Are you starting out with a new website to help promote your business or brand on the internet? It’s likely you’ve heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) if you’ve already looked into web design – and while it may seem a little complex to get to grips with initially, it’s the lifeblood of any website’s success on the internet. SEO essentially ensures that your website, your services – and ultimately, you – can be picked up on by Google and listed as highly as possible in their search rankings. There are, however, a whole host of factors that determine where and why you’ll be listed, and SEO is rarely as cut and dried as a simple audit or moving of keywords – in order for it to work well for you and your website, SEO needs to be carried out carefully and meticulously – meaning that it can take time before you start reaping the rewards of your consultation.
Certainly. As Josh Steimle of Forbes.com states, no two websites are ever the same, and it may be necessary for a long-term strategy to take place if you are to monopolise on getting as many new visitors and customers as possible. Whether you’re starting from scratch or if you have an existing site in need of TLC, as Steimle states, the time it can take to get your SEO up to scratch and to start seeing results may be a matter of months rather than weeks – but the growth potential over a six to twelve month period, providing regular work is performed in the background and that fresh content is regularly uploaded, could be huge for even the smallest of businesses.
Google likes to reward businesses that use ‘organic’ techniques when it comes to SEO. This essentially means that you’re playing by the rules – keywords you use are inserted naturally into the text and are not stuffed in to force a page to be picked up on by a search engine. Google has changed its search algorithms regularly over the past few years and one thing has always rung true – it is listening to its searchers, and their needs. Google is able to ascertain exactly what it is that a user is looking for in a search, and will therefore aim to provide them with the most natural and relevant response that matches their query. They’ll look for local results, websites that are active, used regularly and are rich in relevant and organic content. Essentially, as you can imagine, this can mean a lot of ground to cover, and even more so to maintain.
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As Steimle states, expecting short-term success from SEO can be considered fairly short-sighted, terming optimisation as a long-term marketing strategy – and we thoroughly agree. Paying for a short-term SEO campaign will only guarantee you a limited slice of the pie for a limited amount of time. Once consultation ends on your site, you are effectively on your own. The internet is a big place – and there are people out there willing to help you get as far as you can up the search ranking ladder – but cutting yourself short could be putting you behind your competition, and even worse, out of touch with your potential customers.
As Alex Chris discusses, current SEO practice has moved on from being ‘all about the keywords’. Some SEO professionals of old – and those who dabble in what is known as ‘Black Hat’ strategy may advise you otherwise – but the landscape of the internet has evolved to the point where you are now required to actively engage with your customers and to provide an organic, resourceful and helpful website that your target audience can genuinely benefit from. Google’s algorithms have shifted to incorporate the user experience more than ever, now offering priority to websites who have shown awareness of the mobile revolution by becoming more responsive in their design.
Chris’ point is well made – SEO strategy simply has to be long-term if you are to consider appealing to your customers full-stop. Appealing to customers short-term, or even by cutting corners, will impact negatively upon your users’ experience and upon your status as a reputable website. Google is very quick to penalise websites which behave in such manners, and therefore it has become a requirement that you attend to your SEO and generate regular, organic content on a regular basis. Will short-term SEO help bring in the dedicated customers that you are looking for? It’s therefore all the more beneficial to give SEO the time that it needs.
Putting the time and effort into SEO and the content upkeep of your website is certainly worth the effort – while you may be tempted to hold out for a quick fix or to look for a quick boost of revenue or interest short-term, an investment in SEO strategy and content upkeep is one that should manifest itself over months – allowing you to be able to appear more accountable to customers and more responsive to their queries and needs. Customers are less likely to invest in a firm that fails to update their online presence than one which not only has regular social media presence, but also offers regular interaction via a blog or website that refreshes its content. Google is keeping an eye on these factors, too!
Anyone looking for a quick fix from SEO may be disappointed long-term, and even in the short-term, too. SEO is not a tool that can offers results or answers overnight – returning to Steimle’s comments, a six or twelve-month plan is ideal for small and big businesses alike, so that traffic progression, customer engagement and swings in demographic tastes and behaviour can be equated for with ease. There is little sense in driving home a keyword or two that may not be as flexible as your customers expect you to be.
As Jason DeMers states, SEO strategy can involve a complete overhaul of a website and regular maintenance and troubleshooting of on-site matters. This can include rewriting content, restructuring certain design assets, re-assessing visitor behaviour and needs, and even looking into site security and speed factors. Anything that is likely to impact negatively on the user experience needs to be taken into account as part of your SEO strategy. This is why it is a matter that should never be taken lightly, nor should it be tackled alone. An SEO specialist or team such as SEO CoPilot will be able to provide the regular coverage and analysis of your online presence that you so require – including the nitty-gritty matters that you may find complex to keep up yourself.
A comprehensive guide to factors you should bear in mind with regard to effective SEO strategy can be found at MOZ.com – Geoff Kenyon’s guide to SEO basics works as an ideal checklist for anyone looking to overhaul a new or existing site to keep in touch with Google’s ever-changing algorithms. While it may seem a daunting criteria for those not in the know, it will likely help to encourage new website owners to understand exactly why SEO is a process that simply cannot be rushed – certainly if you are hoping for it to work.
Even in 2016, SEO is big business – SEO’s rules and techniques have had to evolve with the emergence of mobile browsing in the mainstream, and as such remain primed to move with the times. It should also be noted that keyword placement is never the whole story – and that it is sadly not a magic wand that can bring about perfect search rankings as soon as a strategy is implemented. SEO has become more about making a website the best it can possibly be on a regular basis – while old SEO rules may have been content to let websites stand with just a handful of chosen keywords inserted into the main text. The world has changed – and so has the way we use the internet!
Everything – it can help bring in new customers, it can highlight your services to local people, it can help you engage with clients and can help you build a solid reputation in a world that is becoming more and more competitive, particularly online – meaning that you will need all the help you can get when it comes to getting seen, getting trusted and getting ahead. SEO is never something that should be rushed – and when done correctly, it will make the difference between a fledgling webpage struggling on page five and an authoritative brand on page one. The choice is yours!
SEO CoPilot can work with you to create and implement SEO strategy that is easy to manage and simple to understand – hand in hand with superb web design and round-the-clock care for your website and any potential clients you are looking to engage with. For more information on how we can help your website reach the people you are looking for and more besides, call us today on 01246 540869 or email via our web form – and we will be back in touch with you as soon as we can!