How SEO Works\r\n\r\nIn our last blog, we looked at what search engine optimisation (SEO) is and explored some of the factors that you need to consider in order to help Google and other search engines to find your website for the right keywords. In this article, we're going to delve in a bit deeper and take a look at how SEO works as well as offering some SEO tips for property managers to get your website ranking better. As we highlighted last time, to be successful with search engine optimisation you need to get the basics right, be consistent in your approach and follow Google's best practice guidelines.\r\n\r\nThere are a lot of factors that can play a part in how successful your SEO efforts are and we won't be covering them all here. However, we will take a look at some of the most important things to get right. So let's take a more detailed look at how SEO works and how you can use it to reach more people looking to book accommodation in your area.\r\n\r\nSEO Tips And Best Practice Guidelines\r\n\r\nAs we highlighted in the last blog, 91% of all content gets no traffic from Google. So how do you avoid disappearing from Google's radar altogether or appearing so far down the search results that no-one ever finds you? Well, the very first step is understanding your target audience. This is what we mean when we talk about 'getting the basics' right. Fundamentally, SEO works on the same key principle as marketing. You need to put yourself in your customer's shoes. This means thinking about how your target audience is searching for your products, services or content. You can then start the first and possibly most important step in the SEO process: keyword research.\r\n\r\nSEO Keyword Research\r\n\r\nKeyword research is one of the most important factors in how SEO works and is the process of analysing search terms that people enter into search engines to find out:\r\n\r\nWhat are people searching for?\r\nHow many people are searching for it?\r\nHow competitive is the search term? Are there lots of other people trying to rank for it?\r\nWhat format do people want the information in?\r\n\r\nSo, for example, if you are a bed and breakfast owner in Mooloolaba, you need to start thinking about not just the obvious terms like 'bed and breakfast mooloolaba' but other terms that people might use when planning their trip and looking for accommodation in the area. A key point in understanding how SEO works is considering that what you want to rank well for may be different from what your audience actually wants. The trick is understanding this in the first place so that you can craft your website content to answer the needs of your target audience.\r\n\r\nKeyword Search Volumes\r\n\r\nOnce you get into keyword research you might be surprised about how many different variations of search terms there are and how much they differ in popularity. Just guessing at these terms really isn't enough. For example, take the term 'bed and breakfast sunshine coast'. At the time of writing this that term has 320 searches a month. However, say you had used the phrase 'b&amp;b sunshine coast' that term has 260 searches a month. And if you had opted for 'bed &amp; breakfast sunshine coast' that term has just 10 searches a month.\r\n\r\nDoing thorough keyword research really is a critical factor in how SEO works and how effective your website will be in attracting enough of the right traffic.\r\n\r\nHow SEO Works: On-Page SEO\r\n\r\nOn-page SEO factors are another critical element of how SEO works. As the name suggests these elements are the things that happen on your website, that you have control of. By following Google's best practice guidelines, you can most certainly influence your website's ranking ability by adjusting these elements. There are a couple of important things to remember. Firstly, Google now prioritises relevancy and user-intent when deciding which pages to rank. This means it's important that your web page answers the user-intention of the search term you have chosen to optimise it for. Another important thing to remember is that every page of your website should have unique content and be optimised differently to reflect what the page is about.\r\n\r\nOn-Page SEO Factors\r\n\r\nYou should be looking to use your pages keywords in all these on-page elements. Some of the on-page elements that have a direct bearing on your search ranking are:\r\n\r\nYour page content - without doubt creating valuable, useful, user-friendly content remains the single most important element in on-page SEO and is a key factor in how SEO works.\r\nTitle tag - your title tag tells the search engines what your page is about and is displayed in the search results as the clickable headline for a given search term. It should include your keyword but be an accurate reflection of what your page is about and is recommended to be under 60 characters in length.\r\nURL - having a well-structured website includes using your urls to highlight both the content of the page and where it can be found on your website e.g. www.example.com.au/nearby-attractions/theme-parks This url highlights that the 'theme parks' page can be found in the 'nearby attractions' category.\r\nMeta description - this is the short text shown underneath the title tag headline to describe in a bit more detail what the page is about. While it's thought that the meta description doesn't necessarily influence Google in it's ranking decisions, it does play a key part in influencing whether the user clicks on a page. It's recommended to keep this under 160 characters in length.\r\nImage alt tag - when you use images on your webpage you also need to provide a description of what the image is in the html code. As well as helping search engines understand them, it also helps the visually impaired and helps search engine crawlers index your image properly.\r\nInternal links - adding links to other pages of your website can help search engines understand the content of your page and website better as well as helping users navigate easily to other content on your website.\r\nHeadings and sub-headings - breaking your content with heading and sub-headings is best practice because it makes it easier for visitors to read your page and search engines to recognise the themes.\r\nOff-Page SEO\r\n\r\nWhen looking at how SEO works it's important to also consider off-page SEO factors. These are the factors that you may not be able to directly influence so easily but can still play a part in your ranking. They include helping search engines determine your website's trustworthiness, relevance, popularity and authority. Among the off-page elements that can affect your website ranking are:\r\n\r\nWebsite trust - if Google trusts your website then it is likely to consider it favourably when deciding whether your web pages answer a specific search query. There are a number of ways that you can help search engines to develop trust in your website including getting links from other websites that are already seen as authoritative by Google. You should also make sure that your website is secure. This means that it will display as https:// rather than http://.\r\nBacklinks - these are basically incoming links to your website from another website. They are important in search engine optimisation because they represent a vote of confidence in your website. However, this is an area that requires careful management as having lots of 'spammy' backlinks can have a very negative effect on your website's authority and trustworthiness. You need to keep a close eye on who is linking to your website and whether these are links or votes that you want.\r\n\r\nThere are a number of other off-page factors that play a part in how SEO works that you can certainly influence. These include: having a well-optimised Google My Business page, NAP citations (Name, Address, Phone), Business reviews, content marketing and social signals and we will cover these in our next blog.\r\n\r\nIt might seem like search engine optimisation is a minefield. However, as we highlighted at the beginning, if you get the basics right, do it consistently and follow Google's best practice guidelines your website has a very good chance of ranking for some valuable terms that will drive high-quality visitors to your website and increase the opportunity for direct bookings.\r\n\r\nHiRUM work with a number of local, trusted partners who are able to offer sound advice and support in the area of search engine optimisation. If this is an area you would like to know more about, feel free to reach out to our marketing team.\r\n\r\nIn the meantime, it's worth remembering that the very first step in effective SEO is having a well-designed, mobile-friendly website. If you would like to discuss developing your website, give the marketing team at HiRUM a call on 07 5574 4990. HiRUM\u2019s website design team have developed a superb reputation for building beautiful, high-converting, mobile responsive websites for clients in the hospitality industry. As well as our market-leading\u00a0booking engine, we can help you manage many aspects of your property or hotel marketing, from your social media presence to your Google listings.\r\n\r\nHiRUM had support in developing the content of this article from Brisbane Small Business Marketing.