Abbreviated simply as SEO, Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important topics in internet marketing. So integral is the role of Search Engine Optimization in internet marketing that is impractical to stress it in words. SEO is defined, understood, and researched from one arena to the next. Through one of its simplest definitions, SEO is defined as the sum of processes and investments through which the quantity and quality of traffic from the web is directed to a specified web page from one or more search engines. The primary role of search engine optimization is to not only identify and target, but also direct unpaid traffic to specified web pages.
Also referred to as internet market, digital marketing is the arena on which SEO functions. Digital market may be defined as the section or component of marketing founded on and designed to utilize online based and internet technology (Clarke, 2020, p. 54). The prevalence of digital market is a product of the continued growth in digital platforms and digital technology. Apart from Search Engine Optimization, digital marketing hosts search engine marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, data-driven marketing, campaign marketing, social media marketing, email-direct marketing, e-commerce marketing, and display advertising.
On-page SEO refers to the sum of investments and practices designed to conduct individual web page optimization with the primary reason being to drive more relevant traffic from search engines and improve the page rank in both the short and the long terms. It is important to underscore that on-page SEO is concerned with the HTML source code within a page as well as the content presented therein (Bates, 2012, p. 98). The term off-page SEO refers to the sum of investments designed to optimize a web page through focusing on the speed, structure, and content of the webpage. Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO is focused on local SEO, social media and link building.
There are three main concerns in improving off-page SEO; preparing, optimizing, and automating the website’s SEO off-page. The first step is evaluating a webpage’s backlink profile. There are a myriad of online tools designed to evaluate a webpage’s backlink profile. These tools differ from each other, not only on grounds of whether they are free or require the user to pay, but also in light of the nature and extent of evaluation they provide (Enge et al., 2009, p. 74). There are two main aspects to take into consideration when conducting an evaluation of a webpage’s backlink profile; the domain rating and domain authority. Together, the domain rating and domain authority provide a webpage with an overall backlink profile score which is integral in the backlink profile analysis. In conducting an evaluation of the backlink profile presented in a webpage, the primary focus should be set on how extensive the investigation can get and the quantity and quality of data obtained thereof (Kelsey and Springerlink 2017, p. 57). A high profile analysis score translates to more authority and trustworthiness. There are four important elements to take into consideration in the evaluation process; the number of links a webpage contains, the number of domains a webpage links to, the number and nature of pages which exhibit the highest number of and richest links, and the anchor texts.
After conducting a webpage’s backlink profile, the next step should be comparative analysis against a competitor’s backlink profile. One of the best ways to get perspective or context on the strength presented in a backlink profile is through conducting comparative analysis with a competitor’s backlink profile. There are a myriad of tools designed to conduct comparative analyses on backlink profiles. When conducting comparative analysis on backlink profiles, it is imperative to include both online and direct competitors (Sukanta Nayak, 2020, p. 87). Involving both online and direct competitors in comparative backlink profile provides a detailed summary of how search results are shared amongst different players. Additionally, involving online and direct competitors provides a platform where overlaps are not only identified, but also effectively utilized in coming up with a strategy to enhance SEO in both the short and the long terms (Gallier and Quaintance, 2020, p. 21). It is important to reiterate the importance of exporting data during the course of evaluating a webpage’s backlink profile and in conducting comparative analysis against competitors’ sites.
Evaluation and comparative analysis of webpage backlink profiles set the stage for improvement of internal linking. Although strategies may differ from each other, improving internal linking is a common denominator across the board. It is almost important to stress the importance of investing in improving and updating the internal linking in a webpage. It is recommended that every page within a site should have a minimum of three links founded on or developed through optimized anchor text derived from pages already in existence and linked to the page being optimized. In improving and updating internal linking, there are various tools designed to determine the specific pages within a website that require linking. The first step to improving and updating the internal linking in a page is determining the pages that need linking. So integral is the role played by internal linking that it undergirds the nature and quantity of benefits that will be reaped from content promotion, outreach, and even creation (Experts, 2012, p. 10). Although it is considered to be an on-page SEO task, internal linking is just as important in off-page SEO as it provides grounds through which content discoverability takes place effectively. Excellence in internal linking provides search engine crawlers with a platform where they are not only able to effectively find, but also understand and index the content presented within a page. Such an investment will not only improve the page rank and authority in the short term, but also have great benefits in the long term. The three main ways through which internal linking may be improved are; ensuring every page has three internal links attached to it, utilize keyword-optimized and relevant anchor texts whenever linking to a website’s internal pages, and adding a website footer designed with appropriate pages.
Fixing the 404 errors presented with a website is an important off-page SEO investment. One of the best ways to achieve an error-free website is by crawling the website with tools designed to identify, report, and fix 404 errors. A website’s nature and level of seamlessness is undergirded by the ability to identify and address the 404 errors. Additionally, the process of fixing 404 errors also introduces a website to broken links and ways to fix them. Fixing broken links provides a website with an environment where every link is optimized to make the most out of the website and relevant pages. A website with minimal or no broken links provides value to its users (Ledford, 2015, p. 85) A majority of outreach opportunities are birthed from and dependent on broken links. Whenever competitors spot domains linking to websites through a broken link, they may invest in making the most out of the broken link. Outreach opportunities not only cost website owners business, but also present the value and growth opportunities attached to future customers. Broken links should not only be identified, but also fixed. There are two major reasons behind broken links; mistyped URLs and deleted pages. In the process of finding and fixing a website’s broken links, it is imperative to invest in tools that present and fix the anchor texts presented in broken links. Depending on the quantity of content produced in a website and the number of users on a website, checking and fixing of 404 errors should be done regularly.
In its most general sense, A/B testing is defined and researched as research methodology for user experiences. In its functionality, AB testing is designed to involve two variants in randomized experiments. Also referred to as split-run or bucket testing, the primary function of AB testing is comparing two versions presented in a single variable and this is generally achieved through testing responses in variants. In SEO A/B testing functions through testing original webpages against altered webpages. Using an audience divided into different segments, A/B testing in SEO functions through altering one or more elements of a webpage and testing it through comparative analysis against the original or unaltered page. The audience will be tasked with providing information about the new variant as well as the original page and how the two compare.
In conducting A/B testing, it is important to ensure that search engines are served with the exact or primary content to be ranked. In the process of testing, there are instances when sections of a page are swapped out or key body copies are altered. It is important to ensure that careful assessment is done on key elements ranging from images and internal links to tags and body content (Leeuwe, 2014, p. 84). This is important as it ensures search engines are provided with ways through which they can access versions of pages where such elements are intact. In conducting website tests, it is important to ensure that search engines will not only crawl and index, but also understand the content on the page being tested.
Within the arena of electronic commerce, the term conversion marketing refers investments in marketing whose primary intention is increasing conversions or converting website visitors into paying and returning customers (Perkins, 2009, p. 52). The efficacy and quality of conversion marketing is understood and measured through two main metrics; total number of visitors to a website and the number of clients who have engaged in a complete transaction. In conducting A/B testing, it is important to ensure that the pages created as not extremely different from each other. For purposes of testing, search engines have been designed to identify and work with minor changes presented in webpages. However, in instances where there are major changes presented between pages, search engines face great difficulties in conducting effective testing. In some instances, major changes lead search engines into flagging tests as instances of cloaking.
For pages with URL variations, there are important considerations to take into account with regards to A/B testing. In instances where tests are being run on multiple page variants set on separate URL’s, it is important to ensure that canonical tags are utilized in specifying the original page which is to be indexed (French, 2019, p. 98). This is important as it ensures search engines are prevented from choosing duplicate test pages for indexing purposes as opposed to using the original page. Similar caution should be employed when dealing with blocking test or non-indexing URLs. When dealing with a set of duplicate webpages, placing or including a nonidex tag within one of the pages comes attached to a number of risks. Search engines are designed to function through picking their own canonical tags which are based on varying signals from the same website (Charlesworth, 2020, p. 67). Due to this, a search engine may end up picking and or dealing with a variant URL when it should have dealt with the original URL. In addition to non-indexed pages, the process should take into careful consideration blocking test pages. Search engines work effectively when the differences presented in page variations are not only identified and canonical tags respected. Search engines are designed to treat blocking as acts of cloaking. The interpretation in such cases is that; a search engine is being blocked from accessing or seeing a webpage’s version which is different from the version users are presented with.
In measuring the effectiveness of the SEO, there are a number of important factors to take into consideration. The ten metrics that will be employed in measuring the effectiveness of the SEO are keyword ranking, organic traffic, click-through rate, SERP visibility, Website Authority Over Time, bounce rate, page speed, backlinks, conversion rate, and time spent on page (Labinot Gashi and Books On Demand Gmbh, 2020, p. 98). Each of these metric will be integral in understanding the nature and level of performance presented in the functionality of the webpage. Organic traffic will seek to measure and analyze the quantity of visits to the site originating from search engine results. Under keyword ranking, results of the project will be measured against results from search engines. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) visibility will be employed in the analysis of how the page ranks in ads, SERP features, and in organic results.
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