After being active in the New Zealand market for nearly 12 months it has become apparent that NZ is not “up to play” with what Search Engine Optimisation or SEO, actually is.
Many businesses that I have come in contact with are still under the impression that SEO is a form for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or that it falls under the umbrella of Pay Per Click (PPC) Google AdWords or Bing Ads Marketing, but this is not the case.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) within New Zealand is not dissimilar to the Australian market in terms of what a website must contain to ensure it is “Google Friendly”. Google is constantly looking for pages that contain high quality, relevant information. The key difference can be industry markets and what authority sites are available to refer your website or give your site a vote of confidence.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is an integral component of your business, ensuring your website is found in the Search Engines unpaid or Organic results. There are many different types of SEO: Image, Video, Educational, Local search, just to name a few.
SEO requires the knowledge of how search engines display results for key words that are used, these are often referred to as an Algorithm.
The optimisation is based around “key phrases”, “key words” or “search terms”. If a business was looking for an SEO Company in Auckland – their search term or key phrase may be “SEO Auckland” – This primary term then is made to be the foundation of marketing for SEO companies that are based in Auckland.
There are two key areas for a SEO campaign: Onsite and Offsite.
Onsite SEO optimises your website on your domain – Everything ‘Onsite’
Offsite SEO builds authority and is the process of gaining backlinks
This is what occurs to the physical layout of your website. Any changes that are made to the site via its Content Management System (CMS) are classed as Onsite work, these include – but are not limited to:
Meta Tags and Titles:
The removal of meta-tags are now common practice, as is updating your Titles to include your targeted key phrase and Meta descriptions to have a sales influence implemented.
Content or Web Copy
Each target page needs to have relevant content, including the targeted key phrases at a certain keyword density – depending on your industry. All duplicate content needs to be removed from the site. Duplication includes all Heading Tags (H1, H2 etc) Meta Titles and Descriptions, HTML coding and web-copy or website content. It has become essential for your site to carry only fresh and unique content, otherwise the Panda Algorithm update will catch up and penalise your site.
Use this tool to learn how to check for duplicate content
www. Or Non-www
301 Redirection needs to be implemented to ensure only one copy of your website is crawled by the search engines. Web Master Tools (WMT) holds the keys to the kingdom with this onsite strategy. Alternatively called Canonical URL‘s. Once you have logged into WMT you can select either www or non www to be the preferred url of choice. The other will be redirected through to the preferred domain name. This elements duplicate copy of the website.
As Google and Bings Algorithms become tighter; page speed has now become an essential element in any Search Engine Optimisation campaign. Look at your image sizing, html text copy and any other media that may be hindering your page speed. Optimising as many as you can will ensure your page load speed will be as quick as possible.
Google Developers recommend their own tool to check your sites Page Speed Insights.
Your robots.txt file is critical in allowing access of your site to the search engines. This will also allow you to block your site from being crawled, which helps when in development or you do not want it visible within the search results.
XML & HTML Sitemaps
Exactly as it reads. It gives the search engines a map of your site so it is easily navigated – XML for Web Master Tools and HTML to be inserted to your footer if available.
Broken Link & Correct URL parameters.
Removing all 404 errors and redirecting these through to correct pages has become fundamental in all SEO marketing. When Google or Bing encounters a 404 or a broken link, it confuses the engine and flags that the particular URL is an incomplete path or a dead end – which ultimately counts against you.
Check your 404’s or broken links with this tool
Having correct URL parameters helps the search engines easily navigate your site – Warning: Do not change these if you are not savvy with your website.
The offsite SEO component covers activity that happens away from your business website, but refers back to it – these are called links or backlinks. It is critical that when running a SEO campaign that the Offsite work continues regularly throughout the campaign. Every link that points to your site from an external website passes a certain amount of ‘Link Juice’ – this is basically a vote of confidence from the public which strengthens your domain authority. Another term for this is Authority Building. The more votes or Links that you receive from industry specific sites increases your sites prominence in the search results, but remember: Quality over Quantity
5 Link Building rules to stick to:
- Always keep website traffic at the forefront of your thoughts
- Execute a wide variety portfolio of links back to your site
- Anchor text diversity is essential
- Site wide links are no good – stay away!
- Don’t ever spam from cheap, bulk link sites
In essence the best way to explain what type of links your site needs is simple:
- They need to come from a relevant industry site
- They need to be contextual – not just a hyperlink on a blog comment
- All need to be themed to your products or services
- Source these from High Quality sites
Do not Buy links unless it is clear that they are paid, like sponsorship:
“Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process and technique of making sure your website is Search Engine friendly and continues to build authority in your specific industry. This will ensure your site is in the best possible position to rank highly on Google or Bing.” – Sean M Clancy