Search engines such as Google and, well mainly Google, dominate the internet.
The first is to drive visitors (or traffic) to your website. The second is to turn up the efficiency of your site in converting visitors into customers.
Search engines such as Google and, well… mainly Google, dominate the internet.
There’s no escaping Google’s powerful reach. Virtually everyone uses Google every single day.
Without Google, many of today’s most successful businesses - Amazon, eBay, Netflix – wouldn’t be where they are today.
When it comes to business, Google is more than just a search engine – it is an essential business ally.
And this is why you need to understand and use it properly.
Because of the role search engines like Google play in our daily lives, businesses build websites and fill them with content to makes them easily show up in search engines results.
This is known as search engine optimisation (SEO), and it’s so critical to marketing success that it’s almost impossible not to care in today’s business world.
Without SEO, it’s like having a grand opening ceremony for a brand new shopping mall, and no one shows up because they don’t know where the mall is, or even exists.
Fortunately, optimising your website for Google is something which you should (and can) do.
SEO lets your key prospective customers know that you exist, and find you easily online, and increase the amount of site traffic.
When you are doing SEO right, it can (and will) bring you more customers, more business opportunities, and most importantly – more profits for your business.
By carrying out the right amount of research and some elbow grease, there’s no reason why your website can’t show at the top of Google’s search results.
When you don’t optimise your site, no one knows who you are or where you’re at. Then you will not be found by your customers - it’s that simple!
There are some things which you can do right away to optimise your site today, but getting real significant SEO results takes more effort, and mostly time.
If you are not yet using the best SEO practices available, you will find yourself struggling to put your website on the map. You won’t be seen on Google by users, and this will have a negative impact on your bottom line.
Whether if you have a new website and haven’t started on SEO, or you’re looking to take your site to another level, read on to find out how you can get your site noticed by the people who matter – your future customers.
Climbing to the Top of the Google Mountain
“Producing compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors…”
As we’ve talked about earlier, SEO is a process acknowledged as the only way to get your website to the top of search engine results and seen by your customers.
Having said that, you should know that you won’t simply get to the top overnight, as you’ll see that it can take a good few months before you start seeing real results from any of your SEO work.
With a sound SEO strategy supported with high-quality content, you will start seeing results much more quickly.
If you are ready to put in the work to learn and understand just how important SEO is on the Web, you will start to see, or even appreciate a strong SEO strategy that can pull in measurable results for your business.
What exactly is Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO is a branch of marketing which focuses on growing organic visibility by optimising your website to appear higher in search engine rankings.
SEO covers lots of different technical and creative aspects which all help to drive up site traffic.
People dedicate their careers to SEO, and most companies now have a marketing department that only does SEO because SEO is so vital to their business growth.
With that being said, you don’t need to be a huge corporation to do SEO. Anybody can do it and start optimising their website for search engines.
The simpler aspects of SEO – such as your website’s written content – is something you can start focusing on right away, whereas more complex elements such as technical SEO and backlinking require slightly more technical expertise.
Although SEO is very focused around making your website better for search engines to read and use, it is also about making your site a better experience for your visitors.
In the simplest possible terms, SEO is about increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website organically. Let’s look at each of these three elements individually:
- Quality of traffic means the right people are visiting your site. Having tons of traffic is useless if only a tiny proportion of people are interested in your product or service;
- Quantity of traffic means increasing the number of visitors to your site from search engine results pages;
- Organically means traffic which has come through real search queries and not from paid advertising.
How Do Search Engines Like Google Work?
The primary function of all search engines is to display relevant websites in response to their user-submitted search queries.
For example, if somebody in Newcastle is looking for an electrician to do some work on their home, that person may type “Newcastle electricians” into Google.
Google will then collate results and rank them in order of relevance.
What determines relevance? A website’s overall design, SEO and quality of content!
Electricians in Newcastle who have the best quality websites with the best SEO strategy and the best content will get more visibility on Google than those who do not.
Search engines work in two ways: crawling & indexing; and providing a ranked list of results.
We are going to look at these two core functions independently and pick them apart:
Crawling & Indexing
Search engines use “crawlers” – robots using algorithms – to find links which lead to web pages.
When the crawlers find a webpage, they scan the page’s code and store bits of it in databases which is retrieved later to display results for a search query.
Because this is a huge task that involves billions of pieces of data and thousands of pieces of information being processed every second, Google demand that results from web pages are displayed straight away to satisfy the end user's intention.
This is why even a short one or two-second delay from your website can drop your rank down the search results.
Providing a Ranked List of Results
In a matter of seconds, Google returns a list of results which are relevant to the search query and are ranked according to the website’s relevance and popularity.
A relevant search result is one where Google’s algorithm deems to be popular and of a high-quality.
Hundreds of individual factors and variables come into play and influence these algorithms, and this is what makes SEO a vastly complex and intricate field.
The old days of Google scanning only for keywords are long gone. Now, relevant content is paramount to the success of your SEO efforts.
Why Do I Need To Care About SEO?
Whether it’s Google, Yahoo or Bing, the majority of any business’ online traffic now comes through search engines.
That’s because search engines are now the primary method for navigating the internet.
In the past, businesses rely on phone directories such as Yellow Pages to be found by prospective customers. Today, it is Google.
It does not matter which industry you operate in, what service you provide or what product you sell, most potential clients or customers are savvy.
They want to know what they are spending money on, whether it is worth their hard-earned money, and they turn to these search engines to find their answers.
This is where you can quickly lose out to your competitors who rank higher up in search engine results because they have got their SEO nailed down.
If a search engine cannot easily find your site or does not deem it to be relevant, you will place much lower down the search results, or not appear at all.
What this means for your business is that you will miss out on a lot of traffic and many potential customers.
Given that basic-level SEO is very simple, there is absolutely no excuse for this, and you can easily make some minor adjustments which will deliver real, measurable results.
Without SEO, search engines cannot find your website or its content and cannot index your pages as a result.
Although search engines today are so much smarter than they were a decade ago, they still need a little help from you to tell them what to do, and this is where SEO practices come in.
That’s why you need to be looking into SEO and including it on your website.
The right SEO strategy can dramatically increase your site’s traffic – we’re talking thousands of new visitors – whereas not using SEO or doing it incorrectly can bury your website far, far down search engine results pages.
How can SEO benefit my business?
The benefits associated with optimising your website for search engines are endless, but here are five ones which stand out above the rest.
Increased Organic Traffic
This is the chief reason for carrying out SEO, and it is the most significant benefit you’ll experience.
Websites that appear at the top of search engine results receive the lion’s share of web traffic, so ranking within the top 3 to 5 results on Google, Bing or any other search engine can result in a massive boost in organic traffic for your site.
Users tend to trust the websites which appear at the top of search engine results – “if it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for me!” – whereas the majority of search engine users don’t venture past the third or even the second page.
Higher Return on Investment
SEO provides you with metric results which are trackable in real-time and can be quantified for further business purposes.
SEO professionals and agencies have lots of tools at their disposal which can track virtually every aspect of an SEO strategy – from keywords to backlinking – and be used to measure your SEO success and whether it’s working.
Using from SEO analytics, you can drill right below the surface, right to the core of your SEO strategy and see where your website traffic is coming from.
You’ll be able to tell things like where they live, what is their occupation, and why have they come to your website.
With this info, you can tweak your business operations to serve your target market better and increase your bottom line.
Without a doubt, SEO has the potential to gain massive returns on your initial investment.
Better User Experience
Earlier, we talked about how SEO is also about making your site more appealing to both search engine and the search engine user.
The goal of SEO is to improve your website by adding quality content, making it easy to navigate and work across all devices.
These qualities go hand-in-hand with the overall user experience for the visitor.
When the user experience is excellent, visitors find it much easier to learn more about your product or service.
This behaviour then tells Google that your website is relevant and high quality and Google will place your site higher in its search results.
A huge part of SEO is about tinkering with your website and its architecture to make its individual pages more accessible to find, navigate and use.
Not only make it easier for search engines to find, but it also improves the overall user experience for visitors that come to your site.
Whether you’re a lean business or a fledgeling new startup, you probably don’t have the marketing budget for a massive ad campaign.
If that’s the case, then SEO is by far the most cost-effective marketing method for you.
Why? Because SEO targets people, who are already looking for a product or service similar to or the same as yours.
This means you don’t have to spend time and the money on paid ads persuading visitors, because they are already warm prospect leads.
Also, when you have a sound SEO strategy, you even can outrank competitors in your market, even if they are bigger and more money to spend on advertising.
Because SEO is low-cost, leads generated by SEO are at least 50% cheaper than other marketing channels such as social media marketing, email marketing or cold-calling.When you’re on the front page of search engine results, your market access will have increased massively for a fraction of the cost of other marketing methods.
SEO Provides 24/7 Exposure
Your website is like your sales representative and brand ambassador that never sleeps. The same goes for your Google search results ranking.
When you are consistently holding your rank on Google, your website stays up there 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
SEO is not affected by variables such as time, day, interests or search history like other methods of marketing – when somebody performs a search query which relates to your business, product or service, you will show up right there and then.
There are virtually no alternative marketing methods which can provide such a consistent and high level of exposure to potential customers who are already engaged and actively searching for something you offer.
Can I Do My Own SEO?
Absolutely! There’s no reason why you can't.
Although the topic of SEO is diverse with some complexity, most people can learn and apply the basics of SEO by themselves.
SEO can be done incrementally, and it has a snowballing effect as your presence on Google grows.
Even the smallest amount of SEO which has been appropriately applied can make a massive difference as time goes on!
But for most business owners and entrepreneurs, the problem is not the how – but when.
There are just too many business aspects they need to take care of. Accounting, hiring, client outreach, the list goes on.
They don’t have the time or energy to work on marketing and SEO, and these tasks get pushed further down their to-do list.
It all comes down to you – whether you have the time and energy to learn about SEO and apply it on your own.
Otherwise, you can always hire someone else and have them take care of your SEO professionally for you.
How I can Help
SEO is an ongoing process. Even when you are finally at the top, you still have to consistently produce quality content regularly to keep that position.
Therefore, you might want to decide to outsource your SEO.
Ask yourself, do you I have the time you to dedicate myself to learn and to implement SEO.
If you’re a small business without a full-time marketing team, you may find yourself struggling to find the time and energy. These could be better spent elsewhere on growing your business.
Being a business owner, it’s all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. So if SEO and marketing isn’t your strength, then you will benefit more by outsourcing these tasks to someone who is skilled.
Not only can an SEO professional or agency come up with a comprehensive SEO strategy and put it in place, but they generally have years of experience and specialist SEO knowledge, and are fully aware when it comes to the latest marketing developments.
An SEO professional will make sure that your website is whipped into the best shape possible to achieve the desired results.
For example, when you choose to work with me, these are the type of services you can expect:
1. SEO Search Engine Optimisation
To stand out from your competitors, you need to have Google as your ally.
SEO is the act of letting Google and other search engines find you and channel potential customers to your website.
Today, SEO is far from dead. Now it’s a competitive multi-faceted endeavour, and you need a well-developed strategy to drive valuable traffic and get noticed by more customers.
Here are some of the areas in SEO that I can help you with:
2. On-Page SEO Assessment
I take apart and study your website piece by piece systematically. I will analyse your website’s content, coding, and structure.
Then I will identify what areas that you can work on to solve your SEO problems. This comprehensive SEO assessment will help you build a strong SEO game plan in the long run.
3. Keyword Research
Do you know what your customers are searching for on Google?
Keywords are the heart and soul of SEO. To draw new customers towards you, your website needs to have the right keywords, so that Google can direct them to you.
Don’t waste your marketing dollars on low-quality content. Google’s bots are so intelligent now, that they can tell if you’re putting up genuinely great content, or gaming the system.
Let me research your keywords and guide you in the right direction. This way, you’ll know what subjects and keywords your content should be focused on.
4. On-Page SEO Optimisation
I will take your web pages and rank them well on Google one-by-one.
On-page SEO involves a professional that understands your content, structure and the code lies behind your webpage.
Fine-tuning these three factors will bring in increased traffic, and better quality leads for your business.
On-page SEO is an endless process. But with my help, I can get you results. You will learn what works and what doesn’t.
5. Local SEO Optimisation
If your clients are based around your city or town, then you will need location SEO to pull in prospective customers.
Many small local businesses get customers when they search on Google for nearby goods and services.
I can optimise your SEO so that you will show up in your local Google search results so new customers can find you when they need you the most.
Off-Page Optimisation (Backlinks and Social Media Presence)
SEO is not just about what’s on your website, but what’s OFF your site too.
Off-page SEO is all about external factors that are not on your website but are indirectly impacting your ranking on Google.
Building a network of high-quality backlinks (links from other websites that leads to yours) is essential for creating authority and trust, and I can show you how to achieve this.
By assessing your off-page SEO health, I can uncover potential business opportunities with other likeminded website owners.
To learn more, just get in contact for an obligation-free chat, and we’ll see how we can help you achieve the marketing results that you desire.
About Murray Dare
A digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur,
Murray runs his marketing agency Murraydare.co.uk and several online startups.
Murray has helped startups and businesses achieve online success through a considered approach to marketing.