August 14, 2015

10 key takeaways from SEO 2015


Discussing SEO at Search 2015

Since Google changed its algorithms to prioritise mobile search, much discussion related to SEO has returned to the spotlight.

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the Churchill Club – alongside James Healey from renowned web design and development agency Carter Digital, Digital Marketing Consultant Daniel Smith from Digital Deluxe, and James Eling the founder of SEO tool Marketing4Restaurants – to review the latest SEO principles and how businesses should think about SEO from a marketing point of view.

Here are 10 key messages from the event for you to consider.

1. Conversion, conversion, conversion

There is no point driving traffic to your site if it doesn’t convert. Be smart. Ensure your website looks and reads professionally, and incorporates many ‘calls to action’. Where possible, consider using Google Analytics and tools such as tag managers to track data and user interaction.

2. Compete in local markets

Most businesses are more likely to rank in a local search than a citywide search. For example, incorporating location-based keywords and phrases such as “Cleaner Aspendale” is going to provide better returns than “Cleaner Melbourne”.

3. Focus on earned clicks rather than paid clicks

Although Google AdWords is a popular marketing channel, it can be extremely competitive. Consider investing more time and money in improving your organic SEO. If you decide to run Google AdWords, focus on a smaller set of search terms with the aim of dominating relevant results, rather than spreading your budget too thin across multiple adverts that don’t pay off.

4. Websites require ongoing love

Websites aren’t just set-and-forget. Content needs updating and maintenance over time. Blogging positively impacts SEO (and showcases thought leadership). Aim to publish something twice a week if you can; otherwise blogging regularly (i.e. once a month) still helps.

5. Write original web content

Simply copying/pasting text that isn’t yours negatively impacts SEO. If you have an online store, ensure product descriptions are unique, not duplicated from another website. Pay special attention to crafting meta descriptions for each page. If you’re unsure, look at what others in your space are writing. You can then repurpose it to come up with web content of your own (just make sure the language and tone of voice matches that of your target demographic!).

6. International audiences interact differently

If you plan to reach out to markets outside of Australia, take into consideration how they interact with web content. Web users in China do not use Google, YouTube Facebook or Twitter; you need to use the platforms Baidu, YouKu, Weibo and RenRen to reach out to them. Also, some cultures also read right-to-left rather than left-to-right (i.e. Japanese and Arabic), posing challenges in web development. Rather than one global site, consider setting up ‘authority sites’ for each country with the appropriate web designs and domains (as long as your branding is consistent).

7. Think about UX and code your website properly

UX (user experience) plays a big part in web design and development. In the context of SEO, think carefully about your website’s structure (also referred to ‘information architecture’). Ensure it is as user-friendly as possible, and code your HTML accurately (i.e. use the right tags, such as <h> for headings and <li> for bullet points). The cleaner your site, the more easily it can be indexed (and rewarded) by Google. Clean sites also load faster.

8. Provide as much information as you can

Google scrapes information about you from wherever it can. If you do not clearly define your operating hours, for example, Google may look at user reviews to guess times without your consent/confirmation. If you’d like to optimise content, consider using schema tags within your HTML code to make your content as legible for Google robots as possible – or, create a Google+ page for your business so you can easily edit hours, location, type, size etc.

9. Implement quick wins

If you feel your website is severely underperforming, don’t panic. You don’t have to start again. Simply fix up what you’ve got. There are some relatively straightforward techniques you can apply, such as marking up your HTML code properly, rewriting link text to be more descriptive, and adding alt text to your images. But, above all, the easiest thing you can do is write/enter/optimise your website’s metadata (the title, description and keywords). Unless specified, most websites are built without any metadata at all. Most third party CMSs (content management systems) offer excellent in-built SEO solutions (YoastSEO for WordPress, for example) that are easy to use.

10. Understand that success is a collaboration

Websites comprise just one part of a large digital marketing ecosystem. Different disciplines need to work together to generate the best outcome. Experts you should call upon – and collaborate with as a team – include content strategists, copywriters, SEO consultants, SEM consultants, UX designers, web developers, digital strategists and social media strategists.

To discuss any of these 10 takeaways in more detail, contact us today. We’d be happy to chat about how they relate to your business and what principles you can apply.

Till next time!
Best wishes, Natalie and the Avion team

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