SEO is one of the pillars of digital marketing, and SEO itself is already a vast field to understand and know about. Many people get overwhelmed, especially beginners, by the tons of information they have to take in and digest. This article will help beginners start with their SEO journey.
Like any other industry, including digital marketing has a lot of jargon. It is crucial for people venturing into SEO to learn more about them and understand their meanings.
What Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a process or set of practices to improve the quality and quantity of organic website traffic to your website, increasing its visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
What Is a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?
The search engine results page (SERP) is the page that appears after you submit or enter your search query on search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo. The SERP will display the best relevant articles that answer the inquiry.
You can think of a SERP as a newspaper, one of the mediums for traditional marketing. The best ad placement for the newspaper is the top half of the newspaper’s front page. This position has the best exposure to readers and non-readers.
Similarly, digital marketers’ goal is to place their articles at the top of the first SERP where they can get the most exposure on the internet.
Paid Search Results VS Organic Search Results
Search results can be divided into two categories: organic search results and paid search results. Digital marketers can top SERPs with these two.
- Paid Search Results
Paid search results are ads or articles paid for by brands and businesses to top on the SERP. It is the strategy of SEM (search engine marketing), the counterpart of SEO. An ‘Ad’ icon before the link of the article indicates that the search result is a paid search result.
Paid search results use the pay-per-click (PPC) model. Since paid search results typically appear as the top answer for the search query, it has a high clickthrough rate. In PPC, the brand pays a fee for every click the paid search results article gets.
- Organic Search Results
Organic search results are the opposite of paid ones. It means the articles or listings top the SERP without payment. But this only happens when the brand uses consistent and effective SEO strategies.
The 3 Types Of SEO
Ranking organic search results on Google, Bing, and Yahoo is not easy. Marketers use SEO services in Singapore to make this possible. As mentioned, the goal of SEO is to optimise the website using a set of practices to increase traffic and eventually improve its ranking on SERP.
SEO has three main types or sets of practices: technical, on-page, and off-page.
- Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to the sets of practices that optimise the technical side of a website and its structure to rank high on SERPs. Technical SEO has five foundations that the best SEO company in Singapore should pay attention to:
Crawlability refers to the ability of search engines to crawl or access the content of your website. Search engines release crawlers or bots to access website content. Basically, the easier search engines can crawl on your website; the higher your page can rank on SERP.
Once the crawlers or bots access your website, thanks to its crawlability, they will begin to index or analyse and process all the information on your website content. Hence, search engines will know which of your website content will appear on specific search queries.
Think of renderability as making a movie. The person must stitch hundreds or thousands of five-second to one-minute-long videos together in the correct sequence to produce a two-hour film. Otherwise, these sets of videos will not make sense at all.
It is the same with renderability in technical SEO. Search engine bots will interpret or analyse the sets of website codes in order to render the website page and understand its content. Issues with website coding make it harder for the search engine to understand your website.
Rankability is interconnected with on-page and off-page SEO strategies. For example, backlinking and internal linking are parts of on-page and off-page SEO, but from a technical SEO lens, these links help the crawlers or bots understand and give context to your website page. As mentioned, the more understandable your website is, the higher it will rank on SERP.
Clickability refers to how clickable your website pages are to the target users. It all depends on several elements, including star ratings, product information, videos, and images.
- On-Page SEO
If technical SEO is more on optimising the website structure, on-page SEO focuses on the elements of the web page, including its content for search engines and internet users. Its goal is to make the website rank higher on SERP and gain more organic traffic. There are times when on-page SEO and technical SEO overlap each other.
On-page SEO has several foundations on which SEO services in Singapore are based.
- Content creation
Content is one of the backbones of on-page SEO. Content is a piece of information you can find on the internet; it could be blog articles, images, videos, and podcasts. Therefore, SEO content is content optimised to drive search engine traffic. On-page SEO content is content published within your website.
The quality also matters for content creation. The content must be reliable, trustworthy, and unique. Search engines can detect whether or not the content is plagiarised or copied from other websites.
As mentioned, content should be optimised to drive search engine traffic, and it is impossible without keywords. Keywords are common words or phrases people use for their search queries. There are two types of keywords: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are search terms composed of not more than three words. Among the examples of short-tail keywords are ‘chocolate cake recipe’ and ‘SEO pricing Singapore‘.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are search terms with more than three words, such as ‘best cat litter sand in Singapore’ or ‘affordable service apartments near me’.
Using keywords for the content is crucial because it helps the search engine to identify what your content is about. The more frequent the keywords appear on your content, the more relevant the content will be as perceived by the search engines. Hence, it has more chances to appear on SERPs.
For example, if your content is about wooden furniture maintenance and the article mentions the keywords coffee table a few times; the article may appear in the coffee table search queries on search engines.
However, the best SEO company in Singapore does not use random keywords. They conduct keyword research to identify specific short-tailed and long-tailed keywords that may help optimise content and drive organic traffic.
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
When you submit the keywords ‘how to clean an air purifier,’ on your search query on Google, you will see the clickable title tags of all search results in blue and in a much bigger font size. Meanwhile, below the title tags are brief descriptions of what the article is all about. These are called meta descriptions.
Title tags and meta descriptions are crucial in driving traffic to your website. If the users think your title tags and meta descriptions are not click-worthy, your website has lost potential traffic.
The best SEO company in Singapore must use exceptional and optimised title tags and meta descriptions. They can do it by using keywords and power words that capture attention on the title tags and meta descriptions and ensuring proper format.
- Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is a set of practices that are implemented outside your website, as opposed to on-page SEO. It can be on social media or another website on the internet. Like the first two types of SEO, off-page SEO’s goal is to gain organic website traffic that will help rank the website on SERP.
These are the foundations of off-page SEO:
- Content creation
Similar to on-page SEO, off-page SEO also rely on optimised and quality content; however, the only difference is the publishing place of the content. In on-page SEO, the content is published within the website. Whereas off-page, the content is published on another platform or website.
One perfect example of off-page SEO content creation is guest blogging or posting. In a guest posting, the brand can write content that will be published on a different website, which is usually in the same industry as the brand. The brand then becomes a guest blogger or poster.
But similar to on-page, off-page SEO content can use keywords for article optimisation.
- Link building
If off-page content is produced outside the website, how will it drive traffic to the website? The answer is link-building. Articles, whether off-page or on-page, have keywords with clickable links within the content. When clicked, the links will drive you to another web page.
Many SEO services in Singapore use link-building tactics in their content. As they produce articles for other websites, they will embed links on the content that will drive users to the website.
But sometimes, there are websites that hyperlink your website page without your knowledge of their content. It happens a lot to studies and research used as data resources for the article. If a website embeds your blog link to its article, it only means that your content is high-quality and link-worthy.
White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO
Now that you know the technical, off-page, and on-page SEO practices and foundations, it is time to learn when to use them correctly. Believe it or not, there are ethical and not ethical ways to use these tactics.
SEO techniques can also be divided into two categories: white hat SEO and black hat SEO.
- White Hat SEO
Search engines, such as Google and Bing, implement SEO guidelines. From time to time, Google’s guidelines update and evolve to ensure they can deliver the best results to the users.
White hat SEO abides by these guidelines in order to preserve a better and high-quality user experience. The fundamental tactics would be using keywords properly, producing high-quality content, ensuring the crawlability and indexability of the website, and more.
Abiding by the guidelines is also an unspoken principle of SEO services in Singapore. However, since not all SEO tactics deliver quick and guaranteed results, some use SEO techniques deemed unethical by not only the industry but search engines as well.
- Black Hat SEO
These unethical SEO tactics are called black hat SEO. Black hat SEO still follows the fundamentals of SEO; however, it tries to trick search engines.
Here are a few examples of black hat SEO tactics.
- Hidden texts
Some people try to hide text by using text colours the same as the background. These texts are usually keywords and random words to meet the ideal keyword mention frequency and word count.
- Hidden links
Similar to hidden texts, hidden links camouflage the web page’s background colour. In SEO, the more backlinks you have from websites, the more you become authoritative as perceived by search engines. Thus, some people stuff their off-page content with hidden links that drive people to their websites.
- Keywords stuffing
The person stuffs their articles with keywords that are irrelevant to the context or topic of the article.
- Sneaky Redirects
Sneaky redirects mean embedding a link different from what the keyword is about. For example, if the content hyperlinks the words ‘World Health Organisation’ while discussing cancer rates, the reader may assume that the link will bring them to the WHO cancer report. However, sneaky links will redirect users to other websites irrelevant to the context of the article.
3 Consequences of Black Hat SEO
Tricking search engines, such as Google, is not worth it because of these consequences:
- Delisted website
Google will remove your website’s indices and delist it entirely from the search engine if caught practising black hat SEO.
- Algorithm updates
Search engines will update their algorithms to patch up the loophole you have taken advantage of in the system. Therefore, your website’s ranking will decrease significantly.
- Short-term success
Your website’s fraudulent activities will only bear short-term success due to the decreased user experience in the website and upgrades in the search engine algorithms.
DIY SEO vs SEO Services
Generally, brands and companies hire SEO services in Singapore or build their in-house SEO team to implement SEO strategies on their websites. Others tend to plan and roll out their SEO strategies themselves. It is not a terrible option as well. There are a plethora of modules, free SEO courses, and tutorials on the internet.
But which is better? DIY SEO or SEO services?
- SEO TOOLS
SEO involves a lot of tools, such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, MozBar and so on. These tools have different purposes as well. Some are for keyword research, while others are for backlink audits.
The best SEO company in Singapore has a team of experts in using these tools. They have access to various tools as well. The brands can ensure that the SEO strategies are data-backed, thanks to this software and applications.
However, the variation of tools also affects the SEO services cost in Singapore.
People studying SEO can use these tools as well; however, they must know how to use them properly and utilise their features for their keyword strategies. They also have to pay for the monthly or yearly subscription as well.
As mentioned, SEO services in Singapore have a team of experts, from SEO specialists to keyword researchers and SEO writers. Hiring an agency will give you access to these experts.
It is a bonus point that these experts have worked with other companies in the same industry as yours, giving them loads of experience on their shoulders.
SEO is a vast field. Besides having in-depth knowledge in technical, off-page, and on-page SEO, you also have to master various SEO tools and keep up with the algorithm updates. In addition, trends in digital marketing evolve fast. It can be tough for someone handling all the aspects of SEO.
SEO service pricing in Singapore varies depending on the package coverage and the provider’s rate. Well-known SEO companies and agencies may have expensive services, while smaller ones can be more affordable.
Although it is not 100% guaranteed, you can expect a significant ROI with SEO services. However, be extra careful with too-good-to-be-true offers from dubious agencies. There is a high chance they are incorporating black hat SEO.
Besides the heavy-duty laptop or desktop, people practising SEO should also invest in SEO subscriptions. Paid SEO courses for learning are also included in the expenses. Moreover, you also invest time and effort to ensure stable and consistent SEO strategy implementation.
Now that you know what SEO is, its primary types (technical, on-page, and off-page SEO) can improve your website’s ranking on organic SERPs, and how black hat SEO can destroy your website, it is time for you to kickstart your website’s SEO journey.
Ezraela Eco is a content writer at OOm. She mostly writes about digital marketing and SEO topics, but what Ezraela enjoys writing about the most are health-related topics— a manifestation of a frustrated biology major. In her free time, Ezraela likes to read, play mobile games, and browse Twitter.