No matter what new marketing platform or social media platform appears on the scene, nothing will ever take away the enshrined position of search engines when it comes to getting found on the internet.
Yes, people recommend links on social media; yes, advertising can lead to direct visits.
But those two items always eventually funnel back to the place people go to in order to find content: Search Engines. Indeed, some years ago, Google’s head of search confirmed that Social Links are indeed used as a search engine ranking factor.
So, you see? At the end of the day, it still comes down to search engines.
But how do you get found on search engines? Will SEO actually help your new business?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It encompasses all the myriad tasks which must be performed in order to have a website that ranks highly on the search engines for specific keywords and phrases.
The term Search Engine Optimisation encompasses actions taken on the site itself (on-site SEO) as well as actions taken off the site (off-site SEO).
On-site SEO includes things like:
“Off-site” SEO includes:
SEO is a long-term strategy. One builds a reputation with Search Engines over time. It simply doesn’t happen overnight.
Of course, the more dedicated effort you put into it, the faster that can occur. But it’s important to keep in mind that “slow and steady gets you there”, and to not feel frustrated if you’re not suddenly number one on Google for some or other highly competitive keyword.
Because SEO is a slow-burn process, it is imperative to start it as soon as possible so that, when your company is ready to launch a new major product, it already has all that SEO juice it’s been working towards for the last several months.
If you’ve done your job right, your product will start to appear when people search for similar products from your competitors.
This is one of the beauties of SEO. Anyone can get in on the game and compete with the best of them. All it requires is some in-depth knowledge of SEO — and a lot of hard work.
The added bonus is that all this traffic to your site costs you nothing, unlike paid advertising on the search engines.
SEO is a massive subject. It takes years to master, but fortunately, it doesn’t tak
e years to get started.
Google itself has an excellent SEO Starter Guide to get you going with the basics.
Another great resource is the MOZ SEO Beginner’s Guide.
If you’re in a hurry and can’t read those guides just yet, then here’s a simple “back of the napkin” series of steps you can take right now to immediately improve your chances of ranking highly in the search engines:
First, make a list of keywords and phrases that you want to be found for. You can do this off the top of your head (not very scientific, but better than nothing) or you can use one of the many keyword tools around to help you.
We’ve written an extensive SEO guide which you can check out in order to get a list of some of our favourite keyword tools.
You need to be using these keywords in your page titles, your website’s copy (blog posts as well as landing pages) and even in the descriptions of your images.
It gets a little tricky because you definitely don’t want to be using the words in such a way that is unnatural. At the same time, you do need to use the words!
Excellent SEO starts with figuring out a way to balance the two extremes.
There you go: Simple “back of the napkin” SEO you can do right now!
For SEO to be done well, it should be done by someone with extensive experience.
Unfortunately, that means spending either plenty of time learning SEO, or plenty of money paying an agency to do it for you.
Yes, there are tools around which can help you (check out our SEO Guide for a list of them), but SEO is something that must be constantly monitored in order to be effective — so there is always the investment of time if you do it yourself.
It is not uncommon for full-service agencies to charge upwards of several thousand pounds for their services. Sadly, we can tell you from experience that:
There’s a lot you can do on your own. Sure, if you want to get fancier, you might need to call in some help. But make sure that whoever you hire is determined to deliver on whatever KPIs they promise you.
SEO for SEO’s sake is useless. The whole point of SEO is to bring more traffic to your website. And if the SEO company that you hired to do that isn’t cutting it, then sack them.