Search Engine Optimization. Everybody talks about this buzzy acronym, but what is SEO and why do you need to consider it when making a splash online?
You’ve probably heard the term SEO bandied around the internet. You may have even dabbled with reading some articles or doing some tutorials on the subject. Many people get overwhelmed with the topic as it can be quite confronting thanks to all the technical jargon, rules, and conflicting advice. If you’ve been wondering what is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how it can help your business, then read on to find it explained simply(ish!) And once you’ve finished reading this, head over to our guide on how to get ranked on Google.
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
At its most basic level, Search Engine Optimization is the strategy that we use when building and developing a website so that it can be found by search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Firefox.
Each search engine has its own algorithm that it uses every time you type a query into the search bar. So when you enter: best pizza restaurant Singapore, it takes this question and sends its robots out to search the interweb for the best results amongst the millions and millions of pieces of information out there.
In reality, this is not done in real-time (disappointing, right?). Rather, the search engine’s robots/crawlers are constantly searching the web and reading all the information/code we put on our websites to see what we are writing about.
To help give these robots cues to find us, we use SEO. By making it easy for the crawlers to see what our site and articles are about, they see that we are a reliable source and will deliver our information as a priority when it comes to the search query.
Essentially, you will be organically bumped up the search results page if your Search Engine Optimization is done correctly. And this means more site visits, sales, and online authority.
Important things to know about SEO
1) SEO is a long game
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but SEO is not something that you do once and it is fixed. All of the search engines are constantly updating their algorithms (Google’s being the most important due to its market share) which means that changes come through two to three times a year as the crawlers get smarter and implement different ranking factors.
For example, in 2020, Google announced that UX design is now being used as a ranking factor for SEO, meaning that the user experience of your website (you can think of this as the customer journey) now plays a part on where you show up in search results.
Luckily, the search engine operators are more open than ever before about just what their crawlers are looking for in terms of content. But they never give away a full checklist. At Digital Collective Asia, we stay abreast of these changes and integrate them into our work, both on the Honeycombers platforms and for our clients.
2) On-page vs Off-page factors
There are two main types of factors that come into play with Search Engine Optimization: On-page and Off-page.
On-page factors are those things that are within your control as the publisher of your website: site architecture, HTML headings, links, quality content etc.
Off-page factors are things that help give your website credibility outside of your website. These are things such as backlinks, amount of users reading or utilising your site, and social media signals.
It’s only through a holistic approach to all of these factors that you will see your website reaching the top spot for search queries around your niche.
3) Keywords are, quite frankly, key
It’s all very well for you to launch your site and start writing articles on your subject, but if you’re not doing your keyword research properly, then you may as well drag-and-drop that article straight to the Trash.
Think of keywords as the exact search queries people enter into the search bar to find their information. If you have a new music shop in Hong Kong, then your first thought might be to try and rank for “music shop in Hong Kong”. And while you wouldn’t be wrong, that’s probably not the best way to approach getting found online.
A better strategy would be to try and rank for less searched, long-tail keywords such as: “where to buy clarinets in Hong Kong” or “shop sheet music in Hong Kong”. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t still have “music shop in Hong Kong” as a keyword on one of your pages, but it probably wouldn’t rank the fastest.
Speaking of pages on your website, make sure that every page (including the Homepage, About Us section, and Contact page) has its own unique keyword so that the crawlers don’t get confused.
4) Think of your site in terms of code
I know I said I’d make this simple, but I think it’s really helpful to think about your website in terms of code rather than text. When you upload information to your site, the front end may look like regular text, but everything in the backend is coded, from formatting (bold, italics and bullet points etc.) to images.
For this reason, you need to make sure that you save your image files correctly and use keywords where applicable so that the crawlers can actually read the pictures (the robots don’t have eyes, so we need to help them “see” with our text cues.)
Also, as image-, audio-, and video-search all become increasingly popular, you need to make sure you are not missing out on any conversions.
5) The end game is to increase traffic to your site
More traffic equals more reliability equals more sales – that’s just the way the internet works. Whether you are creating blogs for content marketing, selling fashion, or offering services online, you need to use SEO best practice to drive people to your platform.
Can I do SEO myself?
Absolutely you can! But know that it will take time to learn the fundamentals. If you’ve got the time to learn then we’re happy to teach you and your team the basics so you feel confident to go out and kill it.
If you’d like a little more help, then we can help you in other ways, including writing Search Engine Optimized content for your website or performing an SEO audit on your site so you know what needs to be improved.