Most people bandy the term “SEO” around the office, but few people really understand the theory behind it, leaving the detail to the technical guys. In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimisation is the art of making your website legible to search engine robots and humans alike. It’s obvious you want your live and potential audience to be able to read and understand, but why do you need to bother with the robots? Simple. Without those robots, your audience won’t be able to find your website; like creating a work of art and displaying it in a dark cupboard.
Too often, businesses go to great lengths to create a website that sells their wares, but fail to make sure that their website reaches the right people. In a digital age, where online presence is a must, SEO is a crucial part of the searching and buying cycle. Here’s why:
SEO isn’t an optional cost, but a necessary investment. With the right analytics, you can make sure that your website ranks highly in common searches, bagging top spots that will guarantee visibility. And, of course, a bigger audience means increased business. SEO has the potential to produce a rise in sales without a proportional rise in investment, allowing profits to increase exponentially.
There is an option to buy search engine placements with the likes of Google Adwords and in most cases this is a worthwhile investment but without optimising your website for search engine optimisation, it can often result in less traffic and higher bills.
Increased Visibility = Increased Credibility
Whether you are a large, established organisation in your industry or have a smaller, less well known business, visibility is key. Few people tend to trawl through multiple search pages, assuming that those on the first and second pages are the most relevant and important. Good SEO will make sure that your website ranks well again and again in searches, which in turn will help to increase audience trust; after all, if you come up on every search, you must be good, right? On the other end of the spectrum, SEO can help you to push links down in the list, allowing you to make sure that the top ranking search results don’t contain anything that you don’t want them to.
To obtain this kind of search ranking, you have to take several things into consideration. Who your target audience are, what keywords are you targeting and how are you going to present your Meta Data. By thinking hard about all these aspects, you will be able to target the right person, with the right search query and attract them to click your link with eye catching text.
Regardless of your size, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels when it comes to SEO. No matter how well known and respected you are, you are competing with other credible brands. In a climate where everyone is looking for the best deal, the sale will inevitable go to the brand with the best SEO. The right meta data, keywords and key phrases will make sure that your brand places highly, giving you the opportunity to reach customers before your competitors do.
Remember to establish yourself as a brand. Google favours branded websites so make sure you include a terms and conditions page, stand out logo and implement Schema structured data to showcase your product or service. Many SEO’s still don’t use Schema to structure their data and for this day in age, it is vital to make your website stand out as much as possible on the search engines. A great example of this is to add a rating scheme to your website to give yourself a star rating on search engines.
As the world of digital marketing has evolved, organisations are faced with a host of media via which to promote their services. SEO integrates well with social networks and helps to get your products in front of your target audience. With the appropriate use of social media, you can improve your reach; value likes, shares, hashtags and backlinks will help to increase your online presence. The balance here is fine; research shows that over exposure, such as too much social media activity and too many hashtags can desensitise your audience, making them less likely to engage with your brand activity.
Let your social and backlink profile grow naturally. Google has algorithms set in place to combat spammers or ‘black hat SEO’s’. All of these kind of signals do play a huge part in your online visibility but by over doing it, you can put your whole brand at risk or even deletion from the search engine index.
The art of SEO is a true science; a specialist area that involves painstaking analytics, creative flair and in-depth industry and marketing knowledge. It is no longer a case of adding a smattering of keywords into content, but a complex, evolving process that demands continual analysis and changes. Those who dabble in SEO are unlikely to see great results, and often abandon the attempt as futile. However, those who turn to qualified, proven SEO specialists are guaranteed increased credibility and a great long term return on investment. The question isn’t “can you afford to engage an SEO specialist”, but “can you afford NOT to?”