What is SEO optimisation?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a process that improves a website in specific ways to help it appear in search results when users search for particular words and phrases associated with an online business.

Simplistically it is the best way to improve online visibility and reach out to potential customers who are actively searching for a specific product, service, or information.

If you are unsure about how this would help your business, you have to think about how you would search for something online.

Typically would you pick up a smartphone or use a computer to type a simple phrase into Google, and then select one of the websites present on page 1.

So if a website does not rank for the exact words or phrases that are associated with the business, the people searching will be looking elsewhere. So potential customers will probably visit the competitor’s websites.

Typically the sites ranking on the first page of Google did not get there by accident. Most have undergone extensive keyword research during development and often include popular search phrases recognised by the search engines.

So if you want your target audience to find your business online, you will need to optimise your web pages accordingly. That is why search engine optimisation should be an essential part of your marketing strategy.

The benefits of SEO

Provides visibility in the search engines

The organic rankings on Google are based entirely on what its algorithm determines to be the best results for any given query.

Organic rankings on Google are determined by which websites are perceived to provide the best results, as determined by its algorithm.
Once you rank highly on page 1 you should start to attract visitors to your site and continue to attract traffic for months, or even years, after you publish it.

Keyword research and high-quality content will be required and, if the industry is competitive, a link-building campaign. Depending on time constraints, SEO knowledge, and your budget, you can opt to do it all yourself or hire a digital marketing agency to do it for you.

Page updates are often necessary every so often to ensure the page retains its position in the search engines. These updates may involve content revisions, additional content, or improvements to the overall appearance of the web page

Remove the need for advertising campaigns

The primary difference between SEO and Pay-per-Click advertising is that PPC ads involve a cost every time a user clicks and visits a web page.

According to Wordstream, 65% of users who intend to purchase click through to web pages via PPC ads. However, the average click-through rate is typically only around 1.9%, and there is no guarantee that the user will convert on your website.

Conversion rates depend upon the industry and the relevance and quality of the landing page on the website.

The average cost of a Google Adwords PPC ad is around £1.00 in the UK and $2.50 in the US; however, costs and conversions rates widely vary depending on the type of business or industry.

The cost of an ad campaign is dictated by the industry, together with the website quality score and ad ranking factors as determined by Google. Moreover, the campaign prices are often far higher than those predicted by Google’s Keyword Planner.

Optimisation can have higher conversions rates than PPC ads

Typically around 71% of search engine users click on the organic listings visible on page 1, even though the ads appear above the organic rankings.

The first five websites ranked on page 1, account for 67% of the click-through traffic, with the remaining 4% being shared by spots 6-10.

A Further 5% of search engine traffic will click on sites present on pages 2 and 3, and the remaining searches are catered for by PPC ad traffic.

When was the last time you looked at websites below position 5 in the listings provided by Google

Use SEO to help promote your business

Long term SEO strategies can involve identifying opportunities to promote your website on news publications, magazines, industry sites or niche blogs and any other relevant websites.

When researching new possibilities for link building consideration, the benefits need assessing. Can they get your brand in front of consumers or get influencers in the industry talking about your business.

Optimise and rank above your competitors

Most companies acknowledge that SEO is one of the most important strategies to increase visibility online and that the main priority is to rank above their competitors in the search engines.

How long do SEO campaigns take?

Improving the rankings of any site varies from case to case, dependent on whether they are a local or national business and how competitive the niche is.

Rankings are affected by numerous factors, both on-page and off-site.
On-page factors include the quality and intent of the content, schema usage, how fast the website loads, and website security.

Off-page factors include links from other websites, traffic, how long visitors stay on the web pages, how many website page views per session, and the bounce rate.

If anyone promises SEO results within a few weeks, avoid using them. They are either lying or using ranking techniques that will ultimately harm the site and affect the rankings in the longer term.

For a local business, results can take between 4 and 12 months, depending on how competitive the industry is.

If you are looking to hire an SEO expert, use one who provides a clear outline of their strategy and a realistic timeframe for results.

70% of searches are phrases comprising a service and buyer intent keywords. Also, more than 40% of searches now comprise four or more words.

So commercially, it is more effective to target these “long tail” keyword phrases with buyer intent that have existing search engine traffic.

Why hire an SEO optimisation specialist?

While some of the basic SEO tasks can be done in-house with some basic SEO knowledge, it’s always best to leave such work to the experts.

The goal of any SEO campaigns is to increase the visibility of online assets and online conversions.

To accomplish this goal, the current “health” of the site will need assessing before the implementation of any new SEO strategies.

Then the website pages will be optimised, and link building opportunities undertaken on an ongoing basis. The on-page and off-page updates will be followed up with regular reporting and analysis of any work undertaken.

Reviewing the site

Before doing any new search engine optimisation techniques, it is always advisable to make a full assessment of the website.

Has any optimisation or link building been done previously?

Where do the web pages currently rank, and what keywords are most important to target.

Identify what factors will have the most impact on the rankings.
Are there any significant problems that may impact on the user experience, such as slow page load times, poor navigation, and site structure?

Identify competitor websites targeting the same audience and similar keywords and evaluate what they are doing better. Emulate any successful, such as link building strategies.

Devise strategies that will address the problems identified and prioritise those that will have the most significant impact first.

Ongoing on-page and off-page optimisations

After the assessment, the SEO specialist will prioritise the weaknesses or areas where the website can be improved.

This process will involve keyword research, keyword and on-page optimisation, and resolution of any issues impacting on the user experiences.

These on-page optimisation improvements can often take weeks to months to complete. However, this is an ongoing process as there are bound to be other areas requiring updates in the future.

After addressing the on-page factors, the search engine optimisation specialist will be looking for quality places to promote the website and acquire new backlinks.

The SEO expert should also be aware of any expected changes in the Google algorithms that may impact on website rankings. Also, being proactive and on the lookout for any new marketing tactics that may benefit rankings for a website.

Reporting and analysis

All the updates will be continually monitored to ensure they are having a positive impact on the website rankings.

An SEO consultant should provide website ranking reports on a weekly or monthly basis.

These reports will give the client confidence and helps to understand whether the investment is worthwhile.

Once the web pages rank, it does not end there. Key metrics, such as traffic and conversions rates, need regular reviews. These statistics provide a better picture of what is working and what isn’t, leaving scope for further improvement.