Unit 302 – Principles of Keywords and Optimisation

Aim of this unit

This unit is about understanding how to implement keywords and/or keyword phrases on a website to achieve maximise optimisation. Principles of Keywords and Optimisation.

Section One

1. Understand Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This unit will cover how Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by improving the visibility of each webpage for its users via search engines.

Understanding the process of promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links is another SEO tactic that can increase its credibility and visibility on the internet.

1.1 Define the term Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a term used for the process of improving a website’s ranking on search engines by changing aspects of the website, such as improving the content and architecture of the site.

SEO is the process of how to get your website to appear in search results for specific words – also known as keywords. You need to use the most significant keywords and/or key phrases that appear in your titles and on your web pages. These are the words your customers will use when searching for a query online.

SEO can help grow your brand and obtain the visibility it deserves
SEO can help grow your brand and obtain the visibility it deserves

1.2 Explain the importance of SEO to a business

SEO is important to a business to ensure it drives your target audience to what you have to offer. To achieve this you need to be trustworthy and provide your customer with what they want. Therefore, using the VCP method helps to align with what you want and using SEO helps achieve it.

Visibility – is essential to be found and over 90% of searches start online. Therefore, the easier you are to find (preferably on page one) the more chance you have to drive traffic to your proposition.

Credibility – This enhances trustworthiness and encourages customers to use your site. Internet users are more likely to use sites higher up on the SERP – search engine results page as they find they are more credible. Google uses algorithms to rank pages and establish their credibility consistently over time.

Ultimately it is about getting customers to your pages.

Google, for example, uses SEO to determine whether a site is worthy of high rankings for each query entered into its search engine. Without modern SEO, it would be very simple to rig the search results so that the site with the most links or pages—both of which can be easily generated by software—would always rank first. These black hat techniques are becoming less used to do penalties when discovered by search engines.

SEO is critical because it ensures that search results are balanced. It makes manipulating these results as difficult as possible, ensuring that the sites that appear for each search are there because they deserve to be there. High search engine rankings are associated with hard work and a user-friendly website, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance of appearing in the results.

Users trust search engines, and having a high ranking in search engine results tells users that your site is reliable and trustworthy. The higher your site ranks in search engine results pages, the more visitors and clicks it receives.

An increasing number of users are using the internet for many other tasks such as:

  • Researching information about a product, service, brand or event.
  • Reading comments left by other customers before deciding what to do next – such as reviews.

Some other examples of the importance of SEO for a business include:

1. Search engine optimization is important for businesses because it achieves a higher ranking on search engines such as Google, giving the website more visibility and gaining more traffic to your website.

2. For a business to get views on its website it needs to be within the first few pages of the search results, as this is where people look. So it is important your website is optimised to that the search engine can pick up on keywords and recommend your website to the relevant searches.

3. Your website will contain more relevant information because you’ve had to optimise it so that it is all relevant to your company, also search engines don’t recommend websites they think are spamming so you can’t repeat yourself, so it makes the quality of your website much higher, overall getting more visitors and then customers!

4. Good SEO with keywords will also give your customers confidence, because if customer searches on a search engine more than once with different keywords and your website come out on top of the list every time then they will believe that your website is very relevant and will be more likely to visit.

5. Even if someone does not click through to your website, you still gain value through the relevant search terms as it identifies the keywords or phrases that exist on your website.

These are the many uses of SEO that can help your brand
These are the many uses of SEO that can help your brand

1.3 Explain the difference between organic and ‘paid’ search results

When a user enters a search string into the search engine, the engine returns a list of results, some of which are organic, and some paid for.

Organic searches have several advantages, including a sense of authenticity and dependability. High search engine rankings indicate industry dominance and, as a result, a higher likelihood of a click-through to the website.

Consumers, on the other hand, may not trust sponsored ads and may avoid them, resulting in a lower click-through rate. This is typically due to the content not being relevant enough. As a site’s reputation grows, so does its ranking, gaining the trust of both users and search engines.

Though achieving a high ranking may take months or even years, once you have one, it is much easier to keep it as people’s trust in your page grows. Aside from being perceived as less trustworthy, paid listings will disappear if payment is not received. Organic listings are free and potentially lucrative. Paid search results may attract irrelevant visitors, increasing pay-per-click expenditures.

Paid search is immediately placed at the top of the rankings after the ad placement is purchased; there is no need to wait months or years for paid results to build credibility and advance up the rankings. To reach extremely specific audiences, paid search results can also be tailored by income, age, marital status, industry, and education. This increases the likelihood that the desired buyers will click on the link.

Consumers who search with “strong commercial intent” are more likely to click on sponsored advertisements, though this varies depending on the search terms. These searches are frequently for a specific product or brand, and studies show that sponsored results are nearly twice as likely as organic results to be clicked.

The type of business, the company’s objectives, and its budget all have an impact on the best method. A combination of organic and paid search advertisements produces the best results for many businesses.

1.4 Describe the differences between Pay-per-Click and Pay-per impression

Pay Per Click, or PPC, implies you pay a charge each time someone “clicks” on one of your internet advertisements.

PPC will be used by most small firms that want their customers to act right away. Keyword research and traffic estimators are critical in determining which keywords to target for your campaign and how much to spend per click.

Pay Per Impression, or Cost-Per-Impression (CPI), is when you pay for every time your ad is displayed. Businesses pay a fee that gives potential customers an opportunity to view their ads.

In other words, viewers are not required to take action, for example, click the ad, in order for payment to be due. Rates are typically per 1000 impressions.

Paid search methods can be a fast and effective method of advertising your business.  Whether you select PPC or PPI, your choice should be based on budget, objectives of the marketing/advertising campaign and brand awareness factors.

The use of PPC to promote your brand quickly and aim for ROAS - return on advertising spend
The use of PPC to promote your brand quickly and aim for ROAS – return on advertising spend

1.5 Describe the factors that need to be considered as part of an SEO plan

There are a number of items that should be included in an optimised SEO Plan. Some of these include:

Keyword research – businesses need to understand how their target audience searches online and especially what keywords and key phrases they are likely to use in the search query box. Therefore, aim to use terms used by the people rather than terms used by the business. Most audiences will find the same information from different search queries.

Search engines – choosing which search engines your audiences use or prefer is fundamental to your paid and organic efforts. You need to establish what are they searching for. Knowing these queries allows you to better understand the needs of your audience and how best to serve that need with well-written SEO-optimised content that can be indexed appropriately per search engine.

Quality of content – SEO is only as good as its content. To optimise for search, many of the search engines require good quality content. This should ensure the uniqueness of the topic and that it should have some substance (ie no thin content). Some pointers for creating good quality content include:

  • Identify your audience – what would they be interested in reading? Know their intent.
  • Research your topic – write something that adds to the topic and is better than what is already available.
  • Give useful information – such as tips and how-to guides.
  • Focus on educating or something interesting – do not try the hard sell, which will compel users to move on to other sites. Informational and conversational intent before transactional or commercial intent.
  • Write in a manner that suits your readers – good grammar and punctuation might be more important to a business-type audience but less so to an informal one. Decide on the best tone of voice.

Intent – delivering solutions and answers to the users’ queries is paramount in order to be relevant and in the eyes of the search engines deliver value to the reader. Failure to meet the intent of the reader and search engines will push you down the rankings in favour of better websites with relevant content.

Media – content that includes videos is ranked higher in the search engine results than text-only content. Other forms of rich media can include podcasts, PDFs, tables, infographics and presentations.

URLs – long and complex URLs can also be complex to search engine spiders. Short URLs work better for SEO and the reader. Therefore, it is advisable to use plain English and keep them relevant to serve the users’ intent.

On-Page Structure – tags and categories can divide a website content up for easier navigation and easier reading with the end-user. Search engines approve sites that are easier to crawl and communicate the intent in order to navigate the site for the intended target audience.

Aged domains – most Internet users will use Google, the largest of all search engines and Google place a lot of importance on the age of a website. They believe that this is where Google waits to see if the website will actually remain or whether it will be just short-term. This means that there will be a period of waiting time for any new websites before they will be included in the Google search result pages. This is known collectively as the Google Sandbox and can last up to a year depending on the niche you wish to rank within.

Social signals and citations – where people are carrying out online actions such as sharing, retweeting and even mentioning, will put a company’s website higher up the ranking scale. Linking both your website and social media together will extend your reach and engagement with your target audiences.

Link Building – most websites have acquired authority through the acquisition of links from external sites. Building credibility and trust with its readers. Link building can be carried out in numerous ways, from buying links to earning them through guest blogging and link acquisition from sites such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

Mobile-Friendly – with more users accessing web pages via their smartphones you need a mobile-ready website that is both responsive and easy to use on a small device.

Page Speed – everyone wants to access information quicker and easier and therefore, websites that load fast, are going to succeed better with the end-user and ultimately rank higher.

Localisation – websites having display maps, local listings and reviews on local information sites will enjoy higher ranking as they provide more social proof to the intended customer. This is especially the case for users looking for a local business as opposed to one far away.

Customer engagement — the ability to get in touch with and interact with a company and its customers is critical to the reputation of the business. One of their major focuses is maintaining a positive connection with customers whilst being seen, to be honest and transparent in their business practices.

Accessibility – making your website easy to access and navigate is crucial as search engines such as Google are able to read user interaction on your website and score you accordingly. This includes fonts used, colours, layout, call-to-actions, time on page and linking to other pages too.

This is not an exhaustive list but should convey to you just some of the many signals that search engines use to improve ranking positions for your website. SEO is the main tool to orchestrate this through a combination of technical, on-page and off-page SEO.

Three main actions and some of the sub-actions in terms of optimizing your website, acquiring links to your website and social campaigns
Three main actions and some of the sub-actions in terms of optimizing your website, acquiring links to your website and social campaigns

Section Two

2. Be able to plan the implementation of SEO techniques

SEO techniques are classified into two broad categories: White Hat SEO techniques that search engines recommend as part of a good design and Black Hat SEO techniques that search engines do not approve of and attempt to minimize the effect of.

Good for SEO

These techniques are termed White Hat SEO or Ethical SEO where the website builders abide by the rules of search engines. The main goal is to engage the audience rather than just trying to rank high on the search engine results pages. Factors that have a positive impact are:

  • Links from .edu and .gov sites as they have a better reputation than those .com or .biz websites.
  • Links to reputable directories such as the Yahoo directory.
  • Content – this would be unique content and the frequency of change of content.
  • Keywords – it is critical that you select carefully the keywords for your page. If you can, incorporate synonymous keywords and use these in the key phrases as closely as you can.
  • Keyword density – repetition of the keywords on the page but in a relevant manner. Users should take care as overuse of the keywords could have a negative impact (ie keyword stuffing).
  • Keywords embedded in headings, URLs and anchor text.
  • Meta tags – specifically formulated meta tags, particularly those with keywords.

Bad for SEO

In the search for SEO, some users will attempt all sorts of to encourage the search engines into ranking them highly. There are, however, certain factors which could negatively affect how your website is ranked. These methods are commonly referred to as Black Hat SEO. The importance of SEO there are many examples of these, a few of which are:

  • ‘Thin’ or ‘Superficial’ Content – where nothing meaningful is written and the page is just spread out with words.
  • Keyword stuffing – this is where the user puts the same words repeated on a single page on their website, believing that it would trick the search engine into ranking this high.
  • Meta-tag stuffing – where keywords are repeated in the meta tags.
  • Hidden text – an example of this is where you hide your multiple words on the page, perhaps setting the text in the same colour as the background. The reader cannot see the words but the writer hopes that this will aid optimisation. Unfortunately, this is all in code and the search engine is able to see all of this, and a webpage can be penalised for this.
  • Cloaking – this is a technique in which a different page is sent to the search engine spider than the one that is presented to the user’s browser.
  • URL redirection – a technique for making a webpage available under more than one URL address.
The many elements needed to implement a successful SEO campaign
The many elements needed to implement a successful SEO campaign

2.1 Define the term “keyword”

A keyword is a word or phrase that is used to describe the content of a website. The primary goal is to boost the page’s SEO value. Which will impact its ranking on a SERP and the possibility of users finding it.

There are various types of keywords such as ‘main’ or ‘seed’ keywords and long-tail keywords. As the names suggest, ‘main’ and ‘seed’ keywords are short and extremely hard to rank for as they drive a significant amount of traffic.

Long-tail keywords are the other hand are normally made up of 3 to 4 or more words. These tend to be easier to rank for and drive less traffic. However, they are easier to acquire and represent the best place to start.

2.2 Explain the factors to consider when identifying keywords and/or keyword phrases

Consider what keywords and phrases your target audience uses when determining SEO keywords and phrases. It’s critical that the keyword is related to the products/services; once you’ve discovered the most relevant and popular key phrase for finding your sort of business, you should also investigate alternate phrases. When choosing keywords to rank for in an SEO programme, be sure the search queries are relevant to your business.

Consider whether the keyword is one that people would really type into Google. When determining the keywords, you want to target in your SEO strategy, this is something you should keep in mind. Once you’ve narrowed down your themes or search queries, a keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ubersuggest may help you figure out how many people search for this term on a monthly basis.

The term “user intent” relates to what a website visitor would have intended when typing a certain keyword into a search engine. Incorporating intent-based keywords into your keyword strategy, such as “purchase” or “shop,” can assist you to attract website visitors who are searching to do the desired action you want them to take.

Another factor to consider when identifying keywords and key phrases is whether they can be repeated across your website. To ensure website optimisation, it would be beneficial to repeat keywords and key phrases in various areas of the website content, including:

  • Title of your website
  • headings and sub-headings
  • the naming of any images on a website
  • recommendations from your current customers
  • links to and from your website
  • body text
  • tags (where the text is code hidden from the viewer) such as title tags, meta tags, meta description tags, alt tags
  • URL

Additional factors to consider when choosing your keywords:

  • Words that the potential audience use.
  • Jargon that is specific to the business.
  • Use of Long Tail phrases to be found more easily.
  • The competitiveness of the keyword and/or keyword phrases.
  • How often the keyword and/or keyword phrase is searched every month in the relevant geographical area?
  • Any misspellings and/or synonyms of the keyword and /or keyword phrase.

When placing keywords and key phrases in the body text, you should consider where you should place your keywords within this text. As search engines normally give more attention to the first two hundred words on a page, it would be feasible to ensure that these keywords and key phrases are near the top of the page and then proportionally throughout the page.

Nevertheless, while the location of the keywords plays a part in SEO you must ensure that the text makes sense and reads well. Quality is also vital and hence the chosen keywords should be used appropriately.

No keyword stuffing or forcing a keyword into a sentence that becomes difficult to read.

Even SEO has many keywords to describe and provide reference to its purpose
Even SEO has many keywords to describe and provide reference to its purpose

2.3 Create a list of keywords and/or keyword phrases for a business

Depending on your niche you will already know some of the keywords you wish to rank for and likewise, the rest can be researched through numerous methods.

Keywords can be made up of main or seed keywords as well as long-tail keywords or phrases. Ultimately, what you rank for will be determined by the search engines, but over time with consistent quality content, it is possible to rank for your chosen keywords and the traffic they bring to your website.

Choosing keywords might seem simple but it can be a time-consuming task. There are many factors to consider such as:

  • relevancy to the business
  • the most popular words users search for
  • whether these words can be repeated throughout the website without compromising the quality of the content
  • common misspellings of words. If the keywords you have chosen are regularly misspelt it would be beneficial to include the misspellings among your list of chosen keywords.

The more times a keyword is used by searchers and websites the more power it holds. An unlimited number of keywords or key phrases can be used, but this will depend on the size of your business and how many pages you have on the website. It would be not feasible to keep repeating words and phrases that diminish the quality of the content.

So, if your website is small it would be more feasible to choose a short list of brief words that not only realistically identify your website but also describe it. They should be strong words.

Once you have your list of keywords and key phrases, the next step might be to use a keyword suggestion tool. These tools will reveal a list of keywords and key phrases that they believe are relevant and popular with the aim to increase your website rankings and traffic.

There are many tools to help you acquire keywords. These range from free to paid alternatives. Examples include:

  • Semrush
  • Ubersuggest
  • Keyword Sheeter
  • Keywords Everywhere
Keywords ranking on the IBA website as acquired from Semrush
Keywords ranking on the IBA website as acquired from Semrush

2.4 Identify the competition and monthly search volumes for the keywords and/or keyword phrases identified for a business

It is critical that you comprehend how to outperform your competitors. Examining your competitors’ businesses and websites can teach you a lot. Even if you can’t write as well as they do, there’s nothing stopping you from stealing some of their article ideas.

There are also a number of applications that can assist you in locating new/better/higher volume key phrases. Semrush and Ubersuggest are two examples.

Keyword monthly search volume and competitive scoring via Ubersuggest
Keyword monthly search volume and competitive scoring via Ubersuggest

2.5 Explain where on a website a search engine looks for keywords and/or keyword phrases

Once you’ve chosen your keywords and phrases, you need to embed them into your webpage. For search engine optimisation, the best places to place them are:

  • title tags for each page
  • meta descriptions for each page
  • headings and sub-headings – H1 to H6 tags
  • the naming of any images on a website including alt tags
  • links to and from your website
  • body text

There are other websites that may assist with keyword searches on specific web pages. Alternatively, if you’re seeking a certain term, you may use the Ctrl-F search facility on the SERP page.

Rather than presuming that the keywords and key phrases you have selected for your website will drive traffic in and result in a higher ranking, it’s a good idea to test them.

You can test this yourself or use a paid search campaign. This is when the search engine provider is paid a fee according to the number of users who click on your website using the keywords you have chosen. This is considered the most effective way of identifying your highly productive keywords.

2.6 Research others’ use of keywords and/or keyword phrases to maximise keyword effectiveness for a website

This ensures that your website contains every possible version of the term that best describes your product or service, allowing you to reach as many people as possible. Having a keyword research strategy gives you a competitive advantage.

Keyword research is generally avoided because it takes time, whether you work in a small or large company. If you want to outperform your competitors, keyword research can help you identify opportunities that they have overlooked.

When researching your own keywords, it might be useful to check how your competitors rank on the search engine result pages. Identifying your competition’s keywords and/or key phrases may be useful if you want to redirect some of their traffic to your own website.

Use of Semrush's magic keyword tool to explore keywords used by competitors
Use of Semrush’s magic keyword tool to explore keywords used by competitors

2.7 Review the list of keywords and/or keyword phrases in a website for a business

Your keywords and key phrases might work efficiently in driving traffic to your website and moving you to the top of the search results ranking. With constant changes in social media and in particular the nature of search engines, it is recommended, at least on a monthly basis, to track and monitor how these keywords are working for you.

You can check how your keywords are performing at no financial cost. One way is to obtain your web server’s log files from your hosting provider and analyse these, or another is to use a free online tool such as Search console to analyse your queries over time and compare them to see their shift.

Use of Search Console to explore keyword queries over a period of time to monitor progress
Use of Search Console to explore keyword queries over a period of time to monitor progress

2.8 Describe how link building can help or hinder the search engine ranking of a website

Not all backlinks are not created equal. After all, the quality of the sites linking to you, as well as their relevance to your industry, can vary. A link from a reputable news organisation with a solid journalistic reputation will be more beneficial than a link from a blog that has nothing to do with the comments section of your industry.

Links from trustworthy, high-quality websites, as well as those from relevant and reputable websites in your field, are more likely to be taken seriously. Although backlinks are the most important type of link, outbound links—links from your website to other websites—can also assist your site in ranking higher in search results.

Internal links or links to other pages on the same website, help site visitors find related content, which keeps them on your site longer. Internal links also help search engines understand your site’s design, determine how your content is related, and identify the most important pages on your site, all of which can help you improve your search rankings and make your content more accessible to visitors.

When you upload new content, keep an eye out for opportunities to link relevant material on your site to new blog posts or other content. Conduct a content audit to identify your most popular pages and provide links to additional related content on those sites to spread link authority, or “link juice,” throughout your site.

Help:

  • In-linking: Drive traffic to a website from other places.
  • External linking: improve the credibility of a website by having external links to the website from other highly ranked sites.
  • Cross linking: Linking between sites
  • Anchor text: Improve SEO by using internal links with keyword anchor text.

Hinder:

  • Contains too many external links.
  • Contains irrelevant links.
  • Contains links from websites that search engines consider to be less highly ranked.
Link building works by connecting to similar websites and building out the website's visibility
Link building works by connecting to similar websites and building out the website’s visibility

2.9 Create a link-building plan for the website of a business

The challenge is getting other websites to link to your company website. The tactics for getting links from external websites include:

  • make your website easy to link to by including a ‘link to our website’ button with a short sentence about the company and its product
  • include a copy of your logo, which other site owners/webmasters can download easily
  • add interesting new content (eg blog) on your site to which other website owners would want to link
  • include some education and helpful sections such as ‘how to’ information relevant to your industry sector on your website
  • submit articles your company has written to industry news sites
  • make it easy for users to link to your website by including ‘Share this’ and ‘Retweet’ buttons
  • ask relevant companies to link to your website
  • offer to swap links with other websites
  • promote and network – let people know your website is online. Word of mouth can still work.

It should also be noted that as part of your link-building plan it is necessary to update your website links on a regular basis. Keep adding new links to your website by adding regular news items ensuring that you show the source and links to external sites. In turn, as with the content on your website, the quality of your links is more important than quantity.

And while link building is beneficial to search results ranking there is one area where it might have a negative impact:

  • Paid links – Google forbids the buying and selling of links because they pass on search engine ranking credit and pollutes the results.

That is not to say that you cannot pay for links but it should be noted that the easier the link is to obtain, the less that the link will help you in your search engine rankings.

2.10 Describe the factors that can positively and negatively affect how a search engine ranks a website

There are positive and negative factors that can affect how a search engine ranks a website:

Positive

  • Keywords and/or keyword phrases in Heading 1 / Heading 2 text styles.
  • Keywords and/or keyword phrases in the alt text of images.
  • Keywords and/or keyword phrases as caption text.
  • Keyword and/or keyword phrase as anchor text for links.
  • Good HTML- well-structured page titles and accurate meta descriptions and image tags.
  • Having a secure website which has been running for a long time with connections to other high-ranking websites.
  • Social sharing- your website content being shared on social media More social interaction -> higher ranking
  • Good keywords and keyword phrases were used.
  • Tags are primarily used in images such as everyday life and allow Google to get optimizations within the website.
  • Related links with social media accounts.

Negative:

  • Keywords and/or keyword phrases are hidden in white text on a white background.
  • Keywords and/or keyword phrases are used in 30% of the content of the page.
  • Capitalise keyword and/or keyword phrase whenever it is used.
  • Repetitive use of keywords and phrases
  • A high amount of links to your website from irrelevant websites- these will be seen as untrustworthy or spam by search engines
  • Webpages with very little content and are not engaging.
  • If your site appears to be spam due to repeated use of links.
  • If your website is not updated frequently.
  • Repeated use of keywords and keyword phrases can prevent search engines from recommending your website.

Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (usually just called a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet. Search.

Quality over quantity

Submitting links to your website on a large number of directories and article sites can negatively affect the ranking of your website because they will be seen as irrelevant by search engines.

Link building includes:

  • Cross-linking to content within your site
  • External linking – links from other websites

Links from high-quality, relevant sites HELP the ranking of a website, as it helps users to connect with the content & info they need. Links from poor quality, irrelevant sites HINDER the ranking of a website, as it doesn’t help users to connect with the content & info they need.

Search Engine Optimisation can also be used for social media to improve your content's ranking
Search Engine Optimisation can also be used for social media to improve your content’s ranking

Section Three

3. Understand Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

We have learnt about the importance of search engine optimisation and the different ways to drive as much traffic as possible to your website. A progression of this is the need to get as many people as possible to view the actual content of the website.

So it is not just the task of driving traffic to a website, it is deemed important to ensure that as many people as possible view the website. This action is called social media optimisation (SMO).

3.1 Define the term Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

SMO (Social Media Optimization) is a term that refers to any action that aims to improve social media outcomes. Typically, sponsored advertisements on social media are not included in this activity. It’s not enough to just post material on social media to receive good results.

You may dramatically increase the results of your social media marketing by optimising both your content for social media and your content on social media. This is critical since Social Media Marketing is an “always-on” activity that consumes a significant amount of time.

Make certain that your time is wisely spent. SMO, like SEO, is critical for getting the most out of other digital marketing efforts. It will have great knock-on consequences if you make sure your social media marketing is both suitable and successful.

Because social media is so visible to the public, this involves all aspects of marketing, especially branding. SMO, like SEO, comes in a variety of forms. On-Page SMO, Technical SMO, Post SMO, Profile SMO, Community Building.

Pulling more of your audience towards your brand will increase engagement and conversions
Pulling more of your audience towards your brand will increase engagement and conversions

3.2 Explain why SMO is important to a business

The reason that SMO is important to a business is that research has shown that social network sites are driving an increasing number of users to an even larger number of websites. So businesses that are using Google media tools for SEO are seeing fewer visitors to their websites than those that are using social media networks to drive traffic. For example, the website Etsy is seeing more traffic from social networks than from Google.

How social referral traffic is performing most likely depends on two factors:

  • how interesting the content is to others
  • how easily that content can be shared across a variety of networks.

In other words, SMO can lead to increased traffic to a site because visitors who like the content encourage their friends to visit the website. Hence, if the site appeals to a given person, their friends are statistically more likely to be interested in the same thing.

Through this, the site is reaching a well-targeted audience that would be very beneficial to a company that wants to sell its merchandise. Furthermore, it also leads to improved SEO as many of the widely used search engines consider linking as a popularity contest, in that incoming links are like ‘votes’ for the website.

  • To attract the correct audience on Social Media for engagement.
  • To make the best use of time on Social Media.
  • To listen for relevant conversations for engagement.

Reasons SMO is important to a business:

  • Gives your company/ product/ brand a larger online presence
  • Ability to distribute information quickly to a large number of people
  • Content is easily shared with other users which can lead to more potential clients/ customers
  • Improves search engine ranking due to more social proof building credibility
  • Increases the brand reach to a new audience across multiple platforms
  • Creates a strong web presence as well as exposure on social media platforms.
  • It establishes the brand’s online specialisms and aids in familiarising people with the company and its mission.
  • It increases brand exposure, customers, and reputation across all social media channels.
  • SMO also assists professionals in increasing website traffic by directing clients to the company’s official website via its social media presence.
Various search engines are used to drive customers to your brand
Various search engines are used to drive customers to your brand

3.3 Explain how search engines include different tools and channels of Social Media in their results

As previously stated, SMO is similar to SEO in that the aim of both is to entice traffic to a particular website. The tools and channels used to do this include various types of social media such as RSS feeds and widgets. There are also tools users can obtain from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Benefits of how search engines include different tools and channels of social media in their results:

  • It attracts the right kind of customers by engaging with them and getting to know them personally.
  • Get feedback from your customers through engagement on your social media platforms which can overall help the business improve in areas needed.

All of these tools can be used to share information with other users in their virtual communities:

Social networking

Social networking is the practice of using a dedicated online platform to maintain contact, interact and collaborate with like-minded individuals, peers, friends and family. It is great for linking back to your website which is something search engines look for, so they can find more relevant information for their users.

Sites such as Google Analytics also report on social media and track visitors to your website via social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TripAdvisor and Instagram.

Videos

Video use is great for getting high up on search engine results due to it’s rich engaging media and readers love that kind of interaction and therefore, are more likely to view it. Videos can appear in the general results or the YouTube/video results section too.

Blogs

These are great when it comes to relevant information about a business as they can contain not only text but also can have images and videos embedded within them to engage with the reader. Thereby getting more views and organic reach within the search engines.

Forums

A great way to engage with customers, search engines love to encourage relevant engagement and will recommend forums as they tend to contain relevant up-to-date information and answers to questions.

Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is the process of tagging a website page with a browser-based tool so that you can easily visit it again later. Instead of saving social media posts to your browser bookmarks, you can use different platforms’ features to bookmark posts. Great for remembering useful websites that Google will use to recommend other websites later on in your searches.

RSS feed

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary (or in some areas Simple Syndication). Whatever the description, it is written in XML and enables you to organise your site content. It is used to publish updates on written content (blogs) as well as audio and video formats, which can be done automatically.

It is beneficial for listing upcoming events and important days. It is extremely useful for websites that are updated often. With RSS, information on the Internet is easier to find and hence it can be more easily shared and spread.

Widget

A widget is a small application that you can embed in a social network, blog, or website. It enables a web owner to embed a photo or video viewer, conduct polls, and fundraising.

These are the tools that enable other users to obtain your content and share it on their blogs. They can be used to spread branded content and other information across several social networks without users having to visit the website of the content originator. This saves space on the website for other content.

Additional tools and channels containing social media that can be found within search engines include:

  • Newsletters
  • Emails
  • Websites
  • Podcasts
  • Forums
  • Television
  • Augmented reality
  • Social gaming
Social Media Marketing process
Social Media Marketing process

3.4 Explain how to use keywords and/or keyword phrases to listen and engage with a Social Media audience

One of the most important aspects of marketing is connecting with the target audience. The connection with the target audience is crucial for any business or organization, especially in determining how the target audience will react to an event, product or situation. Your target audience’s reactions are directly related to business growth.

Growing an audience and monetising their requirements will provide business growth

The ability to connect with the target audience is what sets the big companies apart from those who are just fine. When you connect with your audience, you can understand their reactions, wants, and needs.

Since many audiences are constantly changing, it’s a good idea to connect and stay connected with your audience. That way, you’ll keep up with your target audience and customize whatever you need to keep them relevant.

You may even need to update your marketing strategy to stay relevant. Surveys, engaging directly with the people likely to buy from you fill the information gap. User testing platforms, allow you to see first-hand how people interact with your website and brand, gathering written and verbal feedback from them.

Session Recording, to see your actual audience interacting with the site (if you think a survey might lead to a biased response or be too intrusive to their experience), you can also use a Record session to get detailed information. It is clear that all of the above methods have their pros and cons. In an ideal world, getting honest, genuine feedback directly from a brand’s audience would be the most accurate way to understand what the audience wants.

However, as we live in an imperfect world, it becomes more and more important to find ways to solve this problem. A combination of the three research methods above will be the best way to gather data about your audience and fully understand it.

Combining these data points will help you understand that if a pattern is reported in the session record, that pattern should be tested directly in the user tests, along with an optional survey of real users, to really get a better understanding of your audience groups.

Listening tools

In turn, several ‘listening tools’ can be used for checking what conversations are already taking place on social media. These include tools that are ‘free’:

  • Google Alerts – this is a ‘free’ tool that you can set up to send you regular emails of blogs, tweets and news
  • TweetDeck – this is an app that a user can use to follow the thread of a particular conversation on a specific topic.

Or those for which you pay a cost price:

Hootsuite can be used for monitoring and listening to your social media posts
Hootsuite can be used for monitoring and listening to your social media posts

3.5 Compare how SEO for a website differs from SMO

Completely two different things, SMO is more about the engagement with the audience on social media to develop a rapport with your target audience and SEO is the optimising of tags, links and other ways to get more people onto your websites. SMO is a lot more personal, whereas SEO is more general optimising your website so it can be the best and get the most views on the search engines.

SEO vs SMO

  • SEO is dependent on how search engines rank a website, whereas SMO is dependent upon a business talking directly to its audience.
  • SMO needs engagement and communication with a business audience, SEO doesn’t need engagement.
  • The aims of each are likely to be different.
  • The target audience may be different

Both SEO and SMO are used to generate traffic onto a website, just using different approaches.

The many uses of social media optimisation
The many uses of social media optimisation

Section Four

4. Understand how to plan the implementation of a website optimised for mobile devices

Knowing the difference between the advantages and limitations of mobile-optimised websites compared to desktop usage is vital in delivering your marketing message consistently and reliably.

Therefore, consideration and planning need to be given to the various size and space limitations.

4.1 Define the term Mobile Optimisation

Mobile optimization is the process of customizing website content to ensure that visitors visiting your website on your mobile device have a device-specific experience. Optimized content flows smoothly between desktop and mobile devices, providing a great experience for users.

Today, with many people using smartphones to search online and view companies’ websites, it is important to have a ‘mobile’ website – a website that is ‘mobile-friendly’. This means your website can be viewed easily, without distortion, on mobile devices just as well as on non-carrier devices such as personal computers. Having a mobile website enhances the mobile optimisation opportunity.

Standard website Vs Mobile website:

  • It’s smaller
  • Has less detailed text blocks and focuses more on key points
  • Has larger navigation buttons
  • Fewer graphics

4.2 Identify the main differences between SEO and Mobile Optimisation

SEO and Mobile Optimisation are two different techniques used to improve the visibility of a website. SEO is the process of optimising a website for Google search, while mobile optimisation is the process of making a website more accessible on mobile devices. While there are some similarities between the two techniques, there are also some key differences.

One of the main differences between SEO and Mobile Optimisation is the way that they are accessed. SEO is accessed through a desktop computer, while mobile optimisation is accessed through a mobile device. This means that mobile optimisation needs to take into account the different screen sizes and resolutions of mobile devices. It also needs to be able to load quickly on a mobile connection.

Another difference between SEO and Mobile Optimisation is the way that they are used. SEO is used to improve the visibility of a website in Google search results, while mobile optimisation is used to improve the usability of a website on a mobile device. This means that mobile optimisation needs to focus on making sure that the website is easy to use on a small screen.

Finally, another difference between SEO and Mobile Optimisation is the way that they are measured. SEO is measured by the number of visitors that come to a website from Google search results, while mobile optimisation is measured by the number of visitors that stay on a website after arriving from a mobile device.

This means that mobile optimisation needs to focus on providing a good user experience, as well as being easy to use.

The use of mobiles has surged in recent years due to their availability and convenience to access information on the go
The use of mobiles has surged in recent years due to their availability and convenience to access information on the go

4.3 Explain why Mobile Optimisation is important to a business

It could be suggested that SEO and mobile optimisation have more in common than they have differences. Both require relevant and original content. It is also important that there is regular monitoring with constant amendments and updates. Without all of this, a business’s website will not be ranked highly in the search results.

Where a business is ranked on the result page can make all the difference, whether it is on a desktop or on a mobile device. It might not matter too much if the company website features at number 7 or 8 on the desktop SERPs. This means the site is available on the first page and therefore, it is likely to get the desired amount of traffic.

Nevertheless, holding a seventh or eighth position on the small screen of a smartphone is likely to move this position to the second page or even a third page of the search results. This is most definitely not good for business.

Regardless of the results page ranking, it is vital for businesses that any user can view the website as it should look, without having to tweak or strain to see it.

Making your website easy to view on mobile has many advantages:

  • more opportunity for the website to be viewed as smartphones are normally left on (ie never turned off)
  • local results are more likely to appear on mobile devices
  • keywords that rank well for SEO might not be the same for mobile users
  • a bad mobile experience could turn a user off that particular product, even brand or company.

With the growing number of people using mobile devices – even when they have desktops/laptops at home – mobile optimisation is definitely important for businesses to continue targeting, obtaining and engaging with their customers.

  • An increasing number of mobile devices are Internet-enabled.
  • People frequently use mobiles to check information on the move.
  • Websites that are not optimised on mobile devices can put off a potential customer.
Your website needs to be optimised for mobile as well as for desktop
Your website needs to be optimised for mobile as well as for desktop

4.4 Describe how to optimise a website for viewing on a mobile device

There are a number of points to consider when creating a website especially when you know that it will be viewed on a mobile device. Naturally, businesses want a guarantee that their website will be created in such a way as to ensure the highest degree of mobile optimisation that can be achieved. Certain elements and steps on which the business or website creator need to reflect include:

  • Streamline your website – It takes longer to load mobile web pages than the more traditional ones. Users’ patience is becoming shorter and shorter, and many will not wait long for web pages to appear even if they really want to view them. They also do not want to have to click on numerous pages just to read the information they require. So for mobile optimisation, you should keep the number of pages to as few as possible.
  • Short and sweet content – With the website being streamlined there will not be much space to write much. Refrain from trying to add too much and cluttering up the web pages. Remember quality of content is better for optimisation than quantity. So keep content to a minimum – make it punchier than just waffling. Restrict your write-up to just the key information.
  • Not too flashy – Keep your website free from too many distractions such as pop-ups. Many mobile phones do not support Java and even if they do, using Java can use up a lot of time. In turn, a large number of phones do not support Flash so any information in Flash or other plug-ins should also be offered to the mobile user in plain HTML.
  • Easy navigation – Make sure that any user can navigate easily around the website. Mobile devices have the ‘back’ button but for ease of use, put a button on the website that can be pressed to quickly and easily bring the user back to the homepage.
  • Bigger is better – Keeping information to a minimum allows the web designer to use the ‘extra’ space wisely. The buttons that enable users to navigate the website easily can be made larger for seeing as well as enlarging the text for reading without having to zoom in constantly.
  • Hitting the wrong key – While there is the option of increasing the size of the text, there is nothing the mobile website designer can do about the minuscule keyboard on mobile phones. Users should be able to minimise the amount of text need to type when navigating a website. Mobile web designers could, if feasible, give users the option of clicking on dropdown menus and pre-populated fields when entering data.
  • A quick hop to sales – If purchasing on their mobile, the user has probably already viewed the merchandise elsewhere and is ready to buy. Make sure that the user does not have to jump through numerous hoops to get what they want. Ensure that landing on the webpage, clicking on the purchase button, completing the payment details and getting the purchase code are not time-consuming steps. Do not over-complicate the process. Just put in the necessary steps so purchasing is quick and easy.
  • Publicising the brand – A large part of social media is publicising your business and hence the importance of SEO and mobile optimisation. Thus it is important that your brand is clearly visible to the mobile user. It should be recognisable to the established customers so they have the same experience visiting the mobile website as they would on a more traditional website. One way to ensure recognition is for a business to keep its brand’s colours and imagery consistent throughout all electronic devices.
  • The full story – Your potential customer is at the dentist in the waiting room, studiously avoiding the dog-eared magazines dating back to the 20th century. They have plenty of time to browse the Internet on their mobile phone. This is where your website –streamlined for mobile users with little time – gives the option for users to visit the complete website.
Mobile website versus a standard website for display and user experience
Mobile website versus a standard website for display and user experience

4.5 Explain why keywords and/or keyword phrases for a mobile website might differ from those for a non-mobile website

When you’re creating a website, it’s important to consider how it will be viewed on different devices. For example, a website designed for desktop viewing might look very different when viewed on a mobile device.

One reason for this is that people use their phones and other mobile devices in very different ways than they use their computers. They often need to access information quickly and easily, so they are more likely to browse than to search.

They are also more likely to be using their phones or devices while on the go, which means that they are less likely to have time for a lot of scrolling or clicking around.

This means that you should focus your keywords and keyword phrases on those that people are most likely to use when searching on their mobile devices. You should also make sure that your site is easy to navigate, with links and buttons that are easy to click with a finger.

In general, your mobile keywords and phrases should be shorter and more specific than those you use for your regular website. They should also be relevant to the needs of mobile users.

For example, if you have a website about hiking gear, some of your keywords might be “hiking boots”, “backpacks”, and “ tents”. But if you were targeting mobile users, you might want to use keywords like “lightweight hiking boots”, “backpacks under 50 litres”, or “2-person tents”.

This is just a general guide – there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to keywords and phrases for a mobile website. But by keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that your site is optimized for the needs of mobile users.

No escape from time and effort

It is apparent that optimising your website for mobile searches takes a lot of time and effort. Once you have done this you need to check how it looks to viewers on all different sorts of mobile devices. This helps ensure that you have established an effective, well-optimised mobile presence.

Like SEO, it is important to monitor and maintain the website, making necessary changes on a regular basis. The time and effort a business contributes to maintaining a ‘mobile’ website should reflect how much success they achieve in optimising it.

With the increasing number of people using their mobile devices to search the Internet, it is fair to state that mobile search represents a highly attractive opportunity for any business in this current market, hence the importance of mobile optimisation.

  • Due to keyboard limitations, people type shorter words into mobile search engines.
  • Mobile searches are more likely to contain focused search terms.
  • Many mobile searches will be locally based.
  • The audience using mobile devices may be different
Designing a mobile experience on paper first will save time when designing and coding online
Designing a mobile experience on paper first will save time when designing and coding online

4.6 Identify changes required to a non-mobile website to make it suitable for mobile devices

Most websites are not designed with mobile devices in mind. This can be a major issue, as more and more people are using their phones and other mobile devices to access the internet. In order to make your website more accessible to mobile users, you may need to make some changes. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Make sure your content is readable on small screens. This means using a font that is large and avoiding complex layouts that will be difficult to navigate on a phone or tablet.

2. Use a responsive design template that will automatically adjust to the size of the screen being used This is becoming an increasingly popular option, as it eliminates the need for separate versions of websites for different devices.

3. Optimize your website for search engines so that it will show up higher in mobile search results. This involves creating titles and descriptions that are specifically tailored for mobile users, as well as using keywords that are likely to be used by those looking for information on smartphones and tablets.

4. Make sure your website loads quickly on mobile devices. This is important for both users and search engines, as slow-loading pages are often penalized in rankings. To speed things up, you can compress images and code, and cache frequently accessed files.

5. Use mobile-specific features to enhance the user experience. This can include things like GPS and click-to-call buttons, which can be very helpful for those using your website on a phone.

By making these changes, you can make your website much more accessible and user-friendly for mobile users. This will not only help you attract more visitors, but also improve your search engine rankings and overall online presence.

Additional Reading Material

Access to tools to analyse keywords is listed below:

Free tools

Paid tools