SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the practice of making your website search engine and user-friendly so that it is listed high up in a search engine when a person searches for something.
In this blog we will have a look at the basics of SEO and answer your common questions about how SEO can help your business.
We are going to talk about Google a lot in this blog, because it has around a 98% market share and is the main innovator in the industry. But there are other search engines available.
So What Actually Is SEO?
As we mentioned above, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Clear as mud?
Ok, lets cut the jargon. SEO is making it so that a website can potentially come top of the list of results in a search engine.
So when a person searches in Google, for example, it brings up a list of results. Often it says there are a few million results, and the further through the results you get, the less relevant the results are to your query.
SEO is making it clear to the search engine what your website is about, so it has a better chance of coming top in the search results.
Its worth noting that it isn’t an exact science, and a lot of how successful your SEO is depends on what your competitors are doing.
There is, of course, the opportunity to pay for Adwords, or Pay Per Click (PPC), but we will get to why we at GrowTraffic don’t like PPC, later.
How does Google Work?
If anyone outside Google actually knew the answer to that they would be a millionaire. Google keep their algorithm details top secret, but there are SEO agents in their droves who spend their lives working out what makes a website rank (us included!). We do this by analysing tons of data and monitoring minute changes.
Broadly speaking, Google has a sort of checklist it expects websites to hit, sort of markers of quality.
The more of these markers you hit, the higher they will rank your site. This means more people will be able to find your site and visit it, which in turn improves where you rank.
So, every so often it sends it ‘spider bots’ (their word, not ours) scurrying through the internet to check how many of these tick boxes are complete and how much quality content has been added to a website.
What does Google Want?
They want to see that a website is looked after, not full of spam, or dangerous, and answers the question their customer (the person searching) has asked.
They call it ‘awesomeness’. They want a website to be ‘awesome’. Helpful, eh?
They just mean they want good content, added regularly, that is interesting, trustworthy, and worthwhile for the user.
If, every time we used a search engine, we were sent to websites that were riddled with adverts or viruses, or had nothing to do with what we were looking for we would find another search engine. Google are just keeping the customer satisfied, like everyone else!
But how does ranking highly improve your bottom line? Is SEO worth the money?
Can SEO help your business?
SEO can absolutely help any business that is online.
Sure, you can pay for AdWords or other forms of pay per click, but what happens when you need, or want, to move the budget elsewhere? You will probably be ranking lower than you were to begin with because your website hasn’t been optimised for a while.
Good SEO, however, grows your rankings more sustainably, so it is an investment that has a larger return.
And when I say good SEO, I mean properly targeted content, regularly uploaded and properly optimised.
The bottom line is, ranking higher in Google means more traffic to your website. How often have you spent your evening scrolling through pages 3-10 of Google, looking for a service, product, or information. Not very, I would guess.
And more traffic means more potential customers.
Will SEO lead to sales?
SEO alone will not lead to sales, but what it will do is make your website more effective.
Good SEO means the people coming to your website are there because you are what they are looking for. They are less likely to just ‘bounce’ off. This means they are more likely to convert into enquiries or sales.
By putting a handful of well researched keywords into your website. We can make sure that people are finding your website for the right thing.
Ask yourself-how do you know, with certainty, that the keywords you have in your website are what people are actually searching for?
A good SEO agent will conduct thorough research into the search volumes of keywords and how competitive each one is. They will then pick 3 or 4 words to target. A bad SEO agent will give you a long list of words and optimise your site for all of them. Its a scattergun approach that is unfocused and unhelpful.
By making sure the right people come to your website, can move through it effectively, and can find you on search engines, we can increase the likelihood you will get more sales or enquiries.
How effective is PPC or AdWords?
It all depends on what you are selling and how competitive your words are. If they are very competitive, like ‘gifts for her’, you might find that you have to spend a lot of money per click and it isn’t worth it.
If your website is not user friendly and visitors do not spend a lot of time on it, then you might not see the return per click that you would like. People will be clicking through and not making a purchase, or calling you.
Not only that but, as we talked about above, it isn’t a sustainable investment.
Once you stop paying for PPC, you are not going to have any gained any rankings. If you have a limited budget to spend on marketing, why wouldn’t you invest it in something sustainable?
PPC is a good way to boost your site but it should be a short term fix, not part of the long term solution.
SEO Agency in Sheffield and Lancashire
If you would like some friendly advice or help on your website, we would be happy to have a chat with you.
We are an SEO agency in Lancashire and Sheffield who specialise in helping SMEs grow their online presence.