Basic SEO Tips: From Keywords to Web Design and Everything In Between
Not everyone wants to do it, but someone's got to!
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That’s what a lot of people think when they hear SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
Appeasing Google and other search engines requires consistent patience. But it's an easy pill to swallow once you know what you’ll reap in the long run.
If you’re a business owner or a company manager, you might shake your head when talks of SEO come about. Please note that it’s a big misconception that it only takes a whiz to bring home the SEO bacon.
Sure, it’s indeed a process. A never-ending one at that, owing to the fact that search engines update their algorithms regularly. Keeping up with the changes is just part of the routine.
But there is no need to worry as even beginners can achieve success and amplify their website’s performance just by putting some of the essential SEO techniques into practice.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s rank, don’t think it’s an impossible feat.
You don’t have to do it alone.
You don’t have to tinker with your website constantly to see if the changes you’ve made have brought positive results.
Save the experimentation for something else. We’re here to lend a helping hand by giving you access to this beginner-friendly SEO guide.
What is SEO?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it focuses on directing organic traffic toward your website. It’s an enormous source to tap into because 53.3% of traffic originates from according to Brightedge Research.
Search engines sort through the content pieces available online through crawling and indexing.
However, don’t assume SEO only covers the technical side of things. These days, it’s not only the bots that dictate what pops up on the search engine results page (SERPs).
User intent also plays a key role, which will depend on the target audience you are trying to entice.
This means that SEO is bilateral, and you need to cover both sides. Ticking both boxes means solving for both the search engine crawlers and your target market.
Why is SEO so important?
Imagine inviting a friend over to your new, attractive home.
Everything has been taken care of. You’ve curated the perfect interiors, polished every surface, and have whipped up a delicious meal to feast on.
But it’s two hours past your agreed meet-up time, and no one has rung the doorbell yet.
What’s going on?
Scrolling back to your conversation, you realised you didn't give your friend directions on how to get to your house.
How will he find his way to your address if he doesn’t know how to get there?
Everything has gone to waste.
All that time you spent decorating your home, tidying up the mess, and preparing food for your supposed guest - all of it just went down the drain.
This can be paralleled to how important SEO is to a business. It serves as a map for your target audience to locate your nook on the internet. Without it, it becomes difficult for your prospects to find you.
The hard truth is that effective web design only hooks in your prospects once they get to it, but you’ll need SEO to persuade them to visit. However, there’s a thing called SEO Web Design, which we’ll talk more about later.
How important is seo to the success of a website? Here are the specific ways SEO can help not just your web performance, but also your business:
It allows you to attract quality traffic. It guarantees that the people you invited to your home will actually get to you. SEO lures in 1000% more traffic than unpaid social media efforts.
It improves your marketing strategy, allowing you to compete with big brand names. The Hong Kong business scene is filled with international brands, but SEO levels the playing field for local businesses.
It gets more clicks than paid advertisements on search engines. As we’ve mentioned before, 53.3% of traffic comes from organic search. Comparing it to paid search’s 27% gives you a clearer picture of how valuable SEO is.
It’s more cost-effective. Unlike paid search, understanding SEO is a gift that keeps on giving.
To make it even simpler for you to understand what SEO is and how it works, Emily Grove, a digital marketer, describes SEO as a bridge that brings together a person with a problem and a business that can solve that problem.
We’re sure you’re not the only Hong Kong company that can offer solutions to a particular stumbling block your target customers are experiencing. But if you make your business more accessible online, you can reach more people and push them to move forward.
Now that we’ve explained the importance of SEO, let’s find a way to hit the ground running with your SEO efforts.
How do you do SEO for a website?
The best way to get in on the game is by putting a face to the most basic SEO terms. Here we’ve laid out three of the most important SEO elements and provided you with the best practices to put them in play.
Keyword Research and Key Word Targeting
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Keyword research is simply putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Many companies assume that they know everything about their clients -- their online behaviour and how they look for services and products. After all, it’s their job to know what to rank for.
But hold your horses there, it’s not enough to know what sets of words to target. You can’t assume anything because what you’re after and what your audience is looking for can be as different as chalk and cheese.
Instead, start asking more questions. Keyword research means gathering more search data, and the best way to do so is to investigate further, not to sit back and relax. And yes, this part is time consuming, but bypassing it can hamstring you in the long run.
How can you do SEO step by step through keyword research? Here are some handy tips to start with:
Take your target keywords and plant them. It’s a good place to start, but like we said, you need to do more digging.
If you use a keyword research tool, it will open up your eyes to other keywords that your target audience is typing in the search box. You could also aim to rank for these words to cover all bases.
Don’t forget to study the search results page. Check the competitors and the top rankers that Google and other search engines deem worthy of attention. It’s also a clever use of your time to read the People Always Ask questions and related search terms to know what your intended visitors are looking for.
It’s not exactly a walk in the park, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Also remember to keep these three factors in mind when choosing your keywords: search volume (how many people are using the keywords?), relevance (how does it help your prospects?), and competition (what are your competitors up to and how’s it working for them?).
After figuring out how to conduct keyword research and targeting, it’s time to put the results to good use.
How do you use these keywords to produce content that engages both search engine crawlers and target audience? You’ve got to be nifty, sure, but we don’t expect you to be experts at the outset.
Luckily, there’s a system in place that you can follow until you’re ready to play around and expand your knowledge.
In this video by Matt Digitty of Diggity Marketing, he mentions that there are three crucial elements that bear more weight than others: the URL, the SEO Title Tag, and the Page Title. He calls them the three kings.
To be clear, content quality is still a top priority. After all, content drives traffic by 2000% and increases revenue by 40%. But certain on-page SEO factors can also help take certain web pages mainstream.
Let’s go back to Matt’s Big Three:
The Title Tag is a huge help for search engines to know what a web page is all about. Think of it as a one-line description that sums up an entire piece. Pro Tip: Always place the main keyword in the title tag.
The URL also forwards relevancy signals to search engines, so including your keyword can improve your rank.
The Page Title (also known as H1) functions the same way as the title tag, but to a lesser extent.
Aside from these three, there are other on-page factors you should focus on, such as:
Use relevant keywords in the body of the content piece. However, don’t cross the keyword stuffing territory or your readers might pogostick their way back to the search results.
Meta Descriptions and meta tag should bear the main keyword. This way, both users and crawlers can know what to expect from your content.
It's important to optimise the images. Even the most responsive website can suffer lagging care of slow internet. Compressing your images and also adding alt text can give your visitors a better experience.
Bear with us if we’ve gone a little technical talking about on-page SEO factors, but the secret sauce has a lot of ingredients.
However, we’ll let you in on the topmost secret spice: Always think about what else you can do to make your web page a lot better than those ranking high on the SERPs.
Content leans more towards the user’s needs. It does play a huge part in helping SEO crawlers to find you.
But to open the door, what you’ll need is technical SEO. This is where SEO Web Design steps in.
SEO Web design is where science meets art. Although to be candid, it tilts a little more toward effective formulas and systems than design.
At first, it may seem like SEO and web design completely at odds, but it’s not actually the case. They do belong to different departments, but it doesn’t mean they are unrelated. There’s just a bevy of ways that SEO and web design go together.
SEO web design is where you put together all the elements that make up an SEO-friendly website.
To exhibit our point, did you know that web design can ruin your SEO efforts? Some companies experience losing their ranking pages after updating their website. There may be a couple reasons for this, but the most common one is failure to put up 301 redirects.
SEO can also sway web design. If you put SEO best practices in mind, you’ll see how it influences the overall site architecture.
As we’ve stated before, SEO leads the way for your users to reach your website and web design helps keep them there.
What are some of the most common technical SEO issues and best practices?
Technical SEO is a broad topic, but there’s a number of recurrent mistakes that business owners can address with a little bit of help.
Mobile-Friendliness: Butter is a big supporter of responsive websites. In January 2021, Data Reportal reported that there were 13.80 million mobile connections in Hong Kong. Ignoring this sum by not providing a mobile-friendly website to your visitors can definitely hurt your business and its reputation.
PageSpeed: Apparently, it’s not only people that like quick-loading websites. Search engines care about them too. Use this Google tool to figure out what you can do to speed up your website’s performance.
Redirects: We’ve alluded to redirects earlier, but we’ve yet to stress the importance of avoiding it. Should you really need to, see to it that you set up redirects, be it 301 for permanent changes and 302 is for temporary ones.
Duplicate Content: Having two blog posts aiming to rank for the same keyword or topic can scatter and mislead your visitors, resulting in neither of the articles ranking high. Declutter. There are tools you can use to locate duplicate and thin content.
Other Technical SEO issues, such as Header Response, XML sitemaps, and site security can be too much for a beginner. Involving an SEO expert will do the trick.
Is it possible to do SEO by yourself?
Photo by Christin Hume
We’re not going to sugarcoat it. Technical SEO, for one, really needs expert assistance. Keyword targeting and on-page SEO are easier to take on, but they can really eat up your time. Time that you probably want to invest in other aspects of your business.
However, it doesn’t hurt to have knowledge of SEO basics. You can partner with an SEO professional to move things along, but these you can also share your insights and monitor the performance if you know a thing or two about essential seo guidelines for website owners,
Want to make sure your website is built for SEO? Just send us a quick message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.