What is SEO?

By Michael O'Brien - 1st Dec 2015

Find under: Small Business

You’ve heard of search engine optimisation or SEO as it’s more commonly known as. Considered by many to be a murky world of cloak and dagger goings on, SEO is actually a pretty straight forward process.

There are companies that will bend the rules to achieve higher SEO rankings but the Internet is littered with brands, both big and small, that have fallen foul of Google and other search engine rules on what they deem to be proper SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO is the name used to describe any activity that attempts to improve a company’s search engine rankings. Achieving high SEO rankings in the major search engines is the key activity and for those that are successful they are guaranteed traffic from the Internet to their respective websites.

If your website is fit for purpose and can provide a seamless and easy-to-follow sales process then you will reap the benefits. Why? Because the visitors to your website were directed there because they searched using a specific selection of words that indicated they could be in a position to buy your products or services.

What we’d call a warm lead.

On the other hand, you can advertise on Google AdWords or Facebook but you are doing so in the hope that your ads will spark an interest and grab their attention to take them away from what they were doing so that they’ll engage with you.

What we’d call a cold lead.

Which approach is more profitable? Which approach would you prefer to have in situ in your business?

If you are looking to launch a new business then there is going to have to be a concerted effort to build an SEO programme that gets you ranking for your keywords as quickly as possible. In this instance, it makes sense to balance the emerging SEO work with a pragmatic approach to using advertising to fill the gap.

Remember, pay-per-click can be set up in minutes but will end as soon as you reach your budget limit. SEO, on the other hand, takes weeks and months but the SEO results will remain for a long time. For some niche products and services, the SEO results will remain in the top rankings for as long as the website is maintained.

There are 5 SEO points that are taken as the most important. You may not have them all – if you are new startup then number 4 has to be bolstered by the other 4.

1. How many websites link to your website?

If your website is well designed, provides a good user experience and has content worth sharing then other websites will link to it. Google’s key job is to return relevant answers to search queries as quickly as possible. If Google sees that your website has lots of links for a specific search term then it will score your website higher and include it in the search results. Bingo!

2. The authority your site has in its niche

Directly related to the point above. Become an undisputed champion in your niche and in a short period of time this will be reflected in your SEO rankings. You’ll be near or on top of the rankings for your niche.

3. The trustworthiness of your website

What have you done to reassure visitors to your website that you can be trusted? If you’ve paid attention to points 1 and 2 then you are a good part of the way there.

But think about adding testimonials especially in the form of video. With video now such an ever-present feature, it is proving to be a compelling addition to closing the sale.

4. The age of your domain name

If you’re brand new, then look to reassure the powers that be, that you are trustworthy and above board and worth doing business with.

5. The mechanics of SEO

If you are running a WordPress based website then tools / plugins such as Yoast will help you easily manage all the on-page optimisation.

Talk to your website design company about your site structure. If your website agency / consultant dithers when it comes to the mechanics of SEO, run for the hills. Seek out an alternative agency ASAP.

There are cowboy builders in the physical world and they also exist online. A website without proper foundations is doomed to an unstable future.

I’ll come back to these points in subsequent blog posts but for a start, please note the above five points for reference.

 

About the Author: Michael O'Brien

Michael is the marketing manager for Big Red Cloud. Apart from trying to demystify accounting software, Michael enjoys rugby, photography, good food and seeing as much of the world as possible.