It is 2018 and the DIY (Do It Yourself) generation out there believes nothing is impossible. The youth of today believes in its power to make changes and is not afraid to try new things or go down the path less travelled. Yes, it is also quite likely the new age entrepreneur had a personal toy review YouTube channel versus a lemonade stall as a first business venture. Such is the power of the mighty internet!

So you understand the magic of the digital world and decide to run your business online. In true DIY style, you research online on steps to create and optimize your web presence. You read about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and understand how the use of keywords can prove to be a game changer. You arrive at a list of keywords to target and ensure your content is liberally peppered with them. You create a good number of backlinks. Now, you wait for Google to work its magic and send thousands of visitors your way.

A couple of months pass but you still don’t see any significant increase in the number of visitors to your website. Has this happened to you? If yes, it is quite likely that you may have overlooked some of the below factors:

1. Landing page

While keywords form an important aspect of SEO, it is important to recognize how to use it optimally to gain the maximum benefits. It is recommended that you start with a list of relevant keywords that are not too generic in nature and which display a potential to climb higher in rankings due to its low-medium difficulty index. The content on your landing page should preferably not have a keyword density (calculated in simple terms, as the number of times your keywords appear in your content divided by the total number of words) of not more than 5%.

Keyword stuffing in your content is severely frowned upon and may earn you a thumbs down from Google. Instead, keyword proximity is a recommended technique. For example, if you are targeting keywords such as homemade baby food in India, you could use “homemade Indian baby food” or “preservative free baby food” or “ recipe for homemade baby food” which mentions your targeted keywords, but not necessarily the same way.  Ultimately, it is important to understand that search engines reward those websites that provide good quality, relevant information for their users.

Landing page example

2. Backlinks

Getting backlink credits may not seem complex up front, but the quality of backlinks you have, matter more. You may receive backlink credit from submission of images, documents and videos on third party websites. In case of directory submissions, adequate caution has to be exercised. While it is a great idea to optimise content for local searches through directory listings, due diligence has to be performed to verify the authenticity of the directory. Before submission, taking time to examine the domain authority of the directory could prove to be a useful technique to avoid spam links to your website. Spam links are penalized by Google and once you get penalised, it takes you longer to recover and climb back in the search rankings. Hence, it is not merely the number of backlinks you have, but the quality of backlinks that can fetch you results, referred to as link juice, in SEO slang. Further, earned backlinks are the best testimony to your content.

In case you are using third party sites to create backlinks, it is prudent to stick to the spam guidelines laid out rather than leave an obvious comment stating “ Nice Article. You can also visit <Your website address>”. If you extend the courtesy of reading through the content on third-party websites and posting relevant comments, chances are higher that you be rewarded with an earned backlink.

Applying keyword as an Anchor Text (referring to the text that is displayed in a hyperlink) in backlinks was used previously in SEO to rank higher in search results. However, excessive use of the same attracts scrutiny by search engine bots and may be detrimental to your SEO efforts.

3. Blog

The use of PBN (Private Blog Network) as a source of earning backlinks has long been debated. PBN refers to using sites in your control to create backlinks for your money site or client site. While its usage has not been banned, it is recommended to use private blog networks as a part of your backlink strategy and not as a primary contributor. Further, substantial time, money and effort is required to set up a PBN and excessive use of PBN will certainly hand you a penalty notice from Google.

If you have an old blog content which had served you well previously, it might be a good idea to update the same with useful information and post it. Google does not penalise for reusing old data. However, the relevancy of updates made to the blog will determine whether or not it helps in search visibility.

Blog

4. Website structure

The website structure is a critical element in the success of SEO. Websites ought to be simple to understand, easy to use, and appealing to the user. Further, with the impending introduction of “Mobile First” indexing along with the existing “Site Speed” parameters for Google rankings, it helps to pay attention to the elements of your website. With more than 50% of searches globally being conducted over mobile devices, websites have to ensure they optimise content and images for searches over different devices.

Providing links to the same page multiple times doesn’t always guarantee better results on search rankings. In an effort to capture a wider audience, if you provide multiple links to the same page, you may run the risk of wasting the user’s time and attention, which might have been better utilised by directing them towards some other page in your website. The role of a developer in creating a website is significant. A clear understanding of the functioning of search engine bots and web server management helps the developer contribute to the success of SEO efforts.

SEO cannot be performed as a one-time activity and expecting instant results could lead to disappointments. It is safe to assume a 3-6 month wait time for your SEO efforts to bear fruit. You can breathe a sigh of relief when you break into the top 10 of the search ranking results, but it would be wrong to put an end to your SEO efforts. Only focused and continued SEO efforts can grant you long-term business results. Further, with search engine rule changes becoming difficult to predict, it is beneficial to invest time and effort in identifying and engaging the services of a proficient SEO agency.

It should also be understood that SEO efforts should be directed towards not only driving more traffic to your website but also meet the purpose of your website, blog or e-commerce site by fulfilling the Call To Action posted therein.

The linkage of social media to SEO is one which is mutually beneficial. A strong social media presence helps in boosting brand recognition and a strong SEO position boosts traffic to own website as well as mentions on social media sites. Therefore, a winning digital marketing plan recommends high quality content combined with investments in social media, SEO, email marketing, PPC campaigns, affiliate marketing and use of influencers to engage with your customers online.

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