A changing economy and business world has led to a rapid rise in digital technologies. Subsequently, marketing has become far more digitally focused than it has been in the past with online and social media seen as two of the most important pillars in executing a successful campaign.
At the crux of effective, efficient and highly successful marketing campaigns, whether they are online or a combination of online and outdoor, is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. SEO is now seen as a must-have in the marketing world however many still do not get it right.
It can at first be a daunting task, attempting to understand just how SEO works, but it is in fact not as difficult as it first appears. Yes, it does require a lot of research and constant learning as to the changing tactics of competitors and what works and what doesn’t, but it can be done.
There are many trusted agencies that specialise in the area and can be of great help to businesses. SEO is a science and therefore needs constant attention in order to best execute and maintain strategies. The science behind it is developed by the search engines themselves and understanding how this works is the first step in realising the importance of SEO in internet marketing.
The Search Engine Algorithm
SEO has been around since the early 2000s but the way that it is utilised and measured has changed drastically and continues to as time passes. This is because the competition has increased between businesses and users are now demanding a better online experience as they expect an immediate answer in their searches.
Keyword density and backlinks are the original buzz words that were deemed the key to a successful rank on the search engine results pages. Nowadays though, whilst still important, the emphasis is placed on relevance and user experience.
Identifying the right keywords for your business is essential and utilising these throughout webpages is highly beneficial to rank, but it is not useful to simply flood the content with the keyword(s) in an unnatural manner. Utilising keywords in a flowing, natural way throughout content is the best way to rank well and achieve successful search engine optimisation.
Using links throughout your webpages is also very useful for gaining credibility and attracting traffic to your webpages however irrelevant and untrustworthy backlinks will damage your sites reputation and likely have a negative impact on the sites rank on search engine results pages.
It takes time to build a sites reputation, but doing it through relevant and helpful links is the best way to improve rank and then successfully maintain it in the long run.
There are over 40 factors that search engine algorithms take into account when determining the rank of website and it is constantly changing. This is why it is important to be regularly attending to keywords, links and content to maintain a high domain authority.
Things such as page speed, images, call-to-actions and the ease of navigation of a website all affect its score in the search engine algorithm and therefore the pages rank. Ensuring that all information is relevant and easily accessible on your website is crucial to internet marketing success.
Google is always updating its algorithm to better suit users and weed out websites that are trying to cheat the system with black hat SEO techniques. Whilst Google do penalise sites that do not comply with the rules, there are still practices that can avoid the rules whilst not benefiting the user’s experience.
However, as outlined above, it is no longer about high keyword density and lots of backlinks but more about quality, rather than quantity. Keeping a close watch on the data provided by Google and the changing ranks will help your business stay on top of any changes in the algorithm and consequently maintain a strong rank.
Benefits and How to Achieve Them
As has been stated above, SEO is now at the crux of internet marketing and it is therefore highly beneficial when done correctly and also damaging for the business if not done at all. The uptake of online search is also a key reason behind the need for quality search engine optimisation with 81% of shoppers conducting an online search prior to purchase. This means that the majority of people are using online prior to any other form of marketing.
As the internet is now people first stop for information, it is also the most influential. This sets the tone for customer’s opinions and ideals about what they are after. Having a successful SEO strategy in place is sure to create many benefits.
Here are some key benefits from implementing a successful strategy:
Getting Website Traffic
The first step in any campaign is gaining traffic to your website and various web pages. Each page should be designed in a way that makes it easy for the customer to navigate and complete a conversion goal. This increases the likelihood of customers are completing these goals but most importantly, increases the chances of a good rank of the results pages.
Ensuring there is content across all pages and information that will correctly inform users of the product or service that is being sold is also paramount in attracting website traffic. A page that loads quickly and, as mentioned before, has backlinks included will successfully attract more website traffic.
Getting the Right Traffic
The next benefit is getting the right traffic to your site, users that are actually interested in the product or service that is being sold. Identifying the most relevant keywords is the first step in this process. This can be done using Google’s Keyword Finder that provides historical data, further keyword ideas and the competitive nature of the keywords to aid in creating the best campaign possible.
Creating pages that target specific keywords is highly beneficial to ensure that users are accessing the pages that they are searching for and not something else on your website. The next part is quality and relevant backlinks. These help to build the reputation of the site and give it credibility.
The two keys with these points are to not keyword stuff and to ensure that all links included in the content are relevant. Google can penalise sites that keyword stuff or use poor-quality backlinks both resulting in a low ranking.
As has been emphasised, SEO is a major part of all internet marketing and therefore everyone is doing. Businesses that aren’t are falling behind and the gap only gets greater by the day. However, because everyone is doing it, it is something that needs regular attention.
A successful SEO strategy cannot just be executed once and forgotten about, it requires regular updates to keywords, backlinks, content and many other parts of the site.
Additionally, because the algorithm is ever changing, as are competitor’s sites, a particular rank at one moment does not mean that it is going to stay that way. A website rank can change multiple times in a day making it even more important that it is regularly attended to, to ensure that everything is optimised.
All of the above mentioned will aid in achieving the marketing goals set out for a given campaign, but there are also a few more steps that can be taken to further improve a sites search engine optimisation.
The page speed, overall user experience, mobile compatibility and quality of the content on your site will all impact how it ranks in the search engine results pages. Fast page speed and mobile compatibility can be attended to easily by an SEO expert and will significantly improve the quality of your site.
User experience links back to the ease of navigation through the site, access to call-to-actions and the use of images, animations and video to inform visitors in a simple and effortless manner. This also includes the quality of the content on your site as quality content engages the user and makes them want to explore the website further to find out more.
The use of high quality links, both internal and external will greatly aid all of this by both informing the user and also building the sites credibility within and lead to an increase in conversions for your site.
Improved Brand Image
This is one of the biggest incentives to come out of high quality search engine optimisation. Not only does this improve all of the above, but it increases the likelihood of users searching specifically for your site. This ultimately increases traffic and therefore helps you to remain competitive.
Word of mouth is still a huge factor in the marketing world and therefore creating a really strong brand image through your site is paramount to a good business. Implementing the discussed tactics will ensure that the site gains a strong brand image.
Having identified the key benefits of a successful SEO strategy, the importance of using search engine optimisation as part of any internet marketing campaign can be seen. SEO forms the base for a strong marketing campaign by providing easy access for customers to search for and gain information on the products and/or services offered.
A quality search engine optimisation strategy will maintain a business’s competitive edge and potentially allow them to out complete the surrounding businesses. This is because SEO is the most stable base able to be provided for any marketing campaign, especially internet marketing.
People are always searching online for information, products and services so being able to provide them with useful, relevant and easily found information will go a long way to acquiring and maintaining a strong customer base. It is only becoming more important as the world moves forward and therefore having a head start now will be even more beneficial in the future.
What do you think about the importance of SEO around on the internet? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below! We would love to hear what you have to say.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.