SEO: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
You’ve heard the acronym everywhere. It’s one of the buzzwords thrown around whenever people talk about digital marketing. So just what is it and why does it matter?
Search Engine Optimisation
The first results you get when you look up a good or service on a search engine are the optimised results. For example, were we to type “Pest Control” into Google, the results are prioritised based on the rules that the search engine has in place to determine the most relevant results.
There are a multitude of rules that Google applies to rank its results. A website that is linked from many other websites, for example, is looked upon favourably by a search engine. A website with broken images and dead links on the other hand, is looked upon unfavourably.
So why then, is this important? Because you get to make the first impression on the customer, and if you can guide them through to buy your product or service, they won’t even look at the competition.
How important is SEO?
There is no question that ranking in search engine results is enormously important. With that in mind, it isn’t the only measure of a successful website. Just as bricks and mortar businesses measure their success in sales and not walk-ins, so too should should digital businesses.
While you generate considerable traffic by being the first result when someone is looking for a wine retailer, you must be able to turn this traffic into sales to be considered successful (marketers call this conversion). And this is a different art again from SEO.
How to improve SEO
I wouldn’t attempt to create a comprehensive account of every tip and trick to improve your search engine ranking. There are, however, three basic areas what you can improve in order to help with your site’s SEO.
Knowing what your customers are searching for is an obvious jumping off point to improving your SEO. Google Trends is a great tools for this type research.
You are looking for trends in what people are searching for online. For instance, are people in Australia searching for “Garbage Removal”, “Trash Removal” or “Rubbish Removal”? All of the words mean the same thing, but the difference could make or break a business.
The answer, in this case, is “Rubbish Removal”. Though a simple example, if your site was geared toward “Trash Removal”, then your hit rate would suffer dramatically.
Naturally, the research goes much deeper than this. Though it is painstaking, the more work put into it, the more rewarding the results.
Balancing Good Copy and SEO Research
The next step is to apply your research. This is where you would take your keywords and incorporate them into our site. This process is fraught with danger. While you do want to hit the terms that your potential customers are searching for, you don’t want to get into the practice of “keyword stuffing”.
Keyword stuffing is where you gracelessly load your website copy with irrelevant and repetitive keywords. For example:
Rob’s Rubbish Removal specialise is rubbish disposal, garbage disposal, garbage removal, waste disposal and trash removal.
While the copy hits quite a few search terms, it doesn’t make sense to the reader. It’s repetitive and jarring and won’t convert a visitor into a customer.
Similarly, another devious tactic used by web developers is called cloaking. This is where a business will apply keywords that deceive the user into visiting their site. When the visitor clicks through and finds they’ve been tricked, they won’t stick around for long.
Extreme examples of this occurred in the wild west days of search engines during the 90’s. Pornographic websites were notorious for adding irrelevant keywords like “Micky Mouse”, “Skateboarding”, “Home Improvements”, etc in a bid to boost traffic. Thankfully, search engines have managed to filter such extreme results, though the practice of cloaking is still rife.
So what do you want to aim for when writing copy? The best way to approach copy is to research the other pages competing for your keywords, determine what makes their copy good and then create something better.
A good web developer aims to make your website more readable to the big search engines. Without weighing you down with too many technical details there are a few helpful things that you as a business owner can do.
The first is to link and cross link. If no other site links to your website, then the search engine bots that map websites have a harder time discovering yours. Forming relationships with complementary businesses and encouraging them to link to your website in return for a link to theirs is an excellent way to improve your SEO.
And the second, is to stay in touch with your web developer. If your website is slow or doesn’t perform on mobile devices, this will upset your SEO. Discuss any concerns you have about your site. If you find broken images or links, report them.
We’d all like to build a business and then lay on some Hawaiian beach and reap the rewards without having to ever work a day in our lives again. But just as businesses need to constantly drive their own improvement, so too do websites.
A website is not a set and forget enterprise and to consider it as such is a huge waste of a powerful resource. Perhaps, when you launch your website, its SEO will be terrible and you might not even rank in search engine results. That’s fine. Keep at it. The more work you put in, the more you will see results. Now get optimising!
Need help with SEO? Moonshake Digital loves to see local business grow. Contact us for a free quote!