Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) seems like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Below are some important “ranking factors” and best practices that can lead to success with both search engines and searchers.
On-page SEO relates to how the website is structured, how content is viewed by search engines and how visitors interact with the information. It is no longer about technical tricks designed to outwit Google. It is about engaging an audience, earning trust, and publishing information that customers want.
Keyword Research - the foundation of on-site SEO. The keywords and phrases recorded by search engines offer a window into the thought process of customers, which translates into a checklist for you to cover all bases.
Research: we start with historic data: exporting monthly search volumes for all potential keywords, reaching into the tens of thousands.
Planning: we then group the keywords into themes and rank the themes according to expected ROI.
Execution: we match the themes to pages on the website and use the data to check that we have covered everything customers are looking for methodically, page by page.
KPIs - this research also provides the building blocks for a KPI model. We recommend adopting tiered priorities in this order:
Number of pages generating traffic
Individual keyword rankings
beDigital will set up revenue conversion tracking on Google Analytics so stakeholders can see precisely how much booking revenue is being generated from SEO traffic. This is self-evidently the most important KPI as return on investment is easily calculated.
Next, we recommend taking a macro view and maximise traffic generation from as many pages (i.e. relevant topics) as possible, tracking both traffic count and pages generating traffic. For most clients we are optimising thousands of pages for tens of thousands of keywords.
Finally, we place the ranking of a shortlist of high value keywords as the lowest priority KPI. It follows the point above that it is more beneficial to rank for thousands of keywords than focus on only a handful.
Off-site SEO ranking factors boil down to quality, authority and trust. Search engine algorithms have shifted away from easy-to-measure but less useful signals (like domain age) toward more difficult to measure signals that are more important (like visitor location).
Local SEO – with the introduction of Google Universal years ago, one aspect of off-page SEO is managing Google Plus, Google Maps and Google Business listings, as well as reaching out to local authorities to ensure directory listings are up to date.
Once again it comes back to relevancy: if you are getting links from sites related to the geographic locations you’re targeting, your website is more likely to break into local rankings for those places.
Quality - Google is going to continue its trend of getting more discerning and aggressive with penalties for low quality links: their link analysis keeps getting better and the confidence of the search and spam teams — that they will not unjustly target innocent websites — keeps growing stronger. There is a lot you can do to encourage quality links without resorting to artificial means. Link building tactics are merging with influencer marketing programs and becoming more networking (i.e. social) oriented.
Social Overlap - it is important to understand the relationships that search engines have with social media sites and be active on those sites. For example Google owns Google+ while Bing has relationships with Twitter and Facebook. And of course, personalised results will continue to be influenced by social media connection: if a user has a connection to a person or brand, search engines will use social media connections to display relevant content.
Bookeasy proposes to work your off-page SEO strategy into your social media strategy to amplify both channels.