“How do I get my website to rank before my competitors?”
“Why are my competitors showing for more keywords than ours?”
“Why are we only showing on page 3 of Google, where no one looks?”
We’ve heard all these and more from our clients and businesses who only consider SEO as a mere afterthought.
Maybe you haven’t heard of SEO, or perhaps you have, and you think it’s not right for your business.
We can almost guarantee that, without SEO, your website probably won’t even make it to page two of Google. And if you’re being honest with yourself, how often do you venture past page one? Hopefully by now, you’re beginning to understand why SEO should be one of your first thoughts when it comes to your business’ online presence.
We’ve put together this guide to demystify, SEO, explain what it’s all about, and how it will benefit your business overtime.
Overview about SEO
What is SEO ?
Search Engine Optimisation, commonly known as simply SEO, is the practice of optimising online content & website to the standard required by the search engines. In simple terms, SEO is a way for you to please Google, Bing, and other similar search engines. By following their set rules, you give yourself the best chance of being visible in search results and other popular placements.
So, why do I need it?
Without SEO, your website and content would likely be at the bottom of the pile. In other words, no one will be able to find your content as it will be too far back in the search engine’s hundreds and thousands worth of results! Search engines looks for relevant content, fresh topics, and anything in between that answers the question (search query) that the user is looking for. There are countless of ways to optimise your content, improve your website, and get backlinks from external websites that cover the same topic.
Tell me how it works
If we’re keeping it short and sweet, SEO encompasses three practices: technical, on-page, and off-page.
Getting more into what that actually means, technical SEO refers to the improvements of your website, so it satisfies the user experience on any screen or device.
On-page SEO deals with the online content your website hosts, how “clean” or optimised the HTML code is, with the aim of bringing more traffic to your website.
Off-page SEO (also known as outreach SEO) refers to link building strategy. It’s the practice of reaching out to website owners and asking them to link back to your website in order to build authority in the eyes of Google.
The core benefits of SEO for businesses
Building trust, the organic way
When it comes to learning from a new company, users prefer doing so in an organic way. They like to get to know your brand and evaluate for themselves have it benefits them before they commit. These steps are commonly known as being “organically accepted”.
The core benefits of SEO are building trust through organic reach: content writing, link building, and user experience on your website. As you organically reach the top of the search results, you’ll naturally get more impressions and traffic to your website. In addition, you’ll build trust through your content and/or your products as you have answered a search query that was relevant to the user. By focusing your energy towards answering “search intent”, in turn you build trust and relevancy to those users, both new and returning.
Building authority across the board
As you gain momentum in the online sphere, SEO will. help to build authority on the internet. Not only are you addressing the search intent of the user, but you’re building authority over competitors who neglect this.
A good way to approach this is through link building. Getting your business’ name mentioned time and time again on various websites will only reinforce to users how relevant you are to their needs. With external websites pointing to your own, which in turn delivers more traffic, you are showing Google that you are a trusted and authoritative source within your industry.
However, as with everything, there are good and bad practices that you’ll need to be aware of, as Google is very strict how these things are done (link instead to SEO or Contact Us page).
Makes you loved by Google, increasing visibility
If you were to leave your website to fend for itself, abandoning it and never changing it from the day you launched it, one thing is for sure: you are missing out on lots of opportunities. But even more soul-crushing than that – you are NOT going to be loved by Google!
Whilst Google won’t necessarily penalise you, they’re certainly not going to do you any favours. If your website is old, outdated, irrelevant to users, and confusing to navigate, you won’t be top pick when it comes to choosing which sites to show.
The online world is ever-changing, and you need to keep adapting to the new rules and trends to stay in the game! The way to do so is by playing the SEO game all –day long.
Standard practices you can implement to woo Google are:
- Writing relevant content with trustworthy knowledge
- Link building to assert authority to both Google and their users
- A user-friendly website to navigate in and out of
The different ways to approach SEO for your business
Content writing – useful and fresh
Long gone are the days where blogging was a teenager’s hobby, writing about their personal lives. Nowadays, businesses cannot ignore the benefits of blog posts and content writing for their products/services. You will need to write content often that is relevant and trustworthy. There are many ways to approach content writing, but above all it must make sense to your business and industry.
You’ll want to start this practice ASAP, because Google ranks what’s fresh, accurate in its time, and written by an author knowledgeable in the topic (ref: more about author.url property).
One of the unique features of Google is the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). But wait – what are SERPs? Have you ever seen an ad or search result for a website with a list of their pages under the meta-description? Or the date in grey before the description? Or even the yellow stars for the rating? Well, these are the SERPs.
They are extra information related to the website or the landing page that will make sense to the reader. This feature helps to increase visibility & user experience while reducing frustration.
Schema Snippets – FAQs, Video, News, etc
There are additional ways to get your content ranking organically. Enter schema snippets! The most popular being “People Also Asked” accordion, the news area, or even the YouTube video list. Where Google deems relevant, it will feature content in the most attractive way for the user to find the information. The best ways to use these to your advantage is by optimising your content in many formats as possible, or at least where it seems relevant to do so.
Jumping on the trend – relevancy
Google jumps trends as and when they come. One day, a search for “umbrella”, will return lists of websites where you can buy an umbrella; the next, you’ll get Rihanna’s music, lyrics, and video outranking all those previous websites.
You can’t control how Google ranks content, but you sure can keep track of it. If there is a trend that is relevant to your industry or products, you should find a way to incorporate it as part of your SEO strategy so to keep it fresh and competitive. You don’t have to go silly about it but finding a way to use those external factors could come into your favour rather than against.
Backlink building – outreach
Link building is a time-consuming SEO practice but one of the most rewarding in terms of visibility, brand awareness & authority. It has many advantages to contact website owners and ask for a backlink to yours. The more relevant backlinks you have, the more Google will pay attention to your content. It’s also the most pertinent way to get new pair of eyes in front of your offering without using paid platforms.
Is SEO relevant for your business?
For online & eCommerce businesses
If your business is operating online, you won’t be able to escape SEO. Without this practice, your site will be buried under your competitors who do utilise it. SEO for your business is as vital as the products and services you sell, as you’ll want to rank higher in search engine, increase your brand awareness while being renowned as an expert or the go-to brand.
For local businesses
If your business is local and doesn’t extend beyond a certain radius, the benefits of SEO are still considerable. Take Google My Business for example, a digital storefront that gives people information about opening hours and more. And what about the users who have never heard of your brand before? The benefits of SEO here will be to optimise for search queries that are more general but relevant to your business to rank for. Link building strategy is as relevant for a local business as any other, such as being known within the local community.
How to measure SEO for your business? (KPIs)
GA4 reports where your traffic is coming from, which source & which medium. If you look at this information, you’ll find out how much traffic your SEO efforts are returning & how they are impacted.
- Social Shares
If your website or blog is facilitating social shares by the click of a button, you can track how many times people shared your content on their profiles. These are good indicators if your objectives are social shares, online reputation & brand awareness.
- Backlinks earned
With the help of an SEO tool, you’ll be able to tell how many backlinks you’ve gained & lost. You can also filter out which are relevant to your topic and those that could damage your reputation or authority.
- Sales/Leads organically generated
With the right tracking in place, you’ll be able to tell which channels are generating sales or leads on your website with GA4. By paying attention to your tracking or your UTM links, you’ll be able to tell where your SEO is performing best towards your goals.
In short, SEO is the practice of keeping your website user-friendly, providing relevant content to your readers, and establishing your authority with external like-minded websites.
There are many ways to approach SEO and it must make sense to your brand & users. The goal is for your business to build trust organically & convert users into consumers.
Whatever your business is, online, eCommerce or local, as long as you have an online presence, you’ll want to integrate SEO as part of your business’ strategy.
The importance of SEO for your business are numerous but if you had one to remember: “Keep your brand alive & relevant to your users with the help of SEO”.