SEO is perhaps the most important discipline in digital marketing and for decades has been essential for running a successful website. But what is SEO and how does it work? Unlike other arms of your marketing campaign, such as advertising or social media marketing, search engine optimisation (or SEO for short) is not a single technique or platform, it’s a combination of disciplines.
Here, we’re going to look at what SEO is, the benefits, and why it’s worth working with SEO Experts to give your website the organic marketing push that it needs.
What is SEO?
A quick definition is that what we call SEO/search engine optimisation is actually a range of techniques and steps designed to improve the placement of your website (and individual webpages) in search engine results pages.
Search engines, primarily Google, drive a lot of web traffic these days. If your website is able to appear within the first page of results, it increases its likelihood of getting clicked on exponentially, and the effect is even more potent for those websites that are at the top of the list.
So, how does SEO get your website up in those first few results?
How does SEO work?
The more relevant your website is to a search query, and the more authority the site has, the more likely it is that the site will be featured near the top of the search engine results page (or SERP, for short.)
There is a huge range of signals that Google and other search engines use to determine what makes a website relevant and authoritative. A full SEO audit performed by specialists might highlight a whole range of little corrections that can be made for the purposes of optimization. However, for most websites, the focus is going to be on ensuring that your website has the most relevant content related to any search, that it’s accessible, technically reliable, easy to use, and with well-made and well-formatted content.
What makes for good SEO?
There are both creative and technical sides to SEO. They are largely grouped into two categories, known as offsite and onsite SEO. Some consider this term a little outdated, especially with how many businesses are focusing on multi-channel visibility, not just site visibility. However, looking at both onsite and offsite SEO, as well as examples of both of them, can help illustrate how SEO works.
This is a series of activities and techniques that are designed to improve the search engine “friendliness” of a site. Search engines look for signals of authority and reliability, and the following steps are examples of onsite SEO that are designed to make your site look all the more worthy of those top SERP spots:
- Technical auditing: Making sure that search engine bots can index the site effectively, fixing dead links, missing elements, and slow load times.
- Improving the UX: Making relevant content easier for the users to find, and making sure that the site is fast and simple to use.
- Internal optimisation: Such as improving internal navigation, linking relevant content together, and restructuring the website to promote the most relevant content first.
Keyword research: Finding the related words and phrases that search engine users are utilising in their searches, and finding relevant areas to place those keywords on-site.
There are some things that can be done to improve the search friendliness of a website outside of the site itself. Search engines look beyond the site, they look at which other websites, publications, and listings link to your site.
The higher the quality of the site that links to your website, the more authority it reflects on your site. Many SEO experts will refer to this as “link building.” If you’re ever investing in a link-building strategy, then it’s important to make sure you’re gaining links for websites with legitimacy and popularity. There are a variety of ways to invest in link-building. You can create great content and try to get reputable websites to link to it. You can use PR, sending out press releases and original stories for publication on highly trafficked websites. You can collaborate with other publications and websites.
The importance of SEO
Hopefully, you have a better idea of why so many people have their focus on SEO compared to other digital marketing methods. However, the question is: is it worth it?
To answer the question simply, that depends on your aims. If your aim is to get as much qualified traffic to the website as possible, then the answer is a resounding yes. Though the figures vary from website to website, over 70% of all traffic for the average website comes from a search engine. SEO can help you tap into that huge audience.
SEO is a great strategy for other goals, as well, such as improving brand visibility and recognition, sourcing new leads, and even improving the user experience of the website.
How you do SEO will depend largely on which of these goals you want to fulfil, but most digital marketing professionals will admit that no matter your site and no matter your business goals, SEO is likely to play an important role in there, somewhere.
How to get started with SEO
Anyone who owns and runs a website can start thinking about how to make it more search engine friendly. The core intent of SEO will always be to create a website with content that relevant to the questions that search engine users are asking. As such, there is a range of keyword generators that can look over your site and tell you what search terms are most likely to be relevant to it.
Otherwise, consider investing in the help of our SEO Team at Hesk Digital. As mentioned, search engine optimisation is a range of techniques and strategies, and it takes a lot of experience and self-education to be able to implement all of them. Most business owners/decision-makers do not have the time to devote themselves to learning SEO, and here at Hesk Digital, we provide clear, actionable insights and strategies that allow your Website to shine.
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