In this post, we are going to be talking about SEO in Zimbabwe and how exactly it works. By the time you reach the end of this post, you will hopefully have a better appreciation of this industry and how it can help you take your business or side hustle to the next level.
Having started out in 2005, I think I’m one of the pioneers in the online space in Zimbabwe. I know that sounds like I’m beating my own drum but I’m only saying that o drive a point and it’s this; I’ve seen a lot come and go in the SEO space and have experienced quite a lot as a self-taught internet marketer.
I’ve pretty much dabbled in almost every internet market opportunity out there and learned my fair share of lessons along the way. What I want to share in this post are some of these lessons and I promise you that they are not what you’ve grown accustomed to hearing. I suggest you stick around in order to get an idea of some of these lessons.
To kick things off, let’s start by talking about why this beast called SEO is such an important part of business success whether you have a local business or an international one in the internet marketing space.
I’ve done different types of promotion for tens, if not hundreds of online properties that I have launched in almost 2 decades. What I have found is that no traffic comes close to search engine traffic when it comes to converting visitors to customers.
Other methods such as paid ads will do it a lot quicker but search engine traffic is a lot stickier. By this, I mean that you are more likely to get the desired action from a search engine visitor. In the rest of this post, we are going to be looking into how it really all works and how you can make it work for you.
SEO in Zimbabwe & How it Works
When you look at SEO in the Zimbabwean context, you are talking about an area that is basically uncharted territory. Not a lot of Zimbabwean business people understand the power of search engine traffic. When you understand the importance of ranking well in search engines, you will strive to make the most of it.
Internet usage especially using Google to find information has risen greatly in Zimbabwe, especially with the improved internet penetration rate. The usage statistics are by no means the best possible but they are a long way from what they used to be.
When we say SEO (Search Engine Optimization) we are talking about getting a content piece showing up on the first page of Google. In order to do this, you need to implement a strategic approach. This involves:
- Keyword Research
- Content Creation
- On-Page Optimization
- Off-Page Optimization
This is the simple process that is part of just about any SEO campaign. Each of those categories does have more intricate processes which we are going to look into next.
1. Keyword Research
For example, if you are in the dental niche and want to rank for the keyword Dentist Harare you will want to do some research to discover how competitive that particular niche is. The basic principle in SEO is to go for the low hanging fruit i.e. low competition.
This particular keyword has a moderate amount of competition. If you are an SEO (also used for people who do SEO) who knows what they are doing, you will be able to get onto the first page of Google for that particular term within a few months or so.
Besides the main keyword, you will also want to look for related keywords that are low competition which you can create content around. This creates multiple ways that your potential customer can find you through search engines.
There are several ways of doing keyword research where you can use different paid and free tools. The free tools I use for keyword research are:
The most popular paid keyword research tools are:
There are several other tools out there that you could use but I just listed the ones that I work with.
I will not go into the intricacies of how I use these tools as there is a lot of information on that online. If you want to understand how I use Google to research low competition keywords for free, you can check out the video below:
The Alphabet Soup Method for Keyword Research
2. Content Creation
Once you have your keywords, you need to create content. Ideally, you want your content to be at least 300 words. I usually want to do anywhere between 700 to 2000 words per post. The more you are able to cover your keyword topic in-depth, the better the chances are of ranking at or near the top.
One key thing you want to keep in mind is to create quality content. If you want long term success with search engines, you need to write questions that answer the questions searchers have in a unique way.
Provide some different angles that your competitors are not covering and the chances of rising in the search engines will increase exponentially.
I wrote about the process of writing quality content in-depth here.
3. On-Page Optimization
Next up you need to make sure that the search engines are able to recognise what topic a particular web page is about. The process of doing this is called on-page optimization. There really are only 2 things necessary here. The first is that you need to have the keyword in the title.
For example, if your keyword is best gym in Harare, you can title your page 10 best gyms in Harare. Notice that instead of the singular “gym” in the title I used “gyms”. Google is sophisticated enough to derive the right meaning from your title and categorise your keyword accordingly.
Next, have the keyword in the first paragraph of the post. For example, I can start off by saying “Do you want to know the best gym in Harare? this article is definitely for you so stick around” Look for a way to include the target keyword in a natural way.
I usually leave at that in terms of optimising for a particular keyword. The usual recommendation is to include the target keyword several times in the article but you could end up being penalised by Google for over-optimization. Throughout the whole process just keep in mind to produce the best quality content and 80% of the battle is won.
4. Off-Page Optimization
The fourth and final step in this process is off-page optimization. Google uses links from other sites pointing to yours as a sort of vote. If you have links from other websites to yours, it is an indicator that your content is important enough for others to link back to.
This, in turn, helps move your page up the search rankings. The links have to be from trustworthy sites though. Too many links from low-quality websites will cause your website to be penalised by Google. You need to keep this in mind when you are creating links to your site (known as backlinks).
Though Google discourages actively building backlinks, you can do it in a way that looks natural. One of the best ways is to look for other websites in your niche and then ask for guest posts. In this guest post, you then link back to your site.
The Opportunities in SEO in the Zimbabwean Context
How can this information help you though? Are there opportunities that can be exploited in this space? There definitely are. You can take time to learn about this topic and start actively ranking some small sites. There isn’t a better way of getting traction in this field than getting in the trenches.
I have a FREE Course that will teach you how to use these skills.
FAQs About SEO in Zimbabwe
Simply put, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of configuring your website so that it ranks highly in the search engines. When done right, your web page will rise up the rankings and ideally occupy the top 3 positions.
SEO helps drive more visitors from search engines to your website. This can help increase revenue for your business without spending a lot of money on advertising.
There are 5 steps to a successful SEO campaign. They are:
1. Website Audit
This helps you establish what needs to be fixed on your website in order to help it rank.
2. Keyword Research
Look for low competition keywords that help your site rank in the Search Engines.
3. Create Quality Content
Write quality content that is at least 500 words long for each of those keywords and post to new pages/blog posts on your site.
4. On-Page Optimisation
Put your keyword in the title and first paragraph of your content. Link out at least once to a high authority website in your niche from your page. Also link to other relevant content within your website.
5. Off-Page Optimisation
Look for guest posting opportunities and link back to your site from within those posts. Press releases are also great for this.