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What is SEO? SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the practice of formatting content with certain keywords, making technical changes to your website, creating inbound links to your website and encouraging social mentions in order to follow as closely as possible certain rules or signals that Google have programmed in their web indexing programs called crawlers.
In Our (SEO Cape Town) layman's terms, it is presenting your website in the most attractive way possible to Google's crawlers in order to have it indexed and ranked above competitor websites. BrandSeed offers SEO solutions for companies serious about return on investment in online marketing and SEO. In this article, we help you understand what SEO comprises of and try and we answer the question, "What is SEO?
Matt Cutts was the gatekeeper of the SEO world. He headed up the Spam department at Google's headquarters in California. In the video above he explains what SEO is. It is important for you to understand that Google only tells some of the story as they don't want their secret search algorithm exposed to the degree that it could be abused. They tell us half of the story, and search optimisers s have to scientifically work out the other half by testing and analyzing data.
There are different approaches from different schools of SEO. We call these White-hat and Black-hat techniques.
White hat techniques, which BrandSeed practices, include following Google's guidelines, creating great content with seeded keywords that other websites want to link to naturally and what social media channels naturally want to have a conversation about. This approach is the safest as Google penalises sites that try and trick their crawlers.
White-hat techniques, mean that there is no risk one day of your site just disappearing from the search altogether. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to help it get a clearer a view of the world wide web and it is getting better at detecting black hat techniques.
Black hat SEO techniques involve trying to trick Google's web crawlers programs. In the beginning, these techniques worked like a charm, the problem is Google got better at detecting them. They had to become better as there are over 5 billion websites out there and Google needs to provide the best content to searchers in order to fulfill their value proposition as a brand. Some SEO Companies still use Black-hat techniques but what their clients don't realise is that Google will detect these practices sooner or later and then it is the owner of the website who pays the price, not the SEO who used the black-hat technique. All black-hat techniques are discovered eventually and penalised, then your website just disappears from the Search Engine Results Page. BrandSeed only use white hat-techniques, so our clients are safe even in the future.
Keyword Research is the analysis of Google's search volumes according to the words or queries your potential customers use to find your type of service or product. At Brandseed, we take this step very seriously as it takes 6 months before you see real changes in your website's ranking. If you make a mistake and only discover it a few months later, you have to begin the entire process from the beginning again.
At BrandSeed, we analyse your entire business model, your target audience or customers, and your current digital capabilities when researching keywords for your SEO strategy. We think deeply about your competitor's choice of keywords.
On-page SEO consists of the all the search engine optimisation practices that occur on your actual website. This is where the bulk of work occurs as your website is at the centre of your online presence. These are technical changes to the structure of your website, seeding of keywords throughout content, content marketing strategy management and hosting options and server locations for international SEO - like CDNs (Content Distribution Networks).
On-page SEO includes conversion optimisation. Conversion optimisation is just a fancy term for getting your website visitors to purchase your product or service or contact you, this is the converting part. Part of Conversion Optimisation is the optimising part, we call it A/B split testing and it helps us work out how to get more visitors to convert into clients and revenue. We run half of the audience to one version of a landing page and then run the half to slightly different version until we identify the elements leading to conversions, then optimise until we are achieving the highest ROI (Return on Investment).
Internal Linking also plays a large in SEO, the crawlers only discover new content if it's linked to the previous page they indexed. The way you structure your links between home pages also tells Google which are the most important pages.
Off-page SEO is the engaging part of the SEO formula including the work that is done offsite. This is the part where Search optimisers analyse all the other search indicators that occur offsite like Link Building, Social Media channels, local listings and even your YouTube Channel.
One of Google's main ranking signals is the number of inbound links to your website from websites that it sees as credible or not credible, ie. ranked above or below your site. We discussed black-hat techniques, earlier, and this is the area where many come into play. Google suggests creating high-quality content and then allowing websites to link to your content organically. Add to this increased Content Freshness, a term for how frequently content is updated, and you have White-hat SEO techniques.
Larry Paige, one of Google's founders added this part the search algorithm. Each link from one website to another, or from one page to another is a seen as a positive of a negative vote in Google's algorithm. BrandSeed knows how to structure links through experience and testing.
Local SEO is a major factor for SEO. Have you ever noticed how a list turns up in Google's search that shows the business name, local address, where it is on Google Maps, website address, contact telephone numbers, all with call options on Mobile? This is because the business was listed with Google Business and Google is serving a result to searchers that is bonified, as they send you a letter to your physical postal address to verify your location. This is especially important for local service companies.
Measurement and opitmisation play a huge part in order to work out if a campaign is a success, search opimtisers have to track the data and movements of people who visit your site. We use third-party software to track the success of the campaign and then issues reports from that software for you to gauge the value for your spend. At BrandSeed, we concentrate on real changes on your bottom line, ROI are the 3 most important letters in our digital alphabet.
Search Engine Opitmsation is about following the rules Google or any other search engine has programmed into its search algorithm by formatting your site's structure and content and the inbound links accordingly. Search engines' value propositions are to searchers, help them provide the best possible content and experience to their clients through your website and you are already increasing your Search Opimtisation, and a step closer to answering: What is SEO?