Digital Marketing

What is Digital Marketing?

Image used for a blog post on "What is Digital" published on the Netilly official blog

Digital Marketing! Another buzzword which you must have come across in the current high-tech internet-connected era.

The global spend on digital marketing is reported to have crossed the $100 Billion mark in 2018. In the US and UK, the industry is growing at a whopping 44%.

One of the most significant events that has affected ‘marketing over the last three decades is the mass adoption of the internet into everyday life.

Today 40% of the world’s population has access to the internet. It was less than 1% in 1995.

Currently, there are an estimated 4.1 Billion internet users in the world.

With 26% of U.S. adults staying ‘almost constantly’ online and an overall 77% of Americans going online daily, the way people shop has changed the way companies market their products and services.

Every company in today’s time needs to market its products, services or brands ‘online’ if they must survive.

This is digital marketing at a fundamental level!

In case you are looking for a more formal definition here it is:

Digital Marketing, also known as ‘online marketing,’ is basically promoting products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. It’s a way to connect with and influence your potential customers ‘online’.

Digital marketing, using multiple channels and methods, enables organizations to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working for them and what’s not in real-time.

In this blog let’s explore three key W’s of Digital Marketing!

Why is Digital Marketing essential for your business?

As per Salesforce, 75% of the total marketing budget is expected to go to Digital Marketing!

Let’s look at some interesting facts to understand why digital marketing is currently an essential investment that businesses must make:

  • 72% of marketers believe that the traditional way of marketing is no longer enough and digital marketing will increase their company sales & revenue by 30%.
  • 83% of businesses think their efforts through digital marketing channels are useful in helping them accomplish their goal.
  • According to asurveyof more than 500 digital marketers, most businesses rely on a variety of digital marketing channels to drive sales and revenue.
  • There will be more than 2 billion online shoppers around the world by 2020, so it’s essential for businesses to have an online presence.

Digital marketing is an easy way for companies to tell their brand’s story and bring them to life on a digital platform.

A firm can engage with its audience effectively with the ability to narrate their brand story on digital media channels such as social media platforms, a website, or through email.

What is Digital Marketing| Netilly blog

What benefits does Digital Marketing bring in?

People often think that the main advantage of digital marketing is that a target audience can be reached cost-effectively.

But is it enough?

Not really, until one can measure the marketing efforts real-time.

With the traditional offline marketing, it is not easy to measure how many people reach the specific page of a newspaper where your ad is published.

Further, it is way complicated to know how many readers paid attention to your ad and if that ad was responsible for any sales conversions.

But with digital marketing, one can see accurate results in real-time and can also measure the ROI of any of your marketing efforts.

There are many tools available such as Google Analytics which can tell the exact number of people who have viewed your website, how many pages they visited and which location are they from, in real time.

One can even identify patterns and trends in a user’s behavior before he/she reaches the final stage of buying.

 It means a business owner can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to his/her website right at the top of the marketing funnel.

Further, right tools and an effective strategy for digital marketing allows one to track all sales back to a buyer’s first interaction with his/her business.

Which Digital Marketing channels are most commonly used?

The approach to Digital marketing largely depends upon the type of audience interactions.

Further, businesses usually invest in a combination of Digital Marketing channels.

Let’s briefly touch base the most popular digital marketing channels:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engines are responsible for driving 93% of all website traffic. 

SEO is a technique of optimizing your website to “rank” higher in search engine results pages.

It is the most effective method to generate organic (free) traffic to your landing page.

Examples of SEO Tools: Google Keyword Planner, SEM Rush, Long Tail Pro

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

 PPC is another technique to drive traffic to a website.

The advertiser needs to pay a publisher every time his/her ad is clicked.

While SEO takes 3-6 months to generate results, PPC leverages the paid ad campaigns to drive inorganic traffic to your website.

Examples of PPC Tools: Google AdWords, SpyFu, Ahrefs, SEM Rush

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

 SMM is one of the highest used (81%) digital marketing channel.

Social media marketing enhances a firm’s brand awareness by promoting its brand and content on social media platforms.

It also drives traffic and generates leads for a business. The channels you can use in SMM are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Google+.

Examples of SMM Tools: Buffer, Sprout Special, HootSuite

Content Marketing (CM)

 Great content is the fuel that drives a business’s digital marketing function. 

Content Marketing is basically the creation and promotion of content to generate brand awareness, drive traffic, lead generation, and convert leads into sales.

Examples of CM Tools: BuzzSumo, Kred

Email Marketing

 Email has been around for more than two decades, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

It’s still the most direct and quickest way to reach customers with critical information. People are very attached to their emails!

Examples of emails you might send in an email marketing campaign include:

  • Newsletters for a blog subscription.
  • Follow-up emails to visitors who took any kind of action on a website.
  • Welcome emails for new customers.

Affiliate Marketing

 This is a kind of performance-based marketing which allows one to promote someone else’s products or services on his/her website and receive a commission.

Examples of Affiliate marketing channels:

  • Via your social media accounts, posting affiliate links.
  • Via the YouTube Partner Program, hosting video ads.

Many companies are offering digital marketing courses for learning these tools efficiently.

Native Ads

Native Ads are the ads that appear to be of the same form and function as the platform on which they are viewed.

They are very beneficial as they blend with the content and the design of the page, and users are more likely to click on them.

Most people try to avoid ads; therefore, native ads come handy as people may click on them, thinking it to be editorial content.

Marketing Automation

Technology has automated almost everything, even marketing.

Marketing Automation is the next thing to look out for.

Marketing Automation is about implementing digital strategy automatically with technology rather than doing it manually.

Be it posting on social media, sending messages, or replying to your customers.

You can even send emails and set up campaigns automatically. It is a good way to save time and use a resource for business growth.

Does Digital Marketing work for all businesses?

Many people wonder whether digital marketing is needed for their business or not.

As mentioned above in the blog, the mass adoption of the internet has been the most significant shift in marketing.

With this shift, it has become essential for any brand to reach their customers online.

Digital Marketing has various channels, and it is not necessary that a company needs all the channels. But suiting to the needs of the company, every company should invest in digital marketing to grow their business.

Conclusion

To sum up, digital marketing is about accomplishing marketing objectives through digital channels and technology.

Further, joining the dots between sales and marketing is essential.

As per a market study, companies can achieve a 20% annual growth rate, if their sales and marketing functions are aligned, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment.

If a business can improve its customer’s journey throughout the purchasing cycle by using digital marketing, then it’s likely to reflect positively on the bottom line.

If you are looking to grow your brand or business through digital marketing, drop us an email or leave your contact details and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

image for blog social media marketing

A decade back, nobody could have imagined that communicating with people anywhere across the globe would become so fast.

Today not only can one connect within a fraction of seconds but also share pictures, videos, and documents over the internet so easily and instantly!

Sharing live updates, stories, experiences, or moments through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are an “in” thing.

In fact, social media has become an essential part of people’s everyday lives. From teenaged youngsters to septuagenarians, everyone alike is hooked onto the social media apps on their mobile handsets.

With an estimated 4.1 Billion internet users and nearly 3.1 Billion social media users, the landscape for today’s diverse social media has drastically changed.

According to a survey done by ‘The Manifest’ of more than 600 social media users, people regularly access a variety of social media channels via a mobile app or computer web browser.

Further, an interesting but scary revelation from the report is that the average person will spend nearly five years, four months of his or her life on social media.

Image showing a pie chart with distribution of time a person spends on various social media platforms
Image Source: mediakix.com

Time Spent on Social Media = 5 Years, 4 Months in a Lifetime

86% of people use social media at least once daily out of which 72% use it multiple times every day.

These numbers are bound to grow, as most people are becoming increasingly dependent on their social networks for advice.

People use social media platforms to reach out to their friends, relatives, or colleagues for things like medical advice and travel recommendations.

Facebook is literally a country by itself, with over 62% of North Americans using it. And that’s just one of the many social media platforms.

With so many people on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., these channels have become revenue generating customer-bases for businesses across the globe. How? Simply through something called ‘Social Media Marketing.’

Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media websites to market a company’s products and services and generate organic (free) traffic to their sites.

This helps in optimizing the website’s position on search engines, i.e. it will be seen in the first few results as anyways 90% of users browsing the internet to search something do not usually look any further than the first page of the search engine.

Many businesses also promote their products or services directly on social media platforms.

SMM provides businesses with an effective way to reach new prospects, engage with existing customers and promote their brand, mission or tone.

Creative and engaging marketing on social media can bring phenomenal success to businesses by creating brand visibility and even driving leads and sales.

In fact, SMM has become an integral part of the digital marketing strategy of most small and big businesses as well as professionals and freelancers.

How does SMM work?

SMM experts use social media ad campaigns and various other strategies to develop messages and ‘sticky’ content and have people engage with it.

Individual users share those posts with their online social community of family, friends, and colleagues resulting in the matter going viral.

This strategy provides several benefits upfront, such as:

  • The content reaches a wider audience that an SMM manager may not have been able to access otherwise.
  • Shared content carries an implicit recommendation when sent by someone whom the recipients know and trust.
  • Cost of SMM is low compared to traditional marketing approaches like advertising.
  • Unlike traditional advertising where the reach and effectiveness can’t be measured, social media platforms provide accurate insights into engagement metrics ( like the number of people reached, number of clicks, the number of views and resulting actions).
  • Sticky content gets a user’s attention and increases the possibility that he or she will conduct a desired action, such as purchase a product or service or else share the content with others on social media platforms. This, in turn, helps in search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Some social media ad campaigns encourage customers to share their feedback, such as product reviews or comments, which is an excellent way to engage directly with the people.

Further, many social networks allow users to provide detailed personal, demographic, and geographical information, which enables marketers to tailor their messages such that it is most likely to resonate with the intended users.

This helps companies ensure that the marketing campaigns are specifically targeted at the right audience.

To be able to measure and quantify results for the money, time, and efforts which have been put in ‘marketing campaigns’ is an essential goal for any business.

Social media platforms have in-built data analytics tools that allow marketers to track how successful their efforts have been. Also, the impact of SMM efforts on the traffic data on a website can be monitored using Google analytics.

Some of the metrics used to measure the success of an SMM campaign include the number of likes on a post, the number of shares and reach (can be monitored using tools like BuzzSumo), the number of click-through rates and views and finally, the sales funnel created through the leads generated.

If we dive deeper into SMM, there are primarily two ways of doing SMM promotions- active and passive.

Active SMM Promotion

If sharing your content on various social media platform is a task in itself, then no one is going to do so. Forget people doing copy and paste links of your content across various social networks.

To encourage social sharing among web users, active SMM promotion is the way forward. Active promotion means adding links such as social media sharing buttons (as below) to the content on your website.

You can add these social media buttons to your blogs or content on the website with simple code that allows users to share your content across the web with just a couple of clicks. In WordPress, these buttons don’t even require any plugins.

Image showing the social media share buttons that enable users to share content on different social media platforms

Social networks which can be used for SMM campaigns are listed below (Most have their own terms of use):

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Quora

With the above mentioned social media platforms, companies also have the option of launching paid ad campaigns to reach wider target audiences, thus improving traffic on a website or a specific web page.

Passive SMM Promotion

Passive SMM promotion refers to promoting activities on social media platforms by updating statuses, publishing images, videos, tweets, or posting blogs.

Traction through passive promotion is achieved by creating content that works well on the individual platform as each platform is different. On one, blog content may work whereas on another, a video may do better and on another probably, pictures dominate.

Hence every platform requires a different strategy but, in the end, whatever content is posted, must be informative and engaging so that people share it more and more with their online communities.

This kind of promotion also seeks customer’s direct feedback real-time, which can be further analyzed to enhance their brand experience.

Preparing an SMM campaign for your business

Before you start creating SMM campaigns, consider your business’s goals. If you for launching a social media campaign without a proper strategy in mind you’ll possibly get lost as it’s like roaming around a jungle without a map

When defining your social media marketing goals, here are some questions to ask:

  • What are you expecting to achieve through SMM?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What message do you want to pass on to your target audience?
  • Which all social media platforms would your target audience use?

Your SMM strategy should be driven by your business type. For example, a travel business can get a lot of traction from a strong presence on Instagram or YouTube being highly visual platforms.

A business-to-business (B2B) company might find more leverage on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Apart from a right SMM strategy, here are a few quick best practices for your social media marketing campaigns:

  • Create engaging content. Can’t emphasize this enough how important it is for your SMM campaign. Until your content is appealing, it will not fetch you any result. Getting a like on a post is easier than getting a comment, so ask people question in your posts or videos to give you feedback.
  • Share your social media posts multiple times. Once anything is out of sight, it’s out of mind. People need to be reminded continuously about your brand for their subconscious mind to register it. Make sure you post regularly.
  • Create a reliable brand image. Your business brand identity, whether it’s a value system or fun or trustworthiness, should remain consistent irrespective of which social media platform you use as each platform has its own unique style and voice.
  • Do a regular competitive analysis to observe the trends. One can get valuable data for keyword research and other marketing insights by keeping an eye on competitors’ social media posts. Consider using the same technique or social media platform, which seems to be working for your competitors and try to do it better than them.
  • Make your presence felt on social networks. Make sure you participate well on the social web by creating conversations and not just uploading photos on social media. Be known to the social community.

 Conclusion

Social media with such extensive use presents an incredible opportunity for marketing. In fact, for a few people, consistent use of social media even opens up career prospects.

Through sharing content n social media with friends, influencer and blogger Christina Vidal made a career out of it. She is a full-time traveler and now has nearly 75.5k followers on her Instagram account. She uses social media multiple times every day.

So it is better to learn social media marketing (SMM) now instead of losing in the long run.

If you find this article and the tips given in this article useful, please share with us in the comments section below.

If you’d like to discuss how SMM can help your business or brand, then please drop us an email or leave your contact details and we will be happy to schedule a free consultation with one of our SMM Specialists.

How does Content Marketing help Drive Organic Traffic to a Website and aid SEO?

How does content marketiing aid seo

You must have possibly heard that – getting traffic from a search engine is hard, but buying traffic is easy. Though garnering organic (free) traffic is no cakewalk, but it’s the best way to get traffic for any business for two reasons.

Firstly, around 80% of web users ignore paid ads in search results. Secondly, it sends you the most targeted traffic, and once you do it right, its free traffic.

In fact, more than 51% of content consumption in 2018 was majorly driven by organic search. Hence, boosting organic traffic for your website or content is the best way forward!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to get organic traffic, and the ROI proves to be higher as time elapses.

Building organic traffic through SEO is undoubtedly the hardest effort you’ll ever put into your website. But the time and effort on this can essentially become the most significant investment.

Reason being the SEO content you put on your website today will drive traffic not only today or tomorrow but for the long term probably several years from now.

This is not the case with paid Google AdWords, which will not get you any traffic the moment you stop paying. That’s why focusing on enhancing organic traffic through SEO is an effort worthy enough for the long-term.

When it comes to following the right approach to garner more organic traffic, Whitehat SEO is the best way to stay on top of traffic that is sustainable as we discussed in our beginner’s blog on SEO.

Let us now dive a little deeper to understand how SEO boosts organic site traffic at no cost except your time.

How Content Marketing and SEO complement each other

SEO works like a navigation tool for customers to seek the right information and content. Businesses invariably depend on marketing mediums like social media and email to propagate their content.

Both SEO and content are the critical ingredients for an efficient and effective digital marketing plan. 

Customers query on a product or service goes typically through a search task on the search engine to get a glimpse of the available information.

Seeking the right target audience for content using social media and email campaigns is a difficult task. Here the SEO tool acts as an enabler to find the relevant customer with the specific need at present. Reaching these active and relevant customers with the appropriate content would create awareness with the right audience. 

Hence, Content marketing and SEO complement each other to create an effective digital marketing plan.

Content Marketing | Netilly

The best practice  to enhance your SEO is Content marketing

In content marketing, you can frame the appropriate content by visualizing the keywords which customers would use during their online search for information. This would lead to improved visibility for your content. As a result, the customer gets to view your content and brand whenever he keys in the keywords aligned to your content. This initiates the stage of awareness and helps to build a funnel.

Relevant content leads to a higher ranking on the search engines and enables cost-free visibility online. This helps enhance your brand awareness and attract relevant customer traffic on your website. Higher the customer traffic to your website, the funnel size grows accordingly.

Seo and content marketing

SEO and Content marketing together can get new leads.

SEO and content marketing work together to help you reach new leads through search engines like Google. SEO and Content marketing together can get new points.

Content Marketing and SEO are two different approaches; each has its distinct strengths. But they become more useful when they act together. SEO is more like a direction signboard and Content is the pitstop to the destination.

SEO becomes instrumental when the content creation is on the lines of the customers’ mind map. At the same time, Content would be highly recommended by the search engines only when supplied with the relevant keywords. SEO needs to supplement Content to ensure successful execution of your Online marketing plan.

Create Quality Content & Optimize Old Content at Reposting

The intent of creating content is not to fill the website pages or blogs just for the sake of doing it. Publishing valuable content that renders value to its readers is the reason behind the search engines, ranking a good content website higher.

Your website is a representation of your business, and usually, it’s the first impression a potential customer may have of your business.

Essentially your website is a representation of your business, and it forms the first impression about your business in a potential customer’s mind.

You shouldn’t be publishing low-quality blog posts just as you wouldn’t deliver a crappy product or service,

In fact, when you publish unique and information-packed content, it acts as an ultimate marketing strategy where the content ranks higher for relevant keywords.

With search engines becoming smarter over time, they can weigh the content you have posted. If the content is good, it is ranked higher, and that is how organic traffic reaches the website or blog.

So before hitting the ‘Publish’ button, give your content everything you can.

Further updating and republishing older blog posts with new content and good images or insightful videos can grow organic traffic by as much as around 111%.

Using Long Tail Key Phrases

Primary keywords have higher search volumes. However, broad two or three-word key phrases are highly competitive. So rather than going for the most popular keywords, it is better to use keywords that are more specific to your product or service.

Instead of sticking to the addition of two or three phrases of keywords switch to long tail key phrases.

Let’s take an example – if you are running a digital marketing agency, then instead of trying to rank for the term ‘digital marketing agency’, narrow it down a bit more and go for something like ‘digital marketing agency for real estate’.

This will narrow down your content ranking for those specific keywords that are more relevant and will lure potential leads to your website with higher chances of conversion.

Long-tail key phrases are likely to be closer to what a real user would be typing into a search engine while looking for something on the web. Thus the long tail keywords have lesser competition and higher relevancy.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is purely a genuine way to earn links that are valuable to your website. Publishing your content on a high authority website is a perfect way to garner more eyeballs. Make sure you post quality content on these websites and expose it the way you present your own blog on social media channels.

Apart from this, some of the best practices to consider when guest posting are:

  • Aim for publishing guest posts only for trusted websites with high domain authority and decent traffic.
  • Create content in and around your niche o reach your ideal audience.
  • Create relevant backlinks to some of your blogs or content on your own website.
  • Engage with the readers regularly by responding to their comments irrespective of whether it’s a guest post on someone else’ website. This is a great way to build a rapport and establish a relationship with those visitors. 

Create & Use Relevant Internal Links

You need to work strategically to create powerful internal links in your blogs and on your website to guide your visitors to more relevant content.

This can boost your search rankings by keeping visitors on your website for longer. But this will happen only if you have used links in a way that are natural and relevant for the reader and not created just for the heck of creating an internal link. Ultimately internal links should add value and provide relevant information to the visitors.

Once a page is ranked higher in a search engine, you can internally link it to other pages on your website. This way, you can embrace the SEO aspects for those other pages also to possibly get high ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).

There is no shortcut to it- all you need to make sure is that you keep good links and keep removing the bad ones periodically. However, don’t overuse internal links else it will look like spam.

Utilize Social Media Promotion 

It has become imperative to build a substantial presence across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Google understands that recommendation for any shared content, on all these social media channels by people within their trusted social community, is a great signal to rank that content or website higher.

All of the social media marketing (SMM) promotional activities help to get your brand and website address out on the internet. Write content worthy enough of sharing and add share buttons within your content and website so that people can share your content or website easily.

Monitor Regularly 

It is very crucial to monitor what is happening within your domain. Use tools like Google Analytics to track visitors to your blog and website.

 You can fine-tune your content after analyzing where the visitors are coming from and what keywords they searched.

It is also advisable to monitor your competitor’s social profiles to see what’s working for them and try to do it better than them.

Try to be in Google’s Good Books 

Avoid using any unethical ways to get good ranking on search engines as it’s unwise to be on Google’s wrong side. You should always look for increasing organic traffic ethically or else be ready to get hit with a Google penalty sooner or later.

Achieving good ranking in search engines through ethical means might be a time consuming process, but eventually, it gives good results in the long term in terms of increasing organic traffic.

Don’t buy inbound links or build cheap links. Also, don’t publish low quality or plagiarized content.

Instead, get into the habit of creating quality content that aids users and provides a solution to what they are looking for. Eventually, that will drive more organic traffic than any other alternate shortcut ever will do. 

Conclusion

Hard work always gets the best results, and it’s no different on the web. If you are looking for more organic traffic, you must put more effort into it. 

That means giving your best effort every time, identifying the niche for content, understanding good and bad backlinks, knowing your keywords, guest blogging strategically, staying on Google’s good side and lastly you need to consistently implement all of these to create an organic reach over your competitor.

The most important task is to closely monitor what SEO technique is bringing you more organic traffic. Once it is identified, keep implementing it consistently to get results that are organic and gigantic. 

If you have any questions or need assistance about building organic traffic for your website, please leave a comment below or drop us an email. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation with one of our SEO experts.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

image for blog search engine optimization

The invention of the internet and its impact on the way the world works has been nothing less than revolutionary. Take Google as an example. Today, we have become so dependent on the most popular search engine for finding the information that we need, that people use its name as a synonym for the word “search.”

Google receives 63,000 search queries per second, which translates to 5.6 Billion searches per day! Have you ever wondered how website links are prioritized on result pages when you search for anything on a search engine like Google?

Do you usually click the topmost links which appear on the first page of the search engine results? A lot of this makes a fundamental difference when it comes to businesses engaged in the selling of products and (or) services “online”.

Interestingly, 93% of all website traffic is majorly driven by search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, etc. If we specifically talk about Google, 75% of people searching through the web start their searches on Google, and the first five results on Google get 67% of all clicks.

The higher your website link shows up on the search engine result pages (SERPs), the better it is! But how does one achieve the topmost rankings for their website? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the obvious answer.

What is SEO?

 

SEO is a technique of optimizing one’s website to “rank” higher in the organic SERPs. It is the most effective method to generate organic (natural or free) traffic to your site.

The organic search results are those that appear directly below the top pay-per-click (PPC) adverts in Google, pre-fixed with Ad icon, and are most viable for the long-term. Such as highlighted below:

An Organic Search Result below the Pay Per Click Advertisement

SEO can improve visibility in various other search results sets as well, such as map listings, videos, the knowledge graph, and more.

The SEO industry is expected to reach $80 Billion by 2020, according to a report by Borrell Associates that produces advertising reports. The whopping number is for businesses in the U.S. alone.

Why is SEO Important?

Every website wants to reach its audience, but the internet is flooded with web pages. Search engines need to rank among pages to present the best result among the web pages.

SEO is the way to optimize your web page on the factors which are used by Search Engines for Ranking. If your web pages are not SEO friendly, then there are very fewer chances of your web page reaching your audience.

Creating good content is not only the critical factor but to optimize it is the crucial factor so that the search engine identifies it as a useful and relevant page.

Hence, SEO is very important if you want to reach your audience as there are very less chances that your audience will even scroll through the 2nd page of the result.

How does SEO Work?

how does seo work- netilly blog

Google (or any other search engine) score their search results based mainly upon relevancy and authority of pages it has crawled and included – every detail it crawled through- in its web index.  That index is fed through an algorithm that tries to match all that data with user queries to provide the best answer.

Google uses a cluster of ranking factors in its algorithm to score their search results and uses a hyperlink based algorithm, PageRank, to calculate the popularity and authority of a page. This is still a fundamental factor in ranking even though Google is far more sophisticated today. In fact, Google keeps updating its algorithm as the behaviour of people changes.

SEO further encompasses technical and creative activities to influence and improve some of those known ranking factors. SEO also includes actions to help improve the number and quality of “inbound links” to a website from other sites.

Relevant and renowned websites linking to a site is a strong signal to Google that it might be of interest to its users. This also signifies that the website having backlinks as ‘authoritative’ and can be trusted to appear in the search results for relevant queries.

How do Search Engines crawl through a web page?

The principal aim of a search engine is to show relevant content to the user, and it filters content based on relevancy. Every search engine has its own algorithm to find the most relevant page.

Every Search Engine performs three main tasks_:

1. Crawling– It is the first step that any search engine performs. In this, the page is read thoroughly by search engines, and the content is examined.

2. Indexing– After crawling a webpage, the search engine stores and parses data for its own use.

3.Ranking– This is the process in which the search engine ranks data based on several SEO factors to put the most relevant content at the top.

For e.g., – A user searches for dog training on Google. So first, Google will crawl all the web pages related to Dog Training. Then it will Index the web pages in its directory based on their relevancy.

After Indexing, it will rank pages, and here is where SEO plays its part. The Web Page, which is SEO friendly has more chances of getting a higher rank than which are not.

What are the Activities involved in SEO?

SEO activities are often grouped into “Onsite SEO” and “Offsite SEO.” These two categories split practices that can be performed on a website and away from a site.

Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO, also known as On-Page SEO, refers to technical activities to improve organic visibility within the website. This broadly means optimizing the site and content itself to improve the relevancy, accessibility, and experience for users. These are the changes that are made on a website directly to get higher ranking on a search engine. Some of the typical activities (though not the complete list) include –

1.Keyword – Keywords are words or phrases which are searched through the search engines. Keywords are essential from an SEO Perspective. It is an important ranking factor for any Web Page or Website. If the right keywords are used, your webpage can rank on the top of any search engine, but to do this, Keyword Research is a critical task. It helps to get insight into what our audience is looking for and what it wants. There are many Keyword Planner tools you can use to research your keywords online.

Keyword Planning is a very strategic task, and some factors should be kept in mind while doing Keyword Research such as Volume, Relevancy, and Competition.

While Using Keywords, one should be aware of not to stuff your web page with keywords unnecessary otherwise search engines might spam that page.

2.URL’sAn SEO friendly URL structure is a significant factor in On-Page SEO Ranking. Try to incorporate your Keywords in Your URL also for better Ranking. Your URL should be relevant to your services offered and should be easy to read for Search Engines.

3.Structuring of the Website and Technical Aspects- A website is the representation of any business. People are likely to judge a company on the basis of their Website. The Structure of a website is a very Important SEO Ranking Factor. It usually takes a user 4 seconds to judge a website. A good website should be the right combination of a user’s needs and the company’s services.

Ensuring the website can be crawled and indexed and is free from errors or user experience barriers.

4.Headings – Headings are the key elements of a structured website. Headings help the search engine to crawl more easily and tells the search engine what a page is about.

People also prefer to read a web page that has proper headings as it is easier to navigate and easy to understand.

5.Image Optimization – Images are an essential aspect of a website. Images help to make web pages attractive and give a more precise layout. But just putting a relevant image is not enough.

One also needs to optimize the URL of the image and the size of the image. Images which are too big take time to load and lowers the ranking on SERPs

6.Tags and Meta description – Meta tags and title tags help a search engine know about your web page. These tags will not be visible on the web page. These tags will be visible on the code of the page. These tags give search engines more insight to a web page and help to determine whether the page is relevant to the user search or not. Meta descriptions and titles are important ones. The search engine uses these to form the search engine results. Therefore they are very important.

The title is the result which is shown, and the meta descriptions are the lines that follow. A proper meta description is usually 2-3 lines, which contain the keyword or the phrase of the title also. An appropriate meta description can also have a call to action.

7.Internal Links – Internal links are links to a website within. Internal links help the users to navigate better and more efficiently within the site. Links carry a lot of weight. The more internally linked your website is, the more the search engine can determine the rank and read the keywords. By including internal links, search engines crawl better and update the ranks accordingly.

8.Content Optimization – We have heard that content is the king, and it is right. Without good content, you cannot engage your users on your web page. You content should demonstrate data that establishes subject expertise, authority, and trust, and ultimately provides an excellent user experience.

Always remember that the content is for the users and write content keeping their intent and perspective in mind. Don’t stuff technical jargon and try to explain things in a simple manner.

Use Primary and Secondary Keywords in your content, keeping in attention the placement of keywords and keywords density. Your content is the ultimate deciding factor of whether a user will stay on your page or leave it.

9.Mobile Responsiveness – Make sure that your website loads fast and with the proper layout on mobile phones as well. More and more mobile users are using their phones to search for a query, and you need to ensure that your site loads fast and with proper UI on mobile as well.

There are many tools you can use to see whether your website loads the same on mobile or not.

Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO, also known as Off-Page SEO, refers to creative activities carried outside of a website to improve organic visibility. This aims to increase the number of reputable links from other domains hence often mentioned as ‘link building,’ as search engines use them as scoring for trustworthiness.

Quality links from websites and pages with more trust, popularity, and relevancy pass more value to another domain than an unknown poor webpage that isn’t trusted by search engines.

Some of the typical activities include

1.Digital PR– Strong PR provides reasons for other websites to talk and link to your domain. This might be internal news flow, writing for external publications, original research, expert interviews, quotes, and much more.

2. Outreach & Promotion– This involves communicating with key journalists, influencers, bloggers, or webmasters about a brand, resource, or content to gain coverage and ultimately earn links to a website

3.Building Links- The web pages which have a good number of links from websites having competent domain authority and trust have more SEO score and are likely to rank higher on SERP’s. The more quality, relevant sites that link to your website, the higher your position in search engine results will be. If the site won’t send any visitors, or the audience is entirely irrelevant and unrelated, then it might not be a link that’s worth pursuing.

4.Social Bookmarking- Social Bookmarking is an excellent way to share content and build domain authority. Bookmarking on sites with good domain authority can increase your SEO score and give more traffic to your website as well.

5.Social Media Marketing- Social Media Marketing has become a marketing essential. Social media presents immense potential to reach the audience and grow as a brand. It is one of the best mediums to generate leads and gain visitors to your website.

These are some of the factors of Off-Site SEO, but the list has more elements in it.

Before we conclude, let’s quickly look at different approaches for SEO- black hat and white hat.

White-Hat SEO, Black-Hat SEO, and Gray-Hat SEO

There are two significant approaches to SEO – White-Hat SEO (the ‘good’ kind), and Black-Hat SEO (the ‘shady’ kind). There are, of course, differing opinions about the nature of each of these SEO approaches.

It’s essential to remember link schemes such as buying links, exchanging links excessively, or low-quality articles that aim to manipulate rankings- falls into the category of Black-Hat SEO. These are against Google’s guidelines, and strict action can be taken by penalizing a website.

The best and most sustainable approach is White-Hat SEO. The best way to improve the inbound links to your website is by earning them rather than buying them. This can be achieved by providing genuine and compelling reasons for sites to cite and link to your brand for who you are, the service or product you offer, or the content you create.

There is another SEO practice called Gray-hat SEO, which is riskier than White-Hat SEO, but may or may not result in your site being banned from the search engine(s). This may involve tactics that are ill-defined and could improve your site’s ranking without negative consequences.

But it’s not wise to get on Google’s wrong side, and if you aren’t sure whether a given method violates Google’s guidelines or not, it’s best to avoid that tactic.

Conclusion

Investing in SEO can return an exceptional ROI compared to other types of marketing and promotion. However, it takes three to six months of an ongoing effort for results to come through and requires continuous analytics monitoring.

SEO activities require expertise to carry them though they can also be learned. The other option is to hire professional SEO experts (like Netilly) to help you out.

If you’d like to discuss how SEO can help your business or brand, then please drop us an email or leave your contact details and we will be happy to schedule a free consultation with one of our SEO Specialists.

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