What is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a digital marketing strategy used to get your website well positioned on the search engine for terms that are important to your business generating audience and sales. It covers which keywords and terms you are using on your website pages, the quality of the content on your website on google’s´ eyes and how well users respond to the website and its pages in terms of experience. It is a long-term strategy that is very different from social media or PPC (pay per click).
If you want you can read more about PPC here -> PPC Agency Ireland
How does SEO work?
It works as Google rewards individual pages from your website according to how relevant and how good your page responds to the search made by the user on the search engine. Search engine optimisation helps to build a solid website and online presence so Google algorithm works through artificial intelligence or machine learning to rank pages.
Google and other search engines are looking to deliver the most accurate results that are going to satisfy its users, also, the search engines are constantly updating its mechanisms to increase its quality, so the SEO of a website needs to be kept up to date with Google, Bing and search engines improvements.
The system is normally made from bots that scrape internet reading the website, updating the database, and providing a score to it, also including evaluation of Google team´s to which factors make more sense to each segment and including several other factors such as EAT, one of the most important factors for business. EAT stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness looking at evidence that shows the website has a level of authority to provide a response to the user´s query which includes cases of studies, testimonials, certificates, and online presence.
Should I do SEO for my website?
Your website should be submitted to all the search engines so it can be found by the possible customers that are using Google and others. But it may not be enough to get the top positions for very interesting queries, it will require an SEO project that will make your website more prepared and relevant to Google.
There is a lot of work in terms research, auditing, technical implementation, and content creation to increase the search engine presence of a website and paying for an SEO project is necessary to put enough hours into the website optimisation.
Also, the level of specialisations for analysing the website, planning the project, undertaking the implementation requires a certain level of knowledge and experience. Doing it yourself would require a lot of hours in acquiring knowledge and much more hours of work in the project.
Remember that no SEO provider can guarantee you the first place in Google or order search engines as advised by Google itself, however, a specialist provider with several success cases can help you to grow online and recover your investment through this channel.
Please find the document where Google outlines its quality guidelines here.
Every website built should be submitted to the top search engines.
If your website does not generate sales/revenue in your marketing strategy or you need quick results the investment on SEO might not be worth as it is a long-term strategy, so you should look into starting with a PPC campaign to generate sales and revenue and overtime start investing in SEO to reduce the costs with PPC in the future.
Why would I use SEO?
SEO is an ultimate source to generate traffic to your website, and if you currently do not have organic visits you may be missing a great opportunity.
SEO is a very good strategy to increase your website traffic and online sales as it is one of the most effective sales channels as the clients are interested and looking for your services.
It can generate very qualified leads, much more than other channels such as social media and display ads as those are users that may not need your services right now.
SEO is crucial for companies that want to have a full online presence to support brand awareness and sales.
For smaller businesses, SEO is the perfect method to get qualified customers while having a strategy that can adapt to their budget and be built step by step or complementing other marketing initiatives.
For larger companies, SEO is important to ensure the online presence and to not lose leads to other websites. Also, it is an important support channel for your sales as people normally look online for gathering information about products before they buy it. Besides that, it can be used to add value to your brand through content marketing and improving the relationship your company has with your customers.
So, every business should use SEO to strengthen its online presence and get new customers.
How much does SEO cost?
The SEO project cost is normally calculated by the number of hours a provider is going to use on your website so it can vary according to your budget. A project with more hours ensures that more work is done in terms of research, implementation, and content creation to get results faster. While a lower budget will require more time to achieve results.
SEO is much cheaper than television, big website advertising and offline advertising such as newspapers and magazines. It has long-term results as once your website reaches good positions the traffic will increase independent of the amount of money you are spending as the traffic is not linked to the budget as it is in paid media.
The costs of an SEO project also include the use of tools that are necessary to facilitate audit and research, sometimes only paying for tools for doing the SEO yourself is more expensive than paying a provider as an agency can split the costs with tools between several clients.
Types of SEO explained
The search engine internal optimisation covers the audit, research and implementation done on your website.
The normal SEO process would include auditing the technology used on your website to find any barriers, make recommendations to improve its accessibility, analysing the website history and data, research your segment and planning which keywords to use to generate more traffic and sales, create an action plan and strategy, make implementation to improve the website foundation and create new content to cover the selected keywords.
It is a complicated process such as a puzzle where pieces are brought together to generate the best outcomes.
SEO techniques and actively involved in internal SEO.
- Technical SEO Audit– an audit meant to identify technical errors, accessibility problems, poor redirects, sitemap, duplicate content, not found pages, lack of tags, image size and format issues, broken links, or not-friendly links.
- SEO Keyword Research– Using Google’s Keyword Planner or other major tools in the SEO market to find and use the most relevant keywords for your business, segment and location based on user intent. Other strategies are to look into content websites on your niche to find keywords or competition reports to identify terms that are working to your competitors
- SEO Keyword Selection– after a database of keywords is built is important to select key opportunities and prioritise keywords in order to focus the strategies on keywords that either is easy to get rankings or more relevance to generate leads and sales. One of the most common strategies is to identify long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for and create content and an action plan for generating the quickest wins possible.
- Content SEO Recommendations– The content SEO recommendation is based on the keyword research and selection and it is a document that contains which pages can be created and which keywords it must focus to produce a relevant response for users searches.
- Meta Tags Creation– Meta tags are tags that provide information to search engines bots so they can understand relevancy and hierarchy of your content such as Title Tag, Description, heading tags, and Image tags & Alt tags, language and website versions tags, schema tags and many others more specific to pages to ensure the bots identify the right information about your business, products and services.
- Sitemap– Create an XML sitemap to send the search engines your website structure and URLs facilitating the access of bots.
- Implementation– It includes the actions of improving the technology and parts of the website that can be done either by your internal IT team or the SEO provider.
- Internal linking– Create internal links on your website to facilitate user navigation in a way that makes sense.
- User experience – Improve the website user experience so navigation is facilitated, and search engines understand your website providers better results.
It is a part of the SEO project that focuses on improving the authority of your website and brand by expanding its online presence.
Publicity and marketing: Distribution of content and news about your brand and industry to online channels.
Social Networking: Creation of content and profiles on several social media channels in order to enhance online presence and it can help your social media traffic.
Local and business directories: Submit the company information to websites meant to list services in several niches. It helps the EAT of your website establish trust through having NAP (Names, Address and phone) information that is consistent and helps Google to identify your online presence. It includes submitting your business to Google My Business, Bing Places and Apple Maps
Partnerships: Partnering with providers and associations to display your content and brand as a trustable service provider in order to expand your online presence.
Content marketing: Developing pieces of content such as studies, articles, videos and infographics to engage visitors, get shares and slowly build online and brand awareness of your website while generating traffic.
The SEO project cycle
Normally SEO projects take a structure and logical stream of actions from ensuring your website is accessible to actually increase its relevance to search engines.
The SEO project starts with a meeting where the client is going to provide information on the company, services, products and which are the most relevant business opportunities. It also includes providing access to the service provider such as website login, Google analytics account details and other information.
The next step is to conduct an analysis of the website looking at several technical points to ensure the website can be accessed by the search engines bots. It normally looks at technical barriers, page speed, sitemap, usage of tags and other development issues that affect the website crawling.
Analysing the website for competitors to identify which actions they do, the content they have and keywords they are ranking for to identify opportunities in that niche.
The keyword research is the heart of an SEO project as it will build a database of searches users made in relation to your business niche. Then, evaluate the keywords, select the and prioritise the most relevant by search volume or difficulty to guide the first SEO cycle.
After it, creating an action plan that comprises correction of technical problems, optimisation of the current website and content creation.
Making corrections of the technical issues identified during the technical audit in order to ensure correct accessibility, indexing and ranking. Depending on the scope of the project can be done by the SEO provider, by the IT department or a third-party provider.
Using the information gathered from the keyword research to optimise the current pages of the website and make them more relevant to the searches selected.
Website structure optimisation
It regards making optimisation to the structure of the website and creating a website architecture that facilitates the crawling of the website and enhances the user experience.
Creating new content to cover topics identified during the keyword research in order to have relevant pages that respond to user searches and increase website visits.
Take action such as content distribution, submitting websites directories, using social media and other methods to build online relevancy and authority.
It regards the analysis of keyword rankings and audience on Google Analytics in order to identify whether actions were successful or not in order to continuously improve the website.
After the first wave of keywords is optimised and problems resolved it is possible to do more research and planning to improve your project and get it to the next step.
To ensure the new content and website/business actions are in compliance with SEO best practices. Also, keep the website up to date to google algorithms changes and improvements to not lose relevance, audience and rankings.
– Results page for a query in a search engine
– Code and system used by search engines to evaluate and rank difference pages and websites for the searches made by users in order to generate the best quality results based upon an undisclosed number of factors.
– Term used to define a singular search made by a user in a search engine independent of the number of words used in the search, examples of keywords are “SEO”, “What is SEO”, “How much does SEO cost?”
– This a high-level term that is very broad and normally has more competition and not very specific such as “SEO”.
– This a keyword that is much more specific normally having fewer searches but easier to identify what the user wants. Examples of long-tail keywords are “6-month SEO project for restaurants’’ or “What an SEO technical audits covers?”.
– The keyword intent is a term to define which the person doing a search is looking for, it can define with standard terms or specific terms for your business. Standard terms in SEO are informational (Looking for more information on one topic or service), transactional (looking to buy something) and Navigational (looking for a brand or specific access).
Keyword Research Tool
– Keyword research tools are online tools meant to get the search volume for keywords, expand and find more keywords facilitating the keyword research step on an SEO project.
Well Known keyword research tools are:
- SE Ranking
- Answer The Public
- Keyword Sheeter
– It is a tool to collect information on your website such as how many visitors, which pages they are entering and accessing, page information, conversions, sales, user information such as city, language among many other features.
– The organic report on Google analytics is the report where visits and actions from SEO generated visits are displayed.
Google Analytics Tag
– It is a tag to be placed in the code of your website to ensure Google Analytics properly collects data on your website.
– The On-site SEO refers to the changes, technical factors and implementations that regard the website as a whole and changes that can affect all pages such as a sitemap. They are very important to ensure bots from search engines can access and read the website in order to have conditions to get the proper rankings.
– The On-page SEO terms refers to SEO implementation regarding page-level changes such as adding meta tags and content in order to make the specific page more relevant to the specific keywords selected during the keyword research process. Those tags include title tags, heading tags, description, image tags and schema mark-up. It also regards the balance of the use of a keyword to avoid using black-hat techniques.
– The off-page SEO term refers to the external optimisation actions in the project such as generating partnerships, submitting the business to the business directories, creating and curating social media profiles in order to expand the business online presence.
–This term refers to strategies meant to manipulate the search engines and get rankings easier, however, they are against search engines policies and are not relevant to users and search engines can exclude your website from their index when discovered.
White hat SEO
– It refers to SEO actions and strategies that are in compliance with search engines guidelines and policies and will not be punished by them.
– It refers to using tags to provide extra information about your business, service, or product to help search engines to read your website and display your information on the SERP.
– It refers to the external links and mentions to your website that can affect the relevance and authority of your website. It can be positive if they are good links from reliable sources and it can hurt your authority if they are links from unreliable sources,
Mobile-friendliness or responsiveness
– It refers to how friendly a website is when accessed by using mobile devices. Mobile-friendliness is a factor for ranking a website as nowadays the majority of people do searches on Google and other search engines using their mobile phones
– It refers to how fast your website loads as it is another ranking factor and affects the user experience of your website.
CRO / Conversion rate optimisation
– It refers to actions undertaken to improve the rate of the user that actually do valuable action on your website such as email subscription, sales among others.
About the Author
Head of Strategy @ Vine Digital
I have a diverse background in digital marketing, including specialties in Web Development, Pay Per Click advertising, Google AdWords, SEO, and eCommerce management.
My personal blog is here cillianbc.com
Lucky to have been able to turn my passion into my career & a regular breaker of websites