Interview of SEO

Interview of SEO

I was recently asked to do an interview for an article based on SEO marketing, strategies and the benefits of SEO. Here is (what I believe) to be the correct way to do things. I say “I believe” as there are many variations to doing and carrying out SEO. As someone who has been very successful in this field – this is how I do things…

What would you say are the most important steps of all in SEO? 
Foundation SEO work on the website. It is pointless even considering any other methods of “off site” SEO before a good foundation has been completed. These are things such as H1, H2 tags – correct placement and usage. As a rule, H1 is telling google what the page is (so should be used as a title), H2 are sub headers. Images. All images should have correct “alt” tags  – google does not know whats in an image without it. Also, I like to name the images based on the content or keyword I am focusing on. For example, it you were trying to sell Pink Hair Bands, don’t name the image, “image1”, name it “pink-hair-bands-for-girls”. Where possible, add a description (back end within the image settings).
SERP (search engine results page). Meta description and meta titles. This is the information given to the user about your website before them seeing the actual website. Everyone wants to be rank 1 but it’s pointless if no one then clicks your serp description! The meta title should be easily readable (without being too long or too spammy). For example, a site I’ve recently built selling Nissan Navaras meta title is:
Nissan Navara Deals | Guaranteed Lowest UK Price” 
 
the page is focusing on the keyword “nissan navara deals”. The title matches the users search term and ends with a strong reason for the user to enter the site. As for the Meta Description, Google have recently increased the size to 320 from 160. Use strong words such as “Discover our range of…”, enter keywords within (I usually aim for minimum of two, maximum of three) and end with a CTA (call to action) phrase such as “visit us online” or “find your perfect” etc etc. 
Anchor links. Basically when you enter a link that goes to a page within the website. Most people use “click here” for more or “read more”. What it should be is a link with the keyword within. For example …”check out the latest {Pink Hair Bands}” etc.
Understand and reduce bounce rate, increase time on site and page views per user. Rankbrain. Introduced in the last quarter of 2017 is one of the main three things experts say google use within their algorithm. It makes sense to do so for them! Basically, say there are 10 sites for a certain keyword. Company one may have been at the number one position for years but the site has aged or not appealing. The bounce rate is over 70% so people are entering and leaving without engaging at all. Company 5 has also been there a while but has a bounce rate of 35%, a higher time on site and more page views. Google want users to use google. Putting relevant sites first is better for the user and for google. 
In bound links. Links to your site from other trusted websites/ blogs and directories. Carefully and slowly tho and stay away from companies who offer to do this.
Content is king but you don’t want to place an essay before products! Just a short paragraph outlining the benefits or why they should purchase from your company. Include keywords but without being too spammy. At the base of a page, place more content in where the majority of people wouldn’t see it – write it as you’re putting the user as the reader (when really you’re focusing on the content for search engines to see).
Keeping up with changes within google algorithm and making adjustments. Nobody knows exactly what Google changes when they do the latest algorithm. But you can get ideas (usually before any changes are made). The talk for this year is on mobile websites. Some people are saying google will rank websites based on the performance on a mobile so having a good user friendly, mobile version of your website may be crucial.
Keyword competition. Analise your position. Ranking organic for small local area is fairly straight forward. By having a good foundation SEO will more than likely put you high in the rankings. Nationwide placements are harder to get especially if its a popular search term. For example, if you are selling trainers, the major players, Nike, Adiddas etc have this wrapped up – you’ll never get above them. So, if this is the case, concentrate on secondary keywords. Maybe such as “white trainers”. This will prove to be a lot more beneficial than targeting main keywords where you’ll never rank! However, as long as you don’t expect to be above the big cooperate companies, certain keywords are worth hitting. This is where making sure the SERP is written to have impact comes into play. Being position 5 on page one will still get you hits, especially if the SERP entices people to visit your website.
Why should ecommerce store owners consider hiring an SEO Expert? 
Simple – to increase the number of users to site. If you had the best physical shop to advertise your business where would you want it to be? In a side alley where you’ll get the odd person stumbling upon it, or in a major shopping centre? SEO is a slow burn taking time to get sites to rank to page 1 but the benefits are long term. . Adwords are great for the push but overall (and overtime) SEO is more cost effective.
 
 
 What are some of your favourite tools that you have used to track and manage SEO campaigns? 
 
 
Multiple platforms. For most, Google Analytics is a great free platform that provides vast info on key areas such as users, bounce rate, time on site and page views. I also use Alexa and Vocoveritas. These show more in depth info on the sites I control, from keyword placements and movement to competitor rankings etc. Meta SEO inspector from Google Chrome and SEO Quake.
How do you begin developing an SEO growth strategy for a company? 
 
 
First, understand exactly what the website is about, who and where it is targeting, what its selling, who is the major competition. Next would be to find out what keywords are used to generate users to the website. Sometimes, this is totally different to what the company actually thinks! The company may try to target more technical terms where the user is searching something in layman terms. Then, a complete analysis of the site ensuring the correct keywords are being used for each page and that the foundation is correct. Due to RankBrain, I would be looking into site data and making sure the bounce rate was low, time on site and page views high. Advice and make changes to the site to improve. A/B testing etc. I would then look into the competition. Check their code, see the links they have etc etc to gain some idea of what we would be up against. For small, local companies this is usually very weak but for nationwide, more in depth. A good SEO strategy can only be set up when you understand the site stats and the competition.
 How important is social media in SEO? 
Important – shows an “active” company. Depends on the business how effective in certain areas it is. Some companies can easily engage a lot of people via Social Media where other types won’t see too many people engage with it. I do use SM for two reasons. One is to get users on to a website and the second just to help show search engines the company is active. Every post or photo etc should be linked back to site. It’s also good to change it up and link to other pages within the site. If using SM, it should be 75% knowledge based and 25% targeted for purchase. Doing too many posts on “buy this today and get…” will stop people following/ liking your page. Don’t just stick to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use others such as Houzz and Piterest as well.
What are the most common SEO mistakes you see website owners making? 
 
Terrible foundation SEO! Even when sites are built by web developers they often lack the basis on a good foundation. Building the foundation makes it easier for google to read and understand what it is you’re trying to do. Also, lack of content!
Is Shopify SEO friendly? 
 
 
Yes. All foundation SEO work can be carried out on any Shopify site without the use of costly plugins.
 
 
Can you give an example/case study of an online store whose site ranking has been raised through implementing SEO techniques? 
 
 
Yes, Gates and Fences UK. It has taken years of work to do. Now has a number of position one keywords nationwide for searches related to gates. Some, such as “Driveway Gates” has a search volume per month of over 30,000 with an estimated CTR of over 9,000. If you looked at an average cost of £0.50p per click via adwords, one keyword would cost over £4500 per month in adword spend. Multiple techniques used from ensuring foundation SEO is correct to off site seo.
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