A lot of people have the wrong idea about SEO marketing…
They think that there is one type of SEO, and that is simply putting a few keywords into their copy.
There are quite a lot of different types of SEO
In fact, SEO is a multifaceted digital marketing phenomenon. Each type of SEO brings with it unique value that can propel your brand to new heights.
The best part about SEO is that you don’t need to set a budget over and above paying whomever is implementing your SEO. This is because, unlike paid advertising, SEO is organic – meaning that you are rewarded for optimal and valuable content alone.
In contrast, paid advertising combines how well your advertisement is designed with how much you’re willing to pay to have your advertisement featured.
The benefits of good SEO
The beauty of SEO is that if your content is incredible, and well-optimised, you can totally beat bigger-name brands and race to the top. In comparison, paid advertising will reward the big guy for having more money – meaning he can be featured more for the same keyword group than you.
Don’t misunderstand these comparisons as a shunning of paid advertising. In fact, optimal digital marketing strategy combines paid advertising and the different types of SEO to form a more holistic marketing strategy. After all, paid advertising and SEO each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
The different types of SEO each do something unique for your marketing efforts, and ultimately work best when implemented together.
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Without any further ado, let’s get straight into the different types of SEO.
#1 Types of SEO: Keyword Research
Before you can begin any actual optimisation, you need to know what you’re optimising for.
Keyword research is a type of SEO that is often rushed, or ignored completely, by people looking to optimise their resources for search engines. This is often down to believing that you already understand your market, what they’re searching for, and what they want to know.
You usually don’t.
At least, you probably don’t have enough knowledge of your entire target audience to wing it.
There’s no doubt that you probably have fantastic knowledge of your field. For example, if you’re a barista or coffee brand, you have good knowledge of coffee – how to make it, what kinds suit different moods etc.
Here’s the thing: that’s not why you should do keyword research.
Keyword research isn’t about your field. It’s about what people want to know about your field. You are one person, or a small group of people – don’t assume you understand your target audience better than they know themselves.
So how do you find this out?
Keyword Research Tools
There are a variety of tools out there, but the most popular is Google Keyword Planner – an extra tool attached to Google AdWords. Google Keyword Planner allows you type in a keyword and get suggestions of other keywords that you could target.
Google Keyword Planner is primarily designed for paid advertising, which is why it provides statistics such as recommended bid amounts. However, it provides a variety of statistics that are hugely beneficial to SEO efforts too, such as the number of searches each keyword or phrase gets per month.
Keyword research is a specific type of SEO tactic that feeds into all of the others. Once you know what people are searching for, and what information or offerings they’re craving, you can service their needs and desires with other types of SEO that are focused on implementation.
#2 Types of SEO: Website Optimisation
Your website is the base for all of your digital marketing efforts. You want to drive traffic to your site, and then get prospects to convert repeatedly.
Your website is one of the most versatile tools in your digital marketing efforts. Once people are on it, it is the element on which all of your other digital marketing strategies are implemented. Everything from top-of-funnel content articles to ecommerce at the bottom of the funnel is hosted on this one platform.
With all of this functionality, it’s easy for forget another benefit of a well-designed website:
It’s one of the most effective types of SEO around.
When people think of SEO, the first thought that comes to mind is often keywords being stuffed into articles, sales pages, home pages and landing pages. Of course, putting keywords in copy is an effective type of SEO (and we will discuss it later), but a well-designed website is crucial in your bid to shoot up the search engines.
Website optimisation is particularly important in these areas if you’re hoping to improve your SEO:
- A fast website will score better in search results than a site that takes forever to load. This is part of search engines’ goal of ensuring that the user is provided the most beneficial results – if the website takes forever to load, the user’s experience is diminished.
- Mobile Functionality is incredibly crucial. Google uses a mobile-first indexing algorithm, which means that having a poor mobile version of your website will heavily hurt your SEO efforts. Google has also said that they prefer responsively-designed websites over mobi sites. All of this means that you should ensure that your website is easy to use on mobile devices like cell phones and tablets.
- Optimal Domain Names can improve your SEO through two main ways.
Firstly, having a .com URL gives more authority to your website in the eyes of search engines.
Secondly, using formatting like abc.com/content is better than abc.content.com. This is why you almost never see the latter.
Finally, it is less important than before to have a keyword in your domain name; rather prioritise a name that is memorable and will resonate with your target audience.
Here are some of the key website assets to prioritise with this type of SEO.
- Page Titles are important at the best of times but are particularly crucial for SEO purposes. They should, if possible, contain your most important keyword.
- Sitemaps make it easier for search engines to index your website, and as a result will make it easier for your pages to feature in results.
- Alt Text is text that is attached to images in the website’s code. Not only does this allow blind users to know what the image is of, but it also informs the search engine what the picture is about. The more the search engine knows, the more likely it is to prioritise your content.
Outside of the technical tweaks, your first priority should be ensuring that your website is easy to use and invites your audience to spend lots of time on multiple webpages. The ultimate goal of search engines is to find the websites and pages that serve the searcher’s needs best – if you can give them a fantastic experience, Google will reward you.
#3 Types of SEO: SEO-Optimised Content
Content marketing is continuing to pave its way in the digital marketing landscape. As the popular saying goes, ‘content is king.’
Here’s the question – is your king effective at ruling his kingdom?
Content optimisation is perhaps the most commonly-known type of SEO. It involves crafting content that features high in search results.
According to imforza.com, 18% of organic Google clicks go to the 1st search result, 10% to 2nd, and 7% to 3rd. This shows that it’s not enough being on page 1; you also need to feature high up on the first page to get more clicks through.
So how do you do it?
First things first. The single most important thing you can do is create awesome content that your audience will find useful, entertaining, or otherwise beneficial. More specifically, you need to give them what they’re looking for.
Successfully achieving this better than anyone else is the first, and most crucial, step to featuring high up on Google. Get this right and a lot of the other stuff becomes much easier.
Beyond this, there are other specific things you need to do to execute this type of SEO effectively.
Firstly, you need to choose which keywords you’re going to target. If you haven’t done your keyword research, don’t begin writing your content. Your keywords are the driving force behind your content, and your every effort should be put into targeting them effectively.
Once you have these keywords, you need to work out which one is your primary keyword. Your primary keyword is your first priority and should feature 8-15 times in a 2500-3000 word article. Your primary goal is placing highly for this keyword.
You shouldn’t write content with just one keyword in mind, however. You should have other secondary keywords that you also keep in mind when creating content. This ensures that you can potentially feature for multiple keywords. These secondary keywords only need to be included once or twice, and their primary job is actually to show that your content covers everything the reader wants to know.
There is, however, a significant caveat to the concept of putting keywords into your content. Ensure that you only insert keywords where it feels natural. The phenomenon known as keyword stuffing is something that you should avoid at all costs. Keyword stuffing involves putting keywords everywhere – even when it feels forced and uncomfortable. Take, for example, this fictitious blurb.
Johnny’s Plumbing Service is the best plumbing service out of all plumbers in Cape Town. Our plumbing service will ensure that your plumbing is fixed ASAP by our plumbers. If you’re looking for a plumbing service, call us!
Clearly, this is an unnatural paragraph, and it’s obvious that whomever wrote it is trying to get certain plumbing-related keywords into the copy as many times as coffee.
Beyond the fact that search engines can recognise keyword stuffing, it’ll hurt your SEO in other ways. Part of the SEO calculation involves tracking how long people are staying on your website. If you’re stuffing your content with keywords and making it horrible to read, people will leave your posts and pages sooner. This, in turn, will ultimately hurt your SEO in the long run.
The general rule of thumb is to make your content as beneficial as possible for the reader. Prioritise your audience first, and SEO second. Keywords should be implemented in a way that isn’t noticeable – allowing you the best of both worlds.
The benefit of backlinks
Another type of SEO implementation within content marketing is the collection of backlinks. Search engines want to know whether other websites and people agree with your content. As a result, when other entities link back to your website, your SEO power is boosted. The more links back to your content, the better. That said, certain links will be worth more than others. Rather than trying to understand Google’s complex algorithms, keep it simple: Get as many reputable websites to link back to your content as you can.
Don’t be shy to ask people to link back to your content. If you’ve extended upon someone’s content, and have linked to them in the process, you should send them an email, asking them if they’d be willing to return the link. Invariably, a useful way of getting links is to do a link swap.
The temptation may arise to ‘buy’ links from dodgy websites or entities. Don’t succumb to this, as you probably will be caught out, and can risk being completely de-indexed by search engines. Beyond that, it’s simply unethical.
Finally, you should consider using title tags for your content pieces. These tags are seen by search engines specifically as a title, and so are granted extra SEO weight. Platforms like WordPress do this by default when you write your title for your post.
#4 Types of SEO: Site Audit
A site audit is one of the more complicated types of SEO. There are a host of Google Tools that you can use, but ultimately you would be best served getting a specialist to do a site audit for you.
Generally, the more complicated your website, the more time consuming a site audit will be.
They also come in different forms or can be combined to form one huge audit.
Examples of audit types include:
- Security Audits ensure that your website is safe from vulnerabilities and threats.
- Site Health Audits check whether your site is generally functionally efficiently. For example, traffic levels will be checked to see that something hasn’t gone wrong.
- Competition Audits will check what your opponents are doing, what you’re doing, who is coming out ahead, and where you can surge ahead relative to your competition.
It may be tempting to use some of the free software available that claims to do a general site audit. They may give you a score, or tell you whether your site is doing well or not. While this software doesn’t harm you, don’t see them as the final word. They’re generally pretty simplistic, and don’t go into the depth you should be aiming for.
In addition to the four types of SEO already mentioned, there are three levels at which SEO is implemented. Here they are:
#5 Types of SEO: White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is the most ethical type of SEO implementation. White hat SEO functions firmly within the rules set out by search engines, and includes a lot of the stuff in this article. Quality content, natural keyword usage, efficient website structure and legitimate backlinks are examples of white hat SEO.
This is really the only type of SEO implementation you should use. Crossing boundaries can result in being blacklisted by search engines. There is still lots of ability to stand out from your competition while remaining within the constraints set out by search engines.
#6 Types of SEO: Black Hat SEO
As the name suggests, black hat SEO is the polar opposite of white hat SEO. It involves trying to cheat the system by exploiting perceived weaknesses within the algorithms of search engines.
An example of black hat SEO is keyword stuffing. Attempting to cheat the system by stuffing your content full of keywords – even when it feels forced – is a direct attempt to forgo the creation of legitimately valuable content for the sake of placing higher on search engines. Some black hat SEO practitioners even use other tactics such as inserting keywords in random places on their websites that are the same colour as the background.
Another example of black hat SEO is buying links to your site through a link bank. This is trying to cheat the system by telling search engines that a bunch of sites like your content, when in fact the links have been paid for. Links are also sometimes hidden by being posted as the same colour as the website background – just like with keyword stuffing.
Simply put, black hat SEO is bad. Don’t do it. If you get caught, you could cease to be featured on search engines at all.
#7 Types of SEO: Grey Hat SEO
Grey hat SEO is all about blurred lines.
Rather than blatantly cheating the system, grey hat SEO practitioners try to stretch the boundaries, skirting the ethical SEO boundary as tightly as they can.
Grey hat SEO is living life dangerously and can land you in similar trouble to black hat SEO if you get caught pushing a boundary. It’s really not worth pushing the boundaries given the huge risks that could possibly befall your website (besides, it’s not cool).
Final word on types of SEO
Here’s what you should take away from this article:
- SEO comes in different forms
- SEO spans your entire digital marketing strategy
- Each of the types of SEO are important if you want to position highly on search engines
- You should ensure that you remain ethical at all times while implementing SEO tactics
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