Search Engine Optimization is an important aspect of digital marketing. It’s an inexpensive way of getting industry’s specific traffic to your website.
Even though SEO is a popular term on the internet space, there are still a lot of misconceptions around it. In this article, I will share all you need to know about search engine optimization and social media marketing. You may think SEO is just a three letter word. But it can make a lot of difference in your digital marketing strategy.
What’s Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (commonly written as SEO) is the process of making strategic changes to your content and website design to make it visible to search engines. When SEO is correctly implemented on your website, its visibility will increase through organic and unpaid search results.
Here’s how SEO Works. When you host your website and start posting content on it. Search engines like Google will scan your website, analyze its design and content elements.
From such analysis, Google can tell the type of topic your website discusses and the user-friendliness of the website. This process that enables search engines to deliver relevant and useful search results to users is known as crawling.
Again, SEO strategy is not a one-off strategy. It’s a continuous process that requires you to always make your website pages and content visible to search engines.
Even if your website is already ranking on Google, some SEO bad Practices you unknowingly implement on your website may affect the ranking.
Interestingly, the better and smarter your website looks, the more likely search engines will recommend your posts to search engine users searching for keywords relating to yours.
Components of Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) doesn’t work in isolation. Several components or moving parts work together to deliver great results in any SEO strategy. Here are some of the components of SEO;
#1. Your Audience and Industry
Before you start any SEO strategy, it’s important to understand your audience and the industry in which you operate.
Preferably, carry out an extensive research to understand the type of content your audience likes reading, the trends in your industry, the market leaders (top competitors) and how they carry out their business, and the type of SEO strategy your competitors are implementing.
This information will give you an idea of the best SEO strategy that will work better in your niche.
#2. Keyword Research
Once you understand your audience and the industry in which you operate, the next step is to carry out keyword research.
Keyword research is one of the main components of SEO. It involves searching for popular words and phrases people are searching for on search engines.
The essence of keyword research is to figure out what your audience’s needs and tailor your articles towards meeting those needs.
Keyword research is a sensitive aspect of your SEO strategy. How you handle it could make or mar your SEO strategy.
Your goal when carrying out keyword research is not only to pinpoint what your audience are searching for. But also how they search for it.
If you are new to keywords research activities, here are some of the best keywords research tools to kickstart your SEO
#3. Searcher’s Intent
Searcher’s intent refers to the goal a search engine user has in mind while searching for something. This is an important aspect of every SEO strategy..
It’s not all about writing content about a particular keyword. But writing it in a way and style that will be appealing to your audience.
For instance, if you search for the keywords “movies about the boat in a storm” on any search engine, it will immediately understand that you are looking for any of the following movies; Adrift, Life of Pi, etc.
Google or any other website won’t popup pages optimized for the keywords “movies about the boat in a storm”. Instead, they come up with results based on the searcher’s intent.
You see, search engines are very smart, and you have to think like them to perform outstandingly in the search result page.
From the example above, you can deduce that every keyword serves its own intent.
#4. Analytics and Reporting
It’s not all about implementing your SEO strategy. It’s important to evaluate your website’s performance periodically and see if the strategy is achieving its goal. And you can only get accurate information for such evaluation through analytics and reporting.
In case you don’t know, accurate reporting is as important as your SEO campaigns itself.
According to experts' opinion, some SEO strategies fail due to lack of accurate results on campaign’s achievement. Without accurate results, there’s no way you can measure performance.
#5. Meta Tags
Meta tags are another important component of Search Engine Optimization. As a rule, it’s important to have a meta tag for every page of your website. It gives signals to search engines about the relevance of a particular keyword to the searcher’s intent.
Similarly, ensure you have a meta description for every article you publish on your website. Meta descriptions give searchers an overview of your article content on search engine result page.
It’s always advisable to write convincing and curiosity inspiring meta descriptions, because it goes a long way to determine your click through rate.
Content is the backbone of every SEO strategy. If you consistently create high quality and thought-provoking content on your website, you will not only rank high on search engine result page (serp). But also create positive users’ experience for your users.
Basically, there are four types of SEO content that you can create depending on the keywords you are trying to rank for. They are;
#1. Informational Content
Informational content educates your audience about a particular topic, product, or brand. A good example of informational content is; “Best ways to increase your website traffic”
If you are too busy to handle your content, you can hire someone of the best content marketing companies to help you create great contents…
#2. Navigational Content
Navigational content provides straight answers to users’ search queries.
#3. Commercial content
Commercial content provides information that will help users make purchase decisions. A good example of a commercial content is “best laptops for writers”.
#4. Transaction content
Transaction content is one of the most important types of content. People who search for these contents on Google often show the intent of buying.
Take note of these different types of content when next you write for your website. It guides you to write articles and blog posts that align with searchers intent.
Backlinks are another great component of SEO. They belong to the off page category. While content is the king of SEO, backlinks are queen.
A high quality backlink profile can go a long way to determine your website ranking. Several backlinks from high quality websites to yours is like a vote of confidence on your website.
It gives Google the impression that your content is valuable and worthy of your audience’s attention.
As a rule, ensure you aren’t spamming other websites just to get backlinks. Contact authority websites in your niche and request for guest posting opportunities..
#6. Social Media
Social media is another important search engine ranking factor. They send signal to search engines about the influence and authority of a particular brand.
So, when you are active on social media, you tend to attract search engines’ attention to your website.
Crawling is an important aspect of SEO. It's the process through which search engine spiders scan your websites’ design and content.
However, if your website design is poor, you constantly publish low quality articles, you aren’t applying internal linking on your website, and more importantly you don’t have a sitemap.xml file, your website won’t be visible to search engines for crawling.
And when search engines’ bot aren’t crawling your website, it can’t rank high on the search results page.
Furthermore, search engines may not crawl your website if it has issues with 404 errors. Ensure you monitor your web designer closely from the start to make your website functional and crawlable.
#8 Technical SEO
Whether you operate an ecommerce website or a regular one, image will always play an important role in your SEO strategy. Good images make your content more attractive and easy to read.
Also, uploading optimized images on your website can help increase traffic to your website. Google has a feature that enables people who are visually impeared to read your content.
Like I mentioned earlier, search engine optimization is a continuous process. However, it works with the blend of all the components mentioned above to produce exceptional results.
But the most important SEO tip I will share on this article is to take action. It’s not about reading the techniques of SEO implementation, but taking action to affect what you learn on your website is what makes the difference.
White Hat vs Black Hat SEO tactics
If you are new to SEO, two common opinions you will often see or hear about SEO is white hat and black hat tactics. These two terms represent the right and wrong way of doing SEO.
White hat SEO tactics is the ethical and correct way to optimize a website for SEO. Your SEO strategy is white hat if it complies with the following - follows search engines established guidelines, focuses on users’ experience, and you don’t get results immediately.
Black hat SEO on the hand, is the unethical and incorrect way of optimizing a website. Black hat seo strategy has the following feature; violates search engines guidelines, uses manipulative tactics to achieve results, and focuses on quick wins.
Even though black hat seo tactics achieve immediate results, the results are only short-lived.
In a nutshell, the major difference between White hat and Black hat SEO tactics is that the former follows Google’s guidelines and improves users’ experience, while the latter (black hat) violates those guidelines and has little or no regards for human experience.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing refers to the strategic use of social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) to connect with your target audience, build your brand, increase sales, and drive industry specific traffic to your website.
Social media marketing has great potential to make your business more successful, create more devoted brands advocates,
Does Social Media Marketing Affect SEO?
Yes, social media marketing can positively impact your SEO strategy. Social signals like reviews, likes, shares, votes, pins, or links on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms notify search engines whenever someone talks about your brand.
Generally, social signals affect SEO by increasing online visibility and traffic to your website, increase your brand recognition and authority, and broader content distribution and longer content lifespan.
In summary, social media increases your online visibility and supports SEO efforts to drive traffic to your website.
To have a better understanding of how social media increases your online visibility and support search engines to drive traffic to your website, check the image below.
You will see that Google crawls and displays social media accounts, this could boost your online visibility and increase your brand recognition.