SEO is a complex subject to many of us and because of the way it is evolving day by day, it can be hard to keep up with what’s happening now, let alone in the future. Of course, working in the creative marketing field means we never ignore SEO and strive to keep on top of all that happens around it.
As you can imagine then, we were honoured to have been recognised for our knowledge in the subject and invited by Solihull for Success (@SolforSuccess) to present a masterclass on SEO at Solihull College (@SolihullCollege) to local businesses around the area last week.
Our MD Stuart Jordan went through some key points from SEO Masterclass which I’ve summed up below:
What is SEO? SEO is the:
Optimisation of your website that will give your service or product the best chance of being found by users looking for what your organisation offers.
Often, the misconception of SEO is getting onto page 1 of Google but it is not about that – it is about generating valuable, engaged, relevant traffic to your site that converts visitors into buyers. If your site serves up irrelevant content, even if you somehow managed to get to page 1 of Google, it will not further the aims of your company.
Who can benefit from SEO?
Any company that can see a benefit from being found on the web will benefit from SEO. Some industries benefit from SEO more than others, e.g. insurance, finance, whilst others such as newsagents, niche markets etc. won’t benefit from SEO so much. Although, there are many companies and organisations that can benefit from SEO that don’t even know they would. Businesses that run medical procedures or dental surgeries can benefit from making the most out of their SEO. Websites such as https://serp.co/services/seo/dental/ for example help to improve dental companies SEO and get their business onto the first page of the SERP (search engine results page). Knowing which companies will benefit from SEO can better be explained through an example. Let’s take a car dealership as our example. To make money, this business will need to sell cars, and to do that they will need to have a constant stream of new customers. Gaining new customers would be easy if their company website was located at the top of Google’s results when people search “buy a used car” which is why many dealerships will seek to find a specialized marketing agency like you can find out here. However, not many people would Google “newsagent near me” as these are often local and their customer base will mostly remain the same which is why paying to have SEO marketing wouldn’t benefit their business as well as it would a dealership. Let’s look at SEO in more detail.
How does it work and What can be done on your site?
Using complex algorithms, search engines crawl and index sites and their pages, documents, files, videos and other media.
Search engines then use this indexed information to answer user queries and then list what it believes are the relevant web pages based on popularity and relevance – SEO is used to improve a search engine’s perception of these factors, and you can get an SEO agency to help you with this.
Much can be done “on-page”, i.e. with the structure of your site and how it is coded. By making sure your site is structured in the way crawlers can understand it, the crawlers are more likely to be able to index your site. Sites that have good performance and navigation also appear better to crawlers.
Mobile optimisation is also key – with “mobile-friendliness” coming in as a ranking signal, search engines now like sites that are optimised for mobile screens and devices.
Much of SEO now is based around good, valuable, unique content that is relevant to your target audience.
If your content has value, it increases the likelihood of it being found and shared, which again increases the authority of your site and also its popularity.
In most cases, good content is educational and informative for the end user.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
Pay Per Click (PPC for short) is becoming more and more integrated with the way search is happening and it acts as a side step to organic SEO.
Whereas previously PPC links was much more noticable with the way it was displayed on search pages (contained in big blue boxes), now PPC links are less distinguishable (only marked out by small yellow “Ad” logos), as Google obtains much of it’s revenue from paid for searches.
However, PPC is not the answer to optimised ranking, as more often than not you will find popular keyword search terms/phrases have high price tags. PPC should be utilised for sales focused campaigns that take users directly to what they are searching for.
Black Hat SEO
There are many “shortcuts” to SEO, all of which can lead to very bad consequences once found out.
Sites using shortcuts, such as ramming the site full of keywords, hiding text and links and putting low quality links on the site, will all get punished hard by Google once found out. A great example of this was when Interflora and how they were blacklisted a couples of years back for not complying to SEO regulations.
SEO in 2015 and beyond
Search is expected to become a lot slicker and a higher importance is placed on relevance – instead of matching keywords, we are now matching topics.
There will be an increased integration of social media and other online media that contributes to SEO, while PPC is expected to grow more and more to combine paid for searches with organic SEO.
Finally, optimising for mobile decives will become a neccessity rather than an option as Google accounts for more and more searching coming through mobile platforms.
Again, to reiterate, SEO is a complex subject and one which is a long term ongoing investment rather than a short term quick fix solution.
There is a lot of hard work involved in SEO, particularly with the organic side and generating content, but the reward and pay off will be much the better.
Always consider your audience first – generating content that the audience will find useful is often the best way forward for a content marketing strategy.
If you’re thinking about an SEO campaign, whether it is organic or paid for, give us a shout and we’ll be happy to come up with a strategy that will take you forward.
Thanks again for Solihull for Success for inviting us to deliver SEO Masterclass and if you’d like to download our presentation in full please click here.