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Digital Spotlight - Rachael

21 January, 2016

At pixelbuilders, we believe knowledge should be nurtured and shared, which is why we are putting our team in the spotlight to give you some valuable insights into what goes on behind the scenes at a digital agency! 

Week three sees the turn of our Digital Marketing Manager Rachael Hand discussing the changing nature of algorithms and improving SEO. 

Optimizing a site for search can be difficult given the changing nature of algorithms. How do you know which areas to focus on? 

Always focus on the user.

At the end of the day, it is users who will spend money and take actions on your website. That means your website needs to work. It means your content needs to be clear, correct and relevant so your users can make confident, informed decisions. It means your website needs to be easy to use so users can carry out and complete an action, such as making a purchase.

If you achieve that, then your engagement metrics and conversion rate will improve and these are metrics Google in particular pays attention to.

This is because it is the user who will conduct a search using search engines like Google and search engines want to work well for their users too. For search engines that means returning search results including websites that work well, match the search query and have good usability. 

So in a nutshell, if your website works well for your users, it allows the search engines to also perform well for their users because then can return quality websites in their search results.

Can website novices optimize their own sites without the need of a specialist? 

It is possible to handle some of the requirements for SEO yourself, but the biggest challenge you’ll face is keeping abreast of all the changes that happen on a weekly basis in this industry. A good SEO should read relevant sources every day to keep ahead of the trends and changes happening. This gets exceptionally difficult to maintain when you are handling your SEO in and around running your own online business.

Moreover, contrary to what many people think, SEO is not in the remit of an SEO alone to implement. There are many SEO elements that require the expertise of web developers to implement successfully. Even web designers have their role to play when it comes to usability, layout and design, all of which can affect your success with search engines. 

It is a team effort. 

How do you determine if a SEO Campaign is working?

It really depends on what you are hoping to achieve with your SEO campaign that determines what metrics indicate it is working but at the top level, you can look at the audience report in Google Analytics.

Here you will find a combination of quantity (sessions, users and page views) metrics and quality
(pages/session, bounce rate and average session duration) metrics.  What you are looking for as the quantity of traffic to your site increases is for your engagement or quality metrics to improve as well (or at the bare minimum maintain the same performance).

If both volume of traffic to your site and quality of traffic to your site are improving then you can confirm your SEO efforts are paying off because you are attracting a more relevant and more engaged audience to your site, and that kind of audience is far more likely to convert.

This brings me on to the final point, every SEO campaign should have an ideal goal or conversion associated with it and this must be tracked either in Google Analytics or any other reporting tools you use, to determine success. As a very general rule of thumb, you would always be interested in a conversion rate of at least 1% or higher for any goal you set.