Why is search engine optimisation important to your business?
In “Understanding Digital Marketing” Damien Ryan uses the metaphor of a website being a business’s digital storefront, a place where we can convert visitors into customers. How can we convert visitors to customers if they cannot find the shop? That’s where SEO or search engine optimisation comes in. Think of SEO as the map that will guide those visitors to your digital shop.
Effective search engine optimisation is an integral facet to digital marketing and without utilising it effectively, a business will be relegated to the back-waters of the internet. Effective SEO will help your website to rank well in search engine results, meaning that it will be more visible to your customers when they are looking for a solution that your business specialises in. Effective search engine optimisation will deliver targeted customers to your conversion engine. So, search engines are the arbiters who choose whether your website will rank or not – how do we please them?
What search engines want!
To understand what search engines want, we have to understand what their goals are. Search engines are looking to provide their users with the most timely, accurate, relevant and high quality information (Ryan, D. 2017). The more useful search engines can be to their users, the more their users will use them and the more search engines can charge for advertising space.
For you, this means that the newest, definitive and accurate, relevant or helpful and quality content related to your niche or industry will be looked upon favourably by search engines and will rank higher.
The two pillars of SEO: content and backlinks.
Damien Ryan describes content as the “currency of your website”, it is certainly the most valuable facet of your SEO efforts. Good content appeals to both search engines and customers and forms the backbone of all SEO efforts.
Backlinks are external links (other websites linking to your website) are the second most important part of your search engine optimisation and are integral to your websites ranking. Backlinks are reliant upon content, as no one will link to your website unless it is interesting or useful, thus they are reliant upon content.
Good content must be unique, relevant and informative as well as up to date, accurate and well written (Ryan D. 2017 & Dodson I, 2016). This means that your content must be written in your own words, useful and helpful to your audience, provide well researched guidance or opinion and be freshly written to appeal to both customers and search engines. Customers are searching for content that will help them to fix a specific problem, gather information to help them make a decision or simply entertain themselves – but how can you know what they searching for to help them meet those needs?
How to create content that search engines (and your customers will love.)
Creating great content is reliant upon deeply understanding your customers and their needs in conjunction with careful research to understand how they are searching for information or solutions to meet those needs.
Deeply understanding your customers is reliant upon empathising with them, understanding their mindset and the words or phrases and language that will use to describe what they are looking for. The words and phrases that your customers use will form the keywords that you use to optimise your website for SEO.
Keywords come in two forms: short tail and long tail. Short tail keywords are single words or two-word phrases that are very general and have a high level of search competition since they are so common (Ryan D. 2017). Long tail keywords are longer phrases that are much specific and can often take the form of a question, these keywords are less competitive due to their specific nature but have much lower search volumes (Ryan D. 2017). Ideally, content should contain a mixture of both short and long tail keywords melded naturally into your writing. You should ensure that each piece of content and each sub domain of your site contains relevant keywords to ensure that it ranks well in search engines.
Remember, the more useful, relevant and engaging that your content is to your audience or customers, the more search engines will prefer it and reward your website with a higher ranking, everyone wins!
Blogging and its importance for SEO.
Blogging is one of the easiest and most effective ways to produce unique, relevant and informative content, the fact that you will be blogging about your industry makes it even simpler. Since blogging is word or text passed, search engines love it to as it is easy for them to analyse and you will love it because it provides a great opportunity to utilise keywords! Sometimes, it may seem difficult to find inspiration to write a blog, luckily, there are many different types of blogs that you can choose from which makes writing a new post more simple. Digital Marketer has a great post outlining the different blog post formats: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog-post-ideas/.
Here are a few examples:
- A List post describing 5 tracking scripts to increase marketing efficacy.
- A product update post informing customers to purchase tea before the end of Chinese New Year when it will increase in value due to ageing.
- A debate post outline both positive and negative outcomes of attending conferences or sending employees to conferences.
- A trend post outlining 3 factors affecting European brands in 2017.
- A news post outlining the latest news surround SEO for the 23/6/17.
- A how to post detailing how new businesses can capture their first 1,000 followers on every social network.
Tools to get started with search marketing:
Dodson, I. (2016). The Art of Digital Marketing. 1st ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Ryan, D. (2017). Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation. 4th ed. London: Kogan Pages.