Competing with millions of websites and billions of webpages on the internet to achieve better visibility is a harsh reality in achieving organic traffic.

Unfortunately, most web users limit their search to the first two pages of a search engine result.

Having your ideal customers actively search for your product or services, make a purchasing decision online and not know that your business even exists is a sobering prospect to companies late to the online marketing game.

What if there was a way to tell search engines what you do and why you matter?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process through which a website’s design and content are made more relevant for search engines.

Achieving a healthy balance between a well optimised website for both customers and machines is key to success online.

What do Search Engines Want?

A worthwhile long term strategy can help your webpages rank higher for targeted search terms involving a variety of techniques and combining a plethora of tactics.

You may wonder how search engines make the distinction on how one web page is more relevant for a search term over another.

Summarising the content of your webpage to rank higher on relevant search terms is one of these techniques in increasing your web page's relevance.

These terms are called keywords.

The keywords must be aligned with the content and the purpose of your webpage, but they also need to be targeted to appeal to search engines.

Search engine crawlers or web crawlers judge the content of a webpage by the heading, sub-headings and the recurrence of certain words in the context.

Crawlers may also use meta descriptions, microdata and other semantic indexing techniques help contextualise the content on your webpage.

Using Latently Semantic Indexed (LSI) terms will help search engines recognise the relevancy of your content - often rewarding well written and semantically varied content.

Linking - Judging Relevancy of a webpage

Search engines judge the importance of a website by the number of incoming links to it.

The more the incoming links and higher the page rank of those incoming links, the more important your website appears to search engines.

Along with inbound links, search engines also include outgoing links to judge the relevancy of a site.

Think of the Search Engine Optimisation as a weighted democracy - links represent a weighted 'vote' from a website on the internet.

Link Building is a sophisticated field with innumerable tactics and strategies involved and everybody within the field have their own flavour.

My personal style is to build authority and relevance first whilst focusing on keywords last which is rather different to the "We'll get you on page one for 3x keywords" strategies that other agencies sell with.

A rising tide lifts all ships. I personally will take optimising every webpage and website structure over 1-3 pages for 1-3 keywords any day of the week.

And website traffic numbers will tend to agree with this theory.

Attracting links to your website is ultimately about relationships - your relationship with external web property, the people you link to you and the people who share your website online.

The best way to be popular on the internet is to be popular internet.

As with the adage above, the best way to earn links on your website is to link to other websites.

Linking externally to other websites can help kickstart a relationship with the content creators relevant to your website.

This not only exclusive for your own website, but for any external properties that you may own.

Building links for authority

Authority refers to how trusted your website is as an author of content on the web.

Having an authoritative website ensures any link from your website provides value to the recipient. Logically speaking, it means all your internal pages receiving authority from your root domain.

Authority metrics are:

  • Pagerank: The original metric of measuring domain and page authority, Page Rank (named after Google Founder Larry Page) is a 1-10 logarithmic scale. (Seemingly) depreciated on December, 2013 and is an outdated metric.
  • Ahrefs URL and Domain Rank: Two proprietary metrics from Ahrefs measure an individual rating from their independent index for a domain and url. Ahrefs has a large index and the metric is a great snapshot on the health of website.
  • Majestic SEO Trust Flow & Citation Flow: Another proprietary set of metric for Majestic SEO references the index from Majestic SEO for how trustworthy a website is based on links from trust sources and the volume of citations (links or references) across the web.
  • Page Authority and Domain Authority - Moz: The most popular proprietary metrics are Page Authority and Domain Authority from Open Site Explorer - a tool from Moz. I am not a fan of this metric because OSE's index is very small and often misses crucial, authoritative links. The tool was much better ~2011 before Yahoo scrapped their site explorer tool.

Building authoritative links for your website and brand is a process completely within a site owner's control using the following techniques:

  • Profile Building: Often referred to as 'Web 2.0' links, Profiles are external web properties in which your brand controls their presence on a community or social networking website.

A tool such as Know 'em' is essential is finding and claiming your profiles online for your business. However one fatal mistake is that some link builders is to create these links in an island.

That is, the profile is registered, made public but never accessed again...

Having a link to your domain from these website is good, but only one link doesn't help much.

Being active amongst these communities and social networks provides greater value to your website's authority - with diminishing returns as you scale.

I would take one forum profile with 1,000 active posts over 1,000 profile listing of an inactive profile for your brand. Influential Users
Example of Authoritative users for

  • Directory Submission: There are many directories online for your location and industry that would help organically build authority for a website.
  • Domain Age and Freshness: The most organic form of authority is the age of your website. Domain Age is an unbreakable form of trust and authority that search engines will often use as a tiebreaker between highly competitive search engine results.

Having an aged website may not be enough to establish authority - content grows stale over time on the internet and few things frustrate search engine users than out of date content.

Website that are seldom updated are crawled less frequently than fresh websites and may be the extra edge in search engine placement.

Building webpages and links for relevance

Having links from trusted websites is great, but how do you tell search engines that your web page is relevant for a search query?

The primary method of making your webpage relevent would be to optimise the <title>, <h1>...<h2>...<h3> and <meta> tags on you website as well as other aspects of onsite optimisation.

But other important factors are:

  • who are linking to your website
  • how they are linking to you
  • where they are linking to you

One common mistake businesses make is telling their SEO vendor to optimise their homepage for various search terms. Try to think about the intent of a search query and what page best suits a campaign.

Who are linking to you and where?

Earning a relevant link to your website involves research, relationship building and providing value for linking to your webpage.

Invest in quality content for your landing pages so that your website is worth linking to.

Delight, amuse or engage potential link candidates to share your website throughout the web by offering resources, events, tutorials or a unique twist to your service.

Public Relations, Sales and solid communication are underrated skills required for successful outreach for link building online.

How are they linking to you

Even if you don't know much about SEO, most people seem to understand the value of relevant anchor text.

Having my link to my search engine optimisation page as such, rather than click here allows for search engines to derive a contextual relevance for that link.

A web crawler would be able to discern that a linked page is relevant based on the anchor text.

But did you know that there are other factors that contribute to relevance?

If the web page content is related to your web page, Search Engines treat that as contextual for your website.

For example a link from an accounting blog for my SEO services may contribute some authority but little relevance for my target term.

The content immediately surrounding the link and relevant terms also can help or hinder the relevancy of your webpage.

Relevent Text in a Search Engien Result. Example of Conversion Optimisation Consultant.
Example of the term 'conversion optimisation consultant'

If a link comes from a reputable website on a relevant page to a compatible page it helps contextualise your website content for elements like:

  • location (i.e. SEO in Melbourne)
  • service/industry (i.e. SEO, SEO for Accountants)
  • transactional (i.e. get an SEO quote, buy widgets online)
  • value (i.e. cheap SEO, quality SEO)
  • informational (what is SEO, how to get in Google)

Should you get an SEO consultant?

An SEO consultant works with your business to help maximise traffic to your website through organic search using a combination of the methods described above.

They can assess your situation and help plan the best course of action for continued success that could make or break the value of your website.

There are a few considerations to account for before you decide to pursue a consultant:

  • "I don't have the time to understand this all": You may be digitally illiterate; not a native to the ever changing digital landscape.

Search Engine Optimisation is a confusing concept and you cannot afford to train your staff to handle this because it is outside your business scope.

You cannot afford the risk of hiring in-house and you need to consult with an expert on SEO to validate if it is even right for your business.

For these reasons, hiring a consultant would make the most business sense.

  • "I need to do this well": You may have invested in SEO in the past or perhaps you have read literature on the subject and applied techniques on your own.

You may not possess the technical skills to apply to more advanced techniques or lack the toolset to accurately audit the needs for your website.

You may have a narrow focus - targeting keywords that seem relevant but failing to drive the traffic your business needs.

Your competition has external help and you have been reluctant to be more assertive in this front - however you wish to pursue this avenue with more seriousness.

For these reasons, hiring a consultant will help contribute to the online performance of your business.

Free SEO Audit for your website

Not getting the traffic you want for your website?

Apex Action is a digital strategy consultancy that specialises in optimising your website for performance based Search Engine Optimisation.

Identify key problems areas making your business invisible online and form a corrective course of action with a complimentary website audit that identifies issues with content, structure and SEO best practices.

Note: Offer ends, March 31st, 2015.