Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of organically improving your business webpages to increase its visibility for searches. SEO is made up of multiple different elements and knowing what they are and how they work is the key to understanding why it is so important.
Basically, SEO is significant because it makes your website more visible, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Beyond that, it is also a valuable tool for brand awareness, building relationships with prospects, and positioning yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy expert in your field.
In Australia, internet users spend an average of 5.5 hours per day using internet services, and the most part of online activities start on a search engine. Google became a significant factor in how Australians experience the Internet. It is the most used search engine, holding a market share of 95% as of May 2019.
For being keyword-based, SEO reaches people who are looking for exactly what your business offers. The keyword targeting ability of SEO is one of the primarily reasons why it delivers the most qualified traffic to your website. Besides that, SEO has the power of significantly influence purchasing decisions, following the developed trust and credibility mentioned before.
However, SEO is a long-term strategy. It can take 6-12 months to see optimal rankings. The good thing on it is that just as it takes time to move up the rankings, it takes time to move down. Once you are placed in top positions, you rarely move down. The only reason this would change is due to rising SEO competition or changes in Google algorithm.
In order to rank high in search engines, you must have quality backlinks. Backlinks are links from external websites that link to your website. The more you have, the more relevant your website is. The more relevant your website is, the higher you rank. SEO is the new “PR” strategy.
The Key Elements of SEO
SEO is divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to all techniques that can be implemented in a website to improve the ranking in SERP (search engine results pages). On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to everything that can be done outside of a website to enhance its visibility on the web.
Keywords are specific words and phrases that prospects use to find online content. Businesses can then use it to connect with prospects who are looking for their products and services. Keywords must be well-researched, carefully chosen, and judiciously used within the content to be effective.
When researching keywords, it’s important to look for ones that have high search rates and low competition and to choose short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords, and local keywords to work into the content. Keywords can also be used to optimise all titles, URLs, and other on-page SEO elements.
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important as more and more people use mobile devices for search. These days, 57% of all searches are performed from tablets and smartphones, and half of those searches have local intent.
If you own a restaurant, for example, local SEO ensures that when people in your area are looking for the best restaurants in town, they will come across your website. Along with using local keywords, other local SEO best practices include claiming directory listings, creating location-specific pages for your site, and creating pages for your business on Google My Business and Google Maps.
Content is a vital part of SEO. It is the vehicle used to reach and engage audiences.
For instance, if you own a nursery and want to increase your visibility, you might publish a series of blogs about gardening, choosing the right species of plants, growing tips, and more. When a person who wanted to know about gardening went looking for that information, your blog would come up, and you would be able to build a relationship with that prospect by providing valuable information.
When the time came for that prospect to buy a plant, for instance, your business will be the first that came to mind. Today’s content must be educational, but also interesting, relevant, engaging, and shareable. Content comes in a variety of forms, including:
- Website content
- Social media posts
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to paid marketing efforts, and it includes Google Ads, social media ads, pay-per-click, Google shopping ads, display ads, and more. Although SEM is not usually a major component of a comprehensive SEO strategy, it does have its place, for helping to reach new and highly targeted audiences.
Off-page SEO involves external optimisation practices that happen away from your website rather than on it. The main technique used for off-page SEO is backlink building since quality backlinks to your site from external sites tell search engines that your site is valuable and high-quality, and this builds authority.
It is a well-known fact that word-of-mouth can be the best form of advertising for any business. Backlinks basically stand the same way. However, it can be considered the trickiest part of SEO as it requires outside sources to publish content about your business.
There are many tactics to backlink building, and some of the current best practices include guest blogging, creating lots of infographics that will be highly shared, and mentioning influencers in your content. The easiest way to encourage backlinks for your website is by creating good content as well as publishing interesting news frequently, which will in turn encourage others to review and talk about your business. Another effective method of securing backlinks is to contact relevant bloggers or websites directly that focus on your business area as it will be perceived as extra information from a customer’s point of view.
Social media is one of the best platforms for businesses to interact with their customers and provide updates on any news from your business. Social media can be very useful in reaching specific targets as well as promoting products and services by posting interesting content such as images and videos.
Online directories allow you to be visible on a variety of websites as well as gather reviews from your customers. A good online directory presence and positive customer reviews can bring many new customers to your business. It is important to also review and respond to negative reviews about your business as this can inevitably affect your brand image and deter customers from your website and/or services.