It can be a complex concept, with several factors working in conjunction with each other, but in basic terms, it just means making your website more visible.
The two main principles of SEO are firstly about knowing your target audience, and secondly about understanding how to deliver that information in a way that search engines can find.
Search engines are programmed bots, that trawl through billions and billions of pieces of information, sending i through a multitude of parameters before determining whether it is relevant to the search query. This indexing is known as ‘ranking’. SEO is centred around understanding those parameters and tailoring your information to fit within them.
So what are some of these parameters? Here’s some basic overview:
Keywords: Although keywords are no longer the only SEO technique used to determine search rankings, they are still an important factor. Over time as search bots got more intelligent, keywords needed to become more carefully selected and well used in order to effectively move your page up in the rankings. It’s important to choose keywords that have a large number of search rates, but low competition. Key words can be short-tail (like cat), or long-tail (siamese cats for sale), or localised (kittens for sale in Sydney). It’s important to try and have a combination of all of these in your content.
Content: Content is ultimately what drives the engagement with your site visitors. Search engines won’t display your site if they think you don’t have anything interesting to offer. Blogging can be an effective way of increasing your organic search results. You could publish a series of articles about siamese cats, how to care for them, breeding them etc. Someone who is searching for this information finds your site and begins exploring as they read, slowly getting to know more about you and your service.Hopefully this relationship means that when the time comes for them to purchase a cat, you are the first person that comes to mind.
Content needs to be high quality and engaging in order to cut it in today’s market. Consider a range of media such as:
- Interesting page content / copy
- Impressive photography
- Social media posts
People will engage with good content, and this will be reflected in your ranking.
Off-Page SEO: This refers to external factors that manipulate rankings that happen away from your page. The most commonly utilised technique is to increase the amount of pages linking back to yours. This tells the search bot that you have content worth talking about, and is referred to as back link building. Now, remember that blog you started writing? This is where it can come in handy again, providing a place to collaborate with influencers, have your infographics and photos shared in other places and be featured on other sites.
Now that you have an understanding of what SEO and its purpose, it’s time to explain a number of reasons why you absolutely cannot afford to overlook it.
One: Organic Search is the primary traffic source
Organic Search Results are on the increase, and are vital component of finding new leads for your sales funnel. “Google It” has become the most common response to seeking answers and information, meaning that search rankings, particularly within Google are extremely important to brand exposure. Even if you are planning to run other targeted digital marketing strategies like Pay Per Click and Google Ads, it’s still invaluable to ensure you have a great organic search ranking.
Two: It can help build your brand
Building a brand is all about getting others to see you, and consider how they discuss you. Good SEO practices should be bringing in the viewers to your site, where you then have an opportunity to communicate more about your brand and who you are. Take into account what you’re providing and the kind of content your customers want – where those two rivers meet can be your site traffic gold mine.
Three: It’s Free!
Well implemented SEO will mean that your organic search ranking climbs higher, without having to pay for advertising. Although it can be a good idea to use both free and paid strategies to increase your position on SERPs (search engine results pages), having a higher organic rank to begin with will mean you don’t need to spend as much on PPC advertising. It’s an effective foundational tool that sets you up with a better launching platform.
Four: Local SEO can increase your Conversion Rates
The number of users searching the web from mobile devices is on the increase, which means the search for local services (things like “cafés near me”) has also dramatically risen. Making sure you have effective local SEO can give you the edge over your competition when it comes to being visible at that crucial moment. If potential customers are nearby, ready to make a purchase, you need to be as high up that SERP as possible.
Five: It’s a Long-term marketing strategy
Taking the time to set up good SEO practices, enables your brand to be well positioned for the long term. Unlike paid advertising that is based around short term targets, SEO is designed to work better the longer it’s been around. You should see results very soon after the changes, but ultimately it will in the long term, think 12 months down the track, where you will begin to notice big differences in the amount of traffic coming to your site and how they engage with your content once they are there.
Six: Focusing on SEO improves User Experience
Having a great User Experience (UX) dramatically impacts your search rankings. This is because search engines have become very sophisticated, and they know how to determine interesting sites from pages with less to offer. By combining the effects of good SEO practices and excellent UX, you’re ensuring that your site will not only deliver what your visitors want, but that those results will be reflected in your search rankings. A great web design team will be able to work together to achieve this from the initial design of your website.
Optimising a website for SEO can often be a complex process that takes a little more time in the web development stage. However, the results both short and long-term are invaluable to the development of your brand over time.
Good SEO can bring you credibility, excellent user engagement, high amounts of local traffic and increased search visibility. But most importantly it’s a long-term marketing strategy that doesn’t have ongoing costs.
In 2020, search competition is the new frontier in marketing success, and your brand can’t afford to get left behind.