Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is a term that is thrown around a lot in the marketing world. Still, not many people have an understanding of how it works.

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Search Engine Optimisation is the art of optimising your website so that it appears at the top of the search results for the right kinds of search queries.

What a lot of people don't realise is that Google is just looking to provide a great user experience. This means providing the most relevant search results every time you're performing a search. Google knows that if they provide you with irrelevant results, or link you to slow, clunky websites, you'll get frustrated and try other search engines (like Bing).

If your website traffic is dismal, it's not necessarily because your website is bad. It's most likely that the content has just not been optimised for search engines or the right kind of search queries.

When websites aren't ranking well, it's easy to feel defeated. We've all been there. Slaving away to write engaging blog posts and great copy for no one to see. Search engines seem like mysterious entities that stand between our customers and us, but we can use them to our advantage.

Let's say that Google is your matchmaker and you're looking for clients to spend the rest of your (business) life with. Typically, matchmaking works best when you provide lots of relevant details about who you are and the kind of partner you are looking for.

When you provide relevant, clearly identifiable content to the search engine, it can then find visitors that are directly or indirectly looking for that content. The search engine will recognise that the client could benefit from your content the most and show them your site first. Voila, it's a match made in search engine heaven!

At Refuel Creative, we can help you implement a wide range of SEO strategies geared toward optimising your website for search engines! Consider us to be your SEO matchmakers, eager to bring you and your ideal customers together.

"Working with Refuel has been great. They are an amazing SEO and digital marketing agency. Ryan is a knowledgeable professional, and his analysis and recommendations were very relevant to the business." Claudia Araujo, RapidGlobal

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is a digital marketing process that goes on behind the scenes to help drive traffic to your website from search engines. Driving organic (non-ad-generated, or 'free') traffic to your website by way of search engines can sound complicated. After all, search engines are just these phantom things that somehow have heaps of control over who sees your content. 

Really, search engines just need to know that you understand how your audience uses them. Once they have recognised that your website is a valuable resource to your potential visitors, your content will appear higher in search results.

It all sounds simpler when you put it that way, but there is a method to the madness.

The Refuel SEO Process

We've developed a step by step SEO strategy that focuses on getting you the best results. Think of it as a game plan; you've got a pretty good chance of winning if you make the right moves.

So what steps go into a Refuel SEO marketing strategy?

1. Audit

Understanding your current website search rankings

The team at Refuel Creative will conduct a thorough website audit and SEO analysis. We'll take a look at your current SEO performance, keyword rankings, top keywords, and any technical issues that may be preventing you from ranking. We will prepare an SEO report, detailing in priority order your key opportunities to increase your search rankings, and an SEO plan moving forward.

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2. Technical SEO

Fixing the issues that can stop you ranking

Technical SEO issues can be the roadblock stopping your website from ranking well. Before we get too far into content analysis, we like to start with website optimisation. We fix these technical issues so that search engines can see your content. Typically, technical SEO issues with a website are your 'quick wins'.

3. Content optimisation

Improve your keyword rankings with more relevant content

We can make sure you are using all of the keywords that will help you rank higher in Google searches. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to just write an awesome body of work and put it out into the world to be read. Without optimisation, your efforts could become obsolete as less people will be able to find it organically. Our expertise in this area allows us to ensure your article or blog post appears in the most common searches, relating to the topic.

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4. Content strategy

Build your authority with search engines with the right content

We use a content strategy to prepare content in advance, forecast trends and generally stay organised. It allows us to assess your business, consider what kind of content would benefit you and then implement it efficiently.

We use the latest technology tools to implement our strategies. This allows us to approach SEO in a very data-driven way.

We can track content performance (e.g. engagement metrics, conversion rates), and adjust the SEO strategy according to what is performing. This ensures we can provide our clients with a measurable return.

5. Offsite SEO

Build your domain authority with backlinks

Offsite SEO are actions taken on your pages that occur outside of your website but still contribute to your ranking. We can do this through promoting or linking your site or pages through other reputable platforms. This can happen naturally, but we can also make this happen by, for example, promoting your website or web page via social media or other relevant websites

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Do I need to engage an SEO agency on an ongoing basis?

The short answer to this question is, if you want to see the best results, yes you will need an SEO agency on your side.

In our SEO process, the audit and technical SEO phases are usually once off bodies of work. We monitor technical issues on an ongoing basis for clients, but once the initial problems are fixed, these are just staying on top of search engine changes.

The other steps, with content and backlinks, are an ongoing process to drive more organic traffic to your website. Why are they ongoing?

  1. Your competitors are engaging in inbound SEO too. So your SEO campaigns are an ongoing attempt to outrank your competitors.

  2. Your customer tastes change. They might be searching for different terms, different wording or phrasing, and you need to stay on top of this.

  3. You should be generating regular content. You need to be creating content long term to grow your organic traffic. Content answering a myriad of customer questions, and for each article, you're looking for backlink opportunities or optimising the content in future once you have some SEO data.

If you 'do SEO' once, you won't grow your business as effectively as a company that commits to an ongoing organic SEO marketing campaign.

Know Your Potential Customer Well

The last thing you need is to work super hard on really cool content, just for it to attract the wrong kinds of people.

Think of it in terms of what problem or challenge your customer could be facing and thus, what search terms are they likely to enter to find a solution. Make use of long-tail (multi-word) keyword phrases that are as specific as possible to the product or service you offer.

Put yourself in your customers' shoes and identify what they might search for when looking for a solution to their problem. Use those exact terms or phrases in your content to get search engines to make your website the answer the customer is looking for.

This is one of the most frequent issues we see with new clients - don't assume you have the right keywords. Your customers and what they're searching for dictates which keywords you should be targeting. Our process includes researching the most relevant keywords, as well as assessing which keywords your competitors are targeting.

Content Matters

Make Your Content Valuable In Your Customer's Eyes

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Once a potential customer arrives on your website, don't let them get bored and click away. Convert them into a lead or customer by providing high-quality content that is of real value to them. 

Your content should speak to your customer and address their particular challenge or problem. For example, if someone has a leaky pipe, they may be the sort of person who wants to fix it themselves. Others may prefer to hire a plumber. 

Obviously, you need to know what your customers are looking for. The search terms a DIY homeowner will use are totally different from someone who is looking for the best plumber in their community. 

Create Original Content And Keep It Fresh

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Cutting and pasting from someone else's website isn't cool. If you know your niche and your customer, it isn't hard to write blog posts or social media content that speaks to both. 

It's way too easy to track down stolen content. The fallout will not only damage your reputation and trustworthiness, but it can also lead to copyright claims and search engine penalties. In the worst case, you can also be sued for stealing someone's intellectual property, even if it is only for a blog post. Don't take the risk.

Plagiarising is not just a crappy thing to do, it also makes it hard for search engines to identify which website contains the original material. This can even impact the legitimate use of duplicate information, when you want to include copies of the same text on two different pages, websites or social media platforms. To avoid this problem, take the time to make changes before reposting. 

Keep your content fresh by updating regularly. Nobody wants to land on a website where the last content was added 10 years ago, and every other link is broken.

Engagement Is As Important As Eyeballs

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Structure your web page and generate content to maximise the type of engagement you are looking for. 

Is your page primarily for lead generation? To establish yourself as an expert in your field? Provide customer service? Convert visitors to the website to sales? 

Do you just write a blog about cheese varieties and you just want people to know that brie is far superior to blue vein?

If so, be clear about it! Being direct about what you are trying to accomplish will help you focus your content and determine which keywords to use and how to structure the page. Measure how well you are meeting your goals through effective tracking and analytics.

Metadata: Speaking The Language Of Search Engines

Behind the scenes, search engines are looking for signposts that indicate what kind of website and content you are providing. Your visitors might be oblivious to your header and content tags, but search engines use these clues to figure out what, exactly, your web page is about (and then, to whom it will be most useful).

Proper Use of Title Tags

Title tags need to include keywords that clearly indicate the subject of your post or page. Get straight to the point! Search engines typically offer up only the first few words and then cut the rest of the title in the search results. This varies between search engines, so keep that in mind.

Effectively Use Keywords to Educate Search Engines

In our high school days, we were all taught how to structure an essay. You have your intro, body text of around 3 paragraphs and then a well-rounded conclusion. Luckily for us marketers, a similar structure works well for blog posts.

To help search engines identify your key points, use appropriate head and subhead formatting for your titles. This helps them be more accurate, descriptive and easily recognisable by the search engines. If some of these titles and subtitles use key customer search terms (Where's the best burger place in New York?), all the better. 

Including key terms in the introductory paragraph of your web page is not just helpful for your reader! Sometimes search engines will generate meta description tags based on the information you provide early on in your post.

Get Connected: Link Building

Linking is a great (free) way to promote your website and there are many ways you can incorporate it into your SEO strategy. If you publish a useful resource this may happen organically with other websites linking our page within their articles. In other circumstances, you will need to actively seek linking opportunities. 

Inbound Links

Reflect What Others Think of You

The more you are referenced by other websites, the more you and your information are considered credible. The bigger and more well-established the site is that's directing traffic in your direction, the more likely it is that a search engine will rank it well.

Outbound Links

What Do Your Customers Need?

When determining how useful your content is to users, search engines also take into consideration how many and what types of websites you link to in your posts. Only link to high quality, relevant content produced by reputable sites.

Building Trust And Authority Through Targeted Content

Search engines tend to rank popular websites with lots of traffic and repeat visits higher. They assume that if visitors use the site, it must contain useful content. 

Users want to know that your content is actually useful and the best way to prove that is to give it away for nothing. Don't start putting up paywalls left right and centre thinking that your content is worth a monetary exchange. If you provide a free list of tips and tricks to your customer, which they find helpful, this encourages that same customer to return.

We've all been enticed by a free sampler in the supermarket and come back for more.

Freebies with real value can be excellent tools for lead generation. For example, when you provide a free downloadable pdf in exchange for an email address. The more content you make available, the longer a visitor will stay on your page. This is yet another factor search engines take into consideration when determining a page's rank. 

While it's important to provide lots of quality information, it's just as important that you avoid producing content that is just an endless sales pitch. Be honest about the challenges and shortcomings, the limits of your products and services. Be generous and fair in sharing your thoughts and reflections on competitor offerings.

Being fair, open and honest goes a long way in establishing and building trust with your customers. Don't be afraid to let your guard down a bit and share something of your personality. Although there may be some visitors who don't connect with you on a personal level, allowing your human side to shine through is a much better approach. Consumers are smart and sophisticated and see right through generic sales pitches and smooth marketing lingo.

Types of Searches

Your searches come in two forms,; organic and paid. Most SEO efforts aim to achieve organic search results as they are obtainable through strategy and most importantly are free. However, when paid methods are executed well, they are guaranteed to get results. This is great for businesses who have a specific campaign that they need eyes on.  

Organic Search

Organic searches drive traffic to your website based on the strategic implementation of white hat (legitimate, accepted by the search engines) SEO. Using the strategies mentioned previously helps drive traffic because customers are more likely to find and engage with your web pages. In turn, this tells the search engines to respond to other similar queries with your URL.

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Paid Results

Ad-driven results, on the other hand, rely on your ad spend to generate exposure and don't always find quality customers or leads. The best campaigns leverage the power of both, using ads strategically to support and broaden the reach of quality content that has organic traction. Ad campaigns may be structured in various ways, but one is on a pay-per-click basis whereby you are charged each time a customer clicks on the sponsored link.

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Search Engines: Similar, But Different Algorithms

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so make it part of your regular routine to check on updates and then adjust your content accordingly. Sometimes a small tweak can make a lot of difference in terms of search engine results for your business. That said, don't try to rig the system by using black hat strategies like keyword stuffing. 

You may notice a short-term boost, but sooner or later, you'll be discovered, and the search engines won't have any mercy. Your page is likely to disappear into the abyss of results where web pages go to die. 

Perhaps you only ever use Google search or are a diehard Yahoo fan. Maybe you just use the default search engine in your browser. Even if you don't have a favourite search engine, make sure you are familiar with some of the other players like Bing and Lycos.

Understanding the kinds of search queries your customers use can help search engines drive search traffic to your website. As long as your web content is relevant and useful, and you've correctly communicated that to the search engine, you should get results in all search engines.

When you nail your SEO, it's incredibly satisfying to see your website pop up on the first page of search results, making it easy for potential customers to find you.