SEO: The What, the Why and the How

You’ve probably heard of SEO, and you almost certainly know it’s important. But do you actually understand it? Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Read on for a beginner’s guide by our Digital Marketer Wale Ajibade…

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation – commonly shortened to SEO – is the process of enhancing your website’s visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Simply put, it is the small tweaks you make to the content on your website, and tactics you use off your website, that ensure people find your business on Google.

Why SEO? 

SEO is constant and should be used by all businesses that are serious about using their website to acquire clients or customers.

If your website is optimised you can increase the organic traffic to it and, if done well, you’ll experience a snowball effect of visitors to it.

This means prospects find your business on Google whenever they need your product(s) or service(s), without you having to keep paying to acquire customers.  

Target audience

Traditional advertising channels such as TV, radio and newspapers are not only expensive but also broad, as you can’t select who sees your adverts.

SEO helps you specifically target the people who are interested in your product(s) or service(s), as they only get shown your website when they search using your keywords. For that reason, the conversion rate is usually higher.

Long-term results

Of all marketing and advertising efforts, SEO is the only one that has longevity as you will continue to get impressive results long after you’ve created your content.

For other advertising mediums, the traffic usually stops when the advert stops. But for SEO, because your content will always be online – on your website, on your social media platforms and on other websites as guest posts – it continues to drive people to your website for many years after the activity has been completed.

How to do SEO

Here’s our easy-to-follow guide.

Step one: Write quality content

Ensure that the content on your website is relevant and useful to your audience and potential customers so that they spend time on it, ideally clicking through to other pages.

This is important because if people leave your website shortly after arriving, without clicking or navigating to any other pages, it signals to Google that the content is not relevant to them.

This is referred to as the bounce rate, and if this continues to rise, then Google will reduce your website rank and push you further down the search results. This will result in a loss of traffic to your website.

Try conducting some research and creating your ideal customer persona to help you understand their characteristics and create content that will resonate with them and others.

The longer people stay on your website reading your content, the more your website’s ranking will improve.

Step two: Optimise your content for search engines

Writing for newspapers, journals and news releases is different from writing for the web.

No matter how good your web content is, if it isn’t optimised for the channel you’re using then people searching online won’t find it.

To optimise your content for search engines, it is important to have relevant keywords in your page title, the content heading, the content itself, the page URL and in meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the few descriptive texts that appear below a website when you search on Google. It’s the snippet that tells a prospect what to expect on the page before they click on it. This is because, when someone types in a search term, search engine bots – also known as spiders or web crawlers – trawl the web looking for websites that include the same term.

These search terms can either be a word or a phrase, so they’re generally referred to as keywords or key phrases and are used interchangeably.

Step three: Issue news releases

This is a great way of improving your SEO because news releases are featured on other websites such as news sites, which usually receive a high volume of visitors. This puts you in front of potentially thousands of people who might never have heard of your business before and encourages them to visit your website if they find something interesting in the news release.

Step four: Post on social media

Apart from social media being a good avenue for engaging with your audience, it also helps your SEO efforts.

Generally, it is best practice to share different content formats on social media and this includes sharing a snippet of your latest blog post with a link to the full story on your website for those that want to read more.

The more people click on your content links on social media and the longer they stay on your website, the higher your website’s SEO ranking will become.

Check out another of our blog posts to learn how to supercharge your business using social media

Step five: Get guest blogging

Writing on high-authority (well established) websites is also a good SEO strategy. These are sites that have existed for many years, now dominating a certain niche and receiving a huge number of visits. The Guardian, Forbes and Entrepreneur are good examples of high-authority sites.  

Writing on such websites could not only get you thousands of visits to your website, but it will also increase your website rankings on Google – as long as the website links back to yours.

Do you have something interesting about your business to share? It can be anything from a gap you spotted in the supply chain that can be filled by other businesses to something about your work culture and employee perks – the list is endless!

You just have to be creative and make the content generally appealing and not solely about selling your product(s) or service(s) directly.

Should you do it in house or outsource?

Deciding whether to hire an SEO specialist to work in house or outsource it to an agency really depends on your business type and overall business objectives.

Organisations such as hotels, schools, estate agencies and all others that run an offline office, store or shop and sell offline, are better off outsourcing SEO. This will allow you to focus on your product or service delivery and improving your customer service rather than thinking about how to optimise your website.

You could also save money by outsourcing, as you won’t have to worry about additional staff on your payroll with all the other benefits and perks that come with the basic salary. Not to mention office space, computer setup etc. Besides, once your website is fully optimised, it only needs reviewing once a month or every other month. So, is it really worth hiring someone to work solely on SEO?

If you’re a small e-commerce store with a few product ranges that don’t usually change, outsourcing is a cheaper alternative until you are able to grow your store to a reasonable size before hiring an SEO specialist.

However, if you have an e-commerce website with several products and thousands of pages, it might be worth hiring a full-time SEO specialist to oversee product listings, optimise product descriptions and ensure that all pages are optimised accordingly.

For even more tips on SEO strategy that you can start implementing straight away, check out our ‘Five Top Tips for SEO Success’ blog post.  

If you’re still stuck and need a helping hand, then feel free to drop us a line or give us a call. WA