The Ultimate Guide to SEO
If you’re looking for the most up-to-date information on SEO, we’ve got you covered!
In our digital age, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become an essential feature of every online business. As the internet has become widely adopted as a main place of trade, the competition for online visibility is fiercer than ever before – and that’s where SEO comes in, each company that wants to be competitive must use all its resources, with SEO at the top of the list.
As a leading SEO company in Bangkok, we’re here to help you better understand what SEO is really about, the processes involved and how you can use it to scale your online traffic in the digital era. In this Ultimate Guide to SEO, we’ll help you answer the following questions:
What is SEO?
When we speak of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), it’s about improving a website or web page to boost the consistency of the traffic from the organic results of a search engine.
To uncover the mystery of SEO, we need to first understand the ultimate purpose of SEO, which is to build a scalable online revenue channel by improving your site’s organic rankings on the search engines’ results pages and hence increasing your organic traffic.
Why is SEO important?
The accessibility of the Internet has made it easier for users to learn about your business and convert to paying customers online, making SEO more important than ever in the competitive digital market today.
In short, this is what SEO can do for your business:
Scale your online revenue through engaging with users online.
Establish your role as an expert in your industry, strengthening your brand and customer loyalty.
Lower your cost per acquisition over time, thus increasing your long-term profit margin.
Now that you know what the business benefits of SEO are, let’s get clear on the two different approaches to SEO that you’ll need to be weary of before hiring an SEO agency or building an in-house SEO team.
What is White vs Black Hat SEO?
Two main differing approaches to SEO are termed white hat and black hat SEO.
Although both hats aim to achieve the same goal which is increasing online visibility for your website, they are incredibly different.
White hat and black SEO uses different approaches as one meets search engine regulations to boost traffic to websites, while the other bends rules and regulations, risks penalties and even gets banishment from the search engine.
Let’s take a look at the differences between them:
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO tactics are designed to put users first and to comply with Google guidelines and rules. This approach helps bulletproof your website from future issues, aside from avoiding the chances of penalization.
White hat tactics include:
Producing quality content
Fixing technical SEO problems
SEO on-page optimisation.
The main goal of Google is to provide useful quality content to its users. Therefore, by having a user-centric SEO strategy, you will be able to achieve long-standing rankings on the first page of Google.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO tactics manipulate search engine algorithms and disregard the rules and guidelines for search engines. These strategies are typically targeted to search bots first, rather than human readers and gives a high chance of getting penalized by Google.
Tactics to avoid
Techniques such as keyword stuffing
Unrelated keywordsInvisible text
These tactics are all found to be sneaky by Google and illegally affect the results of a search engine and thereby hinder the engine’s ability to produce the most useful content for searchers.
So what if Google sees such SEO behaviour? The penalty from Google is shown in a negative impact on the search ranking of a website when it does not follow Google algorithms’ updates and/or manual analysis.
There are three Google’s notable algorithm updates which includes:
Google Florida that penalize keyword stuffing
Google Panda which penalized content farms
Google Penguin takes down bad backlink strategies
Sites that indulge in SEO black hat may suffer two types of penalties:
Manual penalty – Someone from google comes to inspect your website and penalises you.
Algorithmic penalty – Google’s algorithm recognises your violation of their guidelines automatically and deranks your website.
So what does this difference mean in practice?
The key difference between the two is that, although the black hat could be ranked faster, it is extremely risky and unscrupulous. This means that while black hat SEO may be able to grow your website traffic faster, they are not a sustainable strategy.
If you wish to perform short-term traffic, you can simply make online ads to avoid getting penalized by Google. On the other hand, white hat SEO is a reliable method of scaling your online traffic and revenue in the long-run.
What are search engines?
A search engine is an online tool which searches for data based on the search query (keyword) submitted by a user. It then sorts and makes an ordered list of these results for the users. The results are usually websites that match the search query.
Today, there are many different search engines, each with their own functionality and features, however, as you may have already guessed, Google is by far, the most popular search engine worldwide.
How do search engines work?
As there are billions of pages on the world wide web, how do search engines like Google find, store and show these websites when you type a query into the search box?
In short, there are three simple processes that Google goes through:
Crawling is the process of finding new and modified content, where search engines like Google will send out robots known as crawlers or spiders.
These crawlers search and review every known website to provide a full list of all information stored on it. When crawling through your website, a search engine will extract information about each of your web pages that it has access to.
Google bots discover websites through links. They will inspect your robots.txt file to see the crawling instructions set on your website, view your XML sitemap (if you have it set up), and crawl your website through internal links that are present.
For this reason, making sure that there aren’t any crawlability issues on your website is a big part of SEO.
After crawling your website, Google will then start the indexing process.
This is when Google downloads all the information on your website and stores it in their index. The index acts like a gigantic library that includes billions of websites that Google has stored in its entire history of crawling and indexing.
Hence, ensuring that Google can index all the important pages on your website (and not index unimportant pages/private pages) is an important part of SEO.
When a user types a query into Google’s search bar, Google then goes through their entire index and applies their ranking algorithm to determine which web page should show up on the search results. When a web page shows up on a search results, we say it is ranking for a particular keyword.
The key purpose of scanning every consumer is to achieve specific outcomes. The task of the search engine is to pick and expand the indexes of the most important results related to the query. While billions of websites are reviewed worldwide thanks to numerous algorithms, the operation takes a matter of milliseconds.
Generally speaking, the higher the amount of the website, the greater the importance of the search engine to the search.
How do you rank higher on Google?
Google only aims to provide users with reliable and trustworthy information.
In order to rank higher in Google, you need to make sure that your website has E.A.T which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness:
Expertise – This is largely determined by the quality of content, and not at the website or the organisation. An expert in the field or subject should be the author of the content. A well knowledgeable author with the expertise to speak about the subject accurately
Authority – It is all about reputation, especially among other experts and industry influencers. As users will see your website as the go-to source of information about a topic, looking for relevant reviews, references, expert opinions, other authoritative web-based information etc.
Trustworthiness – It is about the credibility, transparency, and accuracy of the content itself and the page on which it exists. People will know you and your background, they’ll acknowledge you as a good source of knowledge.
This all sounds reasonable in theory, but how do you actually optimise your website for the so-called “SEO Ranking Factors?” In practice, we can enforce E.A.T for our client’s websites by implementing a holistic SEO strategy.
An SEO strategy aims to promote the growth of organic leads to your website.
In this section, we’ll guide you through an example of what an SEO strategy involves, starting from the strategy and planning phase through to link building.
All in all, this is what a high-quality SEO strategy or campaign should include:
As the first step of your SEO strategy, you need to conduct keyword research to determine how they are talking to search engines.
You can use certain tools to effectively carry out this analysis. SEMRush, Ahrefs and Moz are paid tools that give you tremendous information about how users search. On the other hand, Google Keyword Planner and UberSuggest are great free alternatives if you’re on a tight budget.
Keyword research can make or break your SEO campaign. If your content does not target queries that users are searching for, it will not have any organic visibility on Google.
By using the tools mentioned above, you can get estimates on monthly search volumes of your target keyword for each page on your website.
Content is the core of any solid SEO strategy. It is the strength of your content that attracts readers and Google understands how important content is to addressing its users’ needs. Google will rank your content higher on the search engines results pages (SERPs) if your content is able to satisfy the users’ needs.
Google is trying to provide easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive answers to its users. For this reason, keep away from creating short articles and instead, go for well-researched, detailed, high-value content that answers the user queries in full.
On-page SEO involves any action taken within your website that could improve your organic rankings.
It can be very confusing as adjusting page titles, H1 tags, meta tags, alt tags require some level of expertise but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re using WordPress, plugins like Yoast or Rank Math can be very helpful.
Here are the On-Page Factors to look into:
Quality content – Well-written content that addresses the users needs, whether it be informational or commercial.
Title tags – A tag title is an HTML element describing the title of your page and is the SERP clickable tag. A title tag should provide an accurate description of the content it’s linked to and should be between 30-60 characters long.
Meta description tags – They are a summary of the SERP page seen on Google under the title tag. Meta descriptions should be around 70-155 characters long.
URL – A SEO-friendly URL is a simple, succinct, hyphen-separated, and lower-case phrase. The URL folder organisation (aka siloing) should reflect the structure of the website.
Alt tags -Alt tags (aka alt text) are used to identify or describe the image. It allows search engines to better understand the images on your website and helps them to locate a picture.
Heading 1 Tags (H1) — H1 tags are a key indicator for users (and search engines) as to what the main topic of a given page is about. Therefore, each page should only have one H1 tag that is unique to that page and indicates the page’s main topic.
Of all the on-page factors, the H1 tag is among the most important SEO ranking signals.
However, on-page SEO methods go far beyond the headings and meta descriptions. Matching search intentions, scope depth and width as well as internal linking are also important on-page factors that can help you rank higher on the SERPs.
Although title tags and meta descriptions do not significantly affect your rankings, they can greatly improve your organic click-through rate.
Technical SEO can sound very overwhelming, but it really is important to ensure that your website can be discovered by search engines like Google. Your website must be technically stable and optimized for search engines.
Here are the Technical SEO Factors to look into:
Robots.txt File – Search engine bots check the robots.txt file before crawling each website, which contains crawling instructions for the bot.
URL Redirects– Proper URL redirect can allow search engines to better understand your website if your URL configuration changes or pages are replaced or disabled. When the URLs are permanently replaced, make sure to use 301 redirects instead of other temporary redirect types. .
Meta robots – The meta robots tag is a piece of code or an HTML label that tells Google and other search engines what to do when a website is crawled. A noindex, no follow tag, for instance, will tell search engines not to index the page and not to crawl links within the page.
XML sitemaps – A sitemap lists all the website URLs. XML sitemap files provide a blueprint for how your website is structured, allowing search engines to get a deeper understanding, improving the crawling and indexing process on your website.
Canonical tags – Canonical tags show which pages are the main versions of themselves. They help avoid duplicate content issues.
Schema markups (Structured data) – They enable search engines to further understand a given page, helping pages within your website to win more SERP features in the form of rich snippets, featured snippets, knowledge panels and alike.
Technical SEO is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy which has to be prioritised from the start. Your content and backlinks will have a much more positive effect on your organic rankings with the support of a good technical SEO framework.
5Link Building (Off-page SEO)
When another website links to your website, you’ve earned a backlink. Google views each backlink like a ‘vote’, signifying that your website is a trust-worthy authority on your topic.
If your website is linked-to by a credible source, it enhances your authority and can have a great impact on your rankings.
However, Google disapproves of buying backlinks, which is a blackhat SEO tactic that aims to trick search engines into thinking that your website is authoritative.
Instead, a sustainable SEO strategy should have a link building tactic that revolves around earning editorial backlinks organically over time, or through legitimate content promotion campaigns.
How to monitor your SEO performance
After implementing all SEO tactics mentioned above, it’s important to look at your SEO performance, measuring where you rank, your organic traffic trend and more. Therefore, these four elements are what you should consider when it comes to monitoring your SEO performance.
One of the most critical factors for driving revenue through your business’ website is by having strong organic keyword rankings. This is because high keyword rankings will drive more traffic to your website, which will then lead to more online conversion for your business.
Also, you don’t want to rank high in just any keyword, but for keywords that are relevant to your products and services. To track your rankings, you can use tools such as Ahrefs, Link-Assistant, or SEMRush.
This measures how many visitors from organic search results come to your website. The growth of the website means that you have achieved one of the main goals of SEO – to increase the number of visitors to your website via organic search.
You get a clear picture of how effective your SEO approach is by tracking your organic traffic levels over time. You can track the change in organic search traffic with Google Analytics.
Wondering how to do this? Get in touch with our team and we’ll be happy to help you with your analytics set up and more!
Any SEO campaign you oversee will likely create additional organic conversions (conversions by users coming from organic search). This could be an online form submission or product purchase, which is the best indicator of the profitability of your SEO campaign.
High keyword rankings and plenty of organic traffic are good. However, you will have to update your website if your site does not produce any conversions.
Always check if your conversion pages are well optimised and without technical errors that may discourage users from making a purchase.
It measures the sales generated by a marketing campaign relative to the expenses involved with operating it. Effective marketers are motivated to align their time, resources and advertising spending with outcomes that lead to the success of the business.
From a high-level perspective, you should consider SEO as a marketing channel to help your company expand. Depending on your business, website and expertise, as well as resources, your organic search revenue can vary.
For example, it is easy to monitor organic revenue for an online eCommerce company, but it can be more tricky if you run a online lead-gen platform.
Take your SEO to the next level
From keyword rankings through to organic revenue, these SEO performance metrics reflect the buyers’ journey, helping you understand how your customers came to discover you and eventually converted on your platform.
By following the steps in this ultimate guide, you’ll definitely have an edge over your competitors when it comes to your online visibility.
To learn how to take your SEO to the next level, our SEO experts at Morphosis are here to help. Regardless of whether you’re looking for an SEO audit, keyword research, or SEO content, contact us for a free consultation session today.