What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process of increasing the visibility of a website or web page on the search engine. You are improving the quality and quantity of website traffic your page is receiving organically.
How does SEO work?
Search engines want to give their users the best possible experience, which means delivering high quality and relevant results to their searches. Search engines will crawl different websites, collecting information and understanding the nature of the website. This helps them to deliver more relevant results to users searching for certain keywords.
Alongside the relevance of the content, search engines will need to determine how user-friendly the sites are. Is the navigation straightforward? How quickly does the site load? Does the site have poor security? Search engines will then reward these sites with a higher ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).
Unlike paid Search Ads (PPC), you cannot pay search engines to rank higher organically. You can optimise your site using relevant tools and processes allowing you to improve the user experience and increase your rankings.
How can you improve your search engine rankings?
There are two types of SEO, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO is the ranking factor that happens on your website, these factors are under your control. Elements of your webpage that can be optimised include content, headlines, HTML tags and images. You will also need to ensure your webpage has high levels of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, as this is assessed by Google.
Off-page SEO, although not directly in your realm of control, can still be improved on. Different factors can impact your ranking such as trust, links and social. In short, off-page SEO happens outside of your site, ultimately telling the search engine what others think about your site. Have you got many valuable links directed to your pages? Search engines will assume this means you have excellent content that will provide value to their users. You can get backlinks to your site in several ways including guest posting or blogging, social media activity and influencer marketing.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing. Google alone receives about 5.4 million searches per day, often with the intent to find out information or purchase products and services. The majority of online traffic is driven by search engines and organic search results cover far more of the digital real estate than paid advertisements. They also appear more credible to users and receive more clicks than Ads.
Alongside the traffic opportunity, those using search engines will usually be high intent. If someone is searching for ‘estate agents in Lincoln’, you want to be ranking above your competition as users are more likely to see you and click through to your site. Organic search is a key part of the research process for consumers, particularly with products or services that have a longer sales cycle.
A lot of the strategies implemented to improve your on-page SEO will also improve your user experience at the same time. As I mentioned earlier, search engines want to direct their users to sites that will benefit them. If your site offers a seamless and positive customer experience, the search engine will have done their job and the user will be satisfied with where they have been directed. Examples include making your site user friendly on mobile, tablet and desktop devices, increasing your loading page speed and having easy navigation around the site.
Works Over Time
Unlike other advertising strategies, SEO isn’t a marketing cost but rather a business investment. It’s a long term strategy that can take time, but the impact can last years. You may not see immediate results and unfortunately, you cannot just put in a day’s work and then expect to be ranked first. However, although it may take a while to get your website to climb to the top of the organic rankings, it will take a long time for it to be pulled back down.
Should I focus my efforts on SEO or PPC?
Unlike SEO, ranking for a keyword using PPC advertising is slightly more straightforward. You are bidding against your competitors to rank first for the users’ search term and so you can appear at the top much quicker. Which may sound much better, right? But actually, there are pros and cons to both strategies.
Using PPC, as soon as Google has approved your campaigns, you start appearing on the search results. If your bid and quality score are high enough, you can appear top. You need to remember you have to pay for the Ad spend. If it is not managed correctly or you’re bidding on the wrong keywords, you can waste a lot of money. In other words, PPC allows smaller businesses to compete with market leaders quickly.
It can take months before you start seeing results. You will need to continually improve your optimisation. However, unlike paying for each click, SEO is free… kind of. Developing the visibility will take time and resources (money), but you do not pay directly for each click. Also, SEO pays dividends over time. It is one of (if not the most) cost-effective marketing tactics.
At SEO Traffic Lab, we would always recommend an integrated marketing strategy using both PPC and SEO in synergy. Utilising both can often produce better results than just trying one tactic.
Why use both?
Using both strategies increases the volume of traffic coming to your site by targeting keywords using paid and organic. With PPC, you can appear at the top of the SERP. Then you can appear organically below, covering more ground. You can share knowledge such as high performing keywords and copy.
Overall, we can safely say that an integrated approach to digital marketing is critical for success in this competitive world.
If you have any questions regarding a PPC or SEO strategy, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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