SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to attract unpaid traffic from the search engine results page. In other words, SEO involves making certain changes to your website design and content to make your site more attractive to a search engine.(What is SEO and How Does It Work? [Here's the Answer] 2018).
The main objective of SEO is to get search engines to display a website as a top, high ranking result so that it appears closest to the top of the list of searched items. Websites are ranked by the search engine in order of relevance which is based upon the search engine's interpretation of the website's content and popularity.
When a website appears as a top result, it is often one that is visited by most users of the search engine. The heat map below illustrates how users visualise search engine results, with the red coloured areas showing the areas that received the most total gaze time.
(Eye Tracking Bing vs. Google: A Second Look - GfK Insights Blog 2011)
The graph below shows the CTR (Click Through Rates) against position for website results on search engines for November 2017. The CTR reached 31.52% on desktops for the result at the 1st position listed in a search. The largest decline in CTRs occurs between the 1st result and 5th positioned result, this shows that users are less likely to scroll further down lower ranked items returned from a search. SEO is hugely important to the success of a business that has an internet presence, without strong optimization a website can become invisible.
(Search Engine Statistics 2018 | Smart Insights 2018)
SEO techniques can be implemented in two different forms, on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On page SEO deals with aspects on your website that can be optimized for search engines. Off page SEO involves aspects on other websites on the internet that can be optimized to improve the ranking of your website on leading search engines
Keywords and key phrases are strategically placed with a website in order to become visible to search engines and become higher ranked in search result pages. Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they're the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called "search queries." Keywords are important because they are the linchpin between what people are searching for and the content you are providing to fill that need (What Are Keywords? 2018).
Pictured below is a diagram that shows the keywords picked up from my website, I visited https://www.wordclouds.com/to generate my word cloud.
I conducted some research on keywords and phrases so that I could use them to optimize my website. I began my research by visiting https://www.keywordtool.io/google and the keyword generator returned the following results seen in the image below.
The words that follow the keyword 'kids shoes' shown in the list above are referred to as the long tail. The correct selection of keywords is critical to the marketing success of a website, the keyword has to be popular, relevant and attract the intended demographic. The long tail is equally as important, the diagram below illustrates the proportion of internet searches that fall into the long tail- a massive 70%. SEO techniques that can target long tail searches the website will attract a niche, small volume of visitors but it will raise the website's ranking in search engines and increase it's popularity.
LSI keywords (also known as semantic keywords) are the related keywords to the main keyword. Many of the search engines like Google use it to decide the link between different entities of the web content." It helps Google get the meaning of the written content (Hallur 2018). On- page SEO can be significantly improved by including LSI keywords within the content of the site.
Pictured below are the LSI keywords associated with my selected keyword 'children's shoes' I visited https://lsigraph.com/analysis/ to generate my LSI keywords results.
Keywords and LSI keywords are extremely important components of on-page SEO. Off- page SEO refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines.If you write a guest post for another blog or leave a comment, you’re doing off-page site promotion(The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO 2018).
(The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO 2018).
Utilising social media is an effective way of implementing off-page SEO, links to the website can be placed within areas of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Optimising Mini Steps Website
I installed the Yoast SEO Wordpress plugin to help optimise my website, it uses a traffic light system to highlight areas of the website that require attention. Yoast SEO aims to improve the readability and the visibility of the website. Items that are categorised as red are areas that are problems and require fixing, amber items are areas that need improvement and green items are categorised as good areas of the website.
As my home page is the first page visible to users, I decided that it would be logical to prioritise this page above others for SEO techniques. I used 'footwear' and later settled on 'children's footwear' as my keyword.
Upon first installing Yoast SEO, there were three areas that were red and needed fixing as seen in my screenshot below.
I immediately set about rectifying the problems that were highlighted. I inserted two internal links into the body of my text, one to the shop page that sells boys footwear and another to the page that sells girls footwear. I also added three external links to my social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The text containing these internal and external links are coloured in orange so that they are visible to the users of the website.
My SEO title was too short, I improved this by renaming the title as 'Mini Steps children's footwear' and eventually settled on 'Mini Steps children's footwear- Footwear for cool kids'.
Under improvements, highlighted in amber, it was suggested to include images in the body of the text. I included an appropriate image into the text and I entered my keyword 'Children's footwear' as alt text and alt attributes, as seen below.
The meta description needed to be a good length, up to 320 characters and contain the focus keyword. The meta description gives the audience a brief description about the content of the website. I created a meta description which I felt would appear appropriate, relevant and enticing to potential customers.
Yoast SEO had counted the number of words in the main body of my text and at 92 words it fell short of the recommended minimum of 300 words. I improved the content of my home page by adding more content which includes similar keywords and relevant topics. The focus keyword was placed number of times throughout the body of text and within a subtitle, which was also recommended by Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO gives suggestions for improvement with regards to the readability of the text, as seen pictured below. As my readability score was assessed as amber, I followed the highlighted areas of improvement and managed to boost the score to a good green result. I amended the structure of my paragraphs and I simplified some of my sentences in order to score higher in the 'Flesch Reading Ease Test'.
The results to my improvements were positive as indicated in the image below, Yoast SEO was very helpful in guiding me through SEO techniques and my website will stand a greater chance of being noticed as a result of these techniques. SEO is a critical marketing tool, a website can be visually impressive but without powerful SEO the website could be missed completely by it's intended audience.
Eye Tracking Bing vs. Google: A Second Look - GfK Insights Blog (2011). [Online] Available from: https://blog.gfk.com/2011/01/eye-tracking-bing-vs-google-a-second-look/ [Accessed 27 March 2018].
Search Engine Statistics 2018 | Smart Insights (2018). [Online] Available from: https://www.smartinsights.com/search-engine-marketing/search-engine-statistics/ [Accessed 27 March 2018].
Fishkin, R. (2018) SEO: The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization from Moz. [Online] Available from: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/keyword-research [Accessed 27 March 2018].
The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO (2018). [Online] Available from: https://neilpatel.com/blog/everything-you need-to-know-about-off-page-seo/ [Accessed 30 March 2018].
What Are Keywords? (2018). [Online] Available from: https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-are-keywords [Accessed 30 March 2018].
Hallur, A. (2018) How to Find LSI Keywords and Smartly Implement Them for SEO. [Online] Available from: https://www.gobloggingtips.com/lsi-keywords/ [Accessed 30 March 2018].