The Ultimate Guide to SEO in 2021
What is SEO?
SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid search engine results. SEO involves understanding what people are searching for, the answers they are seeking, the words they are using, and the type of content they desire to see.
Why SEO is important
Social media & paid advertising can generate traffic to your website however the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines. For reference, in the US, only 3% of people click on paid ads.
Social media ads and paid advertising only provide a temporary boost, SEO will pay dividends for a longer period. If you provide a solid piece of content that deserves to rank for the right keywords, your traffic can snowball over time, whereas advertising needs continuous funding to send traffic to your site.
Optimizing your site will help deliver better information to search engines so that your content can be properly indexed and displayed within search results.
Should I hire an SEO professional?
Rule No.1 not to expect a web designer to provide a comprehensive SEO service. Expect many web designers to say they “do SEO also” but this is simply not true. All they do is create a Google my Business listing, tag a few images on your site, and add a couple of meta descriptions on your main pages. That’s it and that’s fine. Giving the impression that they have you covered for SEO, is not cool. It is misleading for customers who do not know what they are getting and not getting. SEO is especially important and there is no point in spending money on a sharp new website that nobody is going to be able to find.
There is far more to SEO as you will see below in our 40 essential SEO actions to ensure you rank on Google. A web designer has technical skills. Many elements of SEO require marketing skills as you are trying to connect with your ideal customers (technical people are quite often poor communicators) and this one of the many reasons you work with an SEO professional to do SEO and not a web designer.
Rule 2 of SEO is that you should only adopt “White hat SEO” techniques. These are SEO techniques, best practices, and strategies that abide by search engine rules, and the primary focus is to provide more value to people. Our 40 essential SEO actions to ensure you rank on Google.
Watch out for web designers / SEO professionals who are using “Black hat techniques”. These are essentially shortcuts to improve your Google ranking such as keyword stuffing, duplicate content & cloaking. Google will penalise you and you will pay the price for long after the SEO person has got your money.
The key to good SEO
The key is to focus on understanding and satisfying users intent. When a person searches for something, they have a desired outcome. For your audience, (if you know them well enough) you should be providing their desired outcome (or access to their desired outcome) through your website and your blog. This can be an answer, or a booking at your studio / clinic. That desired content is their “user intent.” What you must do is quickly provide users with the content they desire in the format in which they desire it.
Common user intent types:
Navigational: Searching for a specific website. Example: “Wellmarkit.com” for professional services to wellness businesses
Informational: Searching for information. Example: “What physio exercises should I do for iliotibial band (IT Band) injury?”
Transactional: Searching to buy something. Example: “Aromatherapy + Essential Oils”
What is not measured, cannot be improved!
Do you know your website goals? Do you have any? If not, you need to prioritise this immediately. Knowing your website goals will help you to determine which areas of SEO you should focus on, where to track conversions, and how to set benchmarks.
You need to document your website goals and the key performance indicators (KPIs) which will tell you if you are on the right path to succeed.
For the website ____________, my primary SEO KPI is ____________.
Here are a few common KPIs:
- Email signups
- Contact form submissions
- Phone calls
If your business has a local component, you need to define KPIs for your Google My Business listing also. These might include:
At Wellmarkit, we are here to help you to succeed with your wellness business. We have dedicated SEO experts who are passionate about what they do, and we will be only too happy to have a chat and share how we can help you to meet your website objectives and increase your traffic & convert visitors into customers. Below are the main areas we focus on for SEO We cover local SEO, technical SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
40 essential SEO actions to ensure you rank on Google
|UX Related SEO|
|Content & navigation elements are easily consumed / understood by users|
|Design is aesthetically polished, high quality & fit authentically with the brand|
|Page layout makes scanning easy & important content elements are obvious|
|Page renders fast (<0.5 secs to first response; < 4 secs to primary content loaded)|
|A minimal number of browser requests are required to fully load the page|
|Page is browser & device responsive (or optimised to each as appropriate)|
|Keyword – Targeted|
|Page targets a single searcher intent (& associated keyword phrases)|
|Primary keyword phrase is the first words of the title element|
|Primary keyword phrase appears in URL|
|Content is logical & comprehensive, employs related terms & phrases|
|Keyword phrases are highlighted with bold / italic / sizing etc as appropriate|
|Primary keywords are used prominently in the page headline|
|Primary keyword is found in the body content 2X+|
|Secondary keywords appear in headlines / title / body as appropriate|
|Images on the page employ descriptive, keyword rich attributes|
|Descriptive anchor text is used in links pointing to the page|
|Uniquely valuable content for users|
|Page provides authentic, obvious value beyond self-promotion of the host site / author|
|Content quality stands apart from the crowd by a significant margin|
|Text, images & multimedia are remarkable|
|Page would be described by 80% of visitors as useful, high quality & unique|
|Searchers who visit would be unlikely to go “back” from the page to choose a different result.|
|Crawler / Bot Accessibility|
|URL is static (contains no dynamic parameters)|
|Content is unique to this URL (app duplicates canonicalise to it)|
|Content loads in page’s HTML (not via post-load JS/AJAX/iFrames etc)|
|No more than 4 clicks required from any page on the site to reach the URL|
|Redirects from other / older versions use 301s or rel-canonical (not 302s)|
|Redirects from other / older versions come direct (no redirect chains)|
|If the page is temporarily unavailable, status code 503 is returned by the server|
|Meta robots tag allows crawling & indexing|
|Robots.txt file does not block crawler access|
|Host server doesn’t restrict search crawler IPs|
|Key page elements are character length limited|
– Title < 75 characters
– URL < 90 characters
– Meta Description < 160 characters
|URL is included in sites XML Sitemaps file|
|Authorship, Meta Data, Schema & Rich Snippets|
|Page content is associated with the author in the mark-up via Google+ rel=’author’ or rel=’publisher attribution.|
|As appropriate to topic / content / vertical, page includes schema.org microdata mark-up options|
|As appropriate to topic / content / vertical, page includes Google rich snippets mark-up options|
|Employs primary & secondary keywords in the meta-description|
|Meta-description inspires interest & click-through from SERPs / social|
|Generally avoids meta keywords (unless used for internal search)|
|Page employs hrelang (as appropriate to country / language)|
|Renders in every browser properly|
|Optimised to render legibly & elegantly on every screen size|
|Employs the same URL when requested / loaded on every device|