infinite scope to build a brand awareness around your product or service that is truly memorable. However, one of the most important aspects of content marketing is the principle of choice and consent. But what do we mean by this? The answer lies in the fact that consumers who engage with your content are actually doing so because they choose to. This comes in stark contrast to traditional marketing and advertising methods, where someone may encounter a billboard walking down the high street or a radio advertisement whilst driving home from work. With high quality content marketing, businesses and organisations can truly earn and own their audience, building that all important trust and brand loyalty along the way.
Truly engage your target audience:When we talk about marketing and advertising, ‘engagement’ is the core issue to consider and the core objective to achieve. However, there are significant differences between light, passing engagement and real engagement that encourages the growth of an online community and overall brand awareness. But what do we actually mean by this? Take a look at some of the most popular brands online. Their content will avoid general and bland material, creating content that is engaging, information, entertaining, and most importantly – shareable. We will touch upon shareable content later in ProfileTree’s Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimisation.
Truly value your audience:Just like ‘engagement’ valuing your audience is a concept that is bandied around the world of marketing and advertising much too often. However, with content marketing, we’ve generally found that audiences and individual customers can get a real sense of value from high quality material. For those who may find difficulty understanding this, we explain it in a simple way: unlike many, more traditional forms of advertising and marketing, content marketing can actually be appreciated by the audience, with some consumers actively seeking that content out to consume. Many shoppers are turned off by display ads, and some simple hate pop ups and online banner advertisements. In a nutshell, the majority of potential customers are more willing to engage and share content that is engaging, informative and tailored to their particular needs or interests.
The benefits of content marketing are therefore clear, and we’ve discussed these benefits in greater detail in previous blogs, as well as in several video contributions from ProfileTree’s very-own CEO, Ciaran Connolly. Now that we have covered the core benefits of content marketing, it’s time to move onto the next section of ProfileTree’s Total Guide to Search Engine Optimisation: various types of content marketing. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting creative industry!
Types of Content MarketingWe’ve previously highlighted that content marketing can come in hundreds of potential forms. At ProfileTree, we have built our business on content marketing that engages, informs and inspires. Content marketing done well typically requires a multifaceted team of content marketing professionals, including (but not limited to) content writers, copywriters, video producers, search engine optimisation experts, digital designers, web developers, graphic designers and more. We’ve picked out some top examples of content marketing below. Check them out and have a think about how they could potentially help your online business
Social Media MarketingSocial media is one of the most exciting phenomena to become popular in recent years. Only 15 years ago the idea of social media was non-existent, and traditional methods of advertising and marketing reigned supreme. However, the advent of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat has caused a revolution in advertising and marketing, and the core objective of much marketing content is now to achieve ‘shareability’. Indeed, today’s marketplace is a social one, and social media allows businesses with more limited budgets and resources to compete with larger businesses on a digital, yet international playing field. Like all forms of content marketing, truly engaging with your target audience requires significant market research, as well as a very particular set of skills, resources and expertise. This typically involves understanding how your audience likes to engage with your brand, as well as having an informed understanding of their browsing habits and ideal social network. Examples of social media content include:
CopywritingHow do we define SEO copywriting? Not to be confused with content writing, copywriting entails the writing of the text included in advertising, publicity or marketing materials. This is a significant skill set and is only held by those who have a superior command of the English language, as well as a close, practiced understanding of what people truly like to engage with and read online. As a rule of thumb, it often makes sense to recruit a copywriter with considerable experience and qualifications in professional writing. From our experience, it also helps to hire a copywriter who writes for the language as their native tongue. When we think about memorable advertising and marketing campaigns, it’s normally strong and effective copywriting that has etched it into our memory. Think about some of the biggest brands in history, and how they’ve managed to build successful brands around simple, effective phrases:
Pepsi:One of the world’s largest brands and producers of soft drinks. Pepsi were faced with the immediate challenge of competing with Coca-Cola, and used strong marketing and copywriting campaigns to differentiate itself from the biggest brand. Now, Pepsi’s advertising motto of ‘Ask For More’ has become recognised throughout the world.
Coca-Cola:Sometimes the best examples of copywriting are the most simple ones. Coca-Cola, at the time of its establishment, was a truly unique product, and most people had never encountered soft drinks before the famous can were rolled out across the world. “Enjoy Coca-Coca” is now synonymous with the world’s favourite soft drink, and their brand awareness is so strong that they actually managed to turn Christmas and Santa red in colour (before the advent of Coca-Cola, the colour theme of Christmas was traditionally green).
McDonalds:The bright yellow McDonald’s logo is one of the most recognisable logos in the world. Indeed, in a brief survey, young children were able to identify the McDonald’s logo before world leaders and historic individuals including the Pope, Jesus Christ and the President of the United States of America. “I’m Lovin’ It” is a simple yet effective example of the copywriting campaigns driven by McDonald’s, and is recognised in the language of every country that the fast food chain has operations in.
Guinness:Guinness, also known as ‘the black stuff’ or ‘creamers’ is the world’s favourite stout, and is served in thousands of bars around the world. Guinness have been fairly consistent in their marketing strategy for nearly a century, and their copywriting mottos have truly earned their place in the copywriting history books. “A Guinness A Day Keeps the Doctor Away” is one of the most memorable pieces of copywriting ever to have supported a product or service coming out of Ireland.
Red Bull:When Red Bull first entered the market, they were newcomers with lots to prove. Consumers across the world had little experience with energy drinks, and the Red Bull brand had to drive a copywriting and content marketing campaign that truly differentiated itself from other products on the shelves of shops and supermarkets. In order to achieve this, Red Bull have driven advertising campaigns with a unique style of hand-drawn animation. This has been paired up with what may be the most memorable copywriting example in the history of soft drinks: “Red Bull Gives You Wings”.
Tesco:Tesco are one of Europe’s biggest retail giants, and the United Kingdom’s most popular food producer and supplier. With such a significant role to play in society, Tesco have made great strides in embedding themselves within their local communities by driving content marketing and copywriting campaigns that highlight their community credentials. “Every little helps” is one of the most memorable slogans in the history of advertising, and this has been adapted to suit different situations throughout modern history. For example, during the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020, Tesco’s adapted this slogan to “Now, more than ever, every little helps”. If you want a good slogan, you need a good copywriter: it’s that simple. When it comes to getting a skilled copywriter to drive the textual elements of your content marketing campaign, we can’t resist dropping our own little plug for our own services. At ProfileTree, we are proud to employ some of Ireland’s most talented and experienced professional writers. Using our agency services, we can demonstrate how effective copywriting can significantly enhance the overall search engine optimisation prospects of your website.
Video Marketing for SEOLet there be no doubt: video is the future of content marketing. Regardless of the size, stature or nature of your business or organisation, video is often described as being able to speak a thousand words. Indeed, the strength of video marketing is supported by research and recent statistics: 79 percent of web users have reported increased traffic to their website after using videos in the content marketing strategy. According to the same bodies of research, video content has been found to help 69 percent of its users generate more leads for their online business. Finally, over 93 percent of video content users considered the creation of video content to be absolutely crucial to their overall content marketing strategy. YouTube is one of the main channels for good video marketing, and we’ve previously published an SEO for Beginners YouTube guide, which helps you with things like YouTube channel name SEO and YouTube SEO tips. It is also important to remember that video marketing can come in many forms, including:
- Brief social media videos
- Explainer videos
- Animated videos
- Video advertisements
- Video tours
- 360 videos
- Instructional videos
Email MarketingWhen email was first launched, even its creators didn’t imagine it becoming as popular as it is today. In today’s digital world, the vast majority of us use email regularly, and the vast majority of us actually require an email address for the payment of bills and other essential tasks. However, as the inexorable rise of email has continued, marketers have identified strong opportunities for carrying out marketing advertising campaigns using this immensely popular medium. In the industry, we refer to this as ‘email marketing;. According to industry leader Wordstream, nearly 105 billion emails are sent on a daily basis, with that number expected to reach a breath taking 246 billion before 2020. This has opened the door to some really lucrative opportunities for businesses and organisations across a range of industries. Indeed, gone are the days when emails were reserved only for office computers. Consumers are now increasingly open to engaging with marketing content straight from their email boxes. Here’s an interesting fact which highlights the development of email as a marketing medium: the use of the emoji in email marketing has increased by over 1000 percent over recent years, and that trend continues to grow and grow. At ProfileTree, we’ve been mastering email marketing for over 10 years. We drive email marketing campaigns that are handled by some of the country’s most talented and able content writers, copywriters, digital strategists, graphic designers and more. Get in touch with our expert team today and unlock the power of email marketing for your business or organisation. Driving those email links to your site can really boost your search engine optimisation prospects – trust ProfileTree – it worked for us!
Content Writing for SEOContent writing is a very specific skill set which shouldn’t be confused with copywriting. However, it should also be understood that in many cases, copywriters will be deeply involved in content writing work, and vice versa with many content writers being heavily involved in copywriting work. Content writing requires a winning combination of writing talent with an integral understanding of performance metrics and content analytics. At ProfileTree, content writing is one of our most important services, and we’ve built our own internal brands on material that informs, engages and inspires audiences. A successful and effective content writer will employ industry-leading research skills to drive content that is designed to significantly enhance the prominence of your website in search engine result pages. Indeed, content writing covers a huge number of bases when it comes to search engine optimisation. Content writing services can include:
- Optimised, engaging website content for specific digital locations like home pages, about pages and more
- Instructional guides
- Blog posts
- Magazine contributions
- Total guides (including the guide you are reading right now)
- Press releases
- Content for email marketing campaigns
- Storyboards and advertisement scripts
- Product descriptions
- Meta data, including descriptions, titles and slugs
- Textual content for leaflets, billboards and posters