As a business owner who understands the importance of a strong digital presence to drive leads, sales and brand awareness online, you may well have come across the term ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ on numerous occasions.
But if you’re not a digital expert you may still be a little unsure of exactly what SEO is, why it’s important and how to ensure that your website is up to the expected standards.
To help build a better understanding of SEO, we thought it would be useful to give a quick overview of SEO – a sort of ‘SEO 101’.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation means improving both the amount of traffic your website generates and the value of the people of visit it, and how easily your website is found by search engines such as Google in what’s known as an ‘organic listing’ – or a listing that has not been boosted by being paid for.
It’s a combination of understanding who your target audience is, what words they’re using to try and find the things they’re looking for online and the type of content they like to consume, and then making sure that your website delivers answers and solutions to these queries in the correct way so that it can be found, clicked on and engaged with by this target audience.
How does SEO work?
Search engines such as Google do what’s known as ‘crawl and index’ billions of pieces of content – from text and PDFs to videos, podcasts and images – to try and find the most appropriate answers to questions people are asking online.
Google then orders those answers by rank, from most appropriate and relevant to least, in order to give the searcher the best possible solution to their query. These rankings are known as ‘organic search results’ – again, results that are ranked purely on the inherent value they offer, without being paid for as part of a digital marketing campaign.
What is the difference between ‘organic’ and ‘paid’ search results?
These days a search engine results page (or SERP) is filled with a combination of listings that answer a person’s query, some of which are organic or based purely on effective SEO of a website, and others which have been boosted to the top of a SERP by being paid for by the person who owns the website and wants to ensure it ranks high up.
What exactly does SEO cover in the structure of a website?
SEO covers a range of things on your website including what’s known as ‘meta data’, or the unseen building blocks of your website including your page descriptions, page titles, meta descriptions that help search engines understand exactly what each page is about.
It also covers the ‘seen’ elements of your website including the content, images, videos and internal and external links, all of which need to have descriptions, ranked headers and other pieces of information to help search engines crawl and trust your information, and visitors find what they’re looking for.
Why is SEO important?
There are numerous ways to drive traffic to your website including using social media and paid advertising campaigns, but ultimately to build long-term, sustainable and high-quality traffic, your SEO needs to be on point.
Websites with good SEO that rank highly in the organic listings are more credible, generate more long-term traffic and receive way more clicks than the paid advertising links. By consistently providing trustworthy, authoritative and expert content to visitors you will build a far greater trust and affinity value with customers, and therefore generate better revenues and brand awareness over time.
How do you ensure your SEO is up to scratch?
The best way to do this is to work with an expert digital company that understands all aspects of SEO from the original building blocks of your website to the ongoing measurement of performance and reinvestment of that information into the website for continuous improvement.
It’s essential to constantly check numerous aspects of your website’s performance using a range of analytics tools that track hundreds of data points, from who is visiting your website to how it’s being found, what devices and locations visitors are using and come from, what visitors to your site are doing, whether they are achieving their (and by extension, your) goals, and many more pieces of information.
Having the right digital partner will help you achieve consistently better results and rankings, and drive more leads, revenue and brand awareness via your website.