Cattle Dog Digital

SEO Foundations for Page 1 Ranking

A Quick SEO Guide.

by Alice Buckley

March 8, 2022

It’s time to rank well. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a difficult technique to master, but that’s not to say it isn’t achievable. There is some sort of checklist to follow when it is time to strengthen your company’s digital back-bone, and it goes something like this:

  1. Research and organise keywords
  2. Conduct an on-page SEO audit and optimise
  3. Conduct an off-page SEO audit and optimise
  4. Keep track and continuously improve
Cattle Dog Digital Blog SEO Set Up For Success
SEO Optimisation Process
(Must-Have) SEO Tools

Throughout these steps, there are some really valuable tools that can be used to make your life a whole lot easier.

  • SemRush is a really useful tool with a heap of data (such as keyword rankings, keyword analytics, website traffic, backlinks, website visitor engagement, online advertising: creatives, positions & keywords, global databases, desktop and mobile traffic data) that you can pull from any website. The layout is super straightforward yet detailed which makes digesting data doable (and satisfying). They offer a 14 day free trial which is useful to kickstart your SEO journey, but paying for a subscription will most definitely be needed (and worth it) to keep you in front of your high ranking competitors. 
  • Mozbar is a Google Chrome extension that is a must in determining a website’s DA (domain authority) – don’t be alarmed, I will explain this later on!
  • ScreamingFrog is another website which is particularly great when it comes to conducting an SEO audit. It is a wonderful website crawler that helps you improve onsite SEO, by extracting data & auditing for common SEO issues. 

In fighting the battle to rank above competitors, there are various aspects which Google considers. Take a look at this graph to have a sneak peak towards the key factors in determining your rank in Google…

SEO Rank graphic for google
SEO Ranking Graphic

 Source: Revamped version provided by Udemy ‘The Ultimate SEO Training 2022 + SEO for WordPress Websites’

SEO Keywords

Okay now let’s get stuck into it. 

Keywords are fundamental to SEO. They are the salt to the pepper, the butter to the bread. Keywords are what really make you rank highly in Google searches. Keyword research is vital, as picking and prioritising the right keywords make your website’s content stand out. 

How do you research keywords? 

  1. It is time to sign up for SemRush, where you can enter a competitor’s website URL to view the top organic keywords. 
  2. Exporting the data is the next step so you can view the detail of each keyword eg. the search volume. 
  3. Another way to research is searching a keyword directly into SemRush so you can view the success of that keyword and other associated variations. It is important to note that exporting the data into a spreadsheet is an absolute hack. 

It is best to keep all data organised eg. deleting duplicates, so that you can really dissect and analyse what keywords are most beneficial to incorporate into your content, eg. deleting irrelevant or unsuccessful keywords.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO! I’m talking URLs, title tags, page titles, headings and content. An SEO audit is an essential step, and that is simply because, to move forward in strengthening the backbone of your website, you must know where you need to improve and make changes. An on-page SEO audit allows you to ensure your website has a strong foundation. To do so, hop onto ScreamingFrog.com and paste your website’s URL and press start. Let the frog do it’s thing and all your data will load. You can alter the visualisations of the data overview to suit you, personally for me the ‘click crawl tree graph’ is the best. Then, it’s time to hone into the different sections of data – page titles, meta descriptions and headings. Move to each section and export the data into a spreadsheet, then analyse…

  • Make sure your URL is simple, short and doesn’t repeat words. 
  • Your SEO title tag is important to consider too- make sure the keyword is at the front of the tag, is under 60 characters and is very engaging. 
  • The page title is not the same as the title tag! Make the page titles and headers short and sharp. 
  • Be sure to add image alt text – a description of what the image is about. 
  • Blogs are your best friend. This is your chance to offer google proof that your website is relevant and beneficial to users. Make sure that you use your keyword research when making all of these text decisions.
Technical SEO

Other technical on-page SEO involves increasing the speed of your website, increasing user experience and problem shooting error and redirect pages. Websites with high speed results in a higher search rank – the magic number is 3 seconds. You can use GTMetrix to see your websites load time, which will allow you to assess whether you need to reduce HTTP requests, reduce image sizes, minify javascript and CSS files or to use a cache plugin to speed up the website. As well, UX is a major component which enhances the rank of a website. A responsive web design, simple navigation, rich media and content that matches a consumer’s search intent are all factors which contribute to high search ranking. Finally, a website must not have any 404 or 301 pages. To find out whether there are any 404 or 301 pages on your website, it is best to jump onto ScreamingFrog. Once you have plugged in your website’s URL, move up to the ‘visualisations’ tab and click ‘crawl tree graph’. Your website’s link tree will be provided, and from there you will be able to pinpoint all the unwanted pages which are highlighted in red.  

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is a little bit more tricky, but once you have engaged in deep research, it can be the most powerful ‘vote of confidence’ to rank your website higher in Google. A backlink is the main aspect of off-page SEO. It is an external link on another site to your own site, that builds power, trust and relevance. Again, move to SemRush to find out how many backlinks your website currently has. Enter your URL and click on backlinks. If the website’s domain authority (which is a metric used for measuring a domain’s or webpage’s overall quality and SEO performance) is higher than 25 and has less than 50 referring domains, it is a worthwhile backlink. 

Your website doesn’t have many backlinks? It is time to get that ball rolling… and there are a few ways to do this. In Google, you can search a keyword followed by ‘submit a guest post’ to reach out to reputable websites to feature your blog or link to your website. These websites can also be found by searching competitors’ backlinks in SemRush. This is the most effective technique, however other strategies include forum link building by engaging in conversations on relevant forums, regular blog commenting or broken link building. 

It is vital to understand that SEO is an ongoing project and must be continuously monitored for optimisation. SEO is an ongoing investment that must be resourced properly – it’s not a one-hit, one phase paradigm. 

Remember that no website can stand without a strong back-bone. 

  

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