SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is simply the practice of putting your website on the first page of Search Engine Results Page for search terms related to your product/service. Having been around for more than 6 years in Singapore, SEO industry has pretty much matured. SEO pricing is much more transparent than before. Nowadays, the most common type of pricing model is the monthly retainer Continue Reading
Technical SEO is often an overlooked aspect of SEO. However, it’s as important as getting your content right. It’s the supporting structure behind your SEO strategy, and its immense importance is evident, as you will find out below.
In this infographic, we have listed out what you should and should not do, as well as some suggestions for online tools you can use towards achieving good technical SEO.
What to Do
Today, mobile users have overtaken PC users, and the number of mobile users will only continue to increase. If you’re not going to optimise your website to be mobile-friendly, you’re losing out and driving potential customers away.
Also, Google announced in 2015 that it would be boosting and expanding mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. It also released a new ranking algorithm for mobile friendliness at the same time.
In late 2016, it rolled out it’s mobile-first indexing, signalling the beginning of its move towards a focus on mobile content, instead of the desktop to rank search results.
Fast Loading Speed
Would you stay on a website that loads with a speed similar to broadband 10 years ago? Today, Internet users view speed as one key factor that determines whether they stay or leave.
They don’t have the patience to wait for a page to load all day. Your website shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds to load if you don’t want to see users jumping to other sites immediately.
Google doesn’t take too kindly to your website if it’s slow – it crawls your website for inefficiencies in coding which pulls your loading speed down.
For e-commerce sites, especially, loading speed matters a lot. Users can navigate quickly, get what they want quickly, and complete the order process quickly. SEO aside, many would know that a turtle-like sitespeed is a conversion killer. Its not worth investing a fortune into a great product and strong copy only to have sitespeed drag down your sales figures. According to Peep Laja from ConversionXL, 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
Its not just SEO, pagespeed affects the performance of your Pay Per Click Google campaigns as well. It is said to reduce quality score, which in turn increases your costs of advertising. Not to mention wasting precious paid traffic that does not convert into leads and sales.
To improve your speed, alot of factors come into play, from your hosting provider, coding efficiency to your images.
Single Site Version
Having a single site version means that your website’s address should not have repeat versions, such as “https/http/www” which can cause duplicate content issue.
In 2014, Google revealed that it would be using HTTPs as a ranking signal, and would provide a small boost to a website’s ranking if an SSL certificateisused.
That means that not having one can result in a low overall ranking for your website because it doesn’t signal to the search engine that your website is good. Therefore, you should buy an SSL certificate from your website host. Use specifically 2048-bit key certificates.
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What to Avoid
Duplicate content refers to similar content appearing in multiple places on the Internet. It makes the work of search engines difficult and can be a painful hit to your SEO. You can suffer a loss of traffic and poor ranking.
Run a check on your page content, meta tag, and meta description to ensure that there is no duplicate content. Use the Canonical tag or 301 redirect as a solution for your duplication problems.
Broken links can be a huge turn off for most users, discouraging them from continuing and negatively impacting the overall user experience.
When search engine crawlers encounter a broken link, they stop whatever they’re doing and move on to another page. To prevent this, conduct site audit to crawl your site to search for broken links.
This relates to your site’s security. Ensure that the site is not only clean but also secure from breaches and hacks. Google’s mission is to make the internet a better place and hence takes a serious view of security on the internet. Security is the bare minimum for SEO rankings.If your content is hacked, Google will penalise you through a few actions that will be painful:
- Removing your website from search rankings, thereby affecting traffic
- Red-flagging your website
Security is something that marketers overlook systematically, until the matter gets out of hand and your website goes down completely beyond help. Just like human illnesses, prevention is better than cure. Here are some steps to take
- Make use of tools such as free Sucuri Malware scanner to periodically check for hacks and malware
- Use a tool such as iTheme security to prevent brute force password attack in which a hacker tries multiple password combinations to get into your website
- Always back up your website on a regular basis. You never know when your website gets hacked. Vaultpress or Updraftplus are great.
Cloaking is the act of showing different content or URLs to search engines and users. The information a user views would be different from search engine crawlers. It goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines as expected results are not provided.
If you’re trying your luck and hiding your links, spam content or text to improve your search ranking, don’t say we didn’t warn you-. Google will penalise you.
Every website should have a hierarchy – a structure that organises the information on your site. This allows for easy crawling by Google spiders to index your content. However, this remains a problem with most websites.
Plan your site architecture well and you will be rewarded. Some guidelines to follow are:
- Keep clicks to a minimum. Neil Patel from Quicksprout says it should only take 3 to 4 clicks at most to navigate to any section of your website
- Use Google Search Console for submitting your sitemap
- Incorporate user-friendly, meaningful and keyword-based URLs. According to Brian Dean from Backlinko, shorter url rank better in Google. His suggestion is to use something like backlinko.com/your-keyword instead of backlink.com/10-12-17/category/article title.
Luckily for you, there’s a wide variety of free site tools you can use to optimise your technical aspects.
For example, Google Search Console allows you to submit your sitemap, set your localisation and check your website for technical errors.It tracks and supports your website’s search results presence. It also helps you to check whether your website is mobile-friendly. Without a doubt, it is a necessary tool for achieving and maintaining good technical SEO. Ryan Stewart from Webris recommends connecting your Search console account to Google Analytics to unveil more data so you can improve your visibility.
PageSpeed Insights is another tool to easily find out how fast (or slow) your site is loading. It analyses your site and comes up with customized recommendations to effectively increase its speed. You should also check out how to achieve a high score on Pagespeed Insights.
Lastly, Screaming Frog helps you to carry out a technical audit and evaluate the areas that need improvement.
Having good technical SEO isn’t achieved overnight – it takes constant monitoring, checking and reviewing. There are many different aspects to be considered and optimised, and even the smallest error can land you in an unfavorable situation.
Therefore, by taking note of what to do, and what not to, will provide a considerable boost to your site. Why stop at just achieving good content marketing, when you can do much more to outrank your competitors? Take these steps to set the stage right and get your site ranked high.
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Don’t be mistaken, it’s not the same as ranking for commercial keywords such as ‘Digital marketing agency singapore’ , ‘accounting software singapore’ etc.
Why is it so important to rank for your own brand name and/or terms on Google?
Picture the following scenarios:
– Someone stumbles across your ads somewhere, either on Facebook, Google, Linkedin or even offline. They weren’t ready to make purchase at that point, but their situation changed and they are ready to whip out their wallet now. So they google for your company name to give you sales.
– They heard about you from friends but aren’t sure of your exact company url, hence they just google for your company name.
– They google you just to see if there are people saying bad things about you that would prevent them from buying
Traffic from organic brand searches has been found to overtake direct site visits. This means that chances of people visiting your site from branded keyword searches are much higher than those typing in a brand name in the browser. I’m guessing you google for brand names as well, isn’t it ?
Imagine if someone makes a branded search, and your website fails to appear on the first page at the top few positions on Search engine results page (SERPs). Where do they go to? Your competitors, of course.Therefore, not ranking high for your brand keywords can potentially lead to the loss of potential hot leads to your competitors.
Take the case of Michael Snyder, the owner of Snyder Online Marketing
Michael told the story about how he was contacted by a customer who was recommended to a SEO specialist named Mitch Snyder. The client who was referred to Mitch, googled Mitch’s name and kept on being directed to Michael Snyder’s website. Thus, Mitch Snyder ended up losing a customer to Michael Snyder!
Don’t let that happen to you! Don’t let someone hog the top positions in Google when people search for you. (Note: It is also not uncommon for competitors to use search engine marketing to get on top of your website in the SERP, but thats another story)
Now that you know its importance, it’s time to act. Read on to find out how you can effectively rank your brand below!
What do YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have in common? Answer: each of them provides incredible help for ranking your brand name. For example, Facebook’s amazing web authority providesthe opportunity for anyone to rank on the first page of Google’s results page.
Similarly, LinkedIn has massive authority as well. Staying active and well-maintained on the platform gives a high chance of ranking high. This goes for Twitter and YouTube as well. Web authority is extremely important in getting ranked high for your brand name and terms. This is because Google identifies user behaviour and supports authoritative websites. A brand that is often clicked will eventually find its way in the top rankings.
Additionally, include your brand name and terms in your social media usernames and page names too! Be explicit with your company’s name. Your page descriptions can also include them.
Of course, you would want your website to be no.1 on the results page when people google for you, but isn’t it even better to populate all the 10 results in Google with your social media profiles?
Are you indexed ?
If your website is not found on Google for your brand name, it could be that it is not even indexed yet.
How can you tell if your website has been indexed by Google ? Simple, just do a site search by googling the following term, replacing example.com with your website url.
If your website is not yet indexed, you can use this link to submit your website and wait for the Google spiders to come and crawl it.
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Blog Comments and Discussions
You probably know that building back links from other websites on the internet is key to being found on Google. It is a cue to Google that your website deserves endorsements from other people and a sign of quality.
Commenting on other blogs and discussion platforms allows you to add a link back to your website. Make sure you reference your own brand name when commenting. It is not the best form of backlink, but nonetheless, a quick & easy way to get some love from other websites. It is usually enough if you are doing brand-related SEO, unless your brand name is as popular as Nike’s.
Citations and Reviews
Citations are as important as building quality links. This is especially so for local businesses. Google recognises a website containing many citations as active, current and ongoing – enough reason to include it in search results.
You can amass citations by listing your business in local directories, mentions in local blogs, and getting listed in the Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local and Yelp. Build solid citations in these local directories, and you will benefit from it.
Reviews are equally important. Get your reviews from websites such as Yelp, Google+, Yahoo and TripAdvisor. These reviews are essential in driving traffic to your website.
This is a simple yet highly effective way to rank for your brand name. Official press releases can give Google brand indicators with a link back to your website. When you reference your brand name in the title and content, it will also lead to the ranking of the press release for searches relating to your brand.
Explore your site. Where can you add in branded keywords? Use your website, business and copyrighted product names in your title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, URLs and alt image tags. In your website and blog content, reference your brand name.
Choose a brandable domain name for your website. Never underestimate its importance – a domain name paves the way for users to identify, find, share and remember you online.
Some things you can consider are being relevant to your company’s purpose, easily remembered, easy to spell, and being short. Also, having a .com extension is best because 75 percent of all websites have it. Consider how you want people to find your website and put yourself in their shoes.
Suppose you are now appearing on Google for your brand name. Do you know what do users see ?
Your website’s meta description directly affects what people see when they google your brand name. You want to be very delibrate in creating an impression in the users’ minds.
In the example below, which one are you more likely to click on ?
Tip: To find inspiration of compelling copies for driving click through, look no further than the paid results in the SERPs for your industry. Those websites doing pay per click advertising should have done lots of split-testing of their ads to find the best copy that resonates. You just need to reference(read: copy).
The next step- blogging
If you still don’t know the importance of blogs, get started now. Blogs are key to driving organic branded keyword rankings. When you add relevant, helpful and interesting content that attracts your audience, you’re giving your brand ranking a big hand up.
In your content, make sure to include mentions of your brand name and branded keywords. Semantic search results in Google’s association of branded keywords with the products and services you provide even without making that connection in your content bluntly.
As you can see, SEO(search engine optimization) is not just another marketing strategy where you can do without. With vast majority of people googling for brand names these days, your efforts in building your business may be sabotaged as a result of the failure to do proper branded SEO. At a minimum, you should google yourself from time to time to see what your customers are seeing about you.
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