What is search engine optimisation and why do you need it?
Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is simply the process of optimising your website in a way that ensures it gets traffic from the major search engines, like Google and Bing.
When you’re searching for a particular word on the search engines, the first 10 are on the top page.
These results are the ones that are clicked more than on any other pages.
There’s an awesome article that shows the percentages of the top 10 results right here.
Search engines are all looking to provide the most relevant results for their users, and if you can put the right keywords and search terms on your site in the right places, the search engines will send traffic to you, which you can then send through your sales funnel and either convert to buyers or subscribers.
It’s unpaid traffic where you don’t have to bid for keywords or post ads. If your website is properly optimised, you should get traffic naturally from organic search.
Now, we’re sure you’re asking yourself “Why do I need SEO?”
If you’re in business, you obviously want to attract people who are interested in what you sell and who will give you money for your goods or services.
While you could use pay per click advertising and buy traffic, optimising your website with excellent on-page SEO is a way to consistently attract free traffic over the long term.
Here are just a few stats to highlight the results SEO can bring:
“The first position on Google search results on desktop has a 34.36% clickthrough rate.” – Advanced Web Ranking
“51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone.” – Google
“Only 9% of businesses using inbound marketing with SEO failed to see an ROI.” – Hubspot
“78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases.” – Search Engine Land
SEO really does work. It’s highly effective if done well, and produces targeted traffic which is more likely to be ready to buy. Why? Because if someone finds you via a search engine, chances are they’re actually looking for what you’ve got.
How do you get started with SEO?
That’s a big question and the complete answer could fill many books, especially as the search engines are endlessly changing their algorithms to improve search results.
And here’s something to bear in mind: the search engines aren’t working to improve things for you to help you show off your business.
Their main focus is to give the best possible and most accurate results to their users. Which is why you need to focus on providing the best, most helpful content you can that’s highly optimised. Before you do anything to your website, you need to know who you want to attract and what language they use to search.
Do your research on your ideal customers and get into detail on what they want, who they are, what their pain points are, and how they speak – do they use jargon and acronyms, or would they search for the full name of an item?
That knowledge will benefit you not just in terms of your SEO, but also for your content strategy and any other marketing you do. You’ll need to know what keywords people are inputting to get results, and one way to do this is to use Google’s own Keyword Planner (here’s a great article from Backlinko to get you started with that: https://backlinko.com/google-keyword-planner).
Once you have your keywords, you’ll need to use them in your content, but use them naturally. You can’t put a keyword every sentence and expect it to read naturally for an audience.
This is called keyword stuffing and not only will your readers hate it, so will Google! The best way is to bear your keyword or phrase in mind and use it two or three times, naturally in your article – in the title and in the first paragraph at least, but also to use other related keywords to help the search engines establish the relevance of your content.
For example, when you use the word ‘apple’, Google needs to know whether you sell computers and phones, or if you’re a greengrocer, and the other related keywords you use, such as iPhone, laptop, etc, will help Google understand your page better. If you’re a local business, the other thing you need to consider is local SEO, where you create pages for each service and each area that you cover, and include at the very least a map with directions, your address and your local phone number.
If you’d like to read more on local SEO, here’s a helpful article from Moz: https://moz.com/learn/seo/local-content-video.
In addition to great content with well-used keywords, another thing that can help your on-page SEO is to have really clear navigation that’s easy for your visitors to use.
If you have a clear hierarchy on your site, not only can visitors find what they want, but it’s easier for the search engines to crawl your site. Next, you need to start backlink building by getting links into your site from other related sites as this will establish your authority, boost your site in the search engines, and bring you more traffic via those other sites.
Reach out to people and build relationships, mention other people in your content and link to their site, and as long as you have great content, you should start getting backlinks in return.
Measure Your Results!
There’s no point in optimising everything if you don’t know what effect it’s having, and what’s working for you.
Add Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6) to your site and check the results regularly to make sure you’re on the right track.
If you’d like to find out more about SEO, here’s an excellent beginner’s guide from Moz to get you started: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.
Or if all of that seems like far too much work, why not get in touch with us (https://creed.marketing/seo-essex/), and let us take care of everything for you?