At its most basic level, search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing and promoting a website in an effort to boost the number of visitors coming through from the search engines. The majority of your visitors are expected to arrive via the popular search engines and SEO configuration helps to boost visibility when users search for your particular product or brand.
SEO comes in many forms, and there are relevant factors such as the words used on your page or the way other websites link to you: in some cases SEO simply means the designing and structuring of a website in a way that search engines can understand.
But in addition to discovering specific phrases and terms for the engines and building proper links, SEO isn’t just focused on the engines; it’s also about making sure the sites are better for people.
If you’re trying to figure out the whole SEO thing but find yourself more confused, don’t stress, you’re not alone. Hopefully we can help you to understand SEO better and how it will result in more profits for your business.
Why Does My Site Need SEO?
As we mentioned earlier, the majority of web traffic originates from a search query in the search engines.
What makes search engines so unique is the fact that they can provide targeted traffic, which means that you can directly draw in people who are specifically looking for what you offer. Once you understand that search engines are the roadway that facilitates all this, and learn how to make sure your site is found by popular search engines, you won’t miss out on the many marketing opportunities made possible by search.
A search query is the phrase a user types into a search box in order to find information about something, so your website needs to be configured in a way that its anchor text aligns with relevant search queries. For example if your website sells wedding dresses then it would be very important to make sure your website gets displayed on the search results when someone types in a query relating to wedding dresses.
When site owners invest in SEO, it leads to an impressive return on investment. It really does have the potential to significantly boost your rate of return when compared to other forms of promotion and marketing.
Is it true that search engines can’t “see” my website without SEO?
Modern search engines are pretty sophisticated and use advanced algorithms to search for sites when queried but they still need assistance in order to crawl the web more deeply and provide users with the best results for each query. Remember that while there are proven SEO strategies to make sure your site gets thousands of visitors every month, the wrong SEO can get your site buried deep in the search results where no user will ever come across it.
Aside from making sure content is available to search engines, good SEO also enhances site rankings in order to make sure content is placed only where common searches will locate it. You might have noticed how competitive SEO marketing is, and companies that invest in SEO will have a huge advantage over their peers.
How do I do SEO for myself?
SEO is fairly complex but once you understand the basics, it makes a huge difference. There is a lot of information about SEO available on the Internet and it can be accessed for free.
Depending on the time you have for learning this information and the type and complexity of your website, you may find you need an expert to handle things more smoothly. There are hundreds of experienced firms such as ours out there practicing SEO. We assist many local businesses just like yours and will be delighted to provide an SEO solution for your business.
How much time should I invest in learning SEO?
If you are serious about improving your search rankings and be familiar with SEO then it would be advisable to put in time and effort into it. There are three main factors you need to pay attention to:
- On the page SEO
- Off the page SEO
As you will learn, within each group exist subgroups and each of these subgroups contains individualized SEO factors that you as a site owner should pay attention to.
Effective SEO factors have to work in combination. No single factor will be successful so it wouldn’t make sense to focus on creating a great HTML title if the content on the page is low quality. Likewise having hundreds of links can boost rankings significantly but that only works if they are quality links. Establishing multiple factors can increase the chances of success just as negative factors make it harder to achieve success.
On the page ranking factors
On-page search ranking factors are those types of factors that fall under the publisher’s control. Consider the type of content you publish, perhaps you provide a number of HTML clues that make it easier for people and the search engines to ‘see’ your website, and perhaps you’ve spent time creating effective site architecture to help the search engines. All these factors fall under on-page rankings and are within your control.
Off the page ranking factors
These are the factors that publishers do not directly control. A long time ago search engine developers learned that relying entirely on publisher controlled signals wouldn’t work so in order to yield the best results they had to gain more control. For example, some publishers may try to make themselves appear more relevant that they actually are.
Due to the high number of web pages in existence, search engines cannot rely on ‘on the page’ clues. The engines need to go through more signals in order to yield the perfect result for any specific search.
Violations and penalties
Understand that search engines want publishers to perform SEO on their pages because it can improve their search results. Major search engines such as Google provide assistance in the form of simple guidelines, videos and how-to posts as a way to encourage good SEO practice and make it easier for their users to find your site.
But despite all of this training, some publishers still engage in “black hat” techniques as a way to get to the front of the line and for this they get punished. Engaging in spam or black hat SEO tricks can get your pages penalized and the ranking dropped; in some cases the website can get banned from the search engine entirely.
These violations are basically little tricks that web developers use to exploit search engines into giving a higher ranking, usually by manipulating the search engine’s understanding of true authority and relevancy.
It sounds very confusing. I need time to think about it.
Although it sounds daunting at first it can be learnt, but most businesses simply don’t have the time to do this as they are too busy running their businesses. However, we need to stress that businesses can’t afford to snooze when it comes to perfecting their SEO strategy. This is not meant to scare your into action, it is just a simple fact. It needs to be done if you want your business to stay ahead of the competition.
However, because if it so important we can understand if a business is sometimes reluctant to hire an outside company to handle their SEO strategy. You might not want to give up direct control of this critical component of digital marketing, or you may be looking to reduce your costs.
However, there are even more compelling reasons you should outsource your SEO rather than keep it in-house (or even worse, decide not to do it altogether). Outsourcing has five main advantages that make it an appealing option for businesses:
No More Waiting
When it comes to running a business, there are a lot of items that take priority over SEO on your to-do list. Due to its complexity and ever-changing nature, many businesses put SEO off until the company has the time and resources to handle it properly. But the longer you wait to handle it, the further you’ll fall behind your competitors. They will be getting the sales that might otherwise have gone to you. Outsourcing SEO can help push up the timetable without sacrificing other projects.
Keeping up With SEO’s Constant Evolution
Unfortunately, SEO isn’t something you can just set and forget. Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm each year and if your company lacks the resources to stay on top of it, then it will prove ineffective or even damaging in the long run.
For example, when Google changed its algorithm to crack down on SEO tricks focused on short-term results, one company lost 20 percent of its search visibility overnight. If it had hired experts to follow these announced changes and implement above-the-board SEO strategies, the company could have maintained its search market share and even used the algorithm change to its advantage.
Making More Money
Perhaps like many businesses, you worry that paying someone else to do something for you is going to end up costing more money than just handling it internally. In reality, it’s different for each company.
To put things in perspective, what are the costs of doing it on your own, and what are the results you expect? Where are you positioned in search engines today, and what is that ranking costing you in new sales?
While it may cost more in the short term to hire externally, the ROI from increased traffic will often put you ahead.
Gaining Built-in Expertise
While your company may have employees who know their way around SEO, it’s unlikely that they’re as experienced and knowledgeable as people whose companies like ours do it for a living. SEO agencies have clients in diverse markets, with deeper and wider exposure to the impacts of algorithm changes and other search-centric issues. They’re also paid to stay on top of every change and trend in the search business. Spending your resources training employees to be experts internally, rather than outsourcing, can waste both time and money.
Focusing on the Big Picture
How can good SEO benefit your business? By letting someone else handle the details of SEO, it frees you up to concentrate on the results and how they can contribute to the growth of your business. SEO agencies live and die by the results they return, so their goal is to deliver the results you want so they can stay in business.
While you still might decide to handle SEO internally, it’s important to consider both options and choose the approach that works best for your business. Assess where you are in the SEO game, and determine whether you need help.
Do you have technical SEO issues? Are you suffering from content issues? Do you have a bad backlink profile? Is the way your website is set up actually harming your SEO?
You may not have the answers to these kinds of questions yet, but you can start to wrap your head around the problems you might have by hiring a partner to audit your strategy. This is also a good way to vet an SEO agency without committing to anything for an extended period. You need to know that the company understands your business and knows what kind of results you want.
How Not to Harm Your Rankings and Lose Sales
Remember, SEO is not a short-term game. You have to be in it for the long haul. That is why we are so keen to work with you. Our focus is on strategy, not on quick results and easy guarantees that is offered by other companies, which actually harm your ranking in the long term. We can help put you ahead of your competitors, both online and off. Don’t put it off. Act today. We look forward to working with you.