When talking about Search Engine Optimization, the first thing people who are in the digital marketing sector would immediately think is about Google Search. SEO explores how potential leads can find your services or websites through search engines. To deliver a constant stream of a high amount of traffic to your website, SEO is by far the best way to affect higher visibility in search engines.

There’s a common misconception stating that SEO is complex. Many businesses that own websites tend to care less on this important aspect. If you overlook the importance of SEO, you are basically turning your back on the largest source of free customers on the web which is Google.

The most complicated aspect about SEO is that it goes through a drastic transformation and changes all the time on how it works. It relies heavily on the content from the page you publish on your website. You can find tactics everywhere online that show you how to rank your page higher or the easiest way to rank number on search engines.

SEO provides amazing opportunities and exposure to inbound traffic but it can be difficult to know where to start. This is why we’re coming up with this guide on everything you need to know about SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization, which allows Google and other search engines to bring more traffic to your site at a higher rank. You will increase your website’s exposure free or unpaid just by optimizing your website for the search engines.

Based on what search engines are searching for on a website, you can design and build your pages. If you have not already done so, you should change your website presence to ensure it is useful and informative.

SEO is basically the method of improving the visibility of a website or webpage on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to make the website more discoverable to searchers, hence the need to increase traffic and sales. The entire procedure can be tedious, but the results you get are worth the hard work to endure all the benefits.

SEO also requires a coordinated effort within a company involving several departments including IT, marketing, and content team. This is when SEO plays a crucial role in marketing. Although some SEO research includes market analysis, a large share depends on the ranking algorithms of different search engines, which can change over time.

The rule is to provide high-quality content on websites and web pages, more backlinks or referral links and more user interaction which would lead to a higher ranking on SERP.

Below are the six basic stages of how SEO is normally performed:

1. Research: Topics, competitor analysis, keyword search
2. Planning and strategy: How to improve the content, how to build links, strategise social media presence, other technical strategies
3. Implementation: Optimization procedure takes place
4. Monitoring: Oversee the website activity, look on performance metrics
5. Assessment: Analysing the results and strategies used if they reached goal/target
6. Maintenance: Solve all the issues and problems, continue to optimize the pages

But back then, SEO was not like this. In the web’s early days, Google ranked sites by how many times each site used a similar keyword searched by users. This led to a phenomenon known as “keyword stuffing,” and it meant that even places of high quality could be hidden easily.

Now we’re in 2020, Google continues to prioritize the quality of the content a website produced over quantity of the keywords. Although the latter still plays its important role, the former is more valuable.

By implementing tested SEO strategies, your website will be easier for search engines to understand and get more hits. The better your website looks to the search engines, the more likely they are to recommend your website or add it to potential search engine users as they search for keywords specific to your product, service or content you’re offering. Find out more about our premium SEO services now!

How does SEO work?

Google’s algorithm decides which of the websites out there will be most important to you when you enter a search word. It then will list in order of relevance, then you will be given any appropriate sites related to your search.

Search engines such as Google will scan your site, look at the design and content elements to help them decide what kind of subjects the web is covering, and how user-friendly the site is. This phase is known as crawling and it lets the search engine give the users more accurate and relevant search results.

For example, when you type in “Bicycle” Rodalink Malaysia ranks #1 on Google for that particular keyword. They don’t pay for the organic traffic that they got from searches that their internet users type into search engines.

If you use the keyword with a high level of competition, or in another word, a lot of businesses use that keyword to gain traffic, the harder it is for your page to rank #1. But it is not impossible to get on the first page.

By making improvements to your website, your company can continue to be better with SEO and raise your ranking on the results page of the search engine. The target for most companies is to rank the keywords and phrases related to their goods and services on the first page of Google, Yahoo, and other search engines. The only way to allow this is to take the required gradual steps to develop SEO.

When you know how SEO works, you can use various strategies to improve visibility in the search results. You can basically separate into two:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO

What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO is an aspect based on optimizing elements on your website, such as page speed and keyword density, versus factors outside of your website, such as backlinks.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO defines optimization strategies in search engine results pages (SERPs) that can boost the ranking. Nevertheless, these strategies happen outside of your platform and include collecting connections from other blogs, social media shares and forum mentions.

All on-page and off-page SEO help to make your websites more reliable on search engines, as well as trustworthy. If search engine crawlers see how helpful your website is to them and users, this increases the likelihood that specific searches will rate your site high.

Factors that impact SEO

Performance in organic search needs optimization with the help of various factors, which are deemed essential by search engines for both on-page and off-page. SEO specialists know on-page optimization should always be prioritised, as off-page SEO is directly linked with on-page SEO.

SEO standards tend to evolve and the new changes can be hard to keep up with. But if you want to attract visitors to your blog, you need to a lot of updates. Well-optimized pages are gradually receiving more traffic over time, which means more leads and sales. Searchers would not be able to locate your site without SEO. Big search engine like Google will never give away the exact algorithm that they’re using to rank web pages.
Factors that affect on-page and off-page SEO

Below are some of the factors that can give impacts for both on-page and off-page SEO:

1. Content creation and marketing

Google’s always placed a priority on the material of high-quality content. It aims to make sure that sites that generate good content which will be rewarded with higher rankings, while sites that create the content of low quality get less exposure.

There is a direct connection between what Google considers the content to be of high quality and what appears in the search results.

Content is successful both in attracting the search engines and in helping the company attract visitors to the web. The more relevant content you have on your website, the more likely it would be for search engines to rank your pages higher on the results page of search engines.

The more entertaining and useful content you have on your website, the more likely it would be for your visitors to spend some quality time on your website and maybe even use your services.

The key to producing content that is to optimize for both search engines and visitors to create a number of different types of content that are most significant to your viewers. Here are some of the types of content that can be posted on your website:

  • Blog posts/articles
  • Social media content
  • E-books
  • Listicles
  • How-to guide
  • Infographics
  • Video/audio recordings

SEO keywords are another critical matter to remember when developing content for your blog. They are common terms and phrases that could be typed in by a search engine user while finding answers to their curiosity or queries.

If you build content around the related keywords, the search engine results will boost the chances of higher ranking for those keywords.

Another aspect that can affect your content is how new your content is. Freshness applies generally to how frequently the company adds new material on your website and how often you update the existing content.

Although creating content takes time and money, in the end, it will pay off more than that. Search engines love great content and users need quality content in order to better understand the value that your business or service can offer.

You can start by creating a couple of blog posts and work on social media to build up a following. When you have your own group of followers, your business will work to build multiple forms of media to attract new leads.

2. On-page SEO

The aspects of on-page SEO are effects that occur on your website. Those are the aspects you have full power over, and you can work overtime to strengthen your page by adopting the best SEO practices. Below are some of the on-page SEO factors that you can practise:

(i) Title tag

The title tag on each page for search engine purposes

(ii) Meta description

A description to tell the search engine what your page is about

(iii) Sub-headings

Separate the headings accordingly for readers to skim through easily, and it also works well for SEO purposes

(iv) Internal links

Build hyperlinks to other related content on your website

(v) Image name and ALT tags

Include relevant keyword or phrases on images

It is important to prevent over-optimization when strategically placing your SEO keywords and phrases on your pages. Google and other search engines will penalize your website if you try to use keywords all over the web too many times.

While the content of the site plays a vital role in your search engine rankings, consideration of your website design is also significant. You want to use a website design which makes scanning or crawling of your pages and content convenient for search engines. Creating mobile-friendly pages are also important and should be taken seriously as most people nowadays browse sites through their phone.

3. Off-page SEO

Here are some of the various off-page SEO factors that could affect your search engine rankings:

(i) Backlink

You have to build a connection with other sites that are relevant to your sites. This way you’ll be able to gain authority from Google and shows that your site is legit. However, you have to be careful to avoid spammy sites as it will affect SEO. Take time to build relationships and focus more on creating good content. If they find your content is good, they will willingly link your page to theirs.

(ii) Social:

Increase the number of shares. The quality of your content will lead to whether people feel it’s worth to share or the opposite. If they find your website interesting and significant, they will share the articles you post on their social media with others.

However, be reminded that you do not have full control of what happens outside of your website. You can improve your chances of enhancing off-page SEO simply by producing quality content that others can find valuable.

Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO

There are two distinct strategies for companies to automate their search engine pages which are black hat and white hat SEO.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is the use of tactics to increase the popularity or rank of the search results for your web pages. Not only do black hat strategies fail to customize material for a human audience, they even breach the guidelines on Google’s search engine. This form of search engine optimization can be highly damaging to your credibility as a business or content creator.

Tactics that fall under Black Hat SEO are keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages, incompatible keywords, page swapping, link abuse and, to name a few, link farms were all considered unethical by Google. Such tactics illegitimately ruin the performance of the search engine, inhibiting the search engine’s ability to produce the information most appropriate for searchers.

Although a black hat approach has the ability to deliver fast results, the long-term consequences outweigh the short-term effect. From a ranking perspective, black hat tactics can harm the traffic and long-term reputation of your website.

What is White Hat SEO?

White Hat SEO is the use of strategies for search engine optimization that prioritises human audience. Instead of manipulating the search engine, white hat SEO strategies work with the search engine to increase the probability that the content meets the needs of the end-user.

This is when you need to deliver high-quality content to the audience by using white hat techniques such as keyword analysis, linking, and writing, the web pages can grow organic rankings over time.

Google’s goal is to provide its users with valuable information, and your dedication to abide by their rules and regulations will help your website in the long run. You will not only gain a reputation on the network, but your content will also continue to attract the right traffic and will also lead to your website.

Tactics that fall under White Hat SEO include quality content, on-page SEO, social media, internal and external linking and keyword research.

How SEO can help your online business?

You have a chance to reach your target audience by creating and publishing relevant content that focuses on topics related to your business. And if your content is built of high quality, then search engines like Google will rank you high.

You need to know how to communicate with your audience when they visit your website through Google, by showing them what they are searching for. The content needs to fit together with the business goals, so you can build real trust with your audience.

Here’s how SEO can help your online business:

1. It helps increase your website inbound traffic
2. Leads to more customers as more visitors will visit your website
3. Builds trust and credibility of your website and business
4. Encourages more business referrals
5. Building long-lasting results for your business
6. Best Return of Investment (ROI)
7. SEO makes your website more user-friendly
8. Increases your brand value

Bear in mind that it takes time for search engine optimization to work its magic. You are not going to discover the SEO benefits immediately. It may take months to finally enjoy the benefits of your hard work.