Search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t a buzzword that trends on and off—it’s a concept that continually evolves. The search engine giant, Google, releases new algorithm updates regularly, meaning SEO will always stay relevant.
If you plan on hiring an SEO agency in Singapore – or anywhere else for that matter – to keep your business at the forefront of local search and stay current with SEO trends, you have come to the right place. 2Stallions understands the importance of optimising for the search engines and helps brands garner more visibility online and attract more customers.
Instead of just providing you with the tips for finding the best SEO provider, we gathered everything you should know about search engine optimisation.
In this SEO guide, you will learn:
What Are the Different Types of SEO?
Why Search Engine Optimisation Matters?
When Should You Hire an SEO Agency?
How to Choose the Best SEO Agency?
Your Experience-Powered Ultimate Guide to Reliable SEO Strategies
What Is SEO
At its simplest, SEO is a process of getting your site and web pages to rank higher on search engines, such as Google. It involves a set of practices that help position your site in organic (a.k.a. non-paid) search engine results.
SEO has two main goals: boost your online presence and understand what people search online. It lets you know the user intent, target the right keywords on your website and optimise content for leads and conversions.
Pyramid of SEO Needs
If humans have basic survival needs, websites also follow a hierarchy of needs for SEO fulfilment.
Abraham Maslow designed a theory of motivation that describes five levels of human needs—physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.
Moz, the most trusted SEO company, adopted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and replaced human needs with SEO needs. Named after Maslow’s theory, the “Mozlow Theory” shows the essential SEO requirements every business should meet—crawl accessibility, compelling content, keyword optimised, user experience (UX), snippet and more.
Did you find some of the terms in this SEO guide confusing? We got some bad and good news for you.
The bad news: You’re about to read more unfamiliar or technical vocabulary throughout this article.
The good news: We compiled some of the common SEO terms that you must know to fully understand the nitty-gritty of search engine optimisation.
A – H
- Alt Text – is a contraction of alternative text; it’s a short description of an image on a webpage. Unlike humans, search engines read only the Alt text, not the images themselves.
- Bounce Rate – is the percentage of total visits that didn’t result in a secondary action on your site.
- Click-through rate – is the ratio of impressions to clicks on your URLs.
- Crawling – refers to the process by which search engines discover your web pages.
- Domain – is the name of your website (i.e., www.2stallions.com).
- Google Algorithm – is a system that allows Google to find, rank and return the most relevant pages for a certain search query.
- Google My Business – a free listing where you can add your business location and details on Google.
- Guest blogging – is a link-building strategy where you pitch or publish your content to another website.
- Header Tags – function as indicators in the website or web pages. They break up the content to make it scannable.
- HTML – is the code part of your website that search engines read.
I – N
- Inbound Link – refers to a link from one site to another.
- Indexing – is the process by which search engines store and organise content after crawling
- Intent – describes the purpose of a person’s online search.
- Internal Link – refers to the link from one page to a different page on the same domain.
- Keyword – is a word or phrase that users enter in the search bar.
- Link Building – is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.
- Long Tail Keyword – refers to a keyword with two or more words in the phrase.
- Meta Data – is defined as data providing information about your website.
- Meta Description – is a brief description of the page a user is about to click on; it shows below the title and URL.
- No Follow – is an outbound link that doesn’t pass SEO credit to another site.
O – Z
- Organic – refers to the method of obtaining a natural placement and getting results.
- Page Title – is the name of your webpage seen at the top of your browser window.
- Page Rank – indicates how good your website’s overall SEO is.
- Ranking Factor – is an SEO element that determines your website’s position in the SERPs.
- Schema Markup/Snippet – is a code or semantic vocabulary you place on your website that influences how search engines read your website.
- SEO Traffic – the number of visits to your website.
- SERP – short for search engine results page, it’s a page that comes up when users enter a search query.
- Sitemap – refers to the file that contains all the information about your web pages, videos, and other data on your site.
- Title tag – describes the content of your webpage.
- Thumbnails – image thumbnails are a smaller version of a larger image.
- URL – Uniform Resource Locators are the locations or addresses for individual pieces of content on the web.
How Does SEO Work
Search engines deliver results on the SERPs through three key steps: crawling, indexing, and ranking. Each process plays a crucial role in helping identify the most relevant data to the end-user.
Step 1: Crawling
Search engines use computer programs or web crawlers (a.k.a. spider bots) to find information on the Internet. The bots crawl different web pages, download them, and extract their links to discover additional pages.
Crawling is generally dependent on the following factors:
- PageRank of the URL
- Frequency of changes made in the URL
- Updating period of URL (whether it is an old or new URL)
Step 2: Indexing
Indexing is the process of analysing, storing, and sorting a web page. After the search engine bots crawl a page, they index the relevant information. All of the indexed data is kept in a search index, a database of web pages, which is over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size.
Step 3: Ranking
Once pages are crawled and indexed, search engines decide which pages to show in the SERPs and what order. This process is achieved through the use of ranking algorithms, a set of rules that analyse the user’s intent and what information to return.
Search engines determine ranking by many factors, including page relevancy, quality of content and website, location, domain authority, website speed, and more.
What are the Different Types of SEO?
Search engine optimisation has three main pillars: technical, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Understanding these techniques will help you develop an SEO plan that will drive more targeted traffic to your website and drive up sales.
Before hiring an SEO agency in Singapore, Malaysia, or wherever you’re based, make sure to learn the firm’s practices. Ask for a breakdown of their SEO strategies and corresponding deliverables. This way, you will know if the agency suits your goals and needs.
However, if you have come across a startup that doesn’t have an SEO strategy yet, lay your plan out and discuss with them the things you want to achieve (i.e., build links, improve user experience, create engaging content, etc.).
Below are three main types of SEO:
1. Technical SEO
As the name suggests, technical SEO refers to the technical improvements on your website. It also involves analysis of website backend and server optimisation to maximise your site performance.
Some examples of technical SEO efforts include:
- Improve page loading speed. Site speed is a landing page factor for Google Search and Ads. It’s also one of the signals used by search engines to rank pages. Here are a few ways to increase your page speed:
- reduce page redirects
- leverage browser caching
- improve server response time
- compress the size of your images
- Delete duplicate content. Duplicate content confuses search engines and hurts your website’s ranking. Below are three ways to remove identical content:
- use the canonical tag (rel=canonical) to understand which version of a page is the original
- using a 301 redirect lets you direct traffic from one URL to another
- set passive parameters in Google Search Console
- Adopt a responsive web design. A responsive design looks good on any screen. Since people use different devices to search on the web, be sure that your site adjusts its display to various devices.
- Create an XML sitemap. Submitting a sitemap to the search engines makes your website easily crawled and indexed by spider bots.
2. On-page SEO
Also referred to as on-site optimisation, on-page SEO revolves around optimising all the elements on your website, including title tags, content, internal links, URLs, and more.
Keywords are the core of on-page optimisation. Your web content should include your focus and other related keywords to ensure the search engines lead users to your site.
Boosting the following on-site SEO factors will help you rank higher on SERPs:
- URL. Adding your main keyword to your page URL makes it easier for the search engines to index and understand your web page content.
- Title tag. When you include your primary keyword in the title tag, you get higher chances to increase your site’s crawlability and rank better in search.
- Meta description. Using one of your target keywords in the meta description can raise the click-through rate of your website from a search.
- Headings. Including your main keyword in the H1 tag naturally improves your SERP placement.
- Subheadings. Adding subheadings not only increases the readability of your content but also allows search engines to know what your webpage is all about.
- Image Alt tags. Descriptive texts that include target keywords are likely to be indexed by Google.
- Main Content body. Placing your focus keyword and variations of it throughout the content can help you increase relevant organic search traffic.
3. Off-page SEO
If on-page SEO refers to the actions inside your site, off-page SEO involves elements that your company has no control over. It focuses on off-site ranking signals, such as links and social.
- Link building. Building backlinks is at the heart of off-site optimisation. Getting links from authoritative sites can improve the trust factor of your website. In a Backlink study, it was found that pages with quality backlinks rank higher than those that don’t have any. Here are some effective ways to supercharge your backlinking strategy:
- Broken link building. Finding broken links on a page and recreating the content is one sure-fire technique to build backlinks. Reach out to the webmasters and pitch a piece of content on your site that can replace those broken links.
- Guest posting. Submitting articles to websites that accept blogs is a tried and tested backlinking strategy. Not only does it make your content more accessible, but it also helps you bring in a new audience, drive website traffic, and more.
- Content creation. Creating share-worthy content, such as how-to articles, ultimate guides, and infographics is another way to generate backlinks.
- Social media. Social signals, such as likes and shares, are essential off-page SEO factors. If people talk about or share your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks, the search engines will find your content trustworthy.
Studies also evidenced that social shares aren’t the only signal that impacts organic search rankings. In a research conducted by Larry Kim, WordStream founder, higher social post engagement correlates to higher organic rankings.
This research suggests that promoting your content on social media isn’t enough. You must also keep your social media followers through different approaches, including:
- Organising giveaways
- Mentioning brand enthusiasts
- Initiating conversation with fans
- Replying to comments or mentions
- Write user-generated content pieces
- Connecting content with current events
Bonus: Local SEO
Local SEO is a combination of on-page and off-page optimisation that may help in boosting your local search visibility. Here are a few ways to localise your site:
- Create a dedicated contact page that contains your business name, complete address, email address, and phone number. Embedding a Google maps marker on your homepage also improves your local SEO.
- Localise all your site’s multimedia, including images, videos, and infographics. Hand gestures and symbols can have different meanings in different cultures. Either you use universal visuals or tweak your branding guidelines for various markets.
- Make it easy for users to switch between locations or languages. Translating content, such as product descriptions and services allows you to broaden your reach and increase your conversion rate.
- Optimise for voice search. Most customers run voice searches to locate local businesses. Target long-tail keywords or specific key phrases people speak when doing voice search queries.
- List your business in local directories, such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. This helps expand your target audience, improve your online presence, and build trust with your audience, among other benefits.
Why SEO Is Essential for Your Business
As a business owner, you must treat SEO as an integral part of your digital marketing arsenal. A professional website with well-written content pieces isn’t enough to get you on the first page of SERPs. Your site and its elements should also be SEO-optimised to achieve better results.
Here’s why search engine optimisation is worth the investment:
1. It Helps You Reach More People
The most obvious benefit of SEO is searchability or search visibility. By optimising your site for the search engine, your business can double its traffic and reach more customers online.
Source: Statcounter GlobalStats
Google owns a large portion of the overall search market in Singapore. Being the most visited website not just in Singapore but worldwide, working in the search engine giant’s favour helps deliver your web pages to a relevant audience.
2. It Boosts Your Company’s Reputation
SEO connects a link between discoverability and credibility. If your site ranks high on the SERPs, the search engines automatically mark your site as a credible resource. In short, the more authoritative your website is, the more customers you can earn from organic search.
However, there’s no shortcut to building trust and credibility. It requires optimisation efforts and will take a few months to achieve your desired results. A few things that can improve your site’s authority include:
- Build valuable links from authoritative sites
- Promote your content on your social media profiles
- Make sure your site provides a great user experience
- Leverage other on-page, off-page & technical SEO techniques
3. It Lets You Understand Your Customers
Understanding your customers and their needs is the key to a successful business. Thanks to SEO analytics, it’s easier to market your products or services and tailor your content to a specific group of people.
One of the most popular analytics tools is Google Analytics (GA). This platform provides site-specific metrics that can help you gain insights into the user experience across your website.
Under GA’s Audience section, you can explore data about your site visitors, including their demographics, interests, geographic information, behaviour, technology, and mobile.
Here are the things covered in each report:
Demographics – shows the age and gender of users.
Interests – gives a breakdown of users’ interests.
Geo – provides details on your audience languages and locations.
Behaviour – shows the number of new and returning users, frequency and recency of sessions, and session duration.
Technology – reports on users’ browsers and operating system (OS), and network
Mobile – shows the type of device (i.e., desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.) visitors use.
4. It Allows You to Track & Quantify Results
Google Analytics isn’t limited to understanding your customers; it also lets you delve deeper into the performance of your web pages.
In the Acquisition section, you can get a visual picture of where your traffic comes from—whether through organic search, direct, referral, and social. The report will also show the number of users, sessions, bounce rate, and conversions.
GA’s Behaviour report, on the other hand, provides data on your visitor’s actions. It tells you what page users visit, what path visitors take, how long they stay on a page, and the other actions they take on specific pages, among other things.
Not only that, but you can also gauge the individual performance of your web pages via the Site Content report.
5. It Gives You a Competitive Advantage
With all the capabilities of SEO—from widening your reach to boosting your credibility, understanding your customers, and tracking results, your business can gain a competitive advantage.
The data you collect from knowing your customer base, for example, allows you to provide a better user experience. You can also use the quantifiable results to improve your SEO strategy and tailor your content according to your visitors’ behaviours and needs.
Moreover, having an optimised website brings you quality traffic and improves user engagement rates. You’re more likely to match searchers’ intent, gain qualified leads, and convert those leads into sales.
When Should You Seek SEO Help?
Competition in the digital world is fierce. While you can learn search engine optimisation yourself, SEO experts still know the best practices.
There are many signs—some you know, and some that you ignore—that prove hiring an SEO agency is a worthy decision. If you’re experiencing any of them, it’s about time to seek SEO help.
1. Your Website Isn’t Getting Much Traffic.
Organic website traffic is an essential ranking factor. It’s impossible to position your site on the web if it has little-to-no search traffic. Low traffic web pages have a slim chance of ranking high in the search engines.
2. Your Website Doesn’t Appear in the SERPs.
The main purpose of your website is to turn visitors into prospects. However, how can you drive traffic to your site if it doesn’t appear on the search engine results pages? Your business should be more discoverable—and 2Stallions can help you achieve just that.
3. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Responsive.
A website that doesn’t adjust on small screens is one of the many SEO red flags. Around 53% per cent of all web traffic came through mobile phones. You’re losing a large proportion of traffic if you don’t make your site mobile responsive.
4. Your Website Has Technical Issues.
Technical issues, such as duplicate content, low page speed, or poor crawlability, negatively impacts your website’s searchability. 2Stallions can help fix these technical SEO issues and get you on the first page of search results.
5. Your Website Has Poor User Experience.
Providing a rich user experience improves your organic search performance. If your site falls short on UX factors, including navigation, functionality, visual design, and overall usability, all your campaigns are only doomed to fail.
How to Select the Best SEO Partner
Choosing a good SEO company takes time and research. You must take several things into account to ensure your business is in the right hands.
Here are a few tips for hiring an SEO agency:
1. Know Who You Will Be Working With
When entering a business relationship, you must know who you will be working with. Evaluate the firm’s reputation and assess whether its goals match yours.
If possible, meet the agency face-to-face or virtually. Prepare a list of questions for your meet-and-greet. Examples of the question you may ask are:
- What will our partnership look like?
- How often will we be having meetings?
- What specific metrics define “success” for you?
- Do you have relevant experience in our industry?
- Do you currently work with our competitors?
- How long has your company been around?
- How much do your SEO services cost?
- Who will lead the project, and how much experience do they have?
Asking these questions stimulates discussion. Not only does it help you learn about your prospective agency, it also aids in deciding if it’s the right fit.
2. Examine their SEO Knowledge & Processes
A little background check isn’t enough to ensure you’re investing your money with a reliable SEO services provider. You should also dive deeper into the company’s knowledge and processes.
When you meet with your prospective agency, it also helps to ask questions that can justify their experience in the field. Here’s a list of questions that will help give a clearer picture of how skilled an SEO agency is:
- What types of SEO strategies do you implement for your clients?
- How will you adapt the strategy to our niche?
- What monthly deliverables can I expect from your team?
- How do you conduct keyword research?
- What tools do you use?
- How do you measure campaign results and report on them?
- What are the most significant metrics you track?
- How long will it take to see results?
3. Measure the Agency’s Performance & Results
The last step to choosing an SEO partner is looking at their past performance and established relationships. Request a copy of their previous works or case studies to evaluate their firm, and ask about their achievements, like industry awards.
Aside from knowing the agency’s expertise from them directly, it also helps to ask past or current clients about the relationship they have with the agency. You could also ask some questions to learn about their relevant experience:
- How fast does the agency return emails or calls?
- Did you receive a dedicated point-of-contact?
- Did the firm help your business drive meaningful results?
- How much time did you set aside to review reports and strategy decisions?
Are you serious about driving traffic and making your website more search-engine friendly? If so, begin with the basics.
While hiring an SEO agency can better help potential clients to find you online, you also play an integral part in the process. Equip yourself with working SEO knowledge. From then, you can pick the right SEO services provider for your business.
As a full-service digital marketing agency, 2Stallions helps brands maximise their online presence. We offer a suite of services designed to support every company’s digital endeavours.
Get to know more about our award-winning team and services here.