What is SEO? This question gets asked a lot by aspiring digital marketers, so we figured we'd share Khai Yong's recent experiment in SEO. But before we get ahead of ourselves, here's a quick primer on the topic.
So what is SEO?
Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is a way of increasing visibility on search engines through organic methods. What organic means in this context is non-paid methods, such as advertising. This means, when you search 'coding bootcamp Malaysia' on Google, it's not an accident that NEXT Academy ranks as number 1 — and we didn't pay to get there.
It's one of the main tools of digital marketers to generate more traffic to their website, or just to increase digital visibility through search results.
Those of you who've been in touch with us will remember Khai Yong as the past Head of Marketing in NEXT Academy.
In his article, Khai Yong says that this project started from his curiosity on how quickly he could rank on the first page of Google. To do this, he created Bitcoin Price Malaysia and went on to apply his vast digital marketing knowledge into the experiment.His results? Check out the image below. This is based on a timeline spanning from 4 December 2017 to 3 January 2018. You'll see that 3 of the keywords he's targeted has ended up on the top 10 search results, and that's just with 1 month's worth of work. Pretty impressive if you ask us.
Of course, you should read his full article to find out the details behind each of his actions. But if you just want the quick breakdown, we've got you covered with this summary. Here's what he did for keyword research:
- Determined the rough keywords he wished to rank for
- Researched relevant keywords through tools like keywordtool.io
- Chose keywords with good search volume and low competition, using Google Keyword Planner as a guide.
And here was his SEO strategy:
- Chose a webhosting service with SSL, allowing his domain to be listed as https.
- Ensured proper meta tags, descriptions, and keywords for his web pages.
- Created a blog under the same domain (i.e: https://www.bitcoinpricemalaysia.com/blog instead of https://blog.bitcoinpricemalaysia.com)
- Used the Yoast plug-in (SEO optimizer) for each page.
- Submitted his website for crawling through Google Webmaster Tools after putting out new content.
- Secured backlinks through Web 2.0 websites, social networking sites, and forums.
- Repeated this entire process again for other keywords.
What's the use of SEO in business?
Google is no longer just a tool to settle trivia disputes. It's actually become the gateway between the world and your products. Google processes over 40,000 searches every second, and some of those searches might very well be from your potential customers.What do you think people do when they need a bouquet of flowers delivered to a loved one? Google 'flower delivery in PJ', most probably. What about guitar enthusiasts wanting to purchase a new pedal? Our bet is they'd probably search for 'purchase guitar pedals Malaysia'.And then there's the more important question: What results do these searches yield? Not your competitor's website, hopefully.
Pro tip: You can enroll in a digital marketing course to give your business an edge in the digital world.
How to start your own SEO campaign right now
If you're new to SEO and want to start optimizing your website, you can do what we did for our basic SEO campaign shown below. Here's how we ranked on Google's front page for the keyword 'NEXT Academy review'.
Firstly, as with any SEO campaign, we determined the keywords we wanted to rank for. We do use keyword tools as well, but if it's just a quick check you're looking for, you can simply type in your keyword in Google and see its autocomplete results.
Our goal was to strengthen our brand presence and target NEXT Academy keywords. We decided to go for the first search result that appeared after typing 'NEXT Academy'. And in this case, it was 'NEXT Academy review'. Due to the nature of this campaign, we weren't looking at search volume, which was still acceptable at 70 Malaysian searches per month with low competition.We chose to get listed through a blog post, so we crafted an article specifically targeting those keywords. While we did optimize the article for search engines, we ensured that quality content remained the top priority. What resulted was a blog post that we hope was informative as it was entertaining.
Crafting the article
Yoast is an awesome tool when it comes to SEO. However, it's only available to Wordpress sites (sorry non-Wordpress users). It features a handy checklist that ensures you've got all the SEO elements in your article or page, such as keyword density and image alt tags.Don't worry if you don't have access to Yoast, as you can manually optimize your posts through this checklist here.
Yoast's most useful feature is its meta description editor, allowing you to change your page's appearance in Google. Again, if you don't have Yoast, you'll have to learn basic HTML to manually change it, which, by the way, is learnable through our Front-End Web Development course.
Editing your meta description not only helps Google determine the nature of your post, it also makes your display more pleasing to humans. And ultimately, that's who you should always be aiming to create content for. Always prioritize humans over robots! It also works great to increase clickthrough rates.
After we were done with the post, we made sure to include the keyword in the URL. So instead of https://blog.nextacademy.com/post-12382, we named the page https://nextacademy.com/blog/next-academy-review-shouldnt-join/
And that's it! We haven't even gotten to backlinking yet when the article ranked first page within a few weeks.
Now it's your turn. Why not try your hand at SEO for your business? Find the keywords you wish to target, build a page for it, and try to rank on Google with these tips. Remember to start off with low-competition keywords so that you get to see results quicker. Happy optimizing, and let us know how it goes.
Extra SEO tips
Here are a few more tips on how you can further improve your SEO campaigns:
- Updating your site regularly helps it rank higher on Google.
- Making sure that your site is mobile-friendly contributes to rankings as well.
- Use tools like Google Pagespeed Insights to ensure that your site loads fast. Slow-loading websites are penalized by Google.
Of course, all this barely scratches the surface of search engine optimization. If you still find yourself asking 'What is SEO?', just click on the link below to get a deeper understanding through the exciting world of digital marketing.