Why SEO For Your Business Website Is Important
SEO can have a huge impact on a business’ success. But first of all, let’s refresh our knowledge on what SEO is exactly.
What is SEO?
When you type something into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing, the results are ordered based on complex algorithms. The search engine “crawls” the available content in its catalogue, including webpages, PDF files, images and videos, and “indexes” it, displaying the most relevant ones. The “ranking” that is created at the end of this process should present the user with the information they were seeking.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is used to describe the process of improving the ranking of a website on search engine results pages – or SERPs. SEO involves a set of rules that can help you make your website more relevant, visible and user-friendly. In essence, SEO is about understanding what people want to know when they perform an online search – what words are they using and what type of answers do they want?
Nowadays, search engines can go a step further than throwing up relevant information; they can determine your location and scour the web for content that relates to your local area. This can be useful if you search for nearby cafes, restaurants or sports clubs, for example.
This search facility has become incredibly useful for small and medium-sized businesses. Now, they can reach the top ranking positions, where they might previously have missed out to bigger brands. SERPs give them access to a higher number of potential customers and clients in their own town, city, region or – in the US – state.
To be included in this “local search”, a website must include content that is relevant to the location, as well as local citations and backlinks.
Why is SEO important?
Research has shown that most search engine users click on one of the first five link suggestions. It is thought that this content appears more trustworthy and used by a large proportion of other internet users. Therefore, businesses can gain access to a larger customer base and hugely boost their income by ranking higher up on the page. This makes these top five links incredibly prestigious, and many businesses are keen to make sure their website is one of them.
Higher SERP rankings bring other benefits too. People that discover content by searching Google or Yahoo are more likely to share it on social media – and, therefore, bring it to an even larger audience.
A potential disadvantage could come in the form of the financial cost. It is true that SEO costs money to achieve. While it costs nothing to adopt the actual SEO practices, buying the services of an SEO specialist or consultant can be expensive. It can cost between £50 and £200 to gain the key insights needed to boost your company’s online profile, depending on whether you hire a single professional or an SEO agency. Monthly packages can be priced at £800-£1,000, which can add up over time.
However, the benefits that good SEO bring should more than compensate for the initial sum you pay. This is a long-term investment, not a short-term marketing expense, and your profitability should improve significantly over time.
Types of SEO
So, what do you actually have to do to improve your search engine ranking? There are three different types of SEO:
Technical SEO: This involves helping search engines crawl and index your website easily. As part of this, you perform tasks such as specifying your preferred domain address, simplifying your URL and improving website navigation. Usually, once you’ve completed these jobs, you won’t have to go back to them.
On-site SEO: This is actions you can take on your website to make sure it is picked up by search engines. Essentially, this is including indicators in your content so that the technology can find it. Tasks here could include using SEO keywords, internal links to more of your webpages and structured data mark-ups.
Off-site SEO: This encompasses activity outside of your website that will boost your search engine ranking. Three major examples are social media marketing, social bookmarking (enabling others to publicly share your content) and link building. The latter involves increasing the number of links to your website from other sites. These are called backlinks, which legitimise your content.
However, the source of these backlinks is crucial. If they are located on genuine, trusted websites, your search engine ranking will improve. If, on the other hand, you buy links from article directories, link farms or organise an exchange with another website, search engines will recognise this activity and limit your ranking position. For this reason, the time spent developing SEO should benefit a business more than paying for backlinks and other forms of advertising.
A few points to bear in mind
• Rankings attained through effective SEO are described as “organic” search results, and can be achieved by good content alone. This is the most important aspect of SEO; additional techniques are designed to simply build on this.
• You can’t boost your traffic and credibility overnight. You should raise the profile of your business over time by incorporating good SEO practices into your online activity.
• Because technology is constantly evolving, SEO best practices change as time goes on. This means it’s vital to reassess your SEO regularly, or your search engine ranking will inevitably suffer. This isn’t to say that a single piece of work needs continual revision. By crafting an excellent piece of content with keywords and internal links, its traffic can build the longer it stays online. On the whole, however, you should return to your website’s SEO initiatives from time to time to ensure you’re staying ahead of the game. SEO can be a highly efficient use of time; tweaking your website structure to give your business the best possible chance at success.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©
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