What is SEO? The 6 Pillars of SEO
Written by Clayton SmithOct 10, 16
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most mysterious services offered in the digital marketing world today, with most Perth businesses knowing that it is a crucial part of their digital marketing strategy to increase their Google rankings, but not knowing much more than that.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most mysterious services offered in the digital marketing world today, with most Perth businesses knowing that it is a crucial part of their digital marketing strategy, but not knowing much more than that. We will endeavour to take away some of that mystery, and give Perth business owners a solid understanding of the foundations of SEO so you know what your SEO Perth agency is doing for you, and how they should be doing it.
For many Perth business owners, I’m sure that understanding SEO is a similar experience to when I pick up my car from a service. The mechanic will stroll in and say something like “See, the car’s knee bone is connected to the axle shin bone, and the axle shin bone is connected to the tire ankle bone, and that will be twelve hundred dollars.” I then hand over my credit card dutifully and get on with my day. I leave knowing that it was something that needed to be done, but I would have liked to have understood a lot more about what was being done, why it needed to be done and how it cost so many of my hard earned dollars.
So let’s start at the beginning, with our definition of Search Engine Optimisation:
“The process of optimising your online presence to increase your website visibility to search engines.”
It will also help to think about Google themselves and what they are trying to achieve. Google wants to provide its customers with the website that not only provides the customer exactly what they are looking for, but gives that customer the best experience as well, to ensure that that user will keep coming back to search on Google. To do that, Google has become the best “website evaluator” on the planet, to make sure they are providing users exactly what they need. Search Engine Optimisation is essentially the process of knowing what Google values in a website and how to provide it, so that Google then moves you up their search rankings. For a full list of Google's latest webmaster guidlines, click here.
1. Website Foundation – Digital House of Cards
Just as you would evaluate the foundation of an office building or storefront that you were looking to purchase, so does Google when evaluating your website. If your website is poorly structured from the ground up, in simple terms, it makes it more difficult for Google to pick up what you’re putting down, and guess what, that can be reflected in your search ranking. The main website foundations crucial to Google are your metadata, sitemaps, anchor text, contextual links, headings, menu names and alt text optimisation. Make sure these boxes are ticked when your website is being built to avoid SEO struggles further down the line. Sticking with our real world example, changing and updating the foundations of a building that is already built though can be nigh on impossible and there will only be so much even the best SEO experts can do with a poorly built website. (read more)
2. User Experience – I am never going back to that restaurant, the service was terrible!
Okay, now that Google knows your website isn't a digital house of cards, they will evaluate what the experience of actually using the website is like for the user. I like to compare this process to judging a restaurant when deciding if it's Instagram-worthy or how many stars to give it on Yelp & Zomato, where the food is actually only one aspect of business. Was the service fast? Was the cutlery nice? Was my wine glass clean? How were the bathrooms?
How the website works for the end user is very important and must be focused on by any good SEO Perth expert. Some of the main factors that determine whether your website is a digital success include:
- Load times (site speed)
- Responsive design
- Meta Data (H1's, H2's, Titles, Descriptions, URLs, Alt text etc)
- Content / Fresh Content / Having the right content
- Contextual Links (Internal links)
- Is your site secure? (SSL)
3. Content – The Main Course
In all restaurants though the real deal breaker is the main course, and when Google sits down and orders the steak, you want to come through with goods. What I am referring to, in a roundabout food based manner (I must be hungry), is the content on your website and by content, I mean the text. This where Google learns exactly what you are offering to users, and if that offering is what it’s searchers are looking for.
As we search the internet 99.9% of the time using text, Google evaluates the text you provide so it can provide your website to match user searches. This may sound obvious, but you wouldn't believe the number of websites missing key points that hurt their Google ranking. If you provide free quotes and if you specialise in servicing in a certain area or selling a certain product, don’t be coy, tell Google so Google can tell everybody.
I get to use another food metaphor here to finish off this content discussion, and that is that no-one wants to eat old stale bread with wilted vegetables and overcooked chicken when they go out to dinner. Google feels the same about old content. They figured out a long time ago that websites that were regularly updated with fresh, tasty new content provided the best information and experience to users, and so rewarded them with higher search rankings. So update your website as often as you can with quality content and Google will reward you for it.
4. External Links – Getting the word out
You know when someone says to you, “Have you seen the ad for that new restaurant down the street?”, and you realise that you have seen adverts for that business on every different billboard, magazine and flyer around town. Google looks at your business’s entire web presence and factors that into its evaluation of your website, judging your website by the quality of websites that you are associated with on the web. This also includes Google services like Google Maps, Google+, Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Adwords. All help Google evaluate your digital offering, as well as increase usage of Google’s own services.
5. Social Media Signals – Everybody’s talking
A huge part of the digital landscape is now devoted to everyone’s favourite time waster, social media, and it has become a huge part of every business digital marketing strategy. What some Perth business owners may not know is that Google is taking your business’s social media footprint into account when evaluating your ranking in their search results. We are not just talking about traffic directed to your website from your social media; we are talking about all engagement on all your posts on all your platforms. Yes, my Perth business owner friends, your whole social kit and caboodle is another factor in proving to Google that your business is the real deal. So get posting folks and click here for good explainer on what your Perth social media manager should be providing your business.
6. Organic Growth – If it’s too good to be true, guess what
Continuing with my restaurant angle, if you saw a brand new restaurant’s Instagram follower count jump from 200 to 4000 followers in a day, would you be a tad suspect? Guess what; Google would be too. With access to all to data from all industries from all consumers from the whole of the internet, fooling Google is a futile task, with the search ranking punishment you will receive when you are caught disastrous. Remember, Google can see the spike in your statistics and knows where that spike came from. So if a pizza shop in Perth suddenly gains 5000 followers from India, Google will know you have been a naughty Perth business owner and will penalise you accordingly. We have seen businesses have to completely rename and re-brand after Google consigned their website to the tenth page and beyond, after getting caught for trying to game Google’s system. So play by Google’s rules and don’t risk the hassle of a full business image overhaul.
For a obligation free SEO Perth report, click here.
Well, Perth business owners, that’s all from us today. Hopefully, we have given you some valuable insight into the main pillars of SEO that will help you better position your business for SEO success. Remember to contact us if you need any SEO help, click here for more information or call us on 08 9443 2221
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