is a confusing subject for many business owners. These might be some of the questions going through your head: What the heck is it?! Why do I need it? Why does one person tell me one thing, another says something else? Don’t I already have it? Can I trust a so called “SEO expert”. Hopefully I will be able to answer these questions for you.
SEO in its simplest form could be described as internet marketing, it usually starts with understanding who your customers are, what messages you are trying to get across and what key words/phrases are most appropriate to use. This leads to key words/phrases being used holistically across your digital marketing channels. These are used in content for your website, micro-sites, adverts/adwords, social media, some directories, and specific/relevant places on the web which help the search engines to understand what you do, and subsequently present that information to the right people.
Get it wrong and your message could be being seen by loads of people, just not the right ones, or no one at all of course.
“Think of your website like a window to a store on a busy high street. The street is the internet with all its data and users zooming past. What can be done to get people to stop at your shop? Nice displays in the window, maybe a sign, maybe several signs. SEO is the window dressing and the signs which help a person (or search engine) understand why they need to stop at your shop, what services you offer, and what makes you different”.
If you want your website to come up in Google for multiple search terms then you will need to think about using SEO in some way. If you are already well listed in Google (possibly due to getting a new website) then as your content ages other sites become more relevant and you go down in the search results.
Whilst I can’t give a definitive answer why this occurs we have found that SEO companies tend to focus on what they know how to do well, there are two usual schools of thought.
1. SEO is all about creating quality backlinks to your website.
2. SEO is all about creating great quality content on a regular basis.
It is true that both of the above are required to get a perfect “SEO score” although one should really say that
"if you are creating great quality content on a regular basis you will naturally get good, relevant links back to your website given time".
When I talk about SEO I do always talk about the content side of it!
Not necessarily. Some website developers will include a basic level of on-site (website) SEO when they build your website, this is usually in the form of metadata which is included in your websites and contents HTML structure, some won’t offer this although your website will probably still appear in Google, somewhere, at some point… The good ones however will offer it as part of a long term strategy which was defined before/during the website build. SEO shouldn’t be an afterthought.
One would hope so but just in case what can you do to check them out?
1. Ensure that they take a holistic approach to SEO. If they are doing link building do they create good content with it? Are the links relevant to your and are they from reputable websites? Where are some examples? Bad link practise will do more harm than good.
2. Make sure they create a plan with you and that they truly understand what content you need creating.
3. Ask them a question like “what do you think about Googles continued initiatives to lessen the effectiveness of backlinking companies?”. Hopefully you will hear them say that creating high quality content is more useful in the long run anyway.
4. Ask them “what is the quickest way to get backlinks? If they are very eager to tell you all the ways to easily get links using methods you will start to realise must be illegitimate you will have caught them out. There is no quick way to do it, though you can legitimately list your business in online directories yourself quite quickly this doesn’t usually provide much benefit.
5. Ask them what their tactics are and how they measure their success. ROI can take a long time to see but you should always be moving in the right direction, taking measurements along the way. In summary try to do some online research into content marketing and content strategy, not just SEO. This will help you understand about the type of activities you should take part in online.
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