Most people have heard of SEO, but a lot of people do not actually know what it entails or why it is quite important. But Search Engine Optimisation, to use its full name, is probably more important now than it has ever been because of the global pandemic and how that has changed the way people are now interacting with businesses.
What is search engine optimisation?
Search engines like Google are in the business of giving consumers the most relevant content for what they have searched. If you search for “butchers in Southampton” then Google wants to give you relevant websites close to you, rather than a website for a business that is nothing to do with meat and nowhere near Southampton. Why? Well because if they didn’t match based on relevancy then we wouldn’t use their tool. It would be easier to use the yellow pages (remember them?) or go out for a walk down the local high street. Except, of course, we aren’t allowed to go out at the moment – which is why what Google does (other search engines are available) is really important.
In order for search engines to know what content is the best match for a search term, they use a set of very complicated and clever algorithms in order to judge what the best fit is. They obviously keep the contents of these algorithms under wraps, but we know that it uses a mix of the following:
- Site and Page structure
- Content (Words, Images, Meta Data – which is content just for search engines and isn’t displayed on the page)
- Location of the website’s business
- Linking (in and out of the site, as well as internally within the site)
- Whether the site has regular / recent / up to date content
- Whether the site works well on mobiles and tablets as well as desktop
- How fast the site is
- How many technical issues the site has
The list is much longer than this but the above demonstrates the complexities involved.
Add to the above that depending on where you are and what you’re searching, there is varying amounts of competition. For example, if you are trying to get your site to appear at the top of the search results and you’re based in an urban area then you have more businesses around that are doing similar things to you. Geography and density of business is a big factor in competition for the top spot, as is what you do. Some sectors are very niche, such as clock maintenance, and so easier to get a high ranking. Other sectors, such as financial advice, have a lot of businesses vying for the same spots and in many cases these business are spending a lot of money to try and get that top spot.
Does it really matter?
In the past some businesses wouldn’t have cared about SEO. Their lead generation model was based on networking and the website was there as a brochure and a sign of legitimacy that the business was professional. But for the last year, due to COVID-19, networking has been severely curtailed and the chances to network limited. So how else can you find clients? Whilst you’ve not been out networking those potential customers have been turning to search engines to find the businesses they want to work with. And if you don’t appear then you are missing out! Search engine optimisation has never been more relevant than it is right now.
Why does it cost so much?
Many people ask why search engine optimisation isn’t included in their hosting package and why it costs so much. The answer to that is simple – because proper search engine optimisation is a skill and the discipline is not a one hit, it is an ongoing monitoring and optimising programme which responds to the ever changing situation of the rankings on a search engine. This requires a dedicated person who understands a lot about how the ranking algorithms work who looks at all elements of your site, such as technical, design, content and structure, and then intuits what needs to be updated in order to further achieve good or better search engine results. It is quite simply not an easy job to do and that comes at a price.
But do not fear, because at Idio we are able to offer a number of very competitive options that can get you started. Click here to find out more.
So what is most important in getting a high ranking?
You may have heard the expression “content is king” and with SEO it is certainly critical. Search engines value good content over most other things and this is because that is what they’re trading in. They are bringing consumers together with the content that is most relevant to them.
Making sure your website has in-depth content about what you do and that it is well structured, with clear subject delineation, is a good start. But also making sure that your content uses good keywords about your business, that it has a good structure of headings and content, links to other complimentary content and has relevant URLs is also really important. This is what we call ‘organic’ SEO, the art of structuring your content to work well for you in search. Doing this is really important and we can provide you with an audit of your site if you need one.
We look to build all our sites in a way that means they will work well for Google and other search engines. And we also make sure we register them with online tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics as well. But sometimes you need to do more, just to stay ahead of the competition and that is where the cost comes in.
What do I get for a paid SEO plan?
A paid search optimisation plan will put in place an ongoing programme of work to actively raise your website in the search results for the search terms that are key to you. This is a holistic piece of work that looks at both what your site has on it and who is linking to it as well. The SEO manager will monitor and suggest, based on the impact of previous work, what should be done next to increase the search rankings. This will include suggestions for new content, optimisations to the structure of the site and developing off site linking to the site so that it gets a wider online footprint. You will get regular reporting on the impact of this work and how the site is performing as well.
Do I need SEO for my website?
All sites need ‘organic’ SEO. If your site isn’t clearly structured then it won’t give a good user experience, let alone rank in results. And if that is the case then you will be losing potential customers because of it. But if you have already optimised your site ‘organically’ then the answer to this question is based on whether you feel your site is currently performing as you want it to or not. Some sites perform well and so don’t need to further optimise, but others will need more focus to raise them up.
That is where Idio can help. Our SEO team can help get your site performing as you need it to and gain the attention of more potential customers for you business.