It used to be as easy as having a yellow pages ad, but as technology as changed and competition has grown fiercer, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has become a near necessity for business marketing.
Sure if you have a spare $50,000 you could run a successful radio campaign. Or perhaps place an ad in the paper, but the reality is, these days people are searching for products and services using Google, and if your business isn’t appearing at the top of those Google searches, then you are missing out on customers.
So what is SEO? And how exactly does it’s milkshake help bring all the boys to the yard?
What is SEO?
The first thing you need to understand is how search engines (okay just Google, the rest aren’t important), rank pages and decide which should appear at the top of the search.
To put it simply Google sends out its team of creepy crawlies “spiders” or “bots” to “crawl” hundreds of millions of web pages and collect information such as page content and links to and from the page.
Once collected, the data is analysed by the search engine’s algorithms (these are like prewritten pieces of code that set rules upon the content) to determine the relevance of the page to the nominated keyword and compared to all the other pages that are also competing for that keyword. Yes it is a digital popularity contest.
It’s a bit like this. You say you have an ice cream stand. The bots go to the stall and determine whether you have a stall, ice cream, a sign that says ice cream, some literature about ice cream, and some pictures as proof that indeed there is ice cream at that location. Oh and that picture also needs to be named “ice cream”. It is also important that you have more information, more images, more links and more ice cream than the business up the road which is also claiming to have ice cream.
So when a customer, hungry for a double choc chip cone, goes to Google in search of a tasty treat and types in “ice cream”, Google uses this information to determine which page should come up first in the search.
How does SEO work?
Okay so you get how Google ranks and displays the pages, but how does Search Engine Optimisation actually work?
SEO works by putting the right information into your website allowing the spiders and bots to find you easily and determine that you have all the right data to rank for the keywords which are being searched.
SEO also performs the function of making your site user friendly so that the bots can tell Google it is a good site.
SEO builds links to and from your website, telling Google that it is credible (that is if the links are to and from other well ranked websites)
The way that all of this is done is by painstakingly changing the information within your website including
- creating relevant names and titles of pages and page descriptions
- adding keywords into web page content
- changing the names and description of images, and
- ensuring the webpage is clean and free from missing pages and URL errors.
Off page SEO works to add links across a variety of digital media channels including social media platforms and article submission sites that lead users back to your site.
Why do I need SEO?
Running a quality SEO campaign will result in having a bot friendly website which helps Google to rank your site highly.
Did you know that 90% of people searching for products and services do not even make it past the first page. No one is searching page 10, and I will bet a kidney that no one has ever searched page 1000.
Having a website which appears in the top 10 search listings under your relevant keywords will mean more customers to your website and more customers to your door.
In short, SEO will bring the boys to your yard whether you are selling milkshakes or ice cream, car parts or body parts (if you are selling body parts we will unfortunately be unable to do any work with you because that is illegal).
Why choose SEO over Google Adwords?
The difference between SEO and Google Adwords is that Adwords will place you at the top of the page almost immediately (the more money you spend the higher you will go), however once the campaign ends, your presence disappears immediately.
Search Engine Optimisation on the other hand will keep your site optimised month after month and the more work and content you put in, the higher your ranking will be. SEO is therefore a longer term solution.
How do I start?
There are plenty of DIY SEO plugins for websites that can get you started. A simple Google search of DIY SEO will give you the best ranked sites and plugins (isn’t that ironic).
The thing to remember is that good solid SEO takes time, research and consistency. If you have time to work on your site for hours on end then I absolutely encourage you to start today. If not…. Well I know of a few tried and tested outsourcing options..wink wink