What exactly is SEO and should I be doing it?
So what exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’. It is the process of optimising your website via various methods and criteria, in order for it to be more likely to rank highly on search engines when users type in specific searches. Ultimately search engines like Google want to know that your website is a relevant result vs a search query a user enters. If your site is considered a highly relevant, up to date and valuable resource versus the search query in question then you’re much more likely to rank in top positions, thus receiving considerably greater visibility and as a result, traffic!
Optimising your website or online store for search engines is not a straight forward process, there is much to consider although much of it may appear common sense. Approaching the channel well involves a great variety of items from competitor research to ensuring every single one of your images has an appropriate filename. It’s time-consuming, and it’s not something that you can simply address once or ‘take care of’ when you build your website the first build through. SEO is an ongoing process in order to achieve the results you want and then also to maintain them.
Why is SEO important?
This is a topic we have covered in great detail previously but the quick version is this:
When was the last time you typed “www.” in to your web browser? It’s probably been a while. That’s because over 90% of all online user journeys begin with a search query. Over 90% of which in the UK are performed on Google. For this simple reason alone search engines are obviously valuable, even in direct comparison to virtually all other digital marketing channels. But the other big differentiating factor is that search is one of the only truly reactive and directly responsive media channel available to us as marketers. Potential customers are literally searching for something they want/need and via search you have the ability to list yourself among other options as a direct response to that need. You don’t need to create desire, just fill it when it comes knocking!
Why do they call it ‘Organic Search’?
Organic search is also referred to as ‘natural search’. This is a reference to the ‘unbiased’ nature of this set off search engine results because in contrast to ‘paid search’ they cannot be directly bought or unfairly manipulated. Each search engine has a built in algorithm (complex mathematical equation) for deciding which websites are the most relevant for a given search. It’s then up to website owners and marketers to ensure their site is the best result for a given search instead of simply buying top rankings.
Organic search listings are sometimes also called the ‘free listings’. Considered as a considerably more cost effective method of ranking versus the ongoing often high costs involved in paid search, it is true that there is no direct cost associated with organic search rankings. That said, its still very naive to refer to it as ‘free’. In reality there are indirect costs associated with any modern day successful SEO effort including the cost of SEO optimised website builds and ongoing maintenance, various platforms and tools available for research & monitoring, the cost of hiring an agency perhaps, the cost of continually producing new unique website content etc etc. These things add up and they are all vital cogs in the SEO management machine.
Should I be investing in SEO?
Any business which sells online, generates leads online or wants to generally create awareness and access for their business in the digital world, which is virtually every business on earth, the simple answer is – Yes.
Search engines are still the most reactive platform for connected consumers and businesses both B2C and B2C. They’re also one of the largest in terms of opportunity and overall scale, even in direct comparison with the gargantuan rise of social media. So no business can afford to outright ignore search marketing and indeed Organic Search (SEO) as part of their marketing approach. Even small or very localised businesses can benefit hugely from this channel. Considering the expanded functions of Google Maps and Google Places etc. You don’t even necessarily need a website to benefit from some low level search marketing.
This channel can seem like a minefield and actually some agencies and other figures in the industry purposely try to make the process look far more complicated than it needs to be in order to provide over priced consultancy on the subject. In reality though this is not always the case and any business can compete in this arena if approached intelligently. It doesn’t need to cost the earth to work towards an improved SEO status. If you’re interested in looking at the channel in more detail, even if you don’t feel you know much about it. Come and talk to us and we’ll help fill in the gaps and point you in the right direction.