SEO/SEM Advice: from what I’ve learnt 😉 …
I have provided a list of common SEO/SEM questions for people wondering what SEO/SEM is and how to get the most out of SEO/SEM for ones business exposure on Google. If you have further questions please fire away and ask in the comments.
This article is designed to assist and provide advice on SEO/SEM and what it is all about and to hopefully improve your visibility on Google. Indexing copy can happen via Google webmaster tools when you fetch and have google crawl your website (and it’s direct links) or Google will naturally crawl your website and index pages from time to time.
So what is SEO/SEM?
SEO or search engine optimisation is the process of optimising a website for the best possible search engine rankings on search engines such as Google in Australia. It involves many things some of which are listed below but consists of on page and off page techniques as well as copy writing services. SEM is part of the process and is based on producing indexed copy for Google. SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.
Does it really matter for my business?
Remember the days of AAA plumbing and AAA Insurance Services in Yellow Pages listings used just to get a business to the top of directories like Yellow Pages? Well those days are gone and the majority of users now go to Google and other search engines to look for a specific business in their area or abroad. So in fact, in modern times SEO/SEM is definitely worth investing in for small to medium businesses, corporate and larger entities to gain an increase in revenue from search traffic. Search is so big that Google makes the majority of it’s revenue just from advertising on Google and Google is so big you will now find Yellow Pages listings on Google rather than just a physical directory.
In Australia and some other countries Google is the primary search engine used by millions every day. The majority of Australians 90+% use Google over all other search engines. If your business aims for overseas search traffic it’s worth checking out information about other search engines like Yandex in Russia and Biadu in China.
How much Does it cost?
With companies in Australia prices start at around $500 per month and go up from there to $1000 per month and even as high as $2000, $3000 or even $5000 per month for more search terms in highly competitive markets. To be honest you are not going to get much value from an SEO company for $500 per month and to see a real return you could spend a lot more for highly competitive search terms.
What do I have to do?
Allow access to your website every month for website updates. Provide the company or SEO/SEM specialist details about the search terms you would like to rank higher for on Google. Allow for copy writing and content marketing on your website as well as structural markup changes in the html.
I can get a free audit isn’t this great?
No not really, any SEO/SEM specialist can tell just buy looking at your website, using SEO tools and resources what needs to be done to get results.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are terms searched for on Google, basically terms, words and phrases typed into Google that can also show on your websites content.
So all I need to do is type a keyword 100 times on my website page and Google will rank my page?
No, this is known as keyword stuffing and you can see penalties for this. Also don’t have duplicate content as this duplicate content will be removed from Google. You won’t see penalties for this, it simply won’t appear twice on Google’s search results.
Does it Involve Social Media or Can Social Media Help?
Yes social media is incorporated into rankings and certain social media sites are being listed in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page). Social media is a great thing to do and will better promote your business when done correctly. Always have your copy checked for it’s accuracy, punctuation, grammar (I’m guilty of not doing this too) and for copyright infringement. Copyscape can help you with this www.copyscape.com .
To get customers visiting your website post links on social sites that help engage your specific target market. Seeing a major return from social media in terms of revenue is hard and opinions are varying on it’s $ worth as it can be just as expensive as Google Adwords and other forms of advertising, but for business promotion, consumer or business enquiries and feedback it can be beneficial.
We all have seen some funny SEM fails and all possibly dealt with that “one guy/girl” who is a social media problem/pest or all round negative human being that evokes a cringe from our social media efforts…. ;). Be patient, helpful or simply assist when required as no one likes an ongoing and difficult saga with this type of person. Some social media responses add a dash of humour too.
Do you recommend Social Media?
Yes, if you receive a return on investment from using social media or there is added business value whether quantifiable or it helps your business promotion or improves engaging more readers.
Do you recommend paying for Facebook posts and adds?
Is site speed and page speed important for my website?
Yes, page speed & site speed are important for good user experience (UX) as well as improved Google rankings. A good goal is 2 seconds or less. They are two different things however.
What is bounce rate?
When a user visits a page of your website and then leaves without clicking through to other pages. A common bounce rate is 30%+ so don’t be alarmed about a seemingly high figure, just try to improve upon it. It’s is not necessarily a bad thing to have a higher than average bounce rate though.
The customer could be on the phone calling your business or writing an email to you after viewing the home page… Put all essential business numbers & addresses on each page and most importantly on the home page.
Google knows who is engaging with my site and my content?
Yes, if a customer has visited a couple of other sites from Google search engine and not found what they want leaving quickly from their site to Google then to your website and spending a fair amount of time on your website then yes. This is known as pogo sticking, when a visitor returns to Google looking for other sites and visiting them. So it’s of high importance to have great great ui/ux as well as smart copy, a great user interface, design & look.
Should I pay for link building?
No, never pay for link building. While links pointing to your website are a ranking factor having paid for links of little value can now (Penguin update) negatively effect your ranking.
So links that technically aren’t mine pointing to my website can hurt my ranking?
Can this be fixed if needed?
Yes, but guarantees aren’t necessarily made & it’s a royal pain in the …. to do it, so I would recommend never paying for links in the first place, headaches, headaches, headaches! You can have bad links disavowed here.What’s the single most important factor in gaining an increase in search rankings and search traffic?
In my opinion website content. Remember this old quote from Bill Gates “Content is King”, well it’s true, yes there are many factors involved but this remains true today. And for those of you who have extensive experience in SEO/SEM this is old news and yes high value links pointed to your website are incredibly important as well.
Responsive Web Design?
Google officially supports multiple configurations (3) on mobile devices but they have clearly stated they recommend responsive web design as the best option.
How Long Does it take?
Indexing copy via WebsMaster Tools can speed things up greatly and you can see immediate results for your SEM publishing and on page SEO efforts by fetching pages and having them crawled via Google Webmaster Tools here.
The figures can vary as certain keywords are much harder to rank for and are more competitive on Google.
Adwords, What is it?
Adwords is advertising provided by Google to list your business on Google search engine (In the adds section).
Is Adwords expensive?
Yes it can be, a competitive keyword like SEO Brisbane could potentially cost between $10-$20+ per click. Some terms are much more affordable and can cost $2-$10, but it all adds up!
Guarantees & Contracts?
Be wary of guarantees and position one, page one adds and marketing collateral. Why? Technically no guarantees in the natural results should and can be made, only paying a large amount for Google Adwords can guarantees be made in terms of page one search results and the listing will be placed in the ads, not in the natural results.
Contracts? No thanks.
Are the natural results or organic results the best ones to get listed in rather than in the adds?Yes, research has shown that by far that the majority of website traffic and clicks on Google are in the organic or natural results, not in the ads.
Can I do this myself?
With research, copywriting and constantly monitoring SEO, Google and using SEO tools, yes, why not 😉
UX or user experience isn’t new, it’s been around before the internet and before the web even existed but it does matter and it’s coming of age.
Is blogging Good for Google rankings and will articles/great information on my website help?
Why yes, when done correctly, go for it!
So tell me more because I’m the type of person who can do it!
Start by reading a lot, a great starter book is “The Art of SEO” also check out the freely available Google SEO Starter Guide (pdf online) it’s somewhat dated in age but much of it’s contents are still invaluable knowledge today. The Google Webmaster Central Blog is great as well as the MOZ blog! I like Search Engine Land too.
What SEO tools do you recommend?
Moz, Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, there are many though, so Google them now.
Ok but how do I write an article that ranks well or will eventually rank my website higher than what it is now on Google for a specific keyword or topic?
Click Click 😉
Can I get to page one with Google Maps?
Yes, but Google makes no guarantees about who is listed in Google Map page one results. You can also search for techniques to improve your chances of naturally showing in the Google Maps section of search results (page 1) for localised searches.
Is it important to focus on topics and diversified content rather than specific localised keywords?
While localised keyword targeting is important, having diverse copy which is niche & written well can be very effective and less “obvious” in terms of human manipulation and keeping your readers happy.
Is there much value to the reader in having an article on say Pilates Brisbane (one of my clients – Q Pilates) or targeting this specific keyword/query? Or would it be better to have many articles on various Pilates topics which are technical, informative, have specific niche information for your readers and better help them in relation to Pilates and their health/well being?
The later of course. Diversify your articles, write naturally and think of the user not always the localised keyword/s or query.
Yes you can and it is worthwhile writing an article on Pilates Brisbane or the “best Brisbane based Pilates studios” listing points of difference and other information around this topic if that’s your business location. To be honest though I know which article/s I would rather read and which blog I will frequent and it would be the website which helps me the most and informs me about niche things I’m interested in. Add value to the users experience don’t always go for the highly searched keyword/s and/or localised search terms!
Image alt tags, titles, H1’s, urls and SEO?
Images are made accessible by an HTML alt tag or alternative text tag in the html code. Make sure your images have an appropriate alt tag accurately describing the picture/image. This is best practice and assists people with disabilities to understand what your images are and aids when an image hasn’t loaded properly. Alt tags are important for on page search engine optimisation, Google and web accessibility. ARIA tags are used for better accessibility and screen readers.
H1 content titles, picture titles, page titles and page url’s are important to Google and on page SEO. They help readers as well as for the page to be indexed for the specific keyword/topic on Google. They assist greatly in understanding what the page or article is about. They do not have to be identical but can be similar.
While not incorporated as a ranking factor on Google they are very important for click through’s or a better CTR (click through rate) and relevant keywords can be included within the description. I personally think they are very important!
Meta desciptions are a page or article desciption which shows on search results as well as when posting articles and pages on social media sites. Include a relevent and nice image within the page or article as this will be added to the post on social media sites and can improve your CTR. Content with images are far more enticing to a reader. These images will however not show in Googles SERP.
This article was written byBen Graham
on Tuesday, 6th January, 2015.
I'm a designer and developer from Brisbane, Australia. I have a degree in Interactive and Visual Design from Queensland University of Technology. In my spare time I enjoy travelling and practicing photography. I have a keen interest in learning, regularly researching and developing skills in the latest technologies & techniques. I have been a UI/UX Designer & Front End Developer working with both single page applications (SPA) and .Net apps in enterprise as well as starting out my career within agencies. Currently I work as a consultant @ Avanade, an Accenture and Microsoft consultancy.