What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
SEO is the marketing field of growing the organic website enquiries your business gets from a range of different search engine sources. SEO is made up of both technical SEO and creative website components made up of user experience and content marketing components required to improve the ranking of a website and its pages.
This in tern can help the website capture more clicks and drive traffic to its specific pages and their associated content, products and services. While there are literally more than 200 factors that can influence SEO they can be boiled down to some broad rules that must be followed.
The best SEO advice I have ever been given is to focus on the user and making their experience beneficial. The way we view SEO at Elevate is much more about the experience the user may have and much less about the links that point at the page.
SEO is one of the most important aspects of being found online. SEO is no longer about ranking sites in Google, Yahoo or Bing but rather is a holistic approach to online visibility.
In the below screen shot you can see what something as simple as on page text will do to change the rank of a page in search results. This page jumped from the 240 mark to 155, still a far cry from the top position in Google
Why does my website need SEO?
If you have a website which I am sure you do if you are reading this article? Then it is highly likely that the vast majority of web traffic to your site is driven by the big search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.
While social media websites can be a big driver of traffic as we have all experienced with boosts in viral boosts on sites like Facebook and Twitter search engines still reign supreme. Search engines control the vast majority of traffic on the web no matter what business verticle you are in.
While social networks are great for engagement and relatively soft traffic search engines fill the need of users looking for specific things in their time of need. Google call these micro-moments. Imagine your site is a plot of land on a big real estate plot, you want people to visit your site so they hopefully enquiry and buy right? Well imagine Google is the map that helps them get there and SEO is the compass.
What is a search query?
So what makes your website show up on a search engine results page (SERP) well the sort answer is keywords. The long answer is much more involved.
Search engines use user queries or search queries that an individual user may type into a search engine search box.
This could be a google search box a map listing or YouTube search bar. There is a lot of research out there to show that search engine traffic can have a very strong impact on a businesses success.
Consistent and targeted traffic to a website and its associated pages can result in organic enquiries on your website. This means phone calls, contact form submissions, newsletter sign ups and social follows. All these can be considered brand building elements.
Get enough search traffic and you can grow your business rapidly, to say the least. The other element worth considering with search traffic is that once it is built up and you start to rank or hold positions for search terms the traffic growth can be exponential.
Why Isn’t My Site Ranking?
Google can’t find my site! What do I do?
Sometimes search engines can’t find your site and that is a big problem if your business relies on search traffic.
Now while search engines are pretty damn smart they are not quiet mind readers just yet. So giving them a little push in the right direction is important.
Some of the biggest search engines in the world spend endless hours improving the ability of their crawl bots (the robots and algorithms used to crawl and rank content online. In the eyes of the search engine, the end game for them is returning the best and most relevant results for their users.
So how do you make your site rank? Well, it comes down to best practice and the Google Quality Guidelines. Creating a site wich is technically optimised with great content and user experience gives you a push in the right direction.
Miss out on one or all of these things and you could find yourself lost among the blue links on page 10 or worse completely hidden from the search results altogether!
What Does An SEO Do?
The basic job of an SEO is to rank and improve the ranking of pages within a website.
Well, that will vary wildly by the type of SEO we are talking about because there are all kinds of people in the market that will confidently say that they are an SEO but let me tell you this.
The days of basic SEO are dead. We are heading towards next level SEO
These days good and great SEOs have skill sets that go far beyond basic link building and spinning out content. Great search marketers will have the ability to talk to multiple data points related to a site. These might include search console analytics, Google analytics, XML Sitemaps, .htaccess, Robots.txt files. SEOs are often very detail orientated and can juggle business objectives as well as they juggle keywords.
SEOs should be able to deal with large volumes of data and create experiments based on assumptions that will help them rank your pages organically. They would also be very comfortable performing regular conversion rate optimisation analysis and review CRO statistics against landing pages.
SEOs also spend a large amount of time analysing competitor site and their tactics and creating benchmarks against which they would measure their success and failure. This type of report would often be compiled in an Excel sheet from data compiled in SQL or Apache HIVE.
How long will SEO take to work on my site?
Well, one again that all depends. SEO done properly is a long-term process that can take more than a year to work to its true potential. If I have lost some of you here that’s fine because we are only after the ones that understand this is not a quick fix.
SEO takes time and patience and it must be done in a very controlled may. The reason for this is that if there is a sudden algorithm change and you haven’t been following the guidelines your site could disappear overnight.
Can I do SEO for by myself?
There is a load of information out there and its growing every day. Search engine optimisation is a complex field and takes years to learn let alone master. All that said even a small amount of SEO knowledge can make a massive difference to a website. There are many great SEO resources on the web all vying for your attention and some of these are well worth reading as they set the tone for the work to be done.
Now if you are a little less inclined to go away and learn SEO and are time poor like the rest of us then you may find it easier to outsource SEO to an agency or a contractor. These people are in the know when it comes to SEO and stay up to speed on all the latest trends that are out there in the search world.
These search specialists come in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of packages and prices and should be reviewed on a case by case basis.