Did you know that 74% of all consumers visit a businesses website before contacting them? A businesses digital presence plays such a crucial role in building trust and lead generation. A consumer will spend time on a businesses website to learn about the team, learn about the areas of service, read about previous results, and ultimately determine whether or not they can trust the business to get the job done.
So, how do you make sure that a potential client can find your website? While a robust digital marketing strategy includes social media, public relations, and digital ads, search engine optimization (SEO) is lucrative for helping potential clients find your website.
WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES?
Building and maintaining a business website can take several hours of work a month. Sometimes you need to edit content to ensure it is still accurate which then means a lengthy review process before it’s clear to publish.
Your website includes all kinds of content specific to your business. Whether your services focus on monitoring, reporting, maintenance, or any other support services, a good digital marketing and PR strategy will ensure potential clients can find you when they are looking for you.
SEO might seem daunting with the technical jargon and time required, but with a little knowledge and perseverance you can improve your business’s web traffic without being a digital marketing expert.
A good SEO strategy can set you apart from your competitors, can help improve brand awareness and most importantly, can help you demonstrate measurable results to business Partners who may otherwise be skeptical of their investment.
WHAT IS SEO?
In short, search engine optimization means making technical and content enhancements on your website to help get a higher organic ranking on search engines for relevant keywords. The higher your website ranks for the relevant keywords, the more likely potential clients are to find you and visit your website.
Google’s algorithms have over 300 criteria and standards known as ranking factors. The goal of SEO activities is to achieve the highest ranking on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for the most competitive keywords. Ranking factors can include activity on your website (on-site) or on other websites linking to your website (off-site).
While Google doesn’t make public these 300 standards, to understand how Google rates a website, we look at Google’s mission statement for search engine users: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
To determine how accessible and useful your website is, Google uses a combination of data including time spent on your website, how users found your website, how many pages they visited, and various others. These factors are coupled with the number of websites that have linked to your website, the types of websites that have linked to your website, where they are located, and even the contest of what the user is looking for.
Because of all these different factors, the ranking of sites will likely differ from person to person and from search query to search query. But, there are many fundamental tasks that webmasters and search engine optimization specialists can do to ensure that a website is showing up as high as possible for as many people as possible.
HOW CAN BUSINESSES LEVERAGE SEO?
In 2023, it is not uncommon to have a website. Every business has a website. What everyone isn’t doing is paying attention to SEO in order to stand out from the competition. A well-defined SEO strategy can help you do just that. So, if you’re wondering why you should be thinking about SEO, here are some important reasons:
GET MORE EYES ON YOUR BUSINESSES CONTENT
If your business has implemented a content strategy that requires your employees to spend non-billable hours writing, you want to ensure you’re getting the most value for the time spent. By ensuring new content is optimized, you can almost guarantee your copywriters that their article is going to have significantly more visibility. Of course, SEO alone can’t do that, but it will certainly help.
SEO can be utilized in specific campaigns or to help grow a particular segment of the business, such as a new service area or an existing area that you’d like to push. For example, if your business is looking to drive more sales, SEO can be a vital part of your digital campaign.
Individual Profiles are where most conversions happen on a business’s website. This is where potential clients go to see if they can trust you – it’s the page we see that has the highest amount of time spent. So, it is vital that this page have the appropriate tags and content to be found.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SEO AND PAY-PER-CLICK (PPC)
A PPC advertisement, which is marked with the word “Ad”, is a paid listing that is aimed to put a website on top of the page
Organic search results are the listings that appear because of their relevance to a search query and not because the website has a paid advertisement to place them there.
For Business, keywords such as “sale” can cost as much as $4,000 per month and over $200 per click in order to rank in the first position of search results. To compare this cost, an effective backlink strategy doubled up with onsite optimizations can increase your website traffic organically for approximately half of that cost. SEO is focused on sustainability in the long term. For example, if you run ads and suddenly stop, you will feel the impact immediately. But while healthy SEO takes longer to build, it also takes longer to break.
HOW DO I RANK ON PAGE ONE?
First of all, everybody wants to rank on the first page. For competitive keywords, this means thousands or even hundreds of thousands of web pages are vying for those few coveted spots. And to get there can take a year or more of hard graft.
But there is a lot of work that can be put in to improve your position in the SERPs from where you are today. And with a comprehensive onsite and offsite SEO strategy, your company’s website will be climbing the SERPs in almost no time at all.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND?
This is the million-dollar question – though hopefully, it doesn’t actually cost a million dollars! Here’s a rough outline of what you should be spending on your SEO per month if you are outsourcing.
Small Business SEO Cost – $1,400 -$2,500 Per Month
Medium Business SEO Cost – $1,600 – $7,500 per month
Large Business SEO Cost – $2,500 per month – $10,000+ Per Month
Enterprise SEO Cost – $7,500+ per month
Note: The above prices are for indicative purposes only and are an average cost of SEO in Australia. The exact SEO cost in Australia will be dependent on the unique requirements of each business, the market competition, and the breadth of keywords/search terms that they are looking to target.
HOW TO GET BUY-IN FROM YOUR COMPANY FOR SEO?
Now that you know why SEO is so important for your business’s website, let’s talk about how to get your company to buy in to invest time and resources into it. The reality is that it is all about results. Tools like Google Analytics report website behaviour and will ultimately show you if your SEO activity is producing positive results. Metrics like organic traffic and conversions from organic traffic should be top of mind when evaluating your digital marketing activity. Regular reporting will ensure your SEO team is held accountable for results and that the business management understands the value of the investment.
Let’s face it though – everybody is busy, and the technical jargon is meaningless to most. What is the most important thing to the ones paying for SEO? Their ranking! This is really the core of SEO reporting. Simple comparison tables that show priority keywords and their month-to-month change in rank can be all the information needed to determine whether the money is being well spent. It’s really all business owners or those investing in SEO care about.
Common Search Engine Marketing Terms
SEO – Stands for Search Engine Optimization. Is the process of improving a website to increase its organic position on Google and other search engines.
PPC – Stands for Pay Per Click advertising, which is pretty self-explanatory but is the practice of paid
advertising that you see at the top and bottom of the search engine after typing a query.
SEM – Stands for Search Engine Marketing. The overall practice that emcompasses both PPC and SEO.
Webmaster – An older term for an SEO specialist. The person responsible for maintaining a website.
SERPS – Stands for Search Engine Results Page. The pages shown when you enter a query on Google or
another search engine.
UX – User experience. The experience of a website’s visitor.
UI – User interface. A webpage and its design.
Backlinks – A link that points to your site from an external website.
Link Juice The authority that is passed from one site to another when a backlink is given.
Keywords – Terms that people most use when searching in Google. Can be long-tail or short-tail,
meaning that they can be short (2 words) or a longer phrase such as “Neapolitan pizzerias that serve beer near me.”
Alt Text – a description of the image that will show if the image is not displaying. Alt Text was used for
keyword insertion but since Google has reduced the importance of keyword density, alt text is mostly used by screen readers for the sight-impaired.
Schema Markup – Semantic language that helps Google understand your website’s content in further
detail and context.
CSS – Stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a programming language used mostly for user
experience details like colours and additional elements like accordion boxes. It is also important for
the responsiveness of a webpage.
HTML – Stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It isthe most basic language for creating websites. In
modern SEO, HTML is mostly used for formatting written content.
Landing Page – The page where a user enters your site from an external source such as the SERPS or social media.
Google Analytics – The main tool for measuring your website’s traffic and their behaviour.
Google Search Console – Another tool in the SEO toolbox. Search Console allows SEO specialists and
webmasters to see broken links, commonly used queries for their site, the website’s structured data,
and submit sitemaps.
301 – Redirect protocol to show Google where the original page has gone to.
404 – error Page not found/deleted. Says to Google to no longer index this page.
Black Hat – Unethical SEO. Practising black hat techniques can lead to your site being deindexed by
White Hat – Ethical SEO practices such as making site improvements for UX.
Bounce Rate – The rate in which a visitor goes to your page and then leaves without interacting with
any on-page element. If a bounce rate is high, this is often because the page is broken or generally
provides a poor user experience.
Breadcrumbs – The path that you have taken to land on that specific page. Often found at the top of
a website, it looks like this: Home > About > Our Employees > Thomas Shultz
Canonical – HTML language that tells Google’scrawlers that two pages share the same content and
to treat them as one page.
Duplicate Content – Content that is duplicated either from the same site or another site. You might also
know this as plagiarism. Canonical tags are often used to avoid being punished for duplicate content.
Crawler (or bot or spider) – A programme that autonomously performs a process like indexing a
website or parsing its information.
iFrames – Commonly used for embedding Youtube Videos. An iFrame allows a mirror from one site to
another. iFrames are generally avoided in website development.
Dofollow – Allows a web crawler to pass through from one site to another via a link. These pass link
juice and authority between websites. All links are automatically dofollows unless modified.
Nofollow – Doesn’t allow a web crawler to pass from one site to another. Nofollows do not pass link
juice but can signal to crawler’s that your site is of authority. For example, Wikipedia links are nofollows
but they can add to your ranking positively because it is a high authority site.
NoIndex – Says to Google’s web crawlers to not include the page on the SERPS.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – The process that makes long-tail keywords relevant. It is a process
that helps crawlers understand the context of a seemingly unstructured content.
Long-tail Keywords – “What is a long-tail keyword” is a long-tail keyword. It is a string of words that make
Link Exchange – A link exchange is a technique that is often used by directory pages to build site authority. It is mostly frowned upon by Google, although there are some exceptions.
Domain Authority – Google’s assessment of how trustworthy and authoritative your site is.
Robots.txt – A directory that says to web crawlers which pages should and should not be crawled.
Sitemap – A list of your site’s URLS.