SEO or search engine optimization: “This is the place to be!”
Short for search engine optimization, SEO covers all kinds of techniques to make your website top of mind with Google. If done right, SEO helps you appear in the top search results and enables search engines (and human visitors, too) to find your website super fast and spend more time on it.
Good to know: SEO is not the same as search engine marketing (SEM) , but it does make up a crucial part of it.
We’ve been in the business for 20 years now, and if there’s one thing we can conclude, it’s that SEO will always continue to evolve. New techniques and best practices emerge every day, not to mention algorithm changes and the increasing importance of ‘mobile first’. Learn all about it by downloading our SEO bible (read: free e-book)!
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Think of SEO in this way: if content marketing is the sandwich, then SEO is the cheese. Without each other, they’re just bread and cheese. But together they make a delicious cheese sandwich.
What is SEO? 4 pillars
We know what you’re thinking: “Sounds great, but I still don’t know what SEO is exactlynor how to go about it.” It’s actually very simple, said our SEO expert that one morning standing next to the coffee machine: to make the Google Algorithms fall in love with your website, you have to focus on the four SEO pillars (some people will claim there are only three, but don’t be fooled by them):
All the technical parameters that ensure that your website is crawlable for search engines and easy for people to find.
UX and customer experience
How does your website make visitors feel? Welcome, or rather left to their own devices?
Content SEO and copywriting
Unique, qualitative content that takes into account Google’s E-A-T principle and is relevant to your target group.
Search engine authority
Is your SEO story backed up by a good number of relevant backlinks?
What’s the difference between SEO and SEA?
Great question! The most important difference between SEO and SEA is that SEO, if done right, results in free search traffic, whereas payment is required for all traffic that comes in via SEA. In other words, search engine optimization (SEO) increases your visibility in the list of organic search results, while SEA revolves around online advertising.
Optimizing your website with SEO technology
By technically optimizing your website, you make it easier for Google Bots to crawl and index it. And that’s not all: your visitors will instantly find what they’re looking for as well. Let’s get cracking, you say? Let’s have a look at some SEO basics then:
- Indexable content
- Good site speed (page loading time)
- A mobile-friendly layout
- HTTPS (SSL certificate)
- Headings (titles and subtitles containing relevant keywords)
- Alt tags and title tags for images
Metadata (bits of text in your website’s code that tell Google what a specific page is about) are a vital part of technical SEO. You simply can’t do without good meta titles or title tags and description tags. The first appear in the search results, browser window or page tab, while the second (short descriptions of each page) will sometimes appear in the search results, but mostly remain invisible to visitors.
On-page versus off-page SEO
The SEO basics we mentioned above are part of what experts call on-page SEO or on-site SEO. However, there’s plenty you can do outside of your website, too, to claim a higher position in Google’s search results. It’s called off-page SEO and basically comes down to building authority. Read on to find out all about it!
UX and customer experience
UX or user experience has everything to do with – you’ve guessed right – the experience your website offers visitors. Do they easily find what they need? Can they complete their purchase or registration quickly and without frustration? UX optimization and conversion rate optimization (CRO) tend to overlap here and there, but giving your website a navigation-friendly structure is what matters most in terms of SEO.
Learn more from our SEO e-book!
Claiming search engine authority through link building
As far as Google is concerned, being well-connected pays off. The more websites that link to your website (backlinking is what it’s called), the higher the authority score Google gives you (hence the higher you appear in the search results). Mind you, Google wasn’t born yesterday. Buying backlinks or posting them on websites that actually have nothing to do with your business will only result in penalties. What does work, however, is content-driven link building: publishing content that is so bang-on that other people or companies who also create fantastic content link to it without you even having to ask.
Link juice and interlinking
At least as important as external links or backlinks are internal links. Depending on the quality of the links, they ensure that a page receives a certain value or link juice, i.e. authority, which the page can pass on to the other pages it links to. Optimal interlinking allows you to make your most important pages score considerably better almost effortlessly. Another advantage of internal links is, evidently, that they enable Google to crawl your pages much faster – ‘isolated’ content, by contrast, is much harder for the bots to discover.
Don’t forget to optimize your anchor text
“Click here!” is so 1999. These days, Google not only looks at the quality of (the content behind) your backlinks and interlinks, but also at the anchor text or the exact words the links consist of – yes, we’re talking about those bits of blue text with the underline. Qualitative anchor text is relevant and gives the reader a good idea of what to expect when they click on it.
SEO content and copywriting
In addition to technology and authority, SEO relies on copywriting that is rooted in a solid content marketing strategy. It’s important to not only write with SEO in mind, but also to publish content that really interests your target audience, that evokes emotions and offers an answer to their questions.
Don’t quite know who your target audience is and what keeps them awake at night? Keyword research is a first step to find out, but at Onlyhumans we also believe in thorough intent mapping. The latter method enables us to find out who your customers are, which stage in the sales funnel they’re at and what specific search intentions they have. Fueled by these important insights, our SEO copywriters ultimately get to work and write catchy content that both inspires your target audience and encourages them to convert.
Tip: be sure to publish content that focuses on long tail keywords from time to time. Even though they tend to have a low search volume, long tail keywords usually have an extra high conversion rate because they respond so specifically to the visitor’s request.