Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed that SEO as a topic of discussion with fellow business owners has become more and more prevalent. What’s been interesting in these conversations, is how obvious a gap there seems to be when it comes to SEO knowledge. With every conversation I had, I noticed that people fell into two categories:
- 1: Their business didn’t have a strategy in place, or the business owner didn’t know/understand what SEO is and how it works. Or,
- 2: The Business Owner was fully aware of the fact that they needed a strategy, but had absolutely no idea where to start.
As business owners, especially in the early stages of business, ways in which to save money while expanding reach are always relatively front of mind. What’s interesting in how this relates to SEO, is that, if done correctly, a solid strategy can provide dividends well into the future. And, bonus – it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!
Following these conversations and the overall consensus of feeling lost with SEO, I’ve decided to create this blog post as part 1 in a series of all things SEO. These blogs will help you in building a foundational understanding of SEO and will help to build your SEO-confidence as you embark on your own SEO journey.
What is SEO?
Ok, so diving in with the basics; what exactly is SEO? Put plain and simple, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a process that allows your website to be found in search engine results (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc).
Having a good strategy in place will help to grow your online presence organically as your website obtains higher rankings.
However, despite what the acronym might have you believe, understanding and succeeding in SEO is just as much about people as it is the search engines themselves.
What do I mean?
Alright, let’s take a slight step back…
In order to succeed in SEO, you need to have an innate understanding and knowledge of what people in your target market are searching for online. What questions are they typing in the search fields that need answering?
It all comes back to how well you know your audience. What are their pain points? What questions do they have? Knowing this will allow you to connect with them as they search for queries online that you can provide the solution for.
Although, as with most things in life, there is also the flipside of the coin that needs to be considered too. In order to round out the SEO success coin, in addition to knowing your audience, you also need to deliver your content in a way that search engine crawlers (we’ll get to this later) can find and understand.
Search Engines 101
I like to refer to search engines (the Google’s, Bing’s, Yahoo’s etc of the world) as modern day encyclopedias. Every day, these engines scour every single piece of content in existence on the internet and determine which piece of content best answers the queries being searched. This process is called crawling and indexing, and it’s where search engines discover and catalogue all the available content and then order it by how well it matches the question being asked. This ordering process is called ranking.
Why is SEO Important?
While paid advertising on social media and other platforms can generate a lot of web traffic, the majority of web traffic is generated from search engines. Not only are organic search results (not-paid-for web traffic) more friendly on your business bank account, they also have more digital real estate and look more credible than paid search ads. Plus, they also receive more clicks than their paid counterparts! In fact, search engine results have determined that SEO has up to 20% more opportunity for traffic than PPC (pay per click).
Where paid advertising requires continuous funding and tweaking in order to bring traffic to your site, when set up correctly, SEO can provide dividends over time. Therefore, optimising your website for search engines will help in providing better information to search engines, which will mean that your content can be indexed and will display in search results, bringing more traffic to your website (woohoo)!
White Hat Vs Black Hat SEO
When it comes to making the decision to either outsource your SEO or complete it in-house, there are a few very important factors beyond ROI that need to be considered. While many companies and agencies may provide SEO services, knowing how to choose a good company will save you a lot of time and money.
Using the wrong SEO techniques can do more harm than it can good to your website. To help you to identify good techniques vs bad, there are two terms that you should be familiar with; White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO.
Black Hat SEO
As the name suggests, Black Hat SEO is BAD! It’s the process of tricking Google and other search engines into ranking your content by using methods such as:
- Keyword stuffing and low quality content
- Spamming blogs with backlinks
- Stealing and Reposting other articles
We’ll cover off in greater detail what each of these mean in a future blog post. You want to avoid all black hat SEO techniques at all costs! The consequence? Search Engines can ban your website, and we definitely don’t want that!
White Hat SEO
On the other hand, White Hat SEO is GOOD! It means you’re using good content (that is both human and search engine friendly) by:
- Creating high quality information
- Using relevant keywords for humans
- Guest posting and networking
- Answering posts with value on blogs (comments)
While all of this information can seem a little overwhelming at first, it’s worth knowing that search engines want to see you succeed! In fact, Google even has a Free SEO Starters Guide. If you find yourself feeling confused with SEO and how you should go about implementing a solid strategy, just remember, it all comes back to how well you know your audience. If you know what they’re searching for, what their pain points are and how your solutions can solve that, creating content to suit shouldn’t be too difficult at all!
KEY TAKE AWAY POINTS
- Make web content for people, not computers
- Avoid using techniques with the intention to trick search engine rankings
- Always keep front of mind what makes your website unique, engaging and valuable.
- Automatically generating content
- Participating in link share schemes/pods
- Creating pages with unoriginal content (copy and pasting from other sites)
- Cloaking – showing search engines different content
- Using hidden links and text
Do you need help in making your website content SEO-friendly? We offer a range of content writing services, inclusive of SEO. Follow this link to book in your FREE Discovery Call and let’s make magic happen!