SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO involves the technical and creative elements needed to drive traffic, improve rankings and increase awareness in search engines.
SEO Marketing Definition
SEO is an imperative marketing channel for businesses that wish to reach an online audience. If done right, you can look forward to more traffic and more leads - which in turn results in more sales and more money being put back into your business.
Enhancing visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing can have a huge impact on a company’s net profits.
How SEO Works
It can be difficult getting a webpage noticed on the internet. One of the most reliable strategies that can improve traffic is to attain a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Despite the majority of search engine companies attempting to keep their processes confidential, the criteria for achieving a high ranking isn’t a complete mystery.
Search engines have two primary functions: crawling and building an index that provides us with a ranked list of the websites that are deemed most relevant.
Search engines crawl websites to discover content and store it their databases. Once content is indexed, it can be displayed on SERPs for relevant search engine enquiries. Therefore, site audits are an essential tool to assess how easily a search engine can discover, crawl and index anything from the webpage’s individual elements to the entire domain.
Search engines are only successful if they supply the user with website links that are appropriate. This is where SEO comes in, the collection of techniques that can be drawn upon to improve the website’s SERP positioning.
Why SEO is Important
- Most search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top five results on the SERPs. To make the most out of this and get the maximum number of visitors to your web page, the website should appear in one of the top positions.
- SEO isn’t just about search engines; improved SEO practices enhance the user experience and website usability.
- Web users trust search engines. Therefore, if your website is on one of the top positions, the user is likely to put more trust in it.
- SEO is great for the social promotion of a website - people who find a website on popular and trusted search engines like Google are more likely to promote the website on social media outlets including, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- SEO is fundamental for how smoothly a website runs. Websites that provide content from more than one author can benefit from SEO in both a direct and indirect way. The direct benefit is a surge in search engine traffic and the indirect benefit is that a standardised framework or checklist can be implemented before uploading content onto the site.
- SEO can also give you a head start with your competition. If two websites are offering the same products or services, the search engine optimised website is far more likely to have more visitors and therefore customers, which generates more sales.
What SEO tool is best for marketing?
There are countless free marketing tools out there that can help you and your business work better. These include Google PageSpeed Insights, where you can assess the speed and usability of your website on multiple devices. Also, Moz Local Listing Store allows you to see how your business looks online, gathering data from more than ten sources, including Google and Facebook - the results come with actionable ways to fix inconsistent listings. Google Keyword Planner allows users to research and examine lists of keywords and how frequently they are searched. Or, there is the Screaming Frog tool which crawls through your website and produces a list of all the internal pages. It checks the crawl level, internal and outbound links per page and keyword elements like the title and description.
Which businesses need SEO?
1. Small businesses and start-ups
Both of these have limited customer bases, resources and revenues, and often have a restricted target audience. SEO is one of the most cost-efficient marketing strategies there is. If utilised, less money is coming out of the budget to be spent on marketing so it can go towards other costs and leaves room to expand. Small businesses can get the edge over their larger competitors by targeting smaller niches within their shared demographics.
2. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies
SaaS companies have become much more popular over the past few years due to their scalable and lucrative operations models and because they have exclusive ties to the digital realm. SEO is beneficial here because at the outset, traditional advertising won’t get you very far. SaaS companies need people visiting their website, trying the product, and therefore a strong inbound flow of web users is essential - provided by SEO. Also, the software often provides a solution to web users and when users need a solution to something, they search for it.
3. Locally exclusive companies
There is a separate algorithm for local search and national SEO. If you perform a local search (employing geographic-specific keywords) you’ll notice three entries that come before the standard organic results. This triple slot availability provides scope for some great strategic opportunities. If you can apply the right techniques to make a website relevant enough to get one of the three top spots, you will have achieved an enormous amount of visibility.
4. Medical professionals
Medical professionals, for the most part, have a specific filed of specialisation, which immediately reduces the competition and provides specific key word opportunities. Also, the majority of people search for a medical professional when they are in pain and experiencing symptoms, which places search engines as one of the most efficient means of connecting medical professionals with their target audience.