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Google is constantly updating its algorithm to deliver the best results to users’ queries and, with the development of RankBrain (its machine learning algorithm), it learns from searchers’ behaviour to understand their intent as well as the keywords they type in. That means it’s never been more important to have a solid SEO strategy in place: here we go back to basics

What’s your audience searching for?

Keyword research is the lynchpin of any successful organic search strategy plan, so it’s vitally important that you get it right. Gone are the days when you could simply copy and paste popular keywords into your site’s content and hope to rise to the top of search rankings – this now actually has a detrimental effect.

Your approach needs to be much more methodical and the focus should be on quality as well as quantity: not ‘how many keywords?’, but ‘how many of the right kind?’

Targeting keywords with high search volumes won’t help you increase your return on investment if the people using those search terms aren’t looking for what you offer. We show you how to refine your strategy using the leading keyword research tools, studying competitors’ performance, thinking from your customers’ point of view and putting your findings into action.

Is your website search engine- and user-friendly?

Ensuring the back-end of your website is technically-sound, both from the point of view of visitors and of search crawlers. Technical on-page optimisation means ensuring that the back-end elements of your web pages are functioning correctly, making it as easy as possible for search engines to find, understand and present in search engine results pages (SERPs), and for visitors to navigate your site.

Navigability is an important part of both the customer journey and crawler indexing, but it is also vital to Domain Authority and, as a result, to conversion. We cover site structure, navigation, loading speed, meta tags and more.

What content people want to read?

You need to ensure that your content answers their’ queries – Google rewards those who provide a great customer experience by regularly publishing high quality, customer-focused content.

That means that, as well as raising brand awareness, building trust and credibility for your brand and creating connections with customers, the quality and relevance of your content is a major influencing factor for SEO. The brands that rank highly in search engines results are those that provide potential customers with advice, or actionable tips that address the challenges they’re likely to face. Examples are blog posts providing useful advice, downloadable eBooks, how-to videos or infographics

Content should read naturally. Including your keyword in the title and headline of your page and a couple of times in the copy is enough. Repeating yourself can look spammy – something which Google’s Panda algorithm update crack down on. This section of the eBook covers good content practice that will improve UX and be recognised by Google.

Is your website trusted by others?

A strong backlink profile (the quality and number of other sites that link back to yours) signals to Google the authority and usefulness of your website.

But, like keyword stuffing, building irrelevant links for the sake of rankings alone is a defunct technique, now regarded as ‘black hat’. Google is wise to these spammy shortcuts and can even issue penalties to site that use them, resulting in downgraded rankings – or no rankings at all. The Penguin algorithm update was designed to penalise the manipulation of SERPs through link spam, link farming and sites with inorganic or poor link profiles.

Outreach is a method that allows you to earn links faster while retaining a natural link profile which is capable of making real and immediate impact on your brand’s visibility. This section of the eBook explains how to approach online influencers with a relevant audience to share and link back to your content.

When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), there are a large number of ranking factors to consider, exactly how many are unknown – and these differ by device, industry and search intent. However there are four core areas to consider when implementing an SEO strategy, and we’ve laid out how to optimise for them step-by-step in this free eBook. It covers:

  • Step 1: Keyword research
  • Step 2: On-site SEO basics
  • Step 3: Content
  • Step 4: Off-page SEO (link building)

While no element of your SEO strategy should be considered in isolation, these four steps are the building blocks for a successful ongoing SEO strategy that elevates your online visibility, drives more relevant traffic to your site and boosts your conversion rate.

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