Why is SEO important?
Well, put plainly, it seems a shame to invest in a great lead conversion website that ticks all the boxes ….but no one can find it! One of the steps of a customers decision making process is research, and online research is often the first way people investigate the options available to them. In short… they Google it.
Without including SEO activities as part of your digital marketing strategy, you could miss out on huge potential customer opportunities.
For instance, the phrase “BROWN SHOES"” is searched for on Google 590 times per month in NZ, and 246,000 times per month globally. Someone selling brown shoes might want to think about what it will take to secure that traffic! A #1 Google ranking will certainly help.
What words would get your business the most traffic? How much of this potential traffic do you actually get? If your competitors rank highly they are probably securing many more traffic opportunities than you.
SEO is important as it helps secure those traffic opportunities.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, are the methods used by a professional to make your website appear highly within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP's) for your chosen keywords, naturally and organically, without using Advertising and Paid services.
See the image to the right. SEO would affect all the results in blue. The other areas are paid services.
Most customers who arrive at your website, will have done a search on Google before coming to your site, even if they just searched for your brand name. It is therefore critical that you are visible within the SERP's. Most internet users rely much more heavily on the natural and organic search results than the paid for services. A balance of both services can ensure you have an efficient digital strategy and achieve maximum ROI.
The first step in SEO is to understand what your traffic opportunities are for relevant search terms for your website. We call this “keyword research” Once you understand what phrases and words are important , the next step is to analyse your website, and those of your main online competitors. Armed with the resulting data, an SEO plan will see your keyword rankings improve over time.
SEO is a recipe to help attract visitors to your website and falls into 2 broad categories:
- On-page factors
- Off-page factors
On-page factors are things that exist on the page of the website or in the code that makes up the webpage. eg. the URL, title tags, alt tags, heading tags and the content on the page. We use a tried and tested process to optimize every page of your website for 1 or 2 keywords that will result in highly qualified traffic to visit your website. By highly qualified, we mean, people who are likely to find what they are looking for and convert into an enquiry or customer.
Off-page factors are things that happen off the page and includes link building and Social Media. There are many things to consider when link building and using Social Media though and a well drafted digital strategy will help you.
Google and other Search Engines are always looking for ways to improve the ranking process. They want the user to get the most relevant information for the term they searched for. We ensure that we follow Google guidelines to make your website rank highly whilst adhering best practices. That way, you will get long term benefit.
Why use Social Media for SEO?
Social Media is an increasingly popular aspect of SEO. Even Google launched its own Social Media platform, called Google+. Google+ now has an increasing influence over the control of SERP's with new areas, such as Google Authorship and Google Local, helping to define what appears in its results.
A measure of your Social Influence is a factor in the Google calculation that determines your ranking. eg. having lots of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter can help improve your position on the pages of Google.
YouTube is the second largest Search Engine in the world after Google (also owned by Google) and video content is also an increasingly popular result in search results. Try Googling something starting "How to.....". More often than not you will be presented with a choice of YouTube videos to choose from.
Social Media is critical to SEO and CMO.
What is CMO?
CMO, or Content Marketing Optimisation, is the future and the present of SEO.
Google wants to display media rich content in its Search results that match what the user is looking for. For example - Google Authorship allows a head-shot of the person that wrote the content to be displayed next to the Search Result. Google believes this helps build trustworthy content.
What does this mean? It means you can now represent your brand online through blogs and Social Media and other areas. You can write content on your blog that Internet users will find relevant and useful.
Google Search Engine bots love to find fresh content on your website and you may find that static websites that don't change their content regularly will lose ranking over time.
Sharing blog items to Social Media will help create content and allow your fans to share your content. By writing optimised content, you can help improve the ranking of your website for keywords.
Key Tactics15 things to action and consider (As advised by BING Aug 2013)
- Title tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Clean URLs
- Images and Alt descriptions (also called alt tags)
- H1 tags
- Social sharing options
- Unique content
- Depth of content
- Matching content type to visitor expectations (text, images, video, etc.)
- Usability Page load times (to a certain point – faster is great, but not at the expense of usability and usefulness)
- Crawlability (AKA discoverability, so can we actually get to all your content)
- News – if you are actually a new site, submit for inclusion
10 things you should avoid
There are several things that can have a negative influence on the rankings of your web pages:
- Meta Keywords (fill them in if you like, keep it short and relevant, but not a big ranking factor)
- Duplicate URLs
- Overly long URLs (no set number, but you’ve all seen these)
- Cloaking (comes down to your intent, but risky business for sure)
- Link buying
- Selling links
- Link and like farms
- Three way links
- Content duplication content
- Auto following in social media
Just like Google, Bing doesn't want to get cheated. Do not participate in linking schemes and do not buy links, likes or followers. We use only white-hat SEO methods, you don't have to worry about spam filters and penalties. In addition, you will get high rankings that last.
When it comes to ranking factors, Google and Bing aren't that different. The influence of the factors on the rankings is slightly different but the basic factors are the same.
SEO is a very important aspect of a digital marketing strategy. A website with no SEO plan, will very likely never reach its true capability.
You must plan and consider all aspects of your digital strategy and strongly consider each area before heading full steam ahead. With a well executed SEO plan and strategy, you will maximise your visitors to your website, build followers on Social Media sites, increase your online reach, and most importantly, you will generate leads and gain customers.