What is SEO and Why is it Important?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of streamlining your website so it appears higher in free listings on search engines for keywords. Search engines have a set of guidelines that it likes users to follow. This is so that it’s system, known as an algorithm, can organise its results in the most helpful way.
While SEO is a way to get your site to the top of Google, the benefits extend far beyond search engines. By following SEO principles, you will find:
- Your site navigation improves.
- Your content becomes more helpful to users.
- Your website becomes more intuitive to use.
- Your website load much faster.
- Your conversions increase.
How do Search Engines Work?
To understand SEO, you need to know how search engines work. Search engines keep their algorithms secret so it’s difficult to know EXACTLY what they look for. But, years of results and research means we have a good idea of how search engines operate.
Most search engines use robots known as “crawlers” or “spiders” to search the web and archive what they find.
In it’s simplest form, search engines take into account three main categories:
- Domain authority.
- Site structure.
But what do these mean?
Domain Authority works like the academic system. When a scholar publishes a piece of research, other scholars may read it and choose to cite it in works of their own. Slowly, the original scholar gains respect as others reference their work. This is especially true if a renowned scholar references the original research.
Search engines use backlinks like references. Backlinks to your website help search engines judge if you are an authority in your niche. Search engines will consider the domain authority of the websites linking to you when calculating your score.
This higher the domain authority, the more weighting that link receives. However, don’t discount smaller, more niche websites. You can build backlinks in many ways, such as working with influencers or guest blogging on sites in your industry,
Search engines need to be able to display content relevant to its customers’ searches. This is where your keywords come in to play. Search engines look for repeated keywords to work out what the page is about. These are then stored in the database and presented to a user. However, search engines have caught on to the days of ‘keyword stuffing’. Websites would fill website copy with over the top uses of keywords. Some even used techniques of white font on white backgrounds. If you use these tactics, you run the risk of being banned from search engines. Keep your keyword density between 1-3%.
Site structure looks at how well your website is built. Search engines will look at site speed, sitemaps, canonicalisation, alt-tags, headings, and more. Some things can be easily fixed, others will need some technical know-how. Sometimes it’s best to get an agency to help you with your SEO, as there is a very steep learning curve.
If you want to know how your website is performing, take a look at our free SEO report for more information.
Why is SEO Important?
Some journalists seem to say SEO is dead, but it’s simply not the case. Google is focusing more on PPC advertising, but SEO is vital for your online strategy.
Appearing high up in organic search is still seen by many search users as being trustworthy. Users know that being top of Google is a tough order. Users perceive a level of trust with first-page organic results.
Users will also search brand names, to see if the company is legitimate. Having your site ranked at the top for your brand name and product names will help secure trust. Also, if you use SEO copy tactics on location services and social media, these will appear on your brand name search too. This will help solidify trust in shoppers’ minds. Shoppers will search for shops and stalls which means it can boost offline results.
Being at the top of a search listing will bring in more traffic. The top organic result will get a Click-Through-Rate of around 27-30%. Meaning 27-30 out of 100 people click on the first result. Position number two has a Click-Through-Rate of about 15%.
Reach Users During the Entire Buying Process.
Customers will go through a process before buying a product or service. Generally, that process looks something like this:
- Recognise a problem.
- Research problem.
- Evaluate solutions.
- Decide to buy.
- Purchase after.
- Purchase phase.
Most of these stages will revolve around search, among over avenues. Through using SEO, you can hit each one of these stages. You can hit all these stages by using longtail keywords, content marketing and a strong backlink campaign.
Search engines like intuitive, well thought out website designs. Following SEO guidelines will also help your customers. Search engines look for easy navigation, internal linking and well-known website conventions. These help users navigate your site. Using headings with your keywords helps visitors to know they are in the right place.
Easier to Find.
Backlink campaigns aimed to increase your SEO will help your brand appear on many different websites. A blogger who reviews your product will drive their fans to your site. Guest blogging will help spread your brand name and prove you’re an expert. These sources will also appear in search results for longtail keywords. This takes search engine “real-estate” away from competitors.
SEO is vital to your digital marketing strategies. Take a look at our free SEO report to find out how you’re doing. If you need an agency, YMG has a team of SEO experts who can help you, whatever your budget. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.