SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a digital marketing practice that improves your online visibility and helps get more eyes on your business’ website, spreading your reputation far and wide.
Talking about SEO can get complicated and technical very quickly. That’s why we’ve put together the guide below with a simple overview of what SEO is, why it’s important for your business and what some of the best practices you should follow are. Read on to discover what SEO is and how you can start improving your company’s online presence with it.
What is SEO?
SEO is all about improving your visibility on different search engines people use to find information, products and services they need. It’s also important for improving the quality of your website, making it more user-friendly, faster to load and easier to navigate. While there are a number of search engines out there, Google is by far the biggest and most important one, which is why improving your status in the eyes of this internet giant will be the main focus in this article.
In order for your business’ website to rank highly in Google search results, your website has to meet certain technical and creative standards that search engine bots are trained to look for. To think like a search engine, you’ll need to consider two things: your website’s authority and its relevance to the search query. In this instance, relevance means how closely your website content matches search queries relevant to your business. Quality inbound content will help you build your website’s relevance.
Authority mainly refers to backlinks to your website from other authoritative sites – this shows you’re seen as an expert in your field. Link building campaigns can help you build high-quality backlinks, though these should start appearing organically if you post enough useful, inbound content to your site on a regular basis and promote it through things like social media, email and PPC.
Five Reasons Why SEO Is Important For Your Business
1. It can drastically improve your website visitor count
When’s the last time you navigated to the second page of your Google search results? We can hardly remember, either. The reality is that the first five results receive 67.6% of clicks, so this is where you need to be if you want more website visitors, leads and customers. SEO is the thing that can get you there.
2. It builds your brand’s credibility
Good SEO helps grow trust in your business. That’s because appearing high up in search results conveys to users that your site is trustworthy and a source for high-quality information relating to your industry.
3. It makes your website more user-friendly
As we already mentioned, improving your SEO will also improve your website user experience. An SEO-friendly website means users find the information they need with fewer clicks. This means they’re less likely to exit out of your website out of frustration over not having found what they’re looking for.
4. It’s relatively inexpensive
Compared to many other digital marketing services, such as PPC advertising, SEO can be very affordable. Naturally, small business SEO services can vary a lot in price depending on the scope of the service and who’s offering it. That being said, while with PPC, you pay for every click you get on your ads on top of the fee you’re paying your digital marketing agency to create and optimise your ad campaigns, with SEO there are usually no extra fees like this.
If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between SEO and paid search, come back next week, when we’ll talk about this in our Monday blog post.
5. It can help you recognise new opportunities
Investing in your business’ SEO also means you have to think tactically about the content on your website and what your competitors are doing. This can help you recognise opportunities for new content for your website – or even new products or services. It can also help you come up with ways to expand on resources you’re already offering.
The most important SEO best practices
1. Build your website with visitors, not search engines, in mind
When you start learning about SEO, you might be tempted to stuff your website with as many keywords as possible, leading to clunky and unnatural text. Practices like this put off the people who visit your website, and at the end of the day, it’s people, not search engines who bring revenue to your business.
Not only that, but Google has developed to be sophisticated enough to favour user-friendly content and to see through obvious tactics to try and win their favour. Because of this, they’ll penalise your website with lower rankings if it’s clear that the people navigating to your site are not finding value on it.
2. Optimise your site for mobile
With more and more Google searches being made on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, Google now indexes and ranks websites predominantly using the mobile version of their content. As a result, if your website doesn’t work properly for mobile users, providing them with an intuitive user experience, your Google ranking will suffer.
3. Define some relevant long-tail keywords to rank for
By now, you’ve heard how it’s important to be one of the first websites in Google search results. That’s all good and well, you might think, but how on earth are you going to manage that for popular searches in your industry?
You’re right to have your hesitations about this – ranking highly for very generic keywords like “cybersecurity” or “accounting services” is incredibly difficult simply because there’s a huge amount of competition and content on the internet built around these keywords.
That’s why you should set your sights instead on longer, more specific keywords that don’t have as much competition around them, such as “cybersecurity awareness training Edinburgh” or “online accounting tools for freelancers”. These are known as longtail keywords and they should be at the heart of your SEO strategy.
4. Create quality content on a regular basis
Great, keyword-optimised content published on your website regularly has a hugely positive impact on your SEO. It helps you rank higher for your chosen long-tail keywords and makes website visitors spend a longer time on your site – a fact that will also raise your website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines.
Search engine optimisation should be a key part of your digital marketing. Check out our marketing blog posts for more information on how to get business. Our blog is updated weekly on Mondays with new insights on technology, business and IT security.