SEO—short for search engine optimisation—has an ever-changing nature with the constant algorithm updates and evolving search trends that influence how we optimise our web pages for search engines.
But, while that’s the case, the core principles of SEO remain the same. Organic traffic is still one of the most valuable sources of leads and conversions for businesses, and ranking on the search engine results pages is still a key to allowing potential leads to find you.
In this Guide:
What is SEO Marketing?
In a nutshell, SEO is the process of improving your site’s visibility when people search for products/services relevant to your business in search engines, mainly in Google. The better visibility you have and the higher you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs), the more likely you are to drive traffic to your site, attract potential leads, and retain existing customers.
There are at least three types of SEO—on-page, off-page, and technical—each essential to creating a well-rounded SEO strategy.
- On-Page SEO refers to the strategies to optimise your site pages including keyword research, content creation, and keyword optimization to name a few.
- Off-Page SEO – includes strategies to build your site’s reputation and authority through gaining high-quality backlinks. These are the links that point to your site from relevant, authoritative sites to send signals to search engines that your site is a reputable, reliable, trusted source.
- Technical SEO – involves the non-content elements of your site. It looks into your site’s backend structure to improve site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, site structure, security, and other SEO ranking factors.
How Does SEO Work?
Today’s digital marketers focus their efforts primarily on Google and appropriately so. It dominates the search engine market, accounting for more than 92% of the market share. It means users primarily use Google to look for answers to their queries.
Search engines rely on algorithms to give users the exact results they are searching for. These are computer programs that find web pages and rank them based on their relevance to the keywords searched. There are three stages in how search engines work:
- Crawling – the discovery stage
Google uses automated bots to crawl pages on the web. Think of a spider—a web crawler—that goes from site to site, analysing the content of their pages and putting them in an index.
- Indexing – the filing stage
Imagine a virtual library where a librarian can instantly pull up a book that provides the exact information you’re searching for at the time—that’s how an index works. Website crawlers index the content of a site so they are searchable in the search engines.
- Ranking – the retrieval stage
Next, the algorithms analyse the indexed pages, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors, to determine the order pages should appear in SERPs for a given query.
As Google strives to provide a seamless user experience, your SEO success depends on how well your site can provide users with the information they are searching for. Unlike paid search ads, you can’t buy your way into organic rankings. It means you have to put in the effort to appear and rank where your target audiences are searching, and engage them in a way that would trigger an action, whether that be buying your products, signing up for newsletters, or just spending more time engaging with your business.
How Does Google Rank Content?
Content is one of the key factors for ranking in search engines like Google. Google doesn’t just rank pages. It ranks websites based on a variety of criteria. Here are just some of the things Google looks for in content:
- Quality – Is your content original and well-written? Do you cover topics thoroughly and provide value to readers?
- Relevance – Can your content answer your audience’s question? Are they relevant to the keywords they are using to search?
- Authority – Are you an authoritative source of information on the topic? Do other high authority websites link to your site?
- User Experience – How easy is it to navigate your website and find the information users are looking for?
To rank in Google, you need to create quality content that is relevant, trustworthy, and user-friendly. But, it’s not just about the content itself. You need to make sure your website is optimised to give users the best possible experience. That’s where technical SEO comes into play.
Technical SEO comprises all the non-content elements of your site that influence your ranking in SERPs. These include things like site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, and security. All of these factors are important to make it easy for users to find and engage with your content. And the easier it is for users, the more likely it is for Google to rank your site higher.
SEO is a cycle. It’s a process that requires ongoing effort to maintain and improve your ranking. But it’s worth the effort. A solid SEO strategy can help you build a sustainable online presence that drives long-term results.
How to Build an SEO Strategy for Your Website?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Google and how to rank in its results, it’s time to build your own SEO strategy. Here are a few keynotes to help you get started:
- Define your target audience – Your first step to building an SEO strategy is to understand your target audience. Who are they? What are their key pain points and goals? How do they like to search for information online? You need to get clear on this before you can determine what keywords they use, how they engage with content, and where you should be focusing your efforts.
- Conduct Competitive Keyword Gap and Market Analysis – Once you know your target audience and their needs, you can start identifying who your competitors are, what keywords they use, how their website gets traffic, what content they create, and how they promote their content. A competitive keyword gap analysis is important as it gives you insights as to how your competitors fair in the market. In our experience, it also helped us uncover indirect competition or competition that you may not know about.
- Analyse what your competitors are doing – What keywords do they rank for? What content do they produce? How do they structure their websites to meet user intent? This can help you determine the best approach for your own SEO strategy.
- Do keyword research – Use the keywords people are searching for to inform your content creation. Google’s free tool – Keyword Planner – can greatly assist you in this.
- Build your content marketing plan – Once you know what keywords and phrases to target, it’s time to start creating content. But before you begin publishing willy-nilly, it’s crucial to have a plan. What topics will you cover? What format will your content take? How often will you publish? Answering these questions beforehand can save you a lot of time and frustration down the road.
- Optimise your site for user experience – Technical SEO elements like site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability and security significantly impact how users interact with your website and whether they return to visit again. It’s essential that you work to improve these factors as much as possible so that users have a positive experience on your site.
For example, you can improve your site speed by compressing images and optimising your code. You can make sure your site is mobile-friendly by using responsive design techniques or building an app if that makes sense for your business. And you can protect against threats like malware and data breaches with the right security tools. These factors play a key role in how well your site ranks in SERPs.
- Promote your content – Get the word out about your content by promoting it on social media and other channels. If you have a bit of a budget, you may want to try using Google Ads to promote your website in SERPs. Paid search ads is quick way to get your site in front of people already looking for services and products you offer.
- Monitor your progress and adjust your strategy – Keep track of your SEO progress by monitoring your rankings and traffic.
- Analyse and refine – Keep track of your progress and refine your strategy along the way. You can use Google Analytics to analyse and monitor your traffic from organic searches and which queries are driving the most website traffic. You can also adjust your strategy as needed to improve your results.
Building an effective SEO strategy takes time and patience, but it can impact how successfully you reach your target audiences online. With the right approach, you can improve your organic ranking, drive more traffic to your website, and generate more leads and sales for your business.
What Part does SEO Play in Digital Marketing?
SEO is at the core of any digital marketing strategy, with it being the primary source of organic site traffic. It complements other marketing channels—when you understand how users conduct their searches and what they are searching, you can use that depth of knowledge across your site, paid and organic campaigns, content marketing efforts, social media channels, and more.
While its main purpose is to improve your rankings in SERPS, SEO has the potential to deliver significant benefits for your business.
Better Visibility & Ranking
SEO centres on making your site visible and ranking higher against your competitors in SERPs to make it easy for your audience to find you when they are searching for relevant information. It gives you a competitive advantage because users are more likely to click on the results on the first page of the results. Specifically, over 28.5% of users click the first Google search result.
A site that ranks high on SERPs is usually regarded as high-quality and trustworthy both by users and search engines. This, in return, boosts your credibility as a business. SEO can help you achieve this with high-quality content on your site.
Support Other Marketing Channels
SEO works hand in hand with other marketing efforts, particularly content marketing. It enables you to publish high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that is optimised for the keywords your target users are searching for. It also works well with your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Whereas PPC helps your site appear at the top of paid search results, SEO does the same thing but organically. The two can work well together.
Improve Site Usability
As you make your site search engine-friendly with SEO, you also improve user experience by making your site load faster and more responsive. Other factors that determine your site’s ranking include a robust site structure, seamless navigation, high-quality backlinks, etc.
Get Quantifiable Results
With tools like Google Analytics, you can track your SEO performance—rankings, conversions, site traffic, etc.—at a granular level. You can use these comprehensive insights to adjust and improve your strategies where necessary.
Local SEO Marketing
As the Internet continues to expand, search engines continue to find ways to make it easier for users to find the information they are looking for. This has led to the rise of local SEO marketing.
Local searches or “near me” searches are becoming more common, and about 80% of local mobile searches lead to conversions. Local SEO allows you to leverage these searches and attract users who are often ready to buy.
The first step to starting with your local SEO strategies is creating a Google My Business account. Optimise your listings in local business directories by supplying them with the necessary information—name, address, contact number, business hours, etc. Some other steps include requesting reviews from your clients and optimising for voice search. It means writing rich content in a conversational tone and optimising for question-based keywords.
How SEO Can Impact Your Business Growth?
With SEO, you can drive more traffic to your website. More traffic means more potential customers you can engage with. SEO is an effective lead generation strategy. You can generate more leads for your business by making it visible to users who are actively searching for information related to your industry or product. When they find your site on SERPs, they are more likely to consider doing business with you.
SEO also helps improve website usability and user experience. This, in turn, leads to more conversions as users are able to find what they are looking for easily on your site. Additionally, SEO can help you track your website’s performance with detailed insights from tools like Google Analytics. You can use this data to improve your website and marketing strategies.
SEO is an important part of any business’s online marketing strategy. It helps you make your site visible to users who are searching for information related to your industry or product. When they find your site on SERPs, they are more likely to consider doing business with you.
Here are some notable statistics that prove how SEO impacts ROI:
- 49% of marketers claimed that organic search has the best ROI versus other marketing channels (Search Engine Journal)
- ROI coming from SEO efforts can reach as high as 12.2x marketing spend. (Terakeet)
- 90% of B2B buyers admits to doing research using search engines for potential purchases. (Google)
- A B2B buyer, on average, does 12 different searches before engaging with a specific website. (Google)
- Mobile searches for services or stores nearby has led 76% of customers to visit the location within one day. (Google)
Users are about 20x more likely to click the organic search result versus a paid ad. (Get Credo)
SEO is an integral part of any business’s online marketing strategy. It helps you make your site visible to users who are searching for information related to your industry or product. When they find your site on SERPs, they are more likely to consider doing business with you
How to Measure SEO Success?
The great thing about SEO is that it’s highly measurable. You can gauge its success using various metrics such as rankings, popularity, traffic, backlinks, conversions, etc.
Other important measures include engagement metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and average pages viewed. ROI can also be measured and see how much revenue is coming in from your SEO efforts.
Google Analytics is the best tool to use if you want to measure the success of your SEO campaigns. It gives you detailed insights into important metrics such as traffic sources, bounce rate, time on site, etc. You can track your website’s performance and make the necessary changes.
With proper SEO strategies, you can drive more traffic to your website, improve usability and user experience, measure your ROI, and much more.
Distribute Digital – SEO Agency based in Birmingham
The ultimate goal of SEO is to help your website grow and accomplish your business goals. With increased visibility and better rankings, you can attract more visitors to your site, boost conversions, and drive sales.
SEO is an essential part of digital marketing and while you can undertake some SEO tasks in-house, you would maximise your results by hiring an SEO agency.
Distribute Digital is an SEO agency in Birmingham. Our focus is to help you increase your site’s visibility in SERPs for searches related to your business, products, and services.