Let’s set the scene. You have hired a Donegal Web Designer 😀 to build your website. You are very happy with the end result. The website is designed to a high standard. It looks and feels exactly how you wanted it to but there is one big flaw. Your website isn’t appearing on the Google search results page when you type in your business.
This can be extremely frustrating especially if you have put a lot of hard work into new business ideas and content for your website. This is not a case of bad luck and thankfully there is a strategy to help you fix this problem.
The Solution: Your website needs SEO (search engine optimization).
SEO is as equally important for your business as your website is. You can’t have one without the other. Below I breakdown what SEO is and why it is vital to keep it in mind when you are trying to grow your business online.
What is SEO?
SEO is an online strategy with the aim of improving your website ranking and visibility on a search results page. The most popular search engine is Google. It uses algorithms (rules) to push relevant websites to the top of the search results. SEO is now a must-have for those looking to run and advertise a successful business, as consumers are now spending an enormous amount of time online looking for information, services and products.
How does Google rank my website?
Google can’t be ignored. It accounts for over 90% of all searches on the internet. It is essential to follow it’s guidelines to get to the top of the search results page. Google ranks websites by scouring the internet and indexing every website it can find using its own set of rules (metrics). This is very similar to the index at the back of a book, where specific words are expanded upon with significance to the content of the book.
Google takes many different metrics into account when it decides whether your website should rank higher over another. If your site is optimized with reference to these factors you will improve your rankings but more importantly you will boost the potential for more sales.
If and when a customer finds your business online, the website content should be presented in a manner that is useful. Information should be easy to find. This is called user experience and it’s a new metric Google takes into account when analysing and ranking your website.
What other benefits come with SEO?
Now that you know what SEO is and why it is important for improving your visibility online, you may also be wondering how will it actual drive traffic and potential sales for your business and why choosing it is better than other marketing alternatives.
SEO does not require paid advertisement
One advantage to SEO is that it does not require you to pay for an advertisement space. If your website ranks high for specific search terms (keywords) and is optimized correctly you can hold the top space for months at a time.
Traditional advertising methods include running advert campaigns in local newspapers, magazines and radio stations. A campaign like this does not have a sustained shelf life without ongoing payment. Once it ends it ends.
When we take this scenario and apply it to the online world we can see website owners who have paid for an advertisement to rank high, and those who are ranking high without advertisement (organically).
The image above shows two sets of results. The green box indicates websites that have used paid advertisement or PPC (Pay Per Click) to get to the top of the Google results page. There is an ongoing cost to running this type of ad very similar to the traditional methods described above.
The red box indicates websites that are ranking organically. By using SEO correctly they have met the ranking criteria for Google and their website is now deemed valuable to users. This was created without spending cash on short lived campaigns that have no real long term contribution to the brand of the business.
It takes time and effort to get the SEO right for a website but in the long run it will create sustainable traffic to your website.
It builds trust with your target audience
Currently, a potential customer has the opportunity to know everything about your business without requesting any information from you.
If your website is well organised and you produce meaningful content that relates to the products and services your consumers are searching for, they will keep coming back to you. Even if you do not make an immediate sale, you are still in the headspace of the customer. The aim here is to gain a subscriber, then an advocate, and eventually a paying customer.
This content marketing process is very evident on Facebook. Here the content feed is shown to a user based on the engagement that user has with the piece of content. For example, If a user likes, shares or comments on a post from your facebook page he/she will be notified if any subsequent or related posts are published by you.
This is where high quality content matters. An example might be writing an article on your website blog page which provides free advice or unique information relating to your business. When you share this article on facebook you gain an immediate audience that can interact and provide feedback.
Going deeper, creating the right campaign advertisements on facebook allows you to assimilate a very targeted audience with which to share your content.
It promotes user experience
Google now acknowledges UX (user experience) on behalf of its technical ranking factors for SEO. This means that it is in the business owners best interest to have a website that is designed with easy to find content and information.
Let’s take this scenario. You are running an eCommerce store and your content consists of clothing products and or services. Let’s assume you have a young demographic of 18-34. One important question to ask is:
How does my audience want to interact on my website?
- If they are familiar with your clothing range they will search for your website directly and land on your homepage.
- They will be interested to see what clothes are on sale or special offer.
- They will want to see a list of information about the product including:
- Size Guide
- Product Description
If they like what the see they will want to make a purchase then and there. Making this as simple as possible for them is key. They may also want to read a review of the product they are buying or to leave a review themselves. The structure and flow of this process is vital.
Good user experience will lead to sales. This is not to be overlooked and is another great reason to search engine optimize your website.