Search engine optimization is one of the most important requirements for every online business. However, you may be wondering, “What will SEO achieve for my business?”.
Managing expectations is an important component of sketching a realistic outcome for clients and avoiding disappointment.
The answer to that question is quite simple and will be discussed a bit later on. However, any person who wants to understand SEO should also be asking what SEO cannot do for their business.
To start off with, we must understand that SEO is not a business goal in itself. It is, however, an effective technique which can help us achieve our online goals and overall success.
Therefore, before you even think of implementing an SEO strategy, you must first establish your online business goals. Ask yourself what it is you want your business to achieve online and how you would like to achieve it.
Your online marketing goals will depend mostly on the nature of your business. However, there are some fundamental digital marketing goals that can be applied to any business:
Brand awareness refers to how easily consumers recognise your product. Making sure consumers are familiar with your product or service is a crucial step in the digital marketing process.
Logically speaking, products or services which maintain a high standard of brand awareness are more likely to generate sales.
In reality, consumers who are faced with several choices are more inclined, by default, to buy a brand they are more familiar with.
Working hand-in-hand with brand awareness, the sales funnel is focused on the process of making your prospects aware of your brand (lead generation) and keeping them engaged to the point where they take action.
The top of the funnel is where you build brand awareness. This is done by targeting an audience who have never engaged with your brand before.
This can be achieved by:
By providing informative content around specific questions and search queries, you are making your brand more visible to online researchers.
These are the consumers that are already in the buying process and targeting this audience is your best option when wanting to make sales.
This is where your online content comes into play. Most often, your content is going to be the first point of contact consumers have with your brand, and this is where first impressions count the most.
The aim of your content is to provide consumers with the solution to their problem, even before they knew they had one.
You can do this by:
• It helps you rank for low-demand, high-conversion keywords
• It helps you target the right audience
• It can keep you ahead of your competition
• It helps you catch your audience in the discovery phase and keep them until the purchasing phase
• It helps you grow your website traffic
• It helps you build your brand awareness
• It helps you improves your conversion rate
SEO cannot create traffic for a specific keyword out of nowhere.
SEO must be cognisant of the expected traffic for a keyword, and then create relevant index on the website for the keyword. But if global traffic on a particular keyword is only 10 searches per month, then no amount of SEO will increase this.
If you are already ticking all the necessary boxes, it means there is simply no more demand for that keyword. Creating demand is an entirely different activity.
Although SEO is an effective tool which can be used throughout the brand building process, it cannot build your brand on your behalf.
The interaction your visitors have with your website is more valuable for brand awareness than simply what they are presented with in the search results.
Engaging your website visitors is only possible through a narrative.
Just because you are ranking at the top of the search results page, doesn’t mean that your website is going to provide customer satisfaction.
A prospect who is unhappy with the information provided by a website will quickly leave and search elsewhere for what they need. Likewise, if the website is confusing, or processes cumbersome, or the User interface is poor, no amount of SEO can induce sales.
This is where high quality website design comes in, and although SEO plays a role in ensuring customer satisfaction, it cannot do it alone.
SEO is a long-term investment and is not going to get you ranking overnight. Unlike other short-term (yet effective) campaigns such as PPC - Google Advertising, SEO can take some months before you see results. It may take between 3 - 18 months, and sometimes longer, to rank for really competitive keywords.
However, if you employ an appropriate SEO strategy, you will see long-lasting results. The benefits of SEO are cumulative, and are effective for many years to come.
If your business is crashing, don't look to SEO to save you. SEO is a long term business strategy to drive relevant traffic and grow your bottom line over time.
In the past, black hat scams, crappy content generators and quick cheats created link farms, and other ways to manipulate search engine rankings. You cannot run a successful SEO campaign using these discredited techniques today.
Instead SEO requires skill and hard work, neither of which come for free or on the cheap. You can do SEO yourself if you have the expertise and the right tools, but it is probably better to get a qualified SEO professional to do it.
Be careful not to fall for SEO scam artists.
It still surprises us when we find so-called SEO experts stuffing keywords into the page keyword metatag. It's a sure indication that the 'expert' didn't have the faintest idea what he or she was doing.
No amount of SEO can overcome a web design that does not allow your website to be indexed properly. In reality, all websites need to be designed with SEO in mind from the start.
Adding a few keywords to your homepage may help a little, but that is a very, very small piece of all that comprises professional SEO. There are many other factors (More than 200 at last count) that influence your overall website ranking, traffic and conversions.
Although the effects of SEO are not immediately apparent, there should be sufficient traction created to monitor your progress.
Analysis and reporting on the return on SEO investment is critical to business owners who need to see the effectiveness of this slow-build process.
Professional SEO makes use of software to analyse and report on progress, it is a data-driven, technical activity with a scientific basis, and the results are measurable. SEO definitely moves the needle.
While Google requirements are by far the most important considerations for SEO, there are many other commonly searched platforms that can bring traffic to your website. Facebook, for example, has its own search index, as do others.
Other search engines such as Bing also command a percentage of internet traffic, and it is important to cater for these too.
SEO is continually evolving to embrace new technologies like Apps, Mobile Devices & Social Media. Location, Search History, Personalization, Big Data, and Search Intent all form part of a comprehensive analysis that tracks customers from engagement to conversion.
Search Engines are evolving their offerings, making the digital marketplace more competitive and harder to penetrate, in effect crowding out the organic results in order to grow the PPC market.
SEO has become much more technical and difficult, but that is no reason to surrender.
If the only constant is change then SEO is a continuous process. Your market changes, the technology changes and your competitors will always be there.
SEO is all about attracting the right kind of visitor to your website.
ITM covers all your digital needs, including quality website design, digital marketing and search engine optimization.
For more information about our digital services, contact one of our SEO experts.
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