Every brand or website targets ranking on top of search results but achieving the same requires a lot of effort over a period of time. The search engine rankings are determined by a variety of factors. Mobile-friendly nature of your website, On Page SEO, Content quality & freshness, Number of backlinks and relevance to the search keywords are some of them.
According to a recent study by Moz conducted across 150+ industry experts, the top 5 factors for search engine rankings were as follows:
While there are various tools to help you with SEO, in this article we focus on 21 link building techniques that can play an important role in boosting your search engine rankings and website traffic. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google.
Today, Content Marketing is the buzzword. Brands are churning out content in large numbers. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. In such a cluttered space, it is important to create content that is discoverable, sharable and informative to your target audience. Moreover, as Moz points out, “good unique content” is not enough– you need content which his 10 times better than the best content out there. Certain content types like How To articles, Listicles, etc. are examples of Pillar posts that can help you garner a large number of references/links from external sources. Read the BuzzSumo report for more details on this.
Influencer marketing is a gaining prominence as an effective marketing channel for brands. For the uninitiated, Influencer Marketing is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing that involves partnering bloggers and social media influencers to talk about your brand – be it on their blog or social media handles. An effective way to leverage influencer marketing would be to get the top bloggers in your industry to review your product/service. Apart from giving you important backlinks, it would also help you create awareness about your product among your target audience. There are many platforms in the industry that allow you to track the top influencers in your industry niche.
The other way to use influencers is to co-create content when you don’t have internal bandwidth to create your content. It’s important to keep in mind the user and find the right influencers who can create content for those users.
Under this technique, you track the resource pages in your industry and check for broken links using tools like Check My Link. Once you make a list of the broken links on these pages, you can reach out to the page owners with the list of broken links that need to be fixed along with the links to useful resources on your website can be linked to.
Visual content grab eyeballs and infographics can be a great format to build your brand and get backlinks at the same time, from people out there are who are looking for informative content in a visually attractive representation. You can also submit your infographics in a whole bunch of infographic submission websites such as visual.ly, infographick.com, bestinfographics.info, etc.
If you are looking to create fresh & novel content ideas, Surveys and Industry Trend Reports can work wonders for you. Launch an industry survey in your niche – it can be a simple consumer preference pattern for a consumer brand or an investment survey for a financial services player. Tools like Survey Monkey or GetInsights can let you create surveys in a whiff. They also have many pre-researched survey templates for each industry which can be explored.
Create reports, share it in different industry forums, mail it to top experts for their insights before releasing the report and include the quotes / insights in the report if possible, as it adds credibility to your study. For B2B businesses, releasing industry trend reports can be an excellent way to drive traffic to the site and build authority online. These reports have a strong sharability quotient and can garner a large number of backlinks online. Offline PR can also be activated to create more awareness around the release of the industry report.
Skyscraper content creation technique involves finding top performing content in your industry and adding more depth or value to the existing content. Once the content is ready, you can reach out to people linking to the existing content and share the link to your article. In order to find best performing content in your industry, you can leverage tools such as BuzzSumo, Topsy or Google Search to some extent. To read more on building skyscraper content, check out this article by Brian Dean.
You can write Testimonials for products / services that you have used for your brand with a backlink to your website that demonstrates how you have leveraged that product. It would be better to write a quick case study to add more value to the testimonial.
You can curate the top articles in your industry, take interviews of top experts or compile the insights from the latest industry report & convert it into a case study. Once the post is ready on your website, share the link with the experts and let them know you have linked to their content or have published their interview. For content curation, you can make use of tools like Scoop.It, Feedly, BuzzSumo as well as Google Alerts. Apart from gaining potential backlinks, this would also help you make your property more informative for your audience.
Effective internal linking performs three important functions:
Apart from linking to your own content, you can also link out to expert articles which are ranked on top of search results. This way you are linking and connecting content to sites which already have an established authority in your niche. While linking to external sites, do not forget to use the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tag prevents the link juice from passing on to the external site. Even in this article you see we have linked to the likes of Brian Dean, Moz & BuzzSumo amongst others.
Platforms like Quora have rich discussion on varied subjects. You can find topics in your niche and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your content articles. This would provide the information to audience who is already looking for similar information and at the same provide you good quality backlinks. Quora also has a blog section where you can submit your existing blog content with a link to the original piece.
You can repurpose old content in different forms to allow it to reach maximum number of people. You can convert your blog article into a presentation, or downloadable pdfs, Videos or infographics and submit it on multiple platforms. You could even translate the content into different languages if relevant for your brand. For example, a presentation can be submitted on Slideshare. You can also add more juice to your already existing blog content by updating it with latest insights, images, presentation and reference links
Search and connect with high-quality portals or websites for guest blogging. If done properly, it can be an effective link-building measure. Avoid low-quality websites or duplicate content as part of the guest blogging initiative. It can result in penalty from Google. Even commenting on relevant blogs is still a good practice in case you are unable to get guest blogging activated.
Build an engaged community on Social Media platforms & share your content regularly to amplify the reach of your content. On platforms like Twitter, it is important to share your content multiple times. To prevent repetitive posts, use different post copies, images and stats for sharing. Your engaged follower community is more likely to share or talk about your content. Linkedin has its own blogging feature and you could repurpose your content and publish it there for increased reach. For ecommerce websites even Pinterest can be a very interesting source for quality backlinks and traffic.
Last but not the least, ask for backlinks from quality source. For example, if you have great content on Personal Finance, look out for portals which list quality content from different Personal Finance resources and reach to them. If they find your content relevant, they might link back to it. Once they backlink, don’t forget to drop a thank you mail with links to other helpful content which might be useful to them.
Tools like Google Alerts, Talk Walker and Mention can help to track the mentions for your brand on the web. Track all mentions for your brand and see if these mentions have linked back to your website/blog. If the backlink is missing in the mentions, mail or reach out on social media and see if that can be converted into a backlink.
Track and analyze the backlinks to your competitor websites and check the source of their backlinks. Look at content and pages that have got the maximum links to see if you can produce better content on those topics. Watch out for aggregator sites or industry curators that link to their websites and reach out with links to your content.
Platforms like Zomato and Trip Advisor drives millions of visitors to their website daily. Leveraging these platforms in the right way can help claim relevant backlinks and at the same time, drive relevant traffic to your website. Partnering with top reviewers on such platforms (for example – see our list of top food bloggers in India) to seamlessly integrate their reviews / posts with links to your products can go a long way in providing quality backlinks. Forums likes MouthShut.com even have a blog section apart from the review section; you can submit your blog content there with links to the original article hosted on your website.
Old backlinks to your website can return a 404 error over a period of time, resulting from a new site or a change in url. Even in case of new backlinking, there is a possibility that the source site might make a mistake in typing the url to your site. You can use online tools to research the broken links to your site and redirect these.
Highly recommended for product based websites, submission to feedback sites can help drive lot of traffic to your website & also boost the conversion rates. LaunchSky, Valid8or, Product Hunt, Startup Lift and Beta List are some of the websites that can be used for review submissions.
Help a Reporter Out or HARO as the technique is better known as, is an excellent way to get backlinks from news portals. Once you sign-up on the reporter help portals like HelpAReporter, you are likely to get mails with requirements on information the reporters are looking for. You need to respond with the information from your end, along with helpful links if available.
Sometimes, websites, in their quest to achieve quick results, resort to negative techniques which are not seen in a positive light by the search engines. I would like to list out some of those techniques which should be avoided at all costs to prevent any penalty to your website.
Hope these techniques can prove handy to generate good quality backlinks for your website. In case you know any other method that works well and deserves to be a part of this article, please feel free to comment and let us know.
Search Engine Optimisation SEO is critical for most businesses and especially for ecommerce businesses. We did put up a slideshare on the basics of SEO for Entrepreneurs which covers aspects like on page SEO, content marketing & amplification, mobile responsiveness and link building. We always recommend White Hat SEO so its also important to be aware of how NOT to do SEO.
In this context, there are various SEO tools out there which can help and one which is critical for On Page SEO in case you are using Wordpress as your CMS is the plugin by Yoast. It is a plugin recommended even for Advanced SEO by most industry leaders including QuickSprout, Moz & more.
YoastSEO Plugin is the powerhouse for WordPress search engine optimization. Barring structured markup data and schema tags, Yoast can handle most on page SEO elements. However, setting up this plugin might be tricky for some, and a startup or anyone without basic SEO skills, might find it difficult to configure. An incorrect configuration can stop search engine bots from indexing your website, or you might let bots crawl a part that might not be relevant to your business.
The best part is that most of the key features in YoastSEO are free, so let’s get started with the step by step tutorial to set up this free SEO plugin.
This is where you will provide information about your site and the person or company behind it.
Titles & Metas section under WordPress SEO has several tabs in it.
WordPress SEO allows you to set titles and meta for posts, pages, media, and other custom post types.
Step 7. XML Sitemaps
Step 8. Advanced (Breadcrumbs)
Simply check the ‘Enable Breadcrumbs’ box and rest of the settings will be displayed.
Step 7. Tools
Step 8. Search Console
I hope that helps you set up the Yoast SEO Plugin and also gets you started on SEO. Please do follow our other SEO & Content Marketing Blogs here.
Videos are a powerful form of content. You may easily get bored reading long articles but watching videos cannot easily tire you. According to Digital Sherpa, watching videos comprises 1/3rd of all online activity & increases people’s understanding of a product/service by 74%.
And speaking about videos, YouTube is the biggest platform used for uploading & sharing video-form content. We bring you top 5 ways to optimize videos on your YouTube channel to provide you a better ROI on the content created.
YouTube uses playtime or watchtime a factor in the algorithm to suggest videos and creating playlists can be used to boost the overall playtime for your videos. When the next video automatically starts playing at the end of the first video, there is a higher probability to keep the viewer longer on your page. A playlist created on YouTube looks like this:
Doing keyword research to arrive at top relevant keywords that can be used in the title always provides an edge. Also, look for video keywords which are keywords that have video results in the 1st page of Google search results. There are many free tools that allow you to do keyword research.
Brief descriptions are a crime as long form text around the video is used by search engines to understand the video. You should consider keeping the primary keywords towards the beginning of the description. Also, provide relevant links & hyperlinks to the playlists or videos in the description.
Google+ is an integral part of a YouTube video promotion. Engagement gained by the video is one of the important signals considered to rank the videos in search results. Comments from your community & fans help in providing positive signals, hence whenever the video is shared on social media, it’s great to put in relevant text asking fans to share their feedback & like if they find the video interesting or useful.
YouTube has a feature to create “Subscription Links” that asks the visitors who click on the link to subscribe to the channel before playing the video. This can help gain more subscribers for the channel, thereby boosting the long term reach & engagement. This is how many brands have grown their subscriber base.
The above tips can go a long way in optimizing the video, thus allowing you to rank on top of search results as well as allowing you to gain more subscribers to your channel & views for your video.
For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.
In today’s digital world the key for your business to perform well online is to reach the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and for this to happen your website must deserve to be at the top (We have a slideshare on basics of SEO from an entrepreneurs’ perspective which may be of interest to you).
With Google’s smarter algorithm the need for unique content along with SEO strategies has become a necessity. So has the need for your site to deliver best user experience in the particular niche. Fortunately there are a lot of free SEO tools online that can help you assess the work done thereby helping you achieve your SEO (and business) goals.
Tools for Keyword Research
The keyword planner tool in Google Adwords forms the basis of most SEO strategies today. This free tool from Google can be used to search keywords, ad group ideas and also get an understanding of how a particular keyword might perform. You can also get help in choosing competitive bids and budget to go with your SEO campaign. While this is a free tool it requires you to setup a free account with Adwords before accessing the tool.
Keyword Eye is a free tool for keyword research and helps mostly in PPC/SEO campaigns. This tool can be effective during brainstorming of keywords.
Keywordtool.io, provides about 750+ suggestions for every keyword you enter. Thereby enables quick identification of top keywords in less time.
One of the most used free tool in the industry today, Ubersuggest provides a neat and organized list of keywords that many other tools fail to do.
This one though not a tool, goes a long way in helping identify top keywords that are being searched worldwide. When searching for a particular keyword the suggestions provided by google gives an insight as to what users are looking for in the particular field. Simple shortcut to Incognito is Ctrl + Shift + N.
The site helps identify duplicate content within the site, be it in the meta-tags or content within the site. In today’s scenario where Google algorithms strictly check for duplication Siteliner is very beneficial.
A special tool to check for copied content from other sites. More often than not bloggers are seen referring content from other sites and using them without any modification which is strictly against SEO rules. Copyscape can help detect any copied content to be placed within the site.
Once you have created your meta-tags, it is important to check the optimization levels of the keywords used in them. Google has penalized several sites for over optimization and hence using Remove’em over optimization tool to check the same is highly beneficial
Google and Bing have their own respective Webmaster tools that can help keep your site optimized and also help check the site’s indexing. Apart from this the tool also provides insight on website traffic patterns, reach, visibility, speed-metrics and authorship statistics.
Moz is considered to be one of the pioneers of SEO and their open site explorer sites will help you understand the various off-page SEO techniques. With Moz open site explorer ou can gauge site’s influence, view subdomain, inbound links to the site, root domain and analyze the link pages.
The tool helps analyze the performance of a webpage. Based on the speed at which the site loads you can quantify and estimate the performance on all devices.
Pingdom Website Speed Tool helps check the time your website takes to load. It provides ample details on average load time and also provides suggestions to help improve the speed.
As the name suggests, the tool helps create a robots.txt file which can be used to instruct the search engine about pages in your site that are allowed to be indexed. Apart from generating the file you can also enter pages that you want the search engine to not crawl without having to do manually.
Ahrefs is a site explorer and backlink checker and is probably one of simplest yet effective tool available. It is well known for its ability to filter backlinks and referring domains. Can be useful in analyzing online strategies to compete with your competitors.
A complete SEO service tool that shows results specifically on link building and domain-based metrics. The free services provided include Site Explorer, Backlink History tool and Keyword checker.
This site will help you create a schema based on which Google and other search engines make sense of content in your HTML. For people new into SEO creating a schema might be difficult to grasp and Schema Creator will turn out to be a huge help for them.
Useful in developing new SEO strategies. This tool shows how search listing will appear in Google and this search list can be downloaded for further analysis.
This is a spidering (crawling) software that will show broken links in your website. It validates text links, images, maps, backgrounds and frames in your website.
Wordpress has become an extremely common platform to submit content online. The Yoast Wordpress SEO plugin goes a long way in taking care of all the technical optimization and helping write better content in terms of SEO.
Tracking SEO Results
Google Analytics offered by Google, is a service that provides detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and its sources. It also keeps track on the conversions and sales. You can look into our article on Google Analytics for more insight into using the tool.
Are there any other free SEO tools you use that you feel should be on this list? Do let us know in the comments below.
As part of our in-house knowledge sessions we have created a slideshare on the basics of Search Engine Optimisation from the perspective of entrepreneurs. It include insights on creating content for users, site speed, creating good quality links as well as influencer marketing & blogger engagement.
We have also added our insights on how to track the results & ROI of your SEO & Content Marketing efforts.
Our never-ending quest of being slim does not always serve the purpose. Especially when we are talking about search engine optimization. More than anything, thin content has proved to be a curse for digital marketers and search engine optimization specialists.
What is thin content?
A thin content page is a page that exists for the sole purpose for building traffic and no other purpose whatsoever.
How do I know if my website has thin content?
Your website has thin or poor content if in case of any of the following issues:
Any of the above factors can be a signal for the existence of thin content pages on your website. And mind it, in 30% of the cases it might not have been intentional yet you can find yourself at the wrong end of the spectrum.
I am still not sure if my website has thin content. Want to re-confirm?
Okay I have thin content on my website. So, how do I fix it?
At this stage of the game, you have got two choices to make –
The answer to how to do search engine optimization is not rocket science obviously. The above tips for search engine optimization will go a long way in helping out. At the end, just a couple of words: Give every webpage a value / role to serve for you. And indeed, this would value to your business in the longer run.
A large number of people still consider Google+ to be a ghost town, sparsely inhabited and sans activity – not worth investing time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. If you’re one of them, it’s time to give this thought some serious reconsideration.
In less than three years of its existence since its launch in the second half of 2011, Google+ has shown tremendous growth with the total number of registered users recently crossing the 1 billion mark and the number of active monthly users crossing 540 million. To gauge the growth in activity - 1.5 billion photos are uploaded every week and +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day. If these massive numbers are not reason enough for you to include G+ as part of your social media strategy, here are seven strong reasons why you must begin using Google+ as a business marketing tool.
1. It’s a Google product:
No other social network has the kind of web assets leverage that Google has. Think about it. Apart from being the world’s most used search network, Google owns one of the most popular browsers in Chrome, one of the most-used mobile Operating systems in Android, the largest video sharing website in YouTube, the world’s largest email service in Gmail, one of the most popular photo-editing platforms in Picasa, a versatile cloud-storage application in Google Drive and the most popular mapping service application in Google Maps. Google is the leader of the online world and is already using all its might to ensure Google+ gains popularity and acceptance. Apart from this, the use of Google+ also provides seamless integration with all other Google services.
2. Higher Search Rankings:
The boost to SEO is one of the biggest benefits of Google+. Almost all SEO experts will tell you that content on Google+ is indexed faster than other content across the web and any links on G+ positively impact SEO results. This is because unlike most other social platforms like Twitter, where all links are placed with a no follow tag, Google+ links are follow links and G+ pages are treated as web pages. This increases website visibility and accumulates Page Rank and thereby, by actively participating on Google+, you are increasing the visibility of your brand.
A recent scientific correlation Study by Moz to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking high in Google, shows that Google+ posts have multiple SEO benefits unlike other social platforms. The study also found a strong correlation between Google +1s and higher search rankings, clearly indicating that sharing content on Google + has the potential to influence search rankings in many ways.
3. Enhanced search results:
When a user searches for your Google+ optimized business online, the results show the most recent G+ post, the number of followers, profile name and image, any +1 recommendations from friends and Google map directions to the business. And, if the person searching is already following your business on G+, the brands content appears even more prominently in the search results.
Apart from the right hand space on the Search results page, where Google+ information currently shows up, Google is also experimenting with including recent posts, most relevant to the search query keyed in, in the Search results space itself. The example below shows a relevant Google+ post of a play school, displaying in the results for the Search query “play school in Velachery”.
4. Google+ Authorship:
Google Authorship includes the author’s photo and byline with the search snippet on search results pages. It is activated by linking the author’s Google+ profile to the website he is a contributor to, through an email address on that domain. Including the author’s credentials lends reliability and trustworthiness to the content and enhances ranking on Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs) while also improving click-through-rates, thereby increasing the reach of your content and traffic to your site.
5. Unfiltered Updates:
Unlike Facebook, which constantly tweaks its Edgerank algorithm to decide which of your updates will be seen by your fans, updates on Google+ are currently unfiltered and chances of your updates reaching your fan-base are higher on Google+ than Facebook. Also, unlike Facebook, whose primary source of revenue is Ads, Google’s primary source of revenue comes from search advertising and it presently does not need to force users to pay to gain visibility on Google+.
6. Google+ Ads:
The above does not mean that Google will never attempt to monetize Google+ through ads. Google is already testing paid +Post ads for Google+ content and apart from Google’s experience with Adwords expected to make the Ads a great product, the possible game changer would be access to the whole of the Google Display Network through Google+ Ads.
7. Google+ Hangouts:
Hangouts are probably the best and most important feature of Google+. Think of it as a free webinar tool where you can include upto 9 participants and automatically broadcast live to your Google+ page as well as your YouTube Channel. Hangouts are an excellent means of communicating with clients and potential clients to educate them about a product/service and share ideas and case studies.
The world’s second largest social network is here to stay. So, get on it, establish your presence and learn how you can use it effectively to grow your brand. The proverbial early bird always gets the worm and being early to Google’s party is sure to have its benefits in the long-term.
Every online business understands that SEO plays a major role in their profitability by bringing in organic (un-paid) traffic to their websites. The focus has always been on what “to do” to ensure high search engine rankings and hence enhanced traffic. However, in order to do great SEO, it is equally important to know what “not to do” with SEO.
Unethical SEO techniques, known in SEO parlance as “Black Hat SEO” techniques are being used by certain businesses to dupe Search Engines into giving them a higher rank. This results in relevant websites becoming harder to find which neither augurs well for website owners nor for the search engines which strive to give their visitors the best search results. Most search engines therefore have systems and algorithms in place which can detect the vast majority of these spam techniques and demote it automatically or in worst cases, de-list them completely. This penalization is a serious issue and while it can seriously hurt even large businesses, it can potentially wipe out small ones. So, to make sure you do not head into dangerous territory, we’ve compiled a list of techniques which are rated as spam by search engines
1. Keyword stuffing:
While it is true that including keywords in your content will help in a better ranking, forced inclusion of keywords in your content or in Alt tags of your images can do more harm than good. Keywords should appear smoothly in your content as you write it and stuffing your content with keyword is definitely crossing the line. As a thumb rule, if your content doesn’t read well as your reading it, you’ve probably overused your keywords.
2. Cloaking and Hidden text:
Trying to force keywords on your site in a color which merges with the background or in any other way to ensure it is seen by search engines but not by site visitors is an old trick that search engines have become very good at getting hold of.
3. Sneaky redirects:
Attempting to redirect users to a different page than the search engine saw is a strict no-no.
4. Duplicate/Thin content with little or no added value:
Freshness of content and its recency plays a pivotal role in search engine ranking algorithms. Making regular updates to your website could therefore help in improving your rankings. However, trying to duplicate your content in an attempt to fool search engines will sooner rather than later get you on that dreaded blacklist.
Low-quality or shallow pages which do not provide users with much added value (such as thin affiliate pages, doorway pages, cookie-cutter sites, automatically generated content, or copied content) will also get classified as spam.
5. Unnatural links from/to a site:
Links play a good role in SEO results and are supposed to be earned by websites by virtue of excellent content. But trying to deceive search engines with artificial or manipulated links; purchasing or selling links, exchanging them or participating in any of those grey link schemes doing the rounds can attract strict penalty. Remember, quality links matter more than quantity.
6. Spammed Meta tag descriptions:
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team in a recent Webmaster Help Channel video said it would be better for SEOs to leave Meta tag descriptions blank than have duplicate descriptions. This may seem inappropriate to a lot of SEOs but that’s just what reality is. As Cutts added, unique descriptions for some pages definitely do matter but it’s not worth investing time and effort in coming up with unique descriptions for every single page on your site.
7. Guest comments on blogs:
Google's Webmaster Guidelines discourage forum signature links and consider it spammy. However, Cutts says that relevant comments on topically relevant sites is absolutely fine as long as it does not form the main part of one’s link building strategy. Having a large portion of back-links coming from blog comments can raise red flags with Google.
8. Doorway Pages:
Doorway pages (simple HTML pages that are customized to a few particular keywords and programmed to be visible only to search engines) trick search engines into giving these sites higher rankings. Once clicked on, they lead to a site totally unrelated from the search query. Search engines not only ignore these pages and domains but penalize those using them.
9. Low-Quality/Unresponsive DNS providers:
Site speed is one among many factors that Google takes into account when it is deciding how to rank sites. Using a low quality DNS provider may not only adversely affect your SEO but also increases the chances of spammy content on your website, which could result in you being blacklisted by search engines.
10. Search Engine Submissions:
Search Engine Submissions are a thing of the past. It is not required by search engines and serves no practical purpose. Don’t waste your time on it.
SEO is dynamic and ever-changing:
These are the techniques one must definitely avoid in order to stay in the good books of search engines. However, one must also be aware that search engines constantly change their algorithms and what may seem to be a correct or “White hat SEO” technique today may be classified a black hat technique tomorrow. To give you an idea of how unpredictable it can get, Google runs about 40,000 search evaluations a year and it made 665 changes to its Search Algorithm in 2012 alone. That is almost two changes every day! This makes it increasingly difficult, even for the most competent and expert SEOs to keep track of and to incorporate these changes into their work. So, invest your SEO budget rightly in a value-added long-term SEO strategy and focus on getting a good return on your investment instead of trying to find ways to bypass the system guidelines and get yourself in trouble.
Google and other search engines spend millions of dollars and hire the best brains with the best knowledge in the space to ensure that they provide their visitors with the best search engine results. So remember, just in case you think you’re smart, search engine Bots are a million times smarter. Don’t do SEO just for the sake of doing SEO. Don’t head into Black Hat territory. It’s just not worth the risk.
For information on the right SEO techniques, read our posts on the key aspects of executing an SEO plan and the key takeaways from the Google GDayX-Chennai conclave.
For a discussion on enhancing your website traffic using ethical SEO techniques, you can contact us here
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikimedia Foundation once said “If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.” We stand in an era where no one would deny what Jimmy said. More than 90% of the market share in search engine belongs to Google. With gazillions of data available on the web, how do you get the exact information you’re looking for from the Google search? For example, when you want to look for Jaguar (the animal), the keyword you are likely to enter is “Jaguar.” Wait. Please find below the Google search results for the keyword “Jaguar.”
This conflict between your mind and Google’s search engine can be easily avoided if you master these 10 tips and use it effectively. This will also save your valuable time and optimize your search results.
You get to read a lot of contents online in the form of news articles, blog posts, tutorials, e-books etc. Have you ever found yourself taking a pause in the middle of reading a cover story only because the word or the phrase was so alien to you? In this case, you would either reach out to a pre-installed dictionary software or Google it by randomly choosing a website from the search results page one.
Instead, remember this simple syntax and let Google tell you the definition, origin of the word and synonyms. You can also listen to the pronunciation of the word. Use define: in front of any word to learn the definition of it.
E.g. define: legerdemain
Quotes are very useful if you are looking for something specific on your search results. Imagine this scenario. You remember the title of an article very well, but you vaguely remember the website’s name. Using quotation marks in your search could be really helpful in those cases. Check out the below example where the search for Digital Marketing Trends for India in 2014 without using quotation marks results in a lot of websites suggestions which have these words arranged in any manner.
If you include quotation marks for the same sentence, you get totally different results, the results you desired for. So, if you are looking for a specific phrase and you want only those websites which have the same phrase in the exact order, use quotes to refine your search results.
E.g. “Digital Marketing Trends for India in 2014”
3. File type
Of late, we have been witnessing a lot of religious protests against films leading to censorship by several state governments across India based on the Cinematograph Act. So, you decide to read about it thoroughly to avoid feeling lost in the conversations happening on social media platforms. If you plainly search for “Cinematograph Act” in Google, you’ll get editorials and op-ed columns of popular publications as results.
Instead, use the following syntax to zero in the particular file type you are looking for to read about the topic in-depth. You can search for specific file types by adding the 3-letter abbreviation of the file type. E.g. PDF, PPT, XLS, DOC.
E.g. cinematograph act filetype:pdf
4. Case-sensitive and Punctuation
Please note that Google search is not case-sensitive. If you search for either New Delhi or new delhi, your results will be the same. So, you can stop being conscious to case-sensitive words in Google search.
Search overlooks punctuation too. You can ignore it as well and save time.
This technique is useful for all digital marketers who are researching for competitors in a particular space. It helps to find websites which have similar content. For instance, if you are shopping on Flipkart and want to find out similar e-commerce websites, this tip could help you.
Using the syntax related: followed by the website address will give you websites similar to that in search results.
6. Include or Exclude Words in Search
This trick helps you to include or exclude a specific word in search results. For example, if you want baking recipes with egg as an ingredient, you need to highlight the word Egg by using quotation marks in the search.
To include egg in your baking recipes, the syntax should be baking recipes “egg”
If you are looking for baking recipes without egg, the syntax should be baking recipes -egg
7. Search within a site
Have you ever struggled to find something specific within a website? This syntax could be your solution. For example, if you want to read editorials on The Hindu website and you find that the search box in the website doesn't work. Fret not. Use the syntax site:website to search within a particular website.
E.g. editorials site:thehindu.com
Got an interesting Google search tip? Please share with us in the comments.
With paid advertising getting more expensive by the day, SEO is a critical part of any digital media plan. Not many businesses in India are doing a good job at SEO, which leaves an opportunity for young businesses to capitalise on the growing digital market. So, where does one start? Below are the key aspects of SEO of executing an SEO plan.
1. Pre-work to SEO: The first step is to analyse competition and where one stands relative to them. Importantly, one needs to finalise the target keywords by combining data on (a) focus areas for the business and (b) intensity of competition for those keywords. Google Adwords Keyword Tool it the best way to research relevant keywords. It's a good practise to place some paid ads to test the effectiveness of the keywords. Tools like SEOMOZ are also useful in assessing competition and their strategy.
2: On-page SEO: Once the keywords are finalised, the website needs to be made as informative as possible for the consumer and for search engines. For the search engine, the critical factors are
Search engines value what consumers value - which is, relevant and original content. Professional reviews or reviews from consumers, blogs, articles, case studies will add significant value to a website.
3. Off-page SEO: Given the intense competition, on page SEO is usually not enough to start ranking high. Especially in India, some sectors, such as ecommerce, have seen a lot of off page link building. A link is considered a "vote" by google, about a websites popularity. While it's easy to go for "paid links", the path is very tricky and businesses deploying such strategies have been severely penalised by google in the past. Building links from high quality sources (relevant blogs, mass media, consumer blogs and social media) is a much more viable and long term strategy. Finally, For local businesses, it critical to rank high on Google Places. More about that in a future column.
No discussion on SEO is complete without understanding how search engines rank websites. The key factors they look at are:
SEO continues to be a excellent customer acquisition channel and any business investing in it will see returns in 3-6 months, depending on the competition in the category.