We know that as an owner or executive manager you personally may not have the time to actually implement SEO yourself.
In all likelihood, you will probably look to hire someone, or a team, to help you out. So with that said, we’ll cover “need-to-knows” and what to look for when hiring a professional (either as an employee, team, or even an agency).
In this blog, we’ll also cover the basics:
- what is search engine optimisation,
- why it’s important, and
- why you need it.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
In its most basic form, SEO is the process of getting a website to rank highly in search engines (like Google, BING, Yahoo) and pull in organic traffic. True optimisation, that is ethical and organic, takes serious time. Anyone that claims otherwise is just looking to take your money and run. It can take months to see a real impact, and if your site is fairly new (ie. you just launched and have little to no content), it will take even longer to see noticeable results. But hopefully, that doesn’t scare you off. It's a long-term strategy for your business and when done correctly (with the proper amount of time and resources allocated to it), it will produce consistent long-term value in the form of higher rankings and increased traffic. It is also important if your are exercising inbound marketing.
Why is it so important?
Generally, when most people think of SEO, Google is often the next associated thought. And really, it should be.
Google dominates the search engine world and has truly become the focus with the common question being, how do I rank higher on Google?
It’s not hard to see why other search engines have fallen by the wayside and are hardly an afterthought when considering SEO. Ranking high in Google can bring you some serious traffic too. When looking at a Google results page (often referred to as Search Engine Results Page, or SERP for short), the number one result alone brings in 31% of search traffic on average. Meaning, when people search for a keyword, 31% of those searches will click the first result. The top five results combine for 67% of overall traffic from searchers. The first page entirely (which includes 10 results) accounts for 71%. And lastly, the 2nd page as a whole accounts for just under 4%. So it pays to be on the first page and even more so if you’re that number one result.
Why do you need it?
"There are two options to rank in Google. You can pay for search results (known as Adwords) or you can rank naturally and appear in organic search results:"
Google Adwords is a viable option for being seen in Google. The problem, however, is that Adwords can be rather expensive (especially in highly competitive industries) and it doesn’t hold any long-term value. As soon as you stop paying for Adwords, your result will no longer be seen in a SERP. With Adwords advertising, you have to continually pay to be seen for a particular keyword search.
In organic search, you don’t have to continually pay to be seen, and once you’ve reached the first page of Google (and you have quality content and a trustworthy site), you’ll often stick there for a long period of time (depending on the amount of competition).
"Remember, this is a long-term strategy and one that will create long-term value for your business."
How does Google rank a page?
There are over 200 factors that Google uses to rank a page in a search results. No one knows for sure how Google values each of these factors and we won’t waste your time going through all of them. However, there are a few that are seen by many professionals as being the most important.
Think about how Google works from your own personal experience - if you search for something, let’s say “shoes”, for example.
When you search for that phrase, what do you see? You get a list of results from companies selling shoes, right?
Google is determining the results basically by the following criteria:
- The relevance of content on that company's page,
- The relevance of the company's website as a whole,
- The trustworthiness of that company's website,
- The quality of the content on that company's website.
Obviously, this is a very basic way to look at it. But, this is essentially the criteria Google is using in order to show you a result for your search. Google wants to show you a page that is relevant to your search, will satisfy your search query, provide value, and won’t be a spammy site.
This criteria is determined by those 200+ factors and boils down into two categories: ON PAGE & OFF PAGE.
ON-PAGE BEST PRACTICES
On-Page is made up of everything that you can control on your page and your website as a whole. These include things like:
- title tags,
- meta description,
- usage of headers,
- keyword usage,
- image names,
- alt tags,
- mobile optimisation,
- URL structure,
- site structure and navigation,
- site speed,
- internal linking,
- quality and relevance of content.
OFF PAGE BEST PRACTICES
Off-Page is made up of everything away from your site that you technically can’t control (although, you can influence) and affects how Google sees your page (particularly how authoritative and trustworthy it sees your page). These include things like:
- site history/age,
- number of quality of backlinks,
- number of social shares,
- create AMAZING content.
Easier said than done, but content that gets shared is often content that embodies a “wow factor”. So that when someone sees/reads your page, they are compelled to share it. This can be done by creating truly epic and amazing content. Epic content can be created by developing the best resources available on a given subject, making you a thought leader in your industry.
What to look for when hiring an SEO expert?
"It takes time."
We mentioned this earlier but we want to mention it again because it’s that important. If there was one thing that we could get across to those unfamiliar with it, it’s that it takes time. You should expect at a minimum a few months to 6 months before you see any noticeable results. That length of time grows even longer if you have a new site, little authority, and a small amount of content.
"Search Engine Optimisation is a long-term strategy and when you think of it that way and don’t try to look for short-term wins, you will be successful."
- Never trust someone who can promise you short term results,
- it takes more than one skill or person,
- it takes more than just optimisations, it needs promotion.
Need help developing a strategy tailored to reach your unique target audience? Click below for an assessment.
Make the most of your web presence.
Schedule a consultation.