There are millions of articles, courses and videos explaining what is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, most of them only seem to perpetuate the myth that all you need for a successful web based business is a number one ranking on Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
No doubt you also recieve countless emails on a weekly basis on how some organisation has the
secret formula to cracking the
Google Code and will be able get your business to the mythical #1 on Google
Most explanations of SEO only serve to introduce and confuse you with more three letter acronyms and fancy sounding terms:
- Return On Investment (ROI)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
- Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Inbound Links (IBL)
- Outbound Links (OBL)
The truth is, just because a subject has more Acronyms than you can throw a dictionary at it doesn’t mean that it can’t be understood by breaking it down to a simple, clear and transparent definition.
What is SEO ?
Many people mistakenly think that the purpose of SEO is to ensure that your website appears on the mythical first page of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
This can be attributed to the simplest definition of SEO
SEO is the process of ensuring that your website and it’s content can easily found when your customers search for it.
At it’s core, SEO is nothing more than an extension of the Marketing Mix
The right Product, in the right Place, with the right Promotion at the right Price
Fundamentally SEO is about ensuring that all terms, keywords and phrases that people may use to search for your product will ultimately lead to your website.
No technical Wizardry
Another popular misconception regarding SEO is that it requires the talents of computer programmers or web developers. The truth is often it actually requires very little technical wizardry.
A basic understanding of algorithms and software programming may aid in understanding some of the finer points, but is by no means essential.
For the most part even the most basic lay-mans computer programming knowledge is more than adequate.
In our experience, probably the best book for anyone to gain an understanding of SEO , happens to be SEO for Dummies, as it covers all the basics of SEO, and even provides a few laughs along the way.
Probably the most fundamental skill required by SEO, quite literally has nothing to do with software development, because SEO is more about the understanding of human behaviour.
First page on Google myth
There is also largely incorrect perception that all a business needs to do, to generate sales, is to somehow manage to get it’s products within the the Top 3 listings within a Google SERP.
This is based on another wildly inaccurate assumption that your customers will only be using Google as a search engine to search for products to purchase.
Although there are many more search engines available, such as Bing, Yahoo , DuckDuckGo, Baidu and many more, it doesn’t just mean SEO is only related to Search Engines.
The truth is, your potential customers will be searching for your products making use of millions of alternate search engines, that actually are probably not even classified or even regarded as search engines!
The harsh reality is that the real value of a Top 1 search result has actually diminished by 37% in two years Google knows this and realistically so should you!
SEO is not dead
To make matters worse, there are many folks on forums and internet chat rooms, who are falsely claiming the demise of SEO, and that other forms or internet marketing, such as Content Marketing are the new wave.
As we’ve pointed out in a previous posts, that Content Marketing does not replace SEO and Why SEO should complement your content marketing , SEO is still very much at the heart of most digital marketing campaigns.
Digital Marketing & SEO
For any form of Digital Marketing to succeed, it will actually require implementation of SEO techniques.
Digital Marketing : The marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers
The often over-looked aspect of SEO, is the detailed analysis and research. It is impossible to improve web results without first understanding what and how to achieve those results.
SEO analysis and research is fundamentally what market research is to marketing. You would never attempt to launch a new product or service without at first carrying out the most rudimentary market research.
The web provides a whole treasure trove of data and tools to analyse data. The real art of SEO is about learning how to analyse and understand this data and then to use the results of your studies to improve your websites content, layout, information architecture and other aspects to ensure your website is exactly what your customer is looking for, while at the same time it is easily found and indexed by search engines.
Why Do You Need SEO?
SEO is very important for any business that has an online presence. Regardless of whether you directly sell products on your site or not. You can still attract & gain vital customers through the internet.
Increasing customers making use of reviews, information and comparison shopping. Ensuring your website is visible and easily found online, and listed in as many places your target customers are likely to be using ,you will be able to gain more customers.
What are Important SEO Factors
There are some important ranking factors that you should bear in mind when embarking on a SEO campaign. Most search engines have sophisticated algorithms that use a number of factors to determine rankings for a website. These factors usually include:
- Quality Backlinks
- Social Signals
- Website Age
- On-Page Optimization
- Website Speed
- User Experience
Gaining quality back links is a very important factor in SEO but be careful about the type of links you are getting. Search Engine algorithms have changed and now focus on quality links rather than quantity.
To generate the most quality back links to your site, you have to create quality content. When you create quality content, users link to it. This is the best and most tried and tested method to gain quality back links. It’s also a great way to gain more social signals.
Many search engine algorithms use social signals to determine ranking position. Social signals are links, post, shares, and tweets about your site on social media platforms. Search engines crawl these sites just like any other site. If you have a strong following and get a lot of shares, this will help your rankings.
Getting social signals is just the same as getting quality back links. Creating sharable engaging content and sharing it on your Facebook Page, Twitter and Google+ can increase shares, tweets, and mentions of your site. This will create more followers and fans that will link to your site.
The older your website or URL is, the higher chance it is an authority site. Search Engines will not allow a brand new website to rank #1 for “digital marketing”. SEO and building authority takes time.
Website or URL age is not as important as it once was, it’s still a factor for ranking well in search engines.
In order for search engine bots to properly extract and index data from your website, you must optimize is so the bots can read it clearly.
On-page optimization is the act of optimizing your HTML so search engine spiders can crawl your site and read what your site is about.
A few important on-page optimization tips include:
- Have heading tags that explain your content (h1, h2, h3)
- Have alt tags on all your images
- Use meta description and meta title tags
- Use open graph meta tags
- Good Internal linking
These five on-page optimization tips are a good start but there are plenty of other ways to optimize your website for the search engines.
It’s important to have a fast website or users will shy away and leave. This won’t help gain quality back links or social signals, which in turn, will hurt your rankings.
To test your website try Google PageSpeed Insights tool to get some insight on your website’s speed and how to increase it.
User Experience is a hugely important factor for SEO. Ensuring you have a good user experience will create followers, quality back links, and social signals. In turn, this will create better search rankings for your site.
If a site is hard to navigate or users can’t easily find the information they are looking for, they will leave and never come back.
Having good website design will increase user experience and engage users to share your content. This factor should be constantly evolving. You should constantly be updating your site to have better and better user experience.
Ensuring you pay close attention to your information architecture and content strategy will reap enormous benefits. This is where paying close attention to your SEO results, analytics and keyword research helps you to define your content strategy.
SEO is a not a set-it-and-forget-it type of job. You should constantly be optimizing your site both on-page and off-page. There are a number of ranking factors that determine your results, but by far the best tip for SEO is to create web content that is :
SEO done correctly and is hugely time intensive and essential task. If you have a website which you will be relying upon to generate leads or even sales then it is essential you allocate sufficient resources to the SEO tasks.
We offer affordable search engine optimization services, which are focused to ensure your business and website perform well online enabling you to focus on your business.