What Is SEO – A Guide For Business Owners
Is SEO right for your business? The short answer is Yes. The long answer is that how well it works for your business depends on a number of factors and how well planned your SEO strategy is. Business owners often think that SEO is time-consuming and requires specialised knowledge. This is true – SEO needs special knowledge and skill, plus it takes time. In truth, anything worth doing is worth doing well and it isn’t possible to achieve amazing results overnight – if it was, then everyone would be doing it! As a business owner, it is worth having a fundamental understanding of SEO so that you know what’s going on and what you can expect when you work with a company like The Computing Australia Group. So here’s a quick SEO guide for business owners.
What is SEO?
Search engines like Google scour all data available on the internet to select and exhibit results that suit search queries best. They do this via a 3-step process.
1. Crawling– Crawling is the discovery step of a searching process. Search engines use search bots or crawlers to explore the internet and find the latest content.
2. Indexing– Once Google discovers a page, it tries to understand the information given in it. It then files away the page or indexes it to be retrieved later.
3. Ranking– When you type in a query, Google serves the pages from the index and arranges them based on their relevancy, your location, language, and even the device you use.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that aims to make your website more visible on search engines through more organic (unpaid) search engine results. SEO helps to convince Google about the quality of your content and helps drive more traffic to your website. A properly optimised website will put your business at the forefront of all related queries.
The Driving Forces of SEO- Content, Speed and UX
SEO consists of hundreds of factors, all working towards serving valuable ‘content’ at good ‘speed’ and enhance ‘user experience’. Convincing Google to rank your page is one face of the coin; gaining your customer’s loyalty is the other. SEO aims to enhance the user experience (UX) while simultaneously appealing to Google’s technical requirements. A good user experience means happier website visitors, which directly translates into more lead generation and potential customers.
You create happy customers by:
- Fulfilling the search intent and earning user’s click
- Giving the proper solutions through an attractive medium
- Creating fast-loading content that doesn’t waste user’s time
- Designing responsive websites that are accessible on any device
It is impossible to go on without indulging in a bit of tech-speak, but we’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. SEO tactics can be broadly categorised into two- on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
What is on-site SEO?
On-site or on-page SEO refers to optimising the content on your page and its HTML source code. The primary aim of on-site SEO is to provide high-quality content and maximise website performance (technical SEO) to enable higher rankings in search engine results. On-site SEO focuses on creating quick, responsive websites with informative and well-structured content. In simpler terms, on-site SEO = Content + Website performance optimisation.
What is off-site SEO?
Off-site SEO or off-page SEO refers to external actions that are aimed at increasing visibility for your site. You can create an eye-catching and optimised web page and still not notice considerable web traffic because users don’t know your website exists! Off-site SEO has a significant role in building the trustworthiness, authority and relevance of your websites. The major off-site factors include backlinks, social media presence, and local SEO.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising your business website to rank higher in local searches. This is especially true if you have a brick n mortar business or serve a local clientele. Why is local SEO important? Consider these figures –
- 50% of people who did a local search on their phone visited a store within one day.
- Nearly 80% of local searches on mobiles converted to offline sales.
- 18% of local mobile searches converted to sales within one day.
If you notice, these figures speak about local searches on mobile devices – which is how the majority of local searches are done. In fact, mobile devices have already taken over desktops as the preferred device of all internet searches. Which is what our next point is about.
How long does it take for SEO to show results?
As a business owner, this is a question that will be foremost in your mind. The honest answer is SEO takes time to show results. It’s not a quick-fix solution, delivering spontaneous lead generation. Anybody promising fast results is probably not using Google approved guidelines. Your site can end up being penalised or removed from search results altogether. SEO success depends on a number of factors, and you can expect to start seeing results anywhere between 4 to 6 months to up to a year. By ‘start seeing results’, we mean you can notice an increase in your website visitors; it doesn’t mean you can achieve your goals within that period.
Did you just ask, “Why should I invest in SEO then?” Because SEO is not just about improving your ranking in search results – it increases your online visibility, organic traffic, leads and conversions. It’s an ongoing effort; the longer you are at it, the higher your lead conversion. And the improvements are exponential. How? The content you published today will continue bringing in visitors over a period of months or sometimes years. And as more and more people find it useful, share it, interact with it – the more the visibility of the content, setting off a chain reaction.
A thought for you – can you or are you willing to pay the big money needed for traditional advertisements? Will you be able to compete with the big players? How will your potential customers find you in the sea of competitors? The digital space is a level playing field, and SEO is a tool that helps you use that space to your advantage.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions our Perth SEO team regularly takes.
- Should I invest in PPC or SEO?
It depends on the nature of your business. Pay-per-click or PPC is more helpful for time-sensitive offers. SEO helps to create a consistent, established online presence. For most businesses, the ideal solution is to combine both strategies for a holistic approach.
- I need to migrate the website. Will I lose my SEO position?
- The SEO guy is behind me to claim the GMB listing. Is it necessary?
Of course! Google My Business is an amazing tool and helps a lot with local SEO. Claiming and optimising your listing helps to improve rankings as well as build trust amongst customers.
- Can I track SEO performance?
Yes, there are various free and paid tools that help you track and analyse the performance of your SEO efforts. Your SEO team will be able to suggest the best tool for your business.
- I heard something about black-hat SEO.
Yes, these are illegal or disapproved tactics aimed at getting you a quick boost in rankings. An example is purchasing backlinks. Google is now much better at recognising these tactics, and your site can end up with a ban if you resort to black-hat SEO.
- Will I get a timeline to start seeing results?
Yes, an experienced SEO professional can more or less suggest a timeline to start seeing results. However, we suggest not trusting any timeline that is given upfront. A good SEO strategist will first understand your business, talk with you about your expectations, do the necessary analysis and then suggest a timeline.
Searchbots – Also known as spiders or crawlers, are automated software that is used by search engines like Google or Bing to travel the internet and look at websites, understand their content and index them to be retrieved later.
Search intent – Is the purpose behind a search query on the internet. For example, a transactional query is done with purchase intent.
Technical SEO – Refers to optimising the technical aspects of a website to improve crawling and indexing.
PPC – Pay-per-click is an internet marketing model in which advertisers pay for each click that is made on their ads.
Website migration – Is a process through which a website migrates to another host or domain and goes through major changes to its structure, content, location or design.
Backlinks – Backlinks or incoming links are links from an external website to your webpages.
Responsive websites – Websites that function well across multiple devices, windows, screen sizes and browsers.