Over the last year, you might have heard a lot about SEO. Let’s face it, it’s a bit of a business buzzword. Most business owners have heard of it in one way or another, and most marketing agencies will offer services to help you improve it, or at least understand it a little better. You might have even met one of the true SEO gurus who really understand what SEO is, and the whole big, messy web of things it includes.
But it’s much more than just a buzzword. If you’ve not been using SEO as a tool to increase sales and profitability in your business, then you’ve seriously missed a trick, and you need to get yourself set up for SEO success in 2020.
What is SEO Anyway?
If we go right back to basics, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This might not be that enlightening, but essentially it means the practice of tinkering and adjusting your website and other online profiles to generate more traffic – and better quality traffic – to your website through organic search results. There are lots of ways you could get users to your website, but SEO tends to focus on organic traffic coming through search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Yes, some people do still use Bing!
How Does it Work?
Though you may think of Google as the mysterious genie that can answer all of your questions, there’s a lot that goes into assembling that magical list of search results. Google is always sending out little software robots (they call them spiders) to scour the web and find all the pages that exist. They find new sites through links, and whenever they find a new page they analyse and index it. They try to understand the content they find my looking at page titles, keywords, formatting and structure, and give it a rank. When a relevant search query comes up for the content of that page, it will be displayed based on how relevant it is. Google uses around 200 ranking factors to decide where pages land in search results. That’s a lot to try and manage, but SEO helps you tick a lot of the boxes and get your pages landing much higher in the results.
Setting Yourself up Right
Good SEO starts with good groundwork – and that means having a strategy. There are a lot of different methods you could use here depending on personal preference, but we recommend going with something tried and true, especially if it’s your first foray into SEO. The method we like to use includes 5 stages, each of which has its own set of steps:
- Define your goals
- Identify your keywords
- Assess your competition
- Create a strategy
- Repair any crawlability problems on your site
- Resolve indexation issues
- Improve accessibility and speed
- Audit applicable elements
- Resolve site-wide optimisation issues
- Create and optimise content
- Improve content elements
- Optimise for local components
- Analyse backlink profiles
- Research further backlink opportunities
- Conduct outreach activities
- Manage all social profiles
- Measure increases and decreases in traffic and ranking
- Revise strategy based on reports and rankings
Follow these steps, and you have a lot of your SEO strategy covered.
Where most people tend to go wrong is skipping the first few and going right to the ‘optimise’ step, mainly because it contains the more high-profile actions and they think that’s where the real action is. But while there is a lot of value there, they are still just one piece of a much bigger puzzle! Instead, focus on each step in turn, and make sure you don’t skip the research and audit stages, as these are the ones that will give you the most information and solid foundations to build on.
Do Your Keyword Research
One of the biggest elements of SEO success is doing good keyword research. Just throwing any old keywords into your website and Google Ads might get you some results, but it will always be minimal compared to those who have really done their homework. Keyword research is a really big topic to cover, so rather than try to cram it all in here, we recommend you read our beginners guide to keyword research instead.
If there is one thing that Google is known for, it’s making changes. They are well known for being at the cutting edge of technology, mainly because of the huge volumes of data they collect every single second of the day. Google uses all of this new data to tweak and change their algorithms, which in turn affects your SEO efforts. Google makes around 9 changes to its algorithms per day, but most of these are small tweaks you probably wouldn’t notice. They also roll out major algorithmic changes fairly regularly, and this is what you really need to pay attention to. The last major update came in October 2019 in the form of BERT, and more changes are on the horizon. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to keep an ear to the ground on what Google are doing, and be prepared to adjust your strategy to match it.
At Ad-Extra, we understand the importance of SEO for your business and your visibility. And while we tend to leave the more ‘on-site’ elements to dedicated SEO companies, we can help with some of the bits that often get neglected. Things like setting up your Google My Business page and supplying it with content, or optimising your Google Ads campaigns to match your website and deliver hot leads straight to your door. If you’d like to know more, all you’ve got to do is get in touch with us today using this link here.