What do the majority of people do when they have a question or need to find a business? They “Google it”. No matter what type of business you run, having an online presence is key and appearing in search is crucial to generating leads and making money online. If you have a website (which you should!) you will need to optimize it in order to show up in search results. There are several types of SEO that you, as a business, owner need to know to ensure you’re running a successful business.
What is SEO again?
Before we go through the types of SEO, make sure you know what SEO is. If you’re familiar with our site and blog then you probably already know the answer to this question. But if you need a reminder: SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s how your potential customers organically find your website when they search for your products and services online. Search engines like Google are constantly crawling websites looking for the best content to show users who type keywords into the search bar.
If you are really new to SEO we’ll explain with an example. Say you are looking to join a gym but you want to make sure you like it before you purchase a membership. You go to Google and type in the keyword “gym membership free trial” and in less than a second Google has over 96 million results. If you value your time, you are probably not going to go through every result. You will probably skim over the first few. You won’t even think about clicking to the second page of results because these options look like exactly what you were searching for. Well that’s exactly what Google wants – to provide you with exactly what you want. Nice, huh?
Here’s where SEO comes in. Each of these pages has been optimized to show up for the keyword that you have just typed into Google. Several businesses could be ranking for the same keyword. It’s just a matter of who does it better.
On Page SEO
One of the most well known types of SEO is on page SEO. This is anything that you can physically put on to your webpage like text, images or code.
We briefly mentioned keywords but they are the powerhouse of SEO. Without them, SEO wouldn’t exist so it’s important to make sure you understand what they are before you do anything. You may think that you can pick whichever keywords you want to and optimize your site to reflect these keywords. But this is not the case for pretty much all types of SEO. You will need to do extensive keyword research before you even think about optimization. Your ideal keywords will be relevant to your brand, have high monthly search volume and low competition. It can be difficult to find that sweet spot so if you’re not sure where to start, let one of our SEO specialists know in the comments on this page!
We used industry-relevant keywords to optimize this client’s website and was able to put them at the first spot of Google search results.
The family of “H” tags are known for their ability to style text but they are also used to show search engines what is important on the page and create hierarchy through different types of SEO.
Best practices for H1 tags include designating one main keyword per page and using that keyword as your H1 tag. There needs to be one and only one H1 tag per page on your website.
Don’t make the mistake of using H1 tags to style your text. If you decide to use multiple H1 tags on a page this could negatively affect your rankings. An H1 tag can be found in the text of your site (aka the code aka the HTML aka hypertext markup language). Don’t use an H2 tag or an H3 tag. You need one H1 tag per page and that H1 tag needs to be your keyword like so <h1>keyword</h1>. If you are having trouble with your H tag styling let us know, our website experts would be happy to help!
Just like each page has an H1 tag they also get a title as well as a meta description. The title appears in Google like this:
Your title should be between 10 and 70 characters. Not words. Keep it relatively concise, include the page’s focus keyword and use pipes |, or colons if you need to. The title for LYFE’s home page is “LYFE Marketing: Social Media Management Company”. Can you take a guess as to some of the keywords that this page is ranking for? One of this page’s target keywords is social media management company. Notice how it is a part of the title as well as the meta description. This page may be ranking for other keywords as well but there are other ways of ranking like adding keywords to the copy or as your H1 tag.
Your meta description is next, located just below your title. This is a longer explanation of what your page is about. It should be between 160-300 characters. Any longer and Google will cut you off with an ellipsis…and nobody wants to get cut off mid sentence.
Although human users might not look closely at your meta description you can bet search engines do. Your meta description should include your target keyword or keywords for that page.
*Something to note* You may notice that sometimes there are sub headings that come with search results. These are called sitelinks which show links to your subpages. These are intended to help users navigate. You as the owner of the website cannot add sitelinks to your listing. Google determines which pages might be helpful to show to users in addition to the main page and adds them for you. This is all the more reason to use different types of SEO to fully optimize your site so Google knows your content is valuable and shows it off. If you want to add your own sitelinks you will have to create a PPC campaign using Google Ads.
Image Alt tags
Sometimes people skip over these thinking that they’re not as important. Think again. Even though people can physically see the photos on your site and know what they are, search engines can’t. They are reading the code and text that is on each page. If you describe your photos with keywords, then search engines will easily be able to tell what your photos are about. Don’t overuse your keyword in your image alt tags. Take some time to actually describe your images and add in keywords where they make sense.
Image alt tags can be found where you manage your media. In WordPress it looks like this. You have space to type a title for your image so that you can easily search for it and you have a place for your image alt text.
Quality content is important and plays a role in your rank. The important word here is quality. Let’s say that a website that has a lot of content that is mediocre and a second website has less content but it’s high quality. Search engines will eventually pick up on the fact that the first website is producing sub par content. It won’t want to show users this site. Instead it will crawl through the other website’s content and see that it is keyword heavy but still captures the attention of website visitors.
The way search engines determine if users like the content is with bounces and dwell time. A bounce is when a user lands on a web page and decided the content isn’t useful to them and hits the back button. Dwell time is how long the user spends on your website. The longer the dwell time, the more relevant the content.
On each page of your website you should have at least 300 words but the more words you have, the more chances there are for you to insert your keyword into your copy. The more keywords on your page the higher you could rank in search. If you have a page with 300 words you may only be able to use your keyword 2-3 times so that it makes sense. With additional copy, say 1,000-2,000 words, you have space to insert your keyword 5-10 times or more!
Remember when you are writing copy to write it so that it is useful for your human visitors first. You need to make sure you have your keyword in your copy only where makes sense. Enlist the help of our content writing experts to help you capture the true opportunity that these types of SEO offer.
Design and Usability
Believe it or not the design of your website can contribute to your overall SEO. If there are flaws in the design or the usability this can confuse visitors. Which could cause bounces. And bounces are bad for all types of SEO. They send a signal to Google that the content may be irrelevant or not in line with the keyword that the user searched. In short, make sure your website is professionally designed and that it’s easy for users to find exactly what they are looking for.
Optimizing your pages on various platforms
If you run your own website you might be using a free version of WordPress, Wix, Shopify or another platform and maybe you are not entirely sure where to start with optimizing your site.
WordPress has an incredible plugin called Yoast SEO. A plugin is kind of like an app for your website. Yoast lets you know how your on page SEO is looking.
This is how Yoast SEO plugin looks like in the Posts tab with the first circle as the SEO score and the second one as readability score.
The SEO on the left needs some work but the SEO on the right looks pretty good! There is a place to edit your “snippet” or title and meta descriptions and Yoast will let you know things like how many times your keyword appears throughout your page. If you have an issue a red dot will appear with some text. Once you correct this issue it will turn green. If you have all green or mostly green dots you’re good to go! The best part is, Yoast is free!
Sites like Wix and Shopify are relatively easy to optimize. On each page you will find a place to input your title and meta descriptions and keywords. You should be able to create H1 tags in the text boxes of your pages. You may have difficulty finding your H1 tags if they are buried in your code. If so, we have professionals standing by ready to dig up those hidden H1 tags!
Off page/ongoing SEO
Off page SEO includes blogging, backlinking, and internal linking. Blogging is crucial to SEO. It gives your site more high quality content for search engines to crawl. It can increase the number of site visitors as well as boost your rankings if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, luckily we have a team for that too.
Writing blogs to rank in SEO involves keyword research and quality content. Your keyword will need to appear in your copy and make sense for your topic. If you write a blog about types of SEO your blog will need to be written around that topic showing users different types of SEO, what they are and how they work. As long as you stick to your topic and focus keyword and keep producing quality content you will have a blog that entices users and keeps them coming back for more.
Backlinking is basically like a recommendation from another website saying that your site is high quality and a good source for information. It is simply a hyperlink that links from one site to another. Backlinks can be obtained by building relationships with other companies in your industry or other industries that make sense for your brand. If you are a cleaning company you would not want a backlink from a restaurant unless you specialized in restaurant cleaning.
Internal linking helps to build page hierarchy on your site. You can link to other subpages from a main page. This tells search engines which pages are the most important. It also helps users to navigate your site. They can go from page to page on your site taking in more and more information. Internal linking can help users gain a better understanding of terms they are unfamiliar with as well. For example, you are writing a blog where you need to use a technical word that people might not know. You can hyperlink that word to link to another page on your site that explains that technical term.
Local SEO is one of the types of SEO that can be difficult to execute but there are a bunch of tactics you can take advantage of in order to increase your local rankings.
This is a local pack. Google shows local options near you when you search for a product or service.
You want your business to appear in the top three spots. You can do this by optimizing your site but also getting good reviews on Google. The more reviews the better for potential customers and search engines. Customers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends. If you have numerous good reviews people will be more likely to try out your business. If you have 5 good reviews, people might trust your business. But having a lot of reviews can show customers that you are established and trusted in the community.
You should also have a Google My Business account if you want to rank locally (or if you want to rank at all). This shows customers and search engines where you are located. If someone searches for the best donuts in Google, it will show them where to get the best donuts near where they are currently located. Make sure that your business information is the same across all platforms including your Google My Business. Doing so will increase your chances of ranking. When you are claiming your business on GMB you also need to fill out all of the information that Google asks for.
Another way to boost your local SEO rankings is to get listed online everywhere you can. You can use sites like Yext to get your business listed across the web. Imagine having your product in one brick and mortar store. Now imagine having your product in 100 brick and mortar stores. This gives your product and brand more visibility and the opportunity for you to make more sales. Listing your business on multiple sites is similar.
Out of all the types of SEO, this one isn’t really an option. It’s essentially becoming a necessity. Optimizing your site for mobile is crucial in today’s digital world. Everywhere you look there’s someone Googling away on their smartphone. SEO works the same way on mobile as it does on a desktop but there are some tactics you will want to implement on your mobile site to increase your chances of ranking on mobile devices.
Don’t use popups. Popups can be difficult to exit out of on mobile devices and can sometimes appear differently from the desktop version. If you have a popup on your site usually there’s an option to turn it off on the mobile version. This will allow your mobile visitors to have a better user experience.
Restructure your menu. If your navigation bar contains a bunch of pages it might be wise to restructure your menu on mobile devices. You can build separate menus that appear on mobile and desktop.
Page speed is immensely important for mobile users as well. No one wants to wait on a website to load no matter what device they are on. Users have come to expect a fast load time especially on their mobile devices. Test your mobile site to make sure that it loads quickly. You will reduce the number of site bounces and increase your sales.
White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO
This is one of the types of SEO you want to implement. White hat SEO is everything we have talked about so far. Practicing white hat SEO means that you are following the rules. If you follow the rules search engines will reward you with good rankings.
Black hat SEO on the other hand breaks all of the SEO rules. Website owners may use these techniques to trick search engines into ranking them in search. Like we have mentioned before, search engines want to provide human users with quality search results. And websites that are using black hat SEO are usually not the high quality sites search engines are looking for. We are going to explain different blackhat tactics, but do not under any circumstances use them. You need to be aware of black hat SEO so that you can avoid it.
Just to be clear these are types of SEO that you should not use. They will destroy your rankings or get your site blacklisted.
Imagine if you were speaking with someone who used your name in every sentence or even 2-3 times a sentence. This doesn’t make sense and isn’t the way that we speak. If you do something similar on your site search engines will pick up on this! Maybe not immediately but it’s not worth the risk. If you really want that blog post to rank, let us help! We will do the keyword research and make sure your content is acceptable to both search engines and humans.
In addition to keyword stuffing some site owners will hide keywords in the white space or background of their pages. Someone might do this if they didn’t want to take the time to add quality content. Instead they would type their keyword a bunch of times and hide it making it so human users can’t see it but search engines can. You might be able to get away with this for a little while, but search engines are smart and will eventually catch you.
If you need more content to round out your site do not duplicate content on your site or from any other site. This will cause google to deindex your duplicate content. Strive for original high quality content.
If you write a great title meta description and promise the potential customer who is about to click something amazing and then don’t deliver, this is fake clickbait. It’s like promising someone the best tacos at your restaurant and then only serving mediocre waffles. It’s a disappointment and that person is definitely not coming back. Legitimate clickbait is great just as long as you don’t over promise and under deliver. It entices people to click on your site which is what you want!
These are just some of the black hat SEO tactics used today. Using them to move up in rankings can get you into a lot of trouble with Google. You run the risk of never being able to rank in Google search so be safe and only use white hat SEO tactics.
A lot of time and effort goes into building an SEO campaign. These types of SEO will help you optimize your site so that you can reach that coveted number one ranking for your focus keywords. Want access to an SEO campaign that is designed specifically for your business? Our team is passionate about building our clients the best SEO strategy possible. Contact LYFE today to get started!
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Web Design, Digital Marketing, SEO agency, Arepo, Ibadan & Lagos, Nigeria