What is SEO?
I mean, what is it really? Not to sound too philosophical or anything, but half of the time we’re not really sure, the boundaries are getting increasingly blurred as to what constitutes SEO, digital marketing, user experience or conversion optimisation… the list goes on!
S-E-O itself stands for Search Engine Optimisation (or Optimization if you like). This means optimising or tailoring your website for search engines. Simple enough right? Where this gets complicated, is that there are so many ways to go about tailoring your website for search engines.
Some of the basics in making sure that your website is search engine friendly are:
Make sure every page is labelled correctly so that search engines and users know what is on the page, and therefore how relevant to their search it is. Check: header tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and page titles.
Check for technical discrepancies like: 404 pages, broken links on pages, expired SSL certificates, favicons – these will all affect how well your site is ranking.
Keyword optimisation: The best place to start is often identifying the main keywords that represent your business and the keywords that you want users to find your website with.
How does SEO work?
Exactly HOW SEO ‘works’ is that the combined efforts you make on your website to be more search engine friendly and more user friendly will count as ‘ranking signals’ e.g. whether your website includes important keywords frequently becomes a ranking signal for search engines.
There is a whole list of things that search engines take into account, optimising for each one will ensure a rounded SEO strategy, some of these are:
- How long people stay on your website, do you have a high bounce rate?
- Do you have lots of 404 pages and broken links that make it hard to navigate your website?
- Do you have meta descriptions on all pages describing the page content?
Does SEO work?
SEO does ‘work’, but it is the scale, and how measurable this is that is a stickler. To ensure that you see your SEO efforts working, you need to know what you want to achieve to set out some measurable goals.
To accurately measure results you will need to use a tool like Google Analytics. This is by far the best way to see where traffic is coming from and what it is doing on your website. For example your goal might be to increase calls to your business, by setting up tracking in Google analytics on the correct pages and buttons you can define where calls are coming from, and if they are as a result of organic search.
Can you get my business to rank number 1?
Anyone who claims to be able to do this is a fraudster, stay well clear.
Isn’t PPC just a waste of money?
PPC (pay per click) is one way to secure rankings without the hard graft of optimising for organic search. Although the ideal SEO strategy does include both of these. It is fantastic for both increasing visibility of your site, but there are also multiple targeting options, different kinds of ads and much more.
PPC does cost money and it is only a waste of time and money if your campaigns are not managed properly. Because the Adwords interface is not the most user friendly or intuitive, it is best to get a professional to set up and maintain your account. Otherwise, yes, it could become a huge waste of money.
Why should I have to pay for my own brand keywords?
Frustrating isn’t it. When using PPC (pay per click) you have to bid on your own brand keywords! The best way around this is that, if your budget is limited, your website is likely to rank highly for brand terms anyway, so to save some cash, don’t bid on them*
*of course there are many exceptions to this, you might want to consider that by dominating paid advertising AND organic search you are taking up a lot of space on a search results page and are therefore more likely to gain traffic.
In addition to this, other brands CAN bid on your brand name if they want. There are no regulations against this.
What is the ‘right’ number of keywords?
There is no right number, it depends entirely on your business, how complicated your business is and the range of products you offer!
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
Beware anyone who offers ‘instant results’ it’s just not in the nature of SEO to produce quick results. There are ways to increase traffic quickly, but they are not without their costs (paid advertising, Adwords, paid links, features etc.). So if you want reliable results for a sensible price, patience is your greatest asset.
Should I be doing SEO?
Absolutely, yes (and we’re not just saying that because we are biased). If you are serious about the online element of your business, SEO is key, because it not only optimises for search engines, ultimately your users will have a much better experience if you have optimised to a search engine’s standard.
Should I hire someone to do my SEO?
Again who you hire, how much you spend, is something that is bespoke to every business. A smaller business may want to consider a freelancer. If you need a rounded SEO package, an agency will be a better fit.
See Google’s own guideline on what to look out for when hiring a reputable SEO agency/individual.