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The SEO Cape Town Guide is FREE and gives you the tools to help your SEO optimisation without having to spend any money and is focused on Cape Town and the surrounding suburbs. Pay close attention to the local listing part further down in the SEO Cape Town Guide, as this crucially affects local service businesses.
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"Being in the first position in Google will result in a click through rate of 34.36 percent for desktop computers and a click through rate of 31.35 percent for mobile devices."(hosting facts, 2017, source: https://hostingfacts.com/internet-facts-stats-2016/)
SEO is the improvement of the quantity and quality of your website's traffic in order better solve the goal of your website. That could be to sell a service or product or share information. Google is by far the most used Search Engine in the world. This is because of its amazing search algorithm that delivers searchers exactly what we are looking for. It is also about the simultaneous management of all the factors that Google takes into consideration in its ranking algorithm, more than 200 signals!. What is an a ranking algorithm?
"A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer."(Google,2017)
SEO is simply about following the rules Google stipulates in its Search Algorithm. Easy? Maybe not ...
Let's begin with what Google expects from modern websites. Google wants well-crafted content with as much text, photographs, and videos as possible. They want to fulfill their value proposition, that is to deliver the searcher exactly what they are looking for, immersive content that solves their needs. The issue is that they also want your website to load fast because they know that slow loading websites have high bounce rates, meaning that people immediately move to another website if a page loads too slowly without evening seeing the content. The SEO Cape Town Free Guide will help you overcome this and many other challenges to vastly improve your SEO.
The world of SEO consists out of 3 main disciplines, they are keyword research, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. We will now explore each and explain what they are about in layman’s terms.
Pay close attention to Keyword Research as this is the most important step of our SEO Cape Town Guide.
There are many expensive programs out there that can detect what keywords competitors use but as a novice, there are some "ninja" methods you can use for free to find out the same information. Simply go to a competitor website that you know of and then scan the menu options on their menu. Click on the first links higher up on the page or menu if possible, the keywords will be in the page titles of these linked pages if the competitor is following SEO practices correctly. The keywords will also be in the image "alt" text labels, see them by hovering you mouse over an image.
The more words used in a keyword phrase, i.e. the more descriptive the and the higher the opportunity to convert the searcher into a customer. An example would be:
"BMW Car" could be used by a searcher who wanted to buy a BMW or by someone just interested in general performance information of a BMW and not necessarily to buy one, or any general topic related to the BMW brand. You need to drive traffic that are already in their buying cycle to your website, that's why they entered the search query in the first place.
If the searcher used a more descriptive keyword phrase made up of more keywords it would look like this: " charcoal black BMW 5 series payment plan" This keyword would offer much higher potential for the searcher to convert into a client. My point is that you should not go for very short one word keywords as these do not mean automatic conversions and are generally highly competed over anyway. Choose more descriptive keyword phrases.
Now type the keyword into the search field on Google's search page and see the dropdown menus' auto suggest, these are terms that are close or identical to your search term and may give you great keyword ideas in terms of converting the keyword into a long tail keyword.
Google offers a free testing tool called Page Speed insights. Simply type in your domain or that of competitors and Google will give you a breakdown of your website's loading speed and more importantly, what's hindering your load time. You can then address thse factors one by one.
"An increase in site speed from 8 to 2 seconds can boost your conversion rate by 74% (this is based on data monitoring real user activity from 33 major retailers). - hostingfacts.com"
There are many factors that contribute to PageSpeed's analysis, we will only concentrate on the factors that you would have control over as a novice.
As mentioned, a bounce rate is when a visitor comes to a website and then immediately leaves. If this happens frequently enough, Google interprets this behavior as meaning that your content is not what the searcher is looking for, low relevance or of low quality. Let's look at some practices that can protect against slow page loading speeds in order to avoid high bounce rates.
Wordpress themes are designed to give the user a choice designing functionality. They are currently used by a whopping 24% of the internet. The problem is the more functions built into the themes backend, the more code and the slower the site will load. The idea is to choose a light theme. You can test the themes to a degree by copying the theme URL and then pasting it in the Pagspeed Insights google test bar.
You will, therefore, have an idea of the load speed before paying for an expensive theme or allowing your web designer to choose an expensive and slow theme. The theme should at least score an orange graded test result, you can then use plugins to upgrade the speed, like W3 cache, but again not too many. The idea is to purchase the fastest theme you can afford.
Speed is crucial, that is why BrandSeed custom web designs WordPress themes for SEO purposes. This allows our clients the ability to have the design they are looking for but with extremely fast loading speeds.
Wordpress plugins are necessary at times but try and not install too many. KISS ... keep it simple stupid. You will notice the more you install the slower your site will load, unless they are SEO improvement plugins of course.
Another factor contributing to loading speed are the image sizes. Lot's of images is fantastic for immersive content but make sure they are smaller in size. Also, make sure that your images are the same as size as what they will display at. Some WordPress users have extremely large files uploaded to their media section, where the images are stored on the server, but the image is actually displayed at a much smaller scale. The idea is to have a picture that is 500 x 300 pixels uploaded to the media section if you plan to display an image at 500 x 300 pixels, not 1200 x 700 pixels. Images should also be kept as small as possible in file size, use optimizilla.com.
Now that we've looked at ways of increasing the load speed of your website, thereby reducing the bounce rate we now will focus on another important factor for SEO, site browsing duration. This has to do with the design and most importantly the content. Remember "Content is King!".
Copy is a fancy word for the text you use in your content for any digital space. You should always remember that you are writing for humans first, then search engines, so don't overly enthusiastically insert keywords into the content, this is called keyword stuffing to the discontentment of a potential customer reading it. Just include the keyword phrase sooner than later in the first sentence of the first paragraph and make sure you add it a few times more without it seeming unnatural. Google penalises websites that employ keyword stuffing.
Go for long-copy or many words for your web page. Try and exceed 1600 words per page, although this is very challenging. Make sure that at a minimum you have 500 words per page. Unless your brand is famous, you will need to create authority by having enough content. Statistically, long content allows for longer visit durations. Longer visit duration count as very positive in Google's eyes. Anything over 2.5 minutes is the norm for a good website but over 3.5 minutes you are really doing well. Longer formatted content naturally translates into longer site visit durations, helping your site climb up to page one on Google.
Another fundamentally important section in the SEO Cape Town Guide ...
Google's indexing programs, called crawlers will obviously be looking at what content is mainly about in its headings and page titles. Make sure the keyword occurs close to the beginning of page titles. You can check this by logging into your WordPress backend or by hovering your mouse on the page tab on your browser bar. The alt text of the page tab will be your page title.
Some of you reading this will know what H1, H2, H3 ... headings are from Wordpress. These headings should contain your keywords too! For those of you who don't know what H1. H2, H3 headings are in WordPress, it is just a system of main headings and then sub headings ranging from H1 for the main heading, to H6, the final bullet point form of headings. The idea is to get your keyword in this space! People naturally want expect to see that they entered into the search engine in the website they clicked on in the results. Just check the headings of your content and you will see quickly if the keywords are there or not.
Google LOVES fresh content. The idea is a fresh blog every week, but at least once a month. This shows Google that you are actively telling a story or adding depth to your content. This signals to Google that your site must be of a higher quality, its logical to assume that people who publish more content will have better websites as they are more involved. If there is one tip to remember in the SEO Cape Town Guide, it must be the fresh content tip, published often on the same dates each week or month! Content is truly King!
Google hates copied content and will penalise you for copied content if discovered. Be careful of having pdf versions of of identical information or other published information on your site that is a carbon copy of the original. There are ways to code in instructions for Google's web crawlers not to index certain content in order to avoid duplicate indexing but those techniques are beyond the scope of a beginner. As a beginner, you can get away with using free online duplicate content scanners and then just record links where the duplicate content is situated and replace the indentical copies. It is important to know that all websites have some duplicate content, but exact copies are the main issue.
Use Siteliner: www.siteliner.com
Use the results to point you in the direction of copied content and replace it as soon as possible.
Meta tags are no longer used for SEO ranking but humans still use them to analyse the result displayed to them by Google. It is therefore imperative that the meta tags are crafted descriptively and relevant, the text should entice the searcher into clicking the website link, the keyword should still feature regardless as a searcher would expect to see what he or she was searching for in the description of the website.
Off-page factors of SEO include link building and local SEO such as local business listings.
Google is extremely sensitive when it comes to building backlinks due to some search optimisers creating link farms or PDNs (private domain networks) in the past in order to deliberately trick google. The source of the link is what counts, are their domains worth something? Each link from a great site that has high domain authority is seen as a vote of confidence in Google's search algorithm's eyes. So only get backlinks from "powerful" and respected sites. A university or government organization link are examples of perfect backlinks. This part of the SEO Cape Town Guide is the most challenging to implement, so proceed with caution or use an SEO company like BrandSeed to guide you.
The anchor text for the inbound links should vary. If it is always the same it may trip some of Google's spam alarms.
It is imperative to register your business with Google business and have your local business address verified. This is especially important for local service companies. Google serves results that are geographically more relevant meaning that if you are not listed in a specific area even though your website contains the same keywords, competitors that are verified to be local are shown above your listing in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Take the time to register and be verified with Google business, it really pays huge SEO dividends.
We hope that you will apply what you have learnt from the SEO Cape Town Guide, this is dynamite advice. We are always there to help if you get stuck. SEO is a huge amount of continuous research and testing but it is our passion. We love SEO so much that we offer free analysis and proposals. Drop us an email,we would love to do a free analysis for you and project where you could be in the future with our help.
Yours in SEO,
The BrandSeed Team.