Search engines work to improve the results on searches but in order for them to improve it you have to optimize it and thats where SEO comes into play. There are a million searches out there every day. – Have you tried numbering the stars? You can’t even see all of them! – Hence it is not every one that gets captured. Simply because it takes the ranking machine some time to learn about what the search is about, to understand the language (it is a robot and not a human) and also it takes time to collect data – the more searches made out there, the more clues for it to pick up for the search.
Unlike SEO Part 1 which is about polishing up your website, in Part 2, you have to be mindful of your competitors (e.g. what their searches are), your audience in how and what they search, (Seriously, their Engrish might not be as good as yours or as your copywriter’s) and also what the crawler (the algorithm is the brain of the crawler) will pick out when it searches its directory of pages.
That is why SEO for content is not easy. And we understand that many SEO self-help articles have made you tired of the words “Amazing Content”, “Great Content” etc. We don’t want to double-cross you but the algorithm changes all the time. The better your content answers the query – and stops people from searching further, even if you are second or third place on the Search Result Page – you have a success to be proud of. The better your keywords, headlines and content that can attract clicks and make people dwell on your website for a long time, the better your performance on the search result.
But learning SEO takes forever…
We don’t want to tell you that SEO is cryptic. Nothing is too difficult for the person who has embraced the challenge. It has been also a long journey for the machine to comprehend what people have been searching for… but that is also why you contact us and let us do the hard work
One: SEO Keyword Research:
For every basic SEO strategy it always begin with a keyword search, you must first know your subject well. This refers to your product, your customers, and what your customers and potential customers know about your store and products. If you are selling Roasted Seaweed, “Roasted Seaweed” would be your keyword. You may also want to include other keywords which your customer may use like “Sushi Seaweed”. If your customers want Japan quality seaweed, then add “Japan” and “Quality” or “Best” to the list of keyword. If you are having a “sale”, then it becomes a keyword too. All in all, it could look something like that: “Best Japan Roasted Seaweed Sale”.
Here’s a technique to get hold of. Take each keyword as a Shopping Mall with similar stores. Something like Sim Lim Square. Carry out a research on them (who are your competitors) – what they sell and keywords for their products especially if their products are similar. Your purpose is to pick out what keyword to use and what to avoid. Clearly, a buyer looking for Roasted Seaweed will not go to the Shopping mall for Roasted Seaweed. Some tips for keywords: be specific; use a range of words. General ones like “Roasted Seaweed” will be in a bigger shopping mall. But, longer, more detailed keyword “Japan’s Best Quality Roasted Seaweed Buy 10 Packets for $5” will appear in a smaller mall with the aim to convert their decision to a purchase. This is especially so because of the algorithm, the longer your sentences or keywords are, the more natural it will seem.
Take an example of the keyword Mole Removal, you probably might want to find out if Mole Removal Singapore, Mole Removal Doctor or even Mole Removal Clinic is the best keyword that drives you the most traffic compared to its difficulty. If you are new to this, we will suggest working on those that are easier to rank and work your way up to more competitive keywords.
The recommended number of keywords is 5 – 20, look for those keywords that bring you actual traffic, not those easiest to rank.
To help you identify relevant keywords, sign up for a free keyword research tool. Give Google Adwords and LSI Graph a try: https://lsigraph.com/
Two: Search Engine Result Page: Online Headings and Snippets
It does not matter if your online headline has to be 10 words long. It can even be 20. The algorithm looks out for keywords and numbers in the headlines. A good headline is attention-grabbing to earn the clicks. Hence, put your audience first. Use words that would cause them to jump up from their seats, encourage, disturb, and even cause tears. For example, have words like “melt your heart”, “make you regret, “shocked to see” done anything to you before? Evoke an emotional quality that has led many to jump to mouse clicks!
Readers are also strange people. They want to know what will happen to them or other people after reading, like “make you cry”, “give you goosebumps” – or even better something that will turn their poor Asian lives to become Crazy Rich Asians. The phrase “will make you” will do wonders for you.
Since headlines are descriptive so you can add details, consider the famous 5Ws1H (Who, What, When, Why, What and How) in your headline. For example:
Sure, it makes people curious and some hungry. And the article goes on to explain why.
If you are a brand company, choose words that will also build trust with your readers like making them a promise and then showing that you have fulfilled it so that you will always be remembered for making them click on the headline. It can be something as simple as a promise that you have delivered, like your slogan.
Below are some real examples of what goes on in headline writing these days.
- 23 Things Guaranteed To Momentarily Intrigue You (Buzzfeed) – Yes, numbers, whether it is a listicle or a figure to express achievement, it will attract the algorithm’s feelers.
- How to headline:
- How to make a Paper Boat: 10 Steps (with Pictures) – WikiHow (Wikihow website) – this is great as searchers these days ask questions directly to the algorithm to search the best answer for them.
- Question Headlines:
- Why elderly S’poreans are committing suicide (Mothership.sg)
- Woman swallows 11 bowls of bak chor mee in 7 minutes. Ya, why exactly? (Mothership.sg) Or,
- What Airplane Food Looks Like Around the World (Buzzfeed)
Another way to start a question
Or, what about a quiz:
- Which Nationality Will be Best for You to Date
- When will you meet your Soulmate
- Let me guess what you are wearing
If there are questions… you can consider an answer…
- Yes, Schools Might Soon Be Able to Use Federal Guns
Three: “Structured Data” = Meta Tags = Schema Markup
In order to increase the chances of appearing on featured snippets, add structured data. This is a classification system of the contents on your webpage. It is like having a huge book (e.g. biology textbook) with many segments and chapters and adding post-it stickers at the side. On your webpage, this means adding a tag called <title> to your title, <description> to your description and so on, your address <address>, reviews <*****>. This is to help the algorithm understand your page better and feature your content in “snippets” or “featured snippets” even if it does not really understand it.
Here’s an advantage for the hard work: When competition is rife, this will boost your visibility amid the very well optimised, well-connected and branded webpages.
Here is how it works nicely when it appears on the snippet, taking the liberty of the restaurant, The Lokal, as an example.
- <title>The LoKal | Australian Restaurant . Bar | House-made comfort food</title>
- <meta name=”description” content=”The LoKal Singapore – a casual eatery that uses homemade ingredients and attracts locals from in and around Singapore. Join us at 136 Neil Road.”/>
- <meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.thelokalsingapore.com/index.html” />
P.S. Use this https://www.google.com/webmasters/markup-helper/
Four: Social Media
If anything, social media is a good way to promote your business. Facebook allows you to posts events, pictures and even customer reviews to help you to promote your business. Even more helpful is that it can even feature on the result page of the search engine, complete with a profile of yourself from the About section and a rating for your site! Compare the details shown on the search results for your social media with that of your webpage – what your website cannot do, Social Media can do for you!
Tip: This is especially good for you if you are weak in structured markup data.
Five: Location is Key
Whenever you do a search, the search engine produces results that are based on your location, especially if your mobile phone is turned on and set to where you are (e.g. country, the street name, etc.). As a marketing strategy, it narrows the market. Search result will be able to locate similar restaurants nearby. Hence, don’t miss providing Google with information about the location of your business. When a person leaves this place, you can even send a direct message to his phone asking for a review. Pretty cool huh – talk about grabbing every chance to know about what others think about your business.
Other perks include live updates whether it is open and a contact button for you to call immediately without copying the number onto your dialpad.
Here’s where to set up your business http://google.com/business
As such, stores would get their customers by having other people (shoppers, competing and complementary shops) recommending their stores to others by word of mouth, shares on social media with their website link, name cards and so on. As people know more about your store, they will bypass the one at the front of the mall and go to yours. On the search engines, the more others pass your links on, the greater your importance and authority to others on the web. As such, with more backlinks, the search engines will push your website up in the Shopping Mall to give you a place at near the entrance.
When inserting backlinks, craft them naturally in your sentences so that Google Penguin will not detect it as spam. Here is you make sure no black hat methods are used to prevent google from taking you off the pages 😉
Finally, Take Charge of Your Business.
Based on Content Quality manual (Google hires humans to rate the quality of pages), the rating is based on 3 things – Expertise, Authority, Trust.
Seven: Building up trust
If you are not a well-known brand, you will need to build your trust. In Google’s eyes, this means readers trust you. Work on it by improving your content, backlinks, have reviews, testimonies and respones to online feedback. Responding to your clients also indicate that you are alive.
Compare a search result about Turkeys. The page from Wikipedia or History.com over a website created by you or me will be placed first because the algorithm perceives them as having higher credibility, they climb over our heads. Create authority by using a forum – if people go to your website for answers (Quora and Stackexchange), then you are building up authority. Regulate the forum well with proper expertise.
Last by not least: Expertise
If possible, be an expert on your topic. You can be a salesperson selling Herbalife – but so long as you establish that you have qualified expert knowledge, you will not be labelled as a bad hat.
Before you leave this page, whatever you do for SEO, from creating backlinks, to good reviews, content is still KING. Search engines penalise the webpage heavily if the content is not good and the reader returns to the result page in a few seconds (literally). That said, if you have good content, and deserve to be in the first few positions, then it is high time to look into weak spots of your website and content and begin optimising!
Some interesting algorithms update in the past
In 2013, Google added a new algorithm called Hummingbird which is able to read human language and understand it semantically. This means it is able to read between the lines and infer the meaning based on the content, within its context and what it emphasises. Because of this, never, never stuff your content with keywords but value a well-written piece instead. According to Google, “the best” is something that your customers are looking for and leaving without regrets. So write that!
Despite being able to read languages, Google still had 15% of the searches that the machine could not resolve. In 2015, Rankbrain, an Artificial Intelligence, became official. This means that with any words or phrases not understood, Rankbrain will guess the synonyms and phrases that are a close match and deliver the results. This has been tested to be more accurate than humans.
When Pagerank was introduced, a ranking algorithm based on links, people decided to spam their website with links – and sometimes links to unsavoury websites. What Google did was to introduce Penguin, an algorithm with a mission to strike these websites out. They called it Penguin.
When Google Panda was introduced, it’s mission was to weed the internet of websites that had no valuable content but was sprawled with keywords and lifted content from other sites and dumping onto theirs to outsmart the ranking system. But be warned – many websites were disqualified because of this. To avoid this, create content that your readers find useful. High quality content takes time. It does not happen every day. It would be better to sit down, ideate, imagine and develop (i.e put on your thinking hat) and write a long article. Ask yourself – have I answered all my reader’s questions? Are there any gaps to bridge? What more will they want to find out? Is the voice of the author clear? Next, comb your website for duplicate content and eliminate them. Don’t worry – by sprucing up your content, you’ll be back on when the search engine resets the algorithm. 😉