What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is the art of optimizing the site structure, link structure, content, technical SEO and other factors to gain better placement in search for specific keywords and search queries. Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine rankings. SEO can be a time consuming and difficult process that takes time to show significant returns, but it can also be one of the most powerful marketing tools that a company can have.
SEO is designed to create an increase in the organic traffic that a website receives. Organic traffic is that which comes from Google’s organic listings, or any listings that are not paid ads. Google and other search engines rank websites by those that have the most relevant information and best user experience regarding the search terms requested in the search query.
Does My Business Need SEO?
We find that the vast majority of companies benefit from an SEO program and being found prominently online. There are different ways to be found, however. Verticals like Restaurants, Bars, Job Listings Sites and others seem to benefit mainly from Google My Business Listings and local Bing Listings, but suffer from incredible competition from “aggregator” sites that feature many choices and dominate the rankings by sheer volume of information. Industries like Real Estate, Mortgages and Car Sales have the same type of problem. In the end, SEO is appropriate for most, but not all, businesses. Many of our clients have found avenues like Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing and targeted paid ads to be the best ways to promote their goods and services. For any business, Zenergy Works is committed to finding the best way for your business to get a return on your online marketing investment.
What Can SEO Do For My Business?
Google is built to provide the most relevant results to any search query. SEO helps to ensure that your business is one of the most relevant results, if not the most relevant result to a search. Once you are at the top of search, you will be in front of prospective customers more often, and if your pricing and products are well designed, and your business does a good job of servicing customers, your sales should increase.
How Can I Research The Keywords That Are Relevant To My Business?
Good Keyword Research and Planning is the foundation of a successful SEO campaign. The highest trafficked keywords may not be the best for your business because they may be too general and bring you website traffic that may not convert to customers. Successful keyword research is a collaborative process between SEO Experts and the Business Owners/Stakeholders to identify the keywords that will attract your best and most profitable customers. Using more than one keyword research tool to get your information on search volume, competitive ranking and other metrics is advised. Most good search tools, like ahrefs.com and semrush.com will allow you to search per the platform you wish to market to (ie. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, etc.).
Are Some of Google's Ranking Factors More Important Than Others?
Yes. In 2016, Google confirmed its top 3 ranking factors as links, content, and RankBrain. In summary, creating great content that others want to link to and that Google can rate (using AI and Machine Learning) as the best result for any given search query.
SEMrush recently did a Ranking Factors 2.0 study, which highlighted additional important factors such as:
- Direct Traffic
- Time on site
- Total referring domains
- Content length
- Followed backlinks
- HTTPS and more
Do PPC and SEO Campaigns Compete With Each Other?
Not usually. While it is true that the organic search results typically get more clicks than paid ads, paid ads remain a strong strategy to use with SEO for the following reasons:
- Paid ads and SEO when used together on the SERP (search engine results page) tend to increase CTR (click through ratio) for one or both.
- Paid ads provide stronger data on keyword popularity and conversion rates than most analytic programs, therefore helping to provide data to more effectively point SEO results.
- Very few SEO campaigns have great rankings for all targeted keywords all of the time.
Most of our clients balance SEO campaigns with relatively small, but strategically targeted, PPC campaigns.
What Are Some Tips On Creating Effective SEO Content?
In the “old days” SEO content was all about keyword density and very little about brand voice and user experience. As with many things on the internet, this has changed dramatically. The following are some tips on how to create good SEO content that will rank in search results:
- Make sure that you mention the keywords and GEOs that you have targeted for your business to be found on search. Do not overdo it, but make sure that they are there.
- Evaluate the content of the online competition that ranks above and below you. Look at length of the content, features like photos and videos and how this content is linked to information on the site that it is on and other sites.
- Be true to yourself. Your Brand Voice and business culture should be present in your content.
- Try not to be an online brochure. You definitely will want to have a clear CTA (call to action) on your SEO pages for the next steps for a prospective customer to take upon reading the content, but the goal of the content should be to educate and inform a website visitor about the subject at hand. Content should be unique and valuable.
- Duplicate content is not a viable strategy. Do not copy content from another resource. You can use services like copyscape to ensure that your content is not duplicate (defined as at least 30% different than any other content on the subject online) and use a service like SEO Content Writing Assistant from SEM Rush to help to make sure that your content is SEO friendly.
The current SEO environment is dependent on quality content. In the minds of most SEO experts, quality content is the most important element of a successful SEO campaign.
Are Links Really That Important For SEO?
Yes, they are. Most SEO experts think that the importance of links vs. quality content/onpage integrity is currently approximately 25-30% links and 70-75% other factors. Quality Inbound links can be hard to find, and in many cases, especially in competitive search environments, they make the difference between success and failure in SEO. The following are some things to think about when evaluating an SEO link strategy:
- Do not buy links. Purchased links can get you into a lot of trouble with Google and other search engines. This does not mean that there is a rule against hiring someone to create links for you, but rather paying for a link.
- Link Exchanges are still ok, but in moderation. It would be prudent to have no more than 15-20% of the inbound links to your site be from sites that you also link to.
- Create links that a human would, and will use. If the link is from a related site with valuable content and the content from your site will help to either confirm or be valuable to a user of that website, this is a valuable link.
- You may review your link structure by using services like ahrefs.com and semrush.com, both of whom provide link surveys. In most cases, you can remove “spammy” links from consideration by search engines by using the link disavow tools offered by Google and Bing. You may also use these tools to evaluate links that your competitors have and use this as a guide to approach those sites for links to your site.
- Guest blogging is still considered to be a viable link strategy, but please make sure that the content that you are posting is on brand and consistent with the content of your blog and website.
- Social Media posts do not have a direct SEO benefit in most cases, but social media can serve to build brand recognition and value to your online presence.
Building quality inbound links can be a time consuming and daunting task, but the rewards can be found in an ongoing successful SEO campaign.
What is White Hat SEO?
White Hat, or ethical engine optimization is the practice of following accepted standards to optimize a web site to rank high in organic search results and attract more search engine traffic. As a general rule, White Hat tactics will stand the test of time and will maintain positive results for websites that employ proper tactics. Black Hat Optimization is the use of search engine tactics that may create a “shortcut” to higher search engine traffic. Some Black Hat tactics can result in a website being “de-listed” and eliminated from SERP, or Search Engine Results Pages. As a result, Zenergy Works employs only White Hat tactics on behalf of our clients.
What is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat optimization is the practice of using SEO shortcuts like hiding white text on white background, spamming keyword tags with hundreds of keywords, or cloaking as shortcuts to the SEO process. Search Engines consider these tactics “cheating”, and counter to providing good information and solid search engine results to search engine users. Penalties for Black Hat tactics can include having your website “delisted”, which means the website will not be indexed and therefore not found as a result in the SERP.
At Zenergy Works, we don’t employ Blackhat tactics to try and fool the Search Engines, we use approved techniques that meet Guidelines for webmasters.