Everything You Need to Know About SEO but Were Afraid to Ask!
Thinking of taking your business online or opening a digital store? Then you’ve probably heard of SEO but if you’re unclear about what it is and whether you actually need it, this guide cuts through some of the widely used industry jargon to answer your questions.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation.’ It’s a particular technique applied to the wording and format of your visible site content and unseen coding. Its purpose is to help search engines like Google and Bing find your website and display it on a results page for your customers.
Also described as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘unpaid marketing’, it is a means of advertising your business without relying on traditional advertising methods, although it works best in partnership with them.
However, unlike other digital marketing techniques such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media and content marketing, which can be selected from an agency’s services like a digital pick n’ mix, SEO is pretty much essential.
Without it, search engines may fail to notice and rank your site, no matter how great your products or customer service are.
How Does it Work?
Without realising it, SEO is probably the reason you’re reading this blog. If you found it via Google, it’s likely that you entered something like ‘What is SEO?’ or ‘SEO marketing’ into the search bar and our page featured among the listings on the search engine results page (SERP).
In milliseconds, Google used your search query to assess suitable websites using a number of SEO criteria and selected the best results from billions of possibilities.
Because our site has the relevant information you need, is popular, demonstrates industry insights and authority, provides links to useful sources for you to find more information and features keywords and data that meet Google’s SEO criteria, you’ve found us.
What are the Advantages of SEO?
The advantage of a SEO is that search engines don’t care whether you are a multimillion pound international business or a small independent. If your web page is active, popular and optimised, your business will rank highly in search results and that’s where the real advantages of SEO become clear.
Online consumers are savvy. Watchful for scams or poor services, they want to find information, products or services quickly and trust search engines to direct them to relevant, quality businesses that can provide whatever they need.
A recent survey showed that more than 50% of consumers will not go beyond the first SERP and only 13.6% would bother to look beyond page 4. To secure new business, your website needs to rank on the first couple of pages and SEO is what gets you there.
By making your business visible, SEO can increase brand awareness and establish you as a trustworthy business.
As a result, you can expect increased site traffic (the number of online visitors your business receives) and when combined with great web design and a strong social media and content marketing strategy, this can increase conversions (the number of browsers who become buyers) to give you a return on your investment.
What are the Disadvantages of SEO?
One of the common pitfalls for those who are inexperienced with SEO is selecting ineffective keywords or cramming the right ones into a document (known as keyword stuffing) in order to increase search result rankings.
However, services like Google are incredibly sophisticated. They recognise poor quality content and penalise sites for using it and regularly review SEO criteria to launch Google updates that redefine their ranking criteria. Even when your SEO plans are successful, you could attract unwanted attention from your competitors who may adopt more aggressive marketing campaigns to try and out-rank you, as well attracting hackers who notice your success and attempt to capitalise on it for their own gain.
Similarly, your SEO success could increase online trade so dramatically that you are unprepared for it and risk compromising customer service and damaging your business reputation. If you want to grow your business online, then developing an SEO strategy that’s tailored to meet the needs of your business and your audience is essential and we can help you do just that.