What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is basically an umbrella term, it is used to cover a series of processes and principles on how a website is optimised to gain traffic from search results.

A powerful tool in the digital marketing toolbox

SEO Definition
What is SEO

Let’s clear up what it’s not!

  • SEO is not a program we just install and walk away, there is no install disk for SEO.
  • It doesn’t only consist of what’s on your page, titles and content.
  • You can’t just slap keywords on a page or post and watch the traffic flow in.
  • There is no such thing as Guaranteed 1st spot on Google.
  • There is no right way of doing SEO, but there are many wrong ways to approach it.

SEO Definition

As pointed out at the top of the post, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is an umbrella term, used to define the processes and techniques involved in getting your website to look attractive enough for search engines such as Google to display your web pages within the search results. 

There are many hundreds of ranking factors Google uses to rank websites within its search results pages, I have broken these areas into 3 main areas.

SEO Definition

SEO Definition

As pointed out at the top of the post, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is an umbrella term, used to define the processes and techniques involved in getting your website to look attractive enough for search engines such as Google to display your web pages within the search results. 

There are many hundreds of factors Google uses to rank websites within its search results pages, I have broken these areas into 3 main areas.

What is SEO

Technical

This area focuses on all the technical aspects of your website, from the server setup to the speed of the website loading for your potential customers.

It also covers how your website pages are categorised and displayed on the website. Formatting of URL’s, the appropriate use of sub-domain, the creation and submission of sitemaps to search engines.

If the technical aspects of your website are failing, then all the On and Off-Page SEO won’t make any difference.

On-Page

This area is the area that most will be familiar with, even if they are not fully aware, bear with me!

Everyone has read a newspaper, we have all seen how a front-page is laid out, main headings, sub-headings, content, and images.

A webpage is not really that much different, only this time, the main headings, the sub-headings, images etc have all been optimised for the keywords people use while browsing the internet to look for products and or services.

Off Page

Off Page SEO has to do with the methods used to promote your website, getting citations from directories, link building, advertising campaigns using tools like Google Adwords.

We only use authoritative websites for getting your business citations and we build your link profile using relevant blogs and websites.

Can SEO benefit your business?

Well let’s clear something up, having an SEO strategy is a long-term commitment, there are ways to get short-term gains, but the role of an SEO consultant is not only to get your website in front of people who search for the products and services you provide, but to also add value to your business.

Having an understanding of the lifecycle of search engine optimisation is key to success for any business.

Increase organic traffic to your website

This is probably the most common reason for adopting an SEO strategy.

Organic traffic or natural traffic is unpaid traffic, meaning you have no search engine promotions, for example, Google Adwords running aimed at keywords people would use to find your business.

Basically, it means the traffic or visitors have not been referred to your site from another source.

How do SEO professionals achieve this:

  • Website analysis
  • Having a well-optimised site
  • Keyword research (search terms used to find your services/products)
  • Competitor analysis
  • Build citations – (business listing or directory sites)
  • Blog writing and content creation

If the research and analysis has been completed correctly, your website’s pages will start to show up on search engine pages for the keywords that were analysed to bring in traffic, and not just any traffic, but going down this route, the visitors to your site will be looking for your services.

Utilising a content marketing strategy, through the use of high-quality blogs related to your industry, you will start to reap the benefits of organic searches.

Increase conversion rates

This follows on from the points made above, if your site has been through the SEO process, the visitors that land on your site will be visitors that are actively looking for the services/products you provide.

Also a well-optimised website, loads faster, displays on all screen sizes, is technically sound and navigating to the areas of interest has been well thought out.

Benefits of investing in SEO soon become apparent when your conversion rate starts to rise!

Helps build and increase trust

This is achieved through various methods, but the main areas are:

  • Building up your Google My Business Profile
  • Listing your business on the reputable directory websites (citations)
  • Writing content/blogs relevant to your niche/industry
  • Sourcing reviews and testimonials
  • Creating social profiles

This is an ongoing area of SEO, the more relevant content you can create, sharing it on your social profiles and gather reviews for the work you undertake, you are on your way to increasing your trust.

The key to content creation and social sharing is simple, be relevant and be consistent.

Once you have built up the trust and your brand, Google will recognise this.

Example:

There are 2 plumbers businesses in your local area and both come up in the Google map pack for your area, how do you decide.

One website is optimised, loads at speed and as 5-star reviews and testimonials, they also have a running blog.

The other has no reviews, blog or testimonials its a bit clunky but their costs are exactly the same as the other.

So you can see straight away which company is going to get the Organic Traffic.

Having a Google My Business Account

Google My Business or GMB is a free service offered by Google to all business owners, it allows you to manage how your business information appears within Google search results, especially useful is the maps listing.

An SEO specialist would look to optimise this profile for your industry/niche.

Making sure all relevant information is completed:

  • NAP (name, address and phone number)
  • Opening hours
  • Listed under relevant categories for services provided
  • Relevant content related to the keywords we have analysed the site for
  • Images of your workplace, services and products
  • Reviews management
  • Directions to your business from the areas you serve

Once all this has been completed and coupled with a well-optimised website, your website will start to show up on the Google map pack for certain searches.

This again increases trust, brand awareness, and engagement.

Good SEO helps with the users experience

Let’s be honest, everybody who runs a website for any purpose would love more traffic, increased conversions etc

Well placing an emphasis on the actual experience potential clients/customers will have when visiting your website is key to this.

  • Is it slow loading?
  • Is it difficult to navigate?
  • Does the content flow?
  • Does it answer the questions people may have with regards your product/services?
  • Is it easy to find contact information?

There are many more factors that can impact this experience, lets take the 1st one, slow loading websites, I know if I go to a website and it takes longer than a few seconds to load, I just click the cross or keep looking, if the site doesn’t load correctly, what else is wrong with this site or business.

Remember if this is the 1st time anyone has visited your website and have never heard of your company, then this is basically them taking a peek at your business, everything counts.

You only have a few seconds to impress, if this is taken up with the site loading, then you have lost this potential client/customer well before they actually got to the content on the site.

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Is it all about Google?

No is the short answer and Yes is the long answer.

The short answer is simple there are other search engines out there:

  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Yandex
  • Youtube

But when you look at the spread of the traffic over the years, Google gets well over 75% of all internet searches, so they are the main player in town so it makes sense to adhere to the principles of what Google lays down as ranking factors.

What’s the role of search engines?

This is actually a really good question.
The only role of any search engine is to display the most authoritative trustworthy quality content to the person sitting in front of Google search, that’s it, simple eh!

I can hear the cogwheels turning.
But how does it know which sites have this authority and trust?

Well having a well-optimised site that is built around an SEO strategy helps, also having a consistent approach to content creation,.

 

 

Learn SEO

So to reap the benefits of an SEO friendly website, you could go out and learn SEO.

And I would advise anyone who has a website to at least have an understanding of what SEO is, hence this post in the 1st place.

There is a wealth of free information out there on Google, Facebook Groups and Youtube Videos.

But, then again, you may not have the time or the interest and that’s a huge point to be made, there are many benefits of going doing the SEO route, but the one huge disadvantage is when SEO is done badly.

There are many charlatans out there, just like every other industry, the SEO industry is no different, we have our share of snake-oil salespeople who will offer you the stars in the sky for what seems a ridiculously low price.

Some of the techniques used by these people may give you a short-term boost, but in the long-term, you are more likely to encounter penalties from Google.

My advice would be to hire in an SEO Consultant, no surprise there eh!
But at the same time undertake some form of program of learning to be able to kick on from where the consultant has left off, once you have the site optimised, the consultant will help and advise on best practices going forward.

Can SEO benefit your business

Learn SEO

So to reap the benefits of an SEO friendly website, you could go out and learn SEO.

And I would advise anyone who has a website to at least have an understanding of what SEO is, hence this post in the 1st place.

There is a wealth of free information out there on Google, Facebook Groups and Youtube Videos.

But, then again, you may not have the time or the interest and that’s a huge point to be made, there are many benefits of going doing the SEO route, but the one huge disadvantage is when SEO is done badly.

There are many charlatans out there, just like every other industry, who will offer you the stars in the sky for what seems a ridiculously low price.

Some of the techniques used by these people may give you a short-term boost, but in the long-term, you are more likely to encounter penalties from Google.

My advice would be to hire in a pro, no surprise there eh!
But at the same time undertake some form of program of learning to be able to kick on from where the pro has left off, once you have the site optimised and a strategy put in place by the pro.

Not all industries are the same

This is so true, that is why I laugh at some of the adverts you see for this industry.

“I can guarantee you page 1 on Google for your chosen keyword”

How do they know this without 1st doing any analysis, they even try and qualify this by using the word “guarantee”

Not everything is equal here. The work that would be required to rank a plumber in a small town compared to a big city where there is far more competition is obviously going to be more difficult.

Again what if your product or service just so happens to clash with a multi-national, or a highly competitive industry, for example, the following are really competitive:

  • Fashion
  • Health
  • Fitness

That is why hiring a pro is essential, they will find the sweet spots for you, they will sift through the data to find a way for you to compete.

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10 Comments

  1. David Jackson

    Thanks I shall be using this as a learning tool and a guide.

    Reply
    • Steven WEB

      Thanks for the message, glad you like the post.

      Reply
    • Steven Web

      Keep checking back, I have more to come 🙂

      Reply
  2. Craig Miller

    Brilliant post, I learnt something today.

    Reply
    • Steven Web

      haha happy to oblige, glad you got something out of it.

      Reply
  3. Carolyn

    Technical SEO is a well-overlooked area, people tend to focus on the stuff they can see.

    Reply
    • Steven Web

      Exactly Carolyn, I always start all projects with the technical in mind, no point doing much else if your site doesn’t load!

      Reply
  4. Elaine Butler

    I think people are confused by what SEO is, they have no idea that there are many parts.
    Thanks for taking the time.

    Reply
    • Steven Web

      A huge reason for the lack of knowledge is due to the professionals not explaining it in terms people can understand.

      Reply

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