19 Digital, journeys through digital marketing in bite sizes by a series of blogs and we have been asked about SEO by our clients on numerous occasions.
So, in this blog post, we take a deeper look into SEO to answer some questions you may have had and make it less complicated than it seems. The truth is that SEO is one of the most powerful digital marketing techniques available and should be an important part of any marketing strategy for any sized business.
So let’s dive right in and we’ll unravel SEO for you.
What does SEO mean?
SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization and we will be taking a look into each component.
One of the most common ways to find information on the internet is to use a search engine. On a site like Google or Bing users will enter a search term or question. Then, using a complicated algorithm, these sites return what they think are the most appropriate and useful results
The search “engines” that people use to find information are essential because they return prioritized results for users. They first use crawlers to explore the web, then they record everything they find in databases (or indexes). They look at numerous factors to understand what your pages are about.
In order for users to find you via a search, you need to show up on the first few results pages (usually the first) for their search terms. That’s why you need to optimise your content for the search engines. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require attention.
If you want to rank highly in search engines, you need to make sure:
- The search engines can find you
- They can tell what your web pages are about
- They believe your page/site has authority and credibility for the content you’re promoting
Let us address what SEO is not:
SEO isn’t a single tool or process. It’s not a series of tricks (like keyword stuffing) or secrets (like link trading) you can use to fool search engines. There are no tricks or shortcuts that allow you to buy your way to the top of the search results. All of these tactics have been used in the past by businesses and search engine professionals trying to trick the system. Many of them achieved results, but only temporarily.
Google has become more sophisticated, they get better at returning real results instead of low-quality articles stuffed with keywords or supported by cheap backlinks. The engines now actually penalise these techniques and reward content that is truly optimised for search engines.
So what is SEO?
SEO is a combination of techniques that help search engines – like Google – identify you, organize the information you’re publishing, present it to users searching for it and more importantly, SEO helps search engines trust you. It involves performing keyword research to first determine what your audience is looking for and how they conduct their online searching. Your content should then incorporate those keywords in a natural and useful way. Finally, you should promote your content so it gets shared and linked to by others, increasing your authority.
Why do I need SEO?
In the past, the sales process began as soon as a prospect picked up their phone. Now, it starts as soon as someone goes online. With over 85% of consumers using online search engines to find the service, they’re looking for. The South African consumers shopping habits have changed and they are doing online shopping more regularly. Unfortunately, just having a website is no longer enough, with leads being generated online, businesses in South Africa need to act smarter and faster to pick them up.
Let’s say, you’re a local dentist. Outside of consumers making a direct search for your company name, your target market is going to head over to Google, type in “[name of an area] dentist” and let Google do its magic. No one has the time to research all the way back to the 23rd page of Google results. So, therefore unless you’ve got one of those coveted first page spots, you’re pretty much out of luck. Here is a shocker of a stat: 9/10 Google users choose from the first page results.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is where Search Engine Optimisation or SEO comes in.
When SEO is done right, your business is going to get on that Google front page and get seen by consumers around the globe and/or locally. We’re not talking about being on page 1 for your business name. We are talking about getting on the first page for any potential search queries future customers will use to find the products and services you offer. Giving your business the competitive it needs.
Lets look into the benefits SEO has to offer below:
What are the benefits of SEO?
- You’ll Be Competitive
Running a business is a race that’s taking place 24/7. It’s a race to the top. It’s a race to reach your audience first. It’s a race to make more money. Trying to keep up (or stay ahead if you’re one of the lucky ones) is part and parcel to running a business. Your competitors are probably already doing SEO. Higher organic search engine rankings can make a big difference. Unfortunately, your business is falling behind if you haven’t allocated time and/or money to SEO.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have the time, you can always use us. 😉
- Grab Customers In The Discovery Phase
When people are using search engines like Google, they’re often in the process of making a “decision to buy”. They’re learning about their options and they’re assessing the options. This is a critical time for you to get in front of your potential customers. They could be looking for the exact product or service you provide. If you, unfortunately, haven’t done your SEO your business will be invisible to them. A proper SEO campaign ensures that your audience will be able to see you when they’re looking for your product or service. Did you know that only +-8% of search traffic makes it past the first page of Google results?
- Increase Website Traffic
I trust you know why it’s good to have online traffic coming? This is the whole point of SEO after all. First, build authority so your site will be seen in the top 10 results. Then your snippet will (hopefully) attract a click. Last but not least, users engage with your website (again, hopefully). Your website is open 24/7 unlike like a normal brick & mortar business would.
- Visibility means traffic
- Traffic means leads
- Leads mean sales
This simple equation drives internet business. In turn, it’s proof of how essential SEO is for any and all businesses.
60% of traffic comes from being in the top 3 search results
- Build Brand Identity
You can’t build a reputation if no-one knows who you are. Sustainable exposure helps to build a brands identity. You’ll have to put in a lot of hard work to cultivate company culture, refine your brand’s unique style and presence in social channels, and curate the effectiveness and consistency that will inspire your audience to buy. All of your hard work will have be wasted if you don’t have SEO. Ensure the world is able to actually discover and enjoy that brand identity you’ve been building and or you to tell that story to all interested consumers.
- Reinvesting in Your Business
While SEO might not be the cheapest digital marketing technique, it should be considered an investment in your businesses future. SEO is less of an expense and more of an investment. Statistically and historically, it can provide compelling ROI and make a huge difference when it comes to building brand exposure and capturing more leads. In fact, it will often deliver higher conversion ratios than any other form of advertising. That’s because the traffic you get from organic search results is highly targeted.
- You’ll Make a Better First Impression
Most of us will make decisions online based upon first impressions. That means that people tend to glance at the search results pages, and people tend to make some immediate assumptions based on what we see first.
- Improve Conversion Rate
An SEO strategy should involve optimising your website in any number of ways. Improving your website has a positive impact on your search engine rankings. They also should have a measurable effect on a small business’s conversion ratio as well. Let’s take a look at a few specific examples:
- Site speed: It’s a known ranking factor and worth looking into. It’s been proven that faster load times correlates with improved conversions. Here is a free tool from Google which can be used to track and record your sites speed on both Mobile and Desktop and also offers some tips.
- Site layout: An improved site layout develops a more user-friendly experience. Lower bounce-rate will show Google that your pages are relevant to the keywords people are discovering them through. A user-friendly and clean interface is key to helping prospects enjoy their time on your site.
So how do I get SEO?
You probably came to this page asking “why do you need SEO services?”. We hope that we helped educate you on what SEO is, why SEO is so important for businesses, and why you need it for your website. However, you may want to know how can I get SEO services for my business?
If you ready to move your website to the next stage and get SEO services that work? Contact us at 19 Digital today for help with effective and affordable SEO services and/or result-driven and affordable digital marketing services. We offer it all.