SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Whenever you search for a keyword on the Internet you will get results displayed based on what is relevant and useful to your search. Most people will often check out websites on the first or second page depending on what they need. If your website appears in later pages, the probability of users navigating to your page is reduced.
SEO determines the quality of traffic that is coming to your website. You do not want to receive people looking for shoes when you sell cars. If you have the right people viewing your page, then the chances of having more sales increases. Good SEO drives organic traffic to a business’s website. Organic traffic is that which you do not need to pay for.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to display Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Their algorithms they are a closely guarded secret but over time people have been able to determine methods to stand out. Search Engines use crawlers to gather information. These crawlers go through millions of sites looking for information and in the process create an index. Once the index is created, it is matched to the question that you typed.
Google uses both on and off page SEO factors to rank pages. On page SEO factors relate to how your website is structured – if it easy to load or the type of content that you have displayed. Off page SEO deals with the quality of links on your website. How relevant are they? On page SEO will include things like optimised titles, well-formatted URLs,
good meta descriptions, having clear images, use of H1 and H2 tags among others. You can increase your off page SEO ranking by increasing ‘votes’ on other websites. What we mean by votes is the number of links coming to your website from other authoritative sites.
SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. SEO is a part of SEM, with the key difference being that SEM goes beyond optimising a page to include methods like PPC advertising. SEM involves both organic and paid traffic. SEM enables you to purchase ad space in search engines instead of trying to rank higher. An example of a platform for running these ads is Google Adwords.
SEO has become one of the most discussed topics in digital marketing. Companies that deploy SEO see a rise in organic traffic, which leads to increased sales. SEO is not a ‘set and forget’ strategy. It needs constant attention if your website is to remain at the top of SERPs.
This is the most important factor in using SEO for your business. If you rank on the first page of search engine results, then more organic traffic is directed to your site. SEO involves using relevant keywords in your page. This extends to title tags and meta descriptions. When you optimise your descriptions and tags, you increase the click-through rate, and this influences the quality of web traffic. SEO is one of the most cost effective ways to market your products. Instead of businesses spending huge budgets marketing in conventional channels like TV and media, they can deploy SEO strategies at a fraction of the cost.
SEO is one of the ways through which customers can know brands. If you rank higher on SERPs, customers tend to trust the brand more. SEO is one of the easiest ways for a brand to create a presence both locally and internationally. The more your pages appear on the first pages of search results, the more chances that consumers associate the content with your brand. Consumers perceive top ranked companies to offer more quality services than the rest. It conveys the message that if you are not serious about SEO, then you are also not serious about your brands.
When you deploy SEO strategies, you can use various metrics to track your results. You can see how much you spend against the increase in organic traffic. You can narrow down your analysis to demographics and learn more about your customers – their location, spending habits, gender, and their brand preference among others. This information is critical when you are creating a market strategy. SEO offers higher ROI when compared with other marketing strategies. If you have an e-commerce website, you can gain insight into which keywords consumers are using and the paths they follow to purchase a product.
An optimised website is easier to navigate than one that is not optimised. SEO also makes it easier for Search Engines crawlers to navigate your website and find information. This helps in ranking your site higher. If consumers can find what they are looking for on your website faster and easier, then they will keep coming back. Most consumers have a short attention span and will abandon a website within seconds of visiting it if they don’t find what they are looking for.
Your competitors across the globe are doing it and if you are not then it means you are losing many potential customers. The challenge is that people trust Google. If your competitors are ranking higher than you – even if you have better products than them – consumers will put their trust in your competitors. This means they will make more sales and in the long run, you will be unable to play catch up in hiring an SEO expert for any organisation. SEO does not end once you rank first, but it is something you will need to engage in constantly if you are to perform better than your competitors. It is estimated that 60 percent of the clicks go to the first result in Google and the rest of the pages – millions of them – have to compete for the remaining 40 percent.
Businesses spend billions on market research to find out how consumers think. SEO is a fast and cost effective way to find consumer data. When you know what keywords consumers are searching for, you can adjust your marketing strategy to fulfill consumer needs. You can even find new products to sell. Consumer data is hard to come by but when you deploy the right SEO strategy, you can have all the data to take your business to the next level.
Almost everyone is on one social media platform or another. Social media allows brands to communicate with their customers effectively. If your website is ranking high on search engines, then this increased traffic will flow to various social media accounts, creating a positive circle. More social media exposure leads to more traffic to your website which results in higher sales. When SEO leads to increased social media traffic, there will be an increase in trust among the brand consumers.
As stated earlier, SEO is part of SEM but focuses on organic traffic as opposed to SEM that uses paid ads. With SEO you do not have to pay for traffic. You can spend huge sums of money on SEM and receive only a few clicks but when you optimise your page for SEO and rank in the first position on Google, traffic keeps rising without you spending a cent. Unlike the paid ads, your traffic does not stop increasing when you stop paying. And it is better quality traffic. For every 1000 clicks on a paid ad, two percent may result in a sale conversion. This is in contrast to SEO where for every 1000 clicks, four percent will result in a sale.
There is no doubt that SEO is critical to the success of any business. SEM strategies require you to spend some money for you to get a conversion. SEO helps you build organic traffic because customers trust you more. Businesses that consistently rank on the first page of search engines see considerable growth in sales over time. Businesses are increasingly changing their SEO strategies, and if you do not adapt you will find yourself left out. It is no secret that consumers trust Google more than top companies. Those companies that emerge on top of the SERPs will benefit from this credibility.
Previously, marketing was relegated to billboards and ads on TV. This was expensive and the reserve of top brands. SEO has created a level playing field. It is now easier for a company to build brand awareness both locally and internationally with little funds. The Google algorithm keeps changing, and SEO experts are tasked with continually reinventing their strategies to remain relevant. Those who fail to adapt, find themselves overtaken by competitors.
SEO also extends to Social Media. As more people locate you through the various Social Media platforms, traffic is sent to your website. This creates a circle of benefits. SEO continues to play a big part in how brands are perceived in the marketplace.