3. Search Engine Optimization, SEO

SEO Course Singapore

In this chapter, we will talk about:

  • What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • How does Google Crawl?
  • How does Google Rank Webpages?
  • Best Practices for On Page SEO
  • Best Practices for Off Page SEO

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization or SEO is a system of methods, strategies, and tactics used to increase website traffic to a website by achieving high rankings in the search result pages of search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

So, how do you achieve higher rankings for your web pages in search engines such as Google? You will first need a basic understanding on how Google crawls and ranks your page.

How does Google Crawls Webpages?

Google and all other search engines use computer programs, called “spiders” that will crawl web pages all over the internet. They read the information on each website and use it to build their database. The infographic below provides a thorough explanation on what happens.

SEO Course Singapore | How Google Searches

How does Google decide the Importance of a Page?

It is simple. Google ranks a webpage based on 2 groups of factors.

The first is what we call “on-page factors”, which are factors related to your website, like the text.

 

On-Page Factors (Text on your webpage)

Google reads all text on a webpage. This includes meta information found in the code of your website, and this gets displayed on search result pages. For example in this page, we have inserted ” SEO Course Singapore ” in both the meta title and description area.

For example on this page, our focus seo keyword is ” SEO Course Singapore .” As such, we have inserted ” SEO Course Singapore ” in both the meta title and description area.

On Page example for SEO Course Singapore

Meta Description Importance

So a website with the majority of text content written about “ seo course singapore ” is likely to be a more relevant result to display when someone searches “ seo course singapore .”

However, as the text on a page is easily controlled by the owner, Google takes such information with a pinch of salt. It is still important, and you can imagine it being 40% of the overall critical success factor on how well you rank.

On-Page factors cover how long users stay your website after clicking it, and how high your bounce rate is. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors to a particular website, who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A 50% bounce rate means 1 out of every 2 visitors leave your site without viewing a 2nd page.

Below is an example of a website optimized for the keyword “Purple Monkeys.”

Example Of Perfectly Optimized Landing Page

Off Page Factors (Backlinks or inbound links or links)

The second is what we call “off-page factors”, which as the name suggests, the external factors, and largely refers to the links pointing back to your website.

If a website has a lot of links pointing back to it, calling it “ seo course singapore ”, and the websites pointing to it are trustworthy and of high authority, then it will rank higher.

Unlike a pure democratic voting system, where each vote is equal, Google does not see every link pointing to a website as equal. Creating a new blog that points to your own webpage, calling it “ seo course singapore ”, versus having a link from the National University of Singapore pointing to your webpage, calling it “ seo course singapore ”, is very different. The latter ” seo course singapore ” link from NUS will likely result in a much higher search engine ranking.

Because “Off-page factors” are less controllable by a website owner, it is also given a higher weight. Imagine it as 60% of your overall critical success factor.

Below is an image that shows you how some people use a pyramid-like link-building structure that mixes low-quality links pointing to 3rd party sites before finally pointing back to your actual site. This is because pointing low-quality links directly to your website in huge volumes may cause a site penalty.

Off Page Ranking Factors

SEO Course Singapore – Best Practices for On Page SEO

Content is King

The content is the most important aspect of on-page SEO. It is the main reason a user came to check out your website, and that is why search engines place so much importance on them.

Why Content is King

So, what is Good Content?

From SEO point of view, good content has two important characteristics: It must supply a demand and be linkable.

The best content does a great job of supplying the largest demand.

It could be a Wikipedia article about the definition of Search Engine Optimization or an XKCD comic that supplies nerd jokes to a large group of Internet technologists. It could be a text, image, video, or an audio, but it has to cater to a large user group to be considered good content. This typically results in a lower bounce rate and higher time spent on-site.

The best content also must be linkable.

If people cannot link to a particular web page or post on your website, search engines will most likely not rank it; hence, the content cannot drive traffic to it. Few examples of this include web pages having Ajax-powered slideshows, content that is only accessible after logging in, or content that cannot be shared or reproduced.

In a competitive niche, you should target 1 keyword per webpage.  The common areas for which marketers optimize their page include:

  1. Insert main keyword phrase, or subject, in the title tag.
  2. Insert subject in the website URL.
  3. Insert subject in the image alt text tag.
  4. Sprinkle subject often throughout the content.
  5. Has to be unique content about the topic.
  6. Link back to its home page (this can be accomplished by the link to the home page on the website logo on the top left-hand side of a page).
  7. Link back to its category page.
  8. Link back to its sub-category (if there is one).

Below is a visual example of a webpage optimized for the keyword “chocolate donuts.”

Perfectly Optimized Seo Page Example

Image Credit

Let us briefly cover optimization techniques.

URL Structure – The URL structure is an important on-page SEO factor that helps search engines understand the relevance of the page. It is also helpful from an anchor text point of view, because if the keywords are in the URL, more people will link to it.

Here is a good example of URL structure:

www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/history/

If you look at this URL structure, immediately, you could tell what the page is about (history of a video game). Search engines will use this information to determine the relevancy of any page. Because of the hierarchy, the search engines can tell this page is not just about history, but about the history of video games, making this page a good candidate for search queries related to video game history.

And here is a bad example of URL structure:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/

Unlike the above example, the URL structure of this link does not reveal the information hierarchy of the website. Though the search engine can tell the page relates to titles and is on IMDB domain, it cannot tell what the page is about. The information provided by the URL is little value to search engines.

SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs

Image Credit

Let’s look at a real life example. If you Google “Super Mario World”, Wikipedia appears at the top. First, the content is unique (found nowhere else on the Internet), making it a good candidate for search engines to rank it better. The content also covers a specific topic – Super Mario World. If someone was searching for the term “Super Mario World,” this page would most likely answer all of their queries about the topic.

Besides the content, the page is structured well. The topic of the page is stated in the page title (Super Mario World – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the page URL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_World), in the content (the page header, “Super Mario World”), and in alt text description of each image.

The screenshot below is a bad example of a poorly optimized page for the same topic. Notice how it differs from the first example.

Poorly Optimized Web Pages

Image Credit

The are several reasons this page is poorly optimized for the term “Super Mario World.” Although the keyword phrase is present in some important element of the page (title and image tag), the content is less relevant and helpful to the reader than the Wikipedia example.

Unlike the Wikipedia example, the description of the page does not tell what the page or the topic about. Instead, the description reads like a marketing copy. This is not helpful for the reader and will less likely answer their search query.

But if you compare this description to the first sentence of the Wikipedia example above: “Super Mario World subtitled Super Mario Bros for its original Japanese release, is a 1990 platform video game developed and published by Nintendo as a pack-in launch title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).” The Wikipedia page tells the reader the Super Mario World is a game developed and published by Nintendo and so on, while the other example does not.

The Wikipedia example ranks better both in Bing and Google for the term “Super Mario World.”

If you are using a WordPress website, we recommend you install a WordPress SEO plugin like

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. All in one SEO

SEO Course Singapore – Best Practices for Off Page SEO

Before we start, you will also need to know what anchor text is.

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text relate to the page you’re linking to, rather than generic text. Below is an example where the anchor text is “Jon Wye’s Custom Designed Belts.” Bad anchor text exampleClick here!

Anchor Text SEO Best Practices

Link building is one of the most challenging parts of an SEO’s job, but also the most critical one. Without links with the correct referring anchor text, your website will never appear top on Google.

No link building campaigns are identical and you will have to decide what links are best for your particular website.

Here are 3 basic link acquisition types.

  1. “Natural” Editorial Links

These natural links link to your content or company because of great content. Wikipedia is a natural site for such links due to their rich aggregated content.

Editorial links from high authority websites, like Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Mashable, are preferred and valued so highly by so many marketers and authors, as they carry a lot of legitimacy and authority with them.

However, it is hard for most businesses to get such links without the help of an agency, as it requires a lot of research and planning.

Authoritative websites, especially news sites, love to report stories that relate to current trends and news stories. So most marketers do articles to pitch to them. To do this, you will need to spot an on-going trend using tools, like Google Trends , Twitter Trending Topics or AOL Trends.

Here are outreach tips to get interest for your article you are trying to submit:

  1. Identify the editor in charge for your category. Follow and engage him/her on her social media channels in a professional way, ahead of time.
  2. Share past articles you have done to get on their radar.
  3. Comment on past articles approved by the editors with meaningful feedback and input to show you read their work.
  4. When sending your article for inclusion, send them professional, well-written outreach message via email and some background info and your contact details.

 

  1. Manual “Outreach” Link Building

This refers to links attained by manually emailing bloggers and other website owners for links. This includes any paid submission or directory submission. As they still require approval, they still have value. Popular directories and classifieds sites also can provide significant traffic.

Directories, like DMOZ, ZoomInfo, and Yahoo Directory, are still strongly regarded.

 

  1. Self-Created, Non-Editorial Links

Thousands of websites offer link building opportunities through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. Because anyone can get them, these links are of the lowest value. However, in the aggregate, they may still have an impact for some sites.

A lot of software automates the link building of such links, e.g., Senuke, Xrummer, GSA Search Engine Ranker.

Such software is often the backbone of link providers on sites, such as fiverr.com or SEOclerks.com . Today, these types of links are often considered spammy and should be pursued with caution. Google devalues most of these types of links and have penalized sites that pursue these links aggressively. We do not recommend them, especially for new sites.

Another group of self-created links are less spammy and may even bring some traffic. They typically belong to the new age of social media sites you can build links from.

  • Photo Sharing – E.g., Flickr, Photo Bucket, Picasa,

If you have product pictures, publish and share them on popular photo sharing sites and allow others to comment on it, too. This will help drive more traffic to your website.

  • Video Submissions – E.g., YouTube, DailyMotion, MetaCafe, and Vimeo

Just like with photo sharing, create videos about your products, product reviews, and expert opinions.

  • Review sites – E.g., Kaboodle, Stylefeeder, Shvoong, RateitAll, etc.

Ask your friends and customers to write reviews about your business in popular business review sites.

  • Article Submission- E.g., EzineArticles, Go Articles, Buzzle, SooperArticles

Write useful and relevant content around a particular topic and submit them on popular article directory submission sites, such as EzineArticles, Go Articles, Buzzle, SooperArticles, etc.

  • Press Release Promotion – E.g., 1888pressrelease, PR leap, Open PR

If you are running a business or providing a service, then write a press release about your company and submit them on PR submission sites.

  • Classified Submission – E.g., Craigslist, Kugli, OLX, Vivastreet, iMadespace

Classified submission is a great way to promote your website/company for free.

  • Document Sharing – E.g., Slide Share, Google Docs, etc.

Share your business brochures and slides to document sharing sites.

  • Answers E.g., Yahoo Answers, Quora

Answer questions by participating in Answers and drop your website URL to your website that will create a free backlink (free advertisement). Just be careful not to overdo it; otherwise, you will be labeled as a “spammer.” Participate in Answers on popular sites, such as Yahoo Answers, Answer Bag, Cha-Cha, etc.

  • Social booking site g., Digg, StumbleUpon, Propeller, and Delicious

Many sites allow users to share a particular website url or news. Such social booking sites used to be popular.

SEO Course Singapore – Strategies for Better Link Building and Improving Your SEO

1) Ask your partners or customers to link back to your company website.

If you have been running a business for quite a while, you probably have a few partners working with you regularly or loyal customers who love your brand and purchase from you regularly. Why not take advantage of this and ask them to link to you?

Just like Google does with their Google AdWords certification program, you can also send partnership badges (graphic logos) to your partners or customers and have it point back to your website.

2) Create a Company Blog: Offer Valuable, Engaging, and Informative Content Regularly.

Blogging is a popular and valuable content and link building strategy, used by most successful marketers around the globe today.

Blog are a wonderful tool to contribute fresh and engaging material to your visitors consistently, foster communication and interaction between the site owners and visitors (potential customers), and gain links and listings from other popular blogs, including blog directories and blogrolls.

3) Craft Content that Naturally Attracts Linking and Inspires Viral Sharing.

In SEO, this process is called Linkbaiting – a practice of creating content designed to get other people to link to it. The main purpose is to boost the number of inbound links to your web pages or posts to improve its performance in search engine result pages (SERPs). Here are few good examples of content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking: The Cause of Addiction Is Not What You Think (2m shares), Champagne Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease (938,000 shares), SEO Course Singapore and Zombie-Themed Cruise (1.5m shares). People love to share content, particularly content that surprises them and even challenges the current perceptions.

4) Make Your Content Newsworthy

Grabbing the attention of the media, press, and bloggers is a great way to build backlinks to your website pages and posts. Sometimes, it could be as simple as giving away something for free (e.g., a free ebook titled ” Seo Course Singapore for Beginners “), or launching a great new product or services, or sharing something controversial, surprising, or challenging.

This ends the content for SEO Course Singapore.

In the next chapter, we will teach you how to drive highly targetted traffic from Google and other pay per click networks to your marketing funnel.