What is SEO? Part 2

11 December 2017

A user searching the term key wordsIn part one of our “What is SEO” series we introduced you to keywords and keyword phrases, along with what Google looks for when deciding on the best webpages to rank. In part two we delve more in to SEO best practice and the amount of work an SEO project will typically involve.

How long does it take to rank on Google?

From our experience, following the implementation of a strategic SEO project, the average time for a webpage to rank for a keyword or keyword phrase on page one of Google, is around two to twelve months. However your type of business will also play a factor.

Niche industries may rank quicker due to lack of competition. For example, it will take a website design company longer to reach Page One of Google, than say a builder who specialises in grade II listed building renovations.

However if you are intent on making a real impact and prepared to invest a significant number of retainer hours into the project, the time will be reduced.

SEO techniques

SEO techniques are classified into two camps, black-hat & white-hat. These may seem like strange terms, especially as websites don’t wear hats, but it stems from old western movies; the good cowboy would wear a white hat and bad cowboy would wear a black hat, it’s that simple. Unfortunately SEO techniques are not that straight forward, so let’s take a look at what’s considered a good SEO practice (white-hat) and what’s considered a bad SEO practice (black-hat).

SEO Content

Regularly publishing fresh webpage content featuring your keywords or keyword phrases will help with SEO, mainly because it reaffirms you as an authority and keeps your website interesting to humans and Google robots alike.

Bad SEO techniques – Black Hat

Sourcing poor quality guest posts which are either cut and paste from another web source (Google wants to see unique content, not duplicate content), badly written or irrelevant to your website will have no SEO value and could have a detrimental affect on your search engine ranking position.

Invisible text is another black-hat activity. A few years ago SEO “experts” would hide invisible keyword text (for example in white font on a white background) within the webpage content to try and manipulate the search results. Of course the boffins at Google cottoned on, so today the algorithm detects invisible text and as a result will punish any webpage which administers this black-hat practice.

Good SEO techniques – White Hat

White hat SEO focuses on your human audience, rather than optimising the website with a search engine algorithm in mind. The side-effect is, search engines such as Google will then rank your website higher for creating a customer-centric experience.

As a result popular white hat SEO techniques include…

Customer, centric, conversational content
Unique and high-quality webpages
Links to other relevant content
Quality product pages

What SEO work is typically involved

The process around any SEO project is very time consuming, so let’s break down the typical amount of work involved.

Keyword Research: As we covered in part one, in order to increase your website’s ranking, drive visitor traffic and develop new leads and sales; we’ll need to identify keywords and keyword phrases which are relevant to your business and specific industry.

For example if a letting agent wanted to rank on page one of Google; the phrase “houses to rent in Leeds” will have a large number of letting agents, property websites and private landlords competing for a page one ranking, however “3 bedroomed detached houses to rent in Leeds” will have a lot less competition.

Competitor Research: Once we’ve agreed the best keywords and keyword phrases for your business, we can then analyse your competitors’ websites to check their current ranking position. This will involve us looking into their content and backlink portfolio

With this information, we can reflect on your businesses’ existing ranking position and agree the level of retainer and project work required to reach your expectation.

Goal Setting & Reporting: By knowing the starting position of all the webpages you want to rank, we can then establish a baseline, set goals and monitor activity.

Of course throughout the process we will analyse web traffic, monitor rankings, test content and gauge the success of any SEO activity.

Content Creation: This is a core part of any SEO process. Not only should any crafted content be unique and natural, it must also include…

Specific keyword phrases within the titles and body of the text
An appropriate word count based on industry analysis
Meta data & meta titles
Written descriptions of the images (image alt tags)
Relevant information about your industry & products

Plus, this is very important, any produced content should be easy for both humans and search engine robots to understand and appreciate.

What you should expect from a project and how many hours to invest

Due to search engine rankings, every SEO project is different. Therefore if you would like to know more about what SEO can do for your business and how we can help, then why not get in touch for a chat.