What’s SEO & How Does it Work?
When it comes to employing digital marketing for your business, SEO has become one of the most important disciplines to master. Put simply, effective SEO is essential in order for your business to enjoy the most optimal exposure it can get online.
SEO HELPS YOU MAXIMISE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
Every year, Google is used for over 1.2 trillion searches around the world.
The lower your website appears in search results, the less of that 1.2 trillion will be able to discover you.
The first page of results will achieve around 69% of clicks, the second page will achieve around 13% and the remaining traffic is split between subsequent pages. As you can no doubt see, getting onto the first page of search results means a drastic increase in the amount of traffic to your domain.
Your Site on Page #1 = Increased Traffic, Increased Leads & Increased Sales!
ARE YOU NEW TO SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, which is discipline within digital marketing that uses special strategies and tactics to ensure search engines rank a site higher in their results. In this way, SEO is a way of manipulating the indexing algorithms of major search engines like Google so that a website is ranked favourably.
Through the use of strategies like keyword optimisation and the development of relevant, high quality content, you can tailor your online presence so that search engines will see your website as an authoritative answer to the search queries of their users. Search engines want their users to find the best results in as little time as possible and SEO is about making sure your website fits that criteria.
While SEO is not free to do, it is not technically a paid advertising method as you do not directly pay for exposure. SEO tactics are all about ‘optimising’ the content of your website so that it is ranked favourably in organic search results for keywords related to your business.
For example, if your business was selling pet food, then you would probably want your website to appear high on page #1 in search results for the terms “cat food” and “dog food”.
The higher your website appears in search results, the more likely it is that people will visit your site and subsequently buy from you. This is why SEO is so important when it comes to marketing in the online space, especially when the majority of people use search engines to find the products and services they spend their money on.
RELEVANT, HIGH QUALITY LEADS
With effective SEO you will achieve a high ranking in the search results for terms your target audience is using to find the products and/or services your business offers. This means that the leads generated via SEO are going to be inherently more likely to convert into paying customers.
MORE TRUSTED BY CONSUMERS
Unlike paid advertising methods, SEO is all about boosting the organic page rank of your website. When a user clicks ‘search’ and gets a list of results, they will be greeted with a mix of paid and organic links.
Paid results are disclaimed as ‘sponsored’ and are seen as less credible by consumers. On the other hand, results driven by SEO are the organic, sincere results that a search engine has chosen to serve users, meaning that they will be more trusted.
Having your website ranked highly by search engines like Google adds a high level of credibility to your business. This is because people automatically assume the search engine is serving the best possible organic results for their query.
Appearing on page #1 for keywords related to your services is one of the greatest ways to increase the mindshare of your business.
GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT
In order to execute an effective SEO campaign, it will incur a cost in time and resources. However, the long-term benefits it provides are more than enough to justify the expense. The increased traffic that your site gets, while not strictly earned for free, isn’t being paid for per click and will build momentum over time.
When compared with other forms of digital marketing, SEO’s benefits are far more permanent.
SOME DISADVANTAGES OF SEO
Effectiveness of tactics can change at the whim of the algorithm – The indexing algorithms used by search engines are routinely updated and this can mean tactics that worked in the past can be made redundant or worse, have a negative impact on your websites’ ranking. This means you need the help of experts who understand how to predict and prepare for these changes.
It can be difficult to get started with – Depending on the competitiveness of the industry your business is in, it can be difficult to break onto the first page when competitors already have established mindshare. SEO experts understand how to get around this by targeting less competitive keywords in inventive ways.
Needs special forms of content development and distribution – Not every business will have access to necessary online infrastructure and connections in order to carry out effective SEO. This is why it’s so beneficial to enlist a professional SEO agency that already has an established digital presence.
GOING DEEPER INTO HOW SEO WORKS
There are two categories into which SEO tactics are separated: “on-page optimisation” and “off-page optimisation”.
On-page optimisation is the term for all of the work that takes place on your website that improves its organic search ranking. Some examples of tactics used here are optimising the density of keywords throughout page content, optimising URLs and optimising page titles.
The content on your website (the actual text on each page) is one of the most important factors that search engines look at when ranking your site. Remembering that search engines want to give their users the best possible results; you want your content to be relevant, engaging and authoritative.
Other factors like the use of images, good internal linking and the overall aesthetic quality of the website are also important. The more time that users spend on your site enjoying it the better your ranking will be.
Off-page optimisation is all about the tactics that take place outside of your site in order to spread your URL across other domains.
Off-page optimisation is continuously ongoing process
Link-building is the bread and butter of off-page optimisation and is accomplished in different ways.
Natural link-building is when your websites’ URL is shared organically by other websites that want to sincerely link their users to your content. The best way to earn natural links is to create content that will be useful to other people who will want to credit you for it. These kinds of links are the most influential and beneficial to your SEO ranking.
Manual link-building is when you convince other websites to have your link shared on theirs. This could be done in the form of guest posting whereby you offer another website a piece of valuable content in exchange for the inclusion of a link on their site pointing to yours.
The more relevant the linking site is to your content, the better the SEO result is going to be.
In-house link-building refers to strategies that attempt to influence users to share a link to your site by signing up with an account or leaving a comment. This type of link-building is now frowned upon by search engines and is not a recommended strategy.
WHY IS SEO USUALLY A LONG PROCESS?
Like any kind of organic process, SEO is going to take longer than more direct methods because it’s purpose is to build the sincere authority of your site, something that can’t be done overnight. Search engines value websites that take a careful approach and aren’t tempted to take unethical shortcuts.