SEO is a critical component of any marketing strategy – but what are the key considerations? What are the crucial elements your business needs to get right?
We’ve interviewed our leading SEO team – Ionie Ince, Jon Blakemore and Abi Worsey – to get the answers you want to your biggest and most important SEO queries.
Whether you’re just starting out or want to take your strategy and your business to the next level, read on for top tips on how to get ahead of your competition.
In what ways has SEO changed or evolved over recent years?
AW: The increasing importance of well-optimised content and the priority of mobile-friendliness to fall in line with shopping habits.
II: A huge shift towards creating content that addresses user queries and intent. This is why SEOs develop a user-focused content strategy, including on-page copy, informational or supplementary content, FAQs, keyword clusters and much more.
What are the basics every business needs in their SEO strategy?
AW: A good, well-planned and long-term keyword strategy. This includes mapping keywords to each page as well as useful title and description tags.
JB: A plan, a goal and a way to measure success. If you’re making aimless changes without a clear objective, and no way of knowing whether or not it’s working, then you’re going to struggle to make any kind of progress.
II: A user-focused keyword strategy, quality content, a site that’s technically sound, and a way to measure key metrics for success.
What is involved in an SEO audit?
JB: The SEO audit involves checking a website against a list of best practice guidelines. This typically covers the URL architecture of the site, site speed, mobile responsiveness, on-page optimisation and a range of technical elements.
II: I agree with the tech audit, but it also depends on the audit – there are numerous facets that make up SEO and these are now moving into UX and CRO, too.
Which are the most important Google ranking factors?
JB: A strong backlink profile, content with a purpose, and a fast, technically sound responsive website. However, in recent years Google has pushed a number of game-changing updates. Arguably the most notable are their updates in 2018 around site speed being a ranking factor and the rollout of mobile-first indexing.
While both site speed and mobile responsiveness have been at the forefront of SEO prior to these updates, they have helped to cement the importance of both when trying to optimise a site.
In your experience, what are the most common SEO mistakes made by companies?
JB: Failing to understand the importance of a proper website migration. The number of sites I’ve come across who have seen a significant drop in organic performance following a site migration is extremely high. If you’re moving from one platform to another or even changing domains, it’s vital you speak to an expert beforehand.
AW: Not using SEO techniques right from the beginning of website creation, even down to site architecture.
II: Listening to old or black hat SEO tactics, such as spammy link building, boring content, an extremely basic keyword strategy, and a poorly-built site.
How would you start an SEO project with a new client? What would be your initial areas of focus?
II: First, we need to understand the business and their industry, as this will impact how we build the strategy. In most cases, we start with a technical audit and keyword research in order to assess what’s hindering the site and where the opportunity lies. After that, we build the full bespoke strategy up around our findings.
How do you measure SEO success for a client?
JB: For the majority of clients, this would be based on organic sessions, keyword rankings and their main conversion metric, whether that be e-commerce revenue or the number of leads or enquiries. From there, it varies based on each individual client.
Why is SEO important to the Ecommerce industry?
AW: The competition is so high, the importance of visibility in these spaces is huge.
Is SEO always a long-game or can you achieve quick wins?
JB: It really depends on the website. Sites with a solid initial set up and a basic understanding of SEO best practices will likely be much harder to improve without a long term action plan. Other websites may be performing well despite having a poor SEO set up – in these cases there can be some ‘quick wins’ but quick in SEO terms can often mean months before any improvements become noticeable.
AW: I believe that there aren’t any really ‘quick wins’ in SEO. It takes time to correctly optimise for SEO and Google to then recognise these efforts. Changes in SEO can take months for any improvements to be noticeable.
II: There is no such thing as a quick win in SEO. There are things that you can achieve in a shorter amount of time than others, but the effects will always take time to bed in – anywhere between a few weeks to months – and for you to see results.
Any SEO predictions for 2020?
AW: Increased popularity for influencers and SEO for voice or local search and, who knows, maybe even AI for content writing.
II: Increased use of Schema mark-up to take up additional space in SERPs. At present, not many sites are making use of some of the newer Schemas. As Google continues to support them and display information in more creative ways, I’d be surprised if SEOs don’t get creative too.
If your business is ready for the next level of its growth and you’d like to speak to one of our SEO experts for a no-obligation chat, then get in touch today.
For more SEO and marketing advice, read the We Influence blog.