Search Engine Optimization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy; a focused element of an overall holistic approach to driving customers to your business via online platforms. In other words, marketing the modern way!

What is SEO?

SEO is primarily concerned with ensuring that your website ranks higher in search engine results, thereby driving more traffic to your site and potentially more business. However, while SEO used to involve adding a few keywords to your site for search engines to find, SEO in 2015 is far more multi-faceted and needs to be part of a wider digital marketing plan. Because of this, many companies turn to website design and marketing experts such as Pronto for support.

Create an SEO strategy?

Forget what you think you know about SEO and recognize too that it is not a static solution. The rules are changing all the time as online behavior and capabilities develop over time. Naively thinking you can just 'wing-it' or that you don't need to think about SEO could stop you from reaching your full business potential. As well as adapting you need a solid monitoring and tracking system in place for your SEO. Here are a few points you need to consider when working out an SEO strategy:

Who is your target market? – SEO today is not about just grabbing as much traffic as possible but attracting potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer. Think about demographics, what your market is searching for and how, as well as where customers are located. The more finely-tuned you can be on these basics, the more you can target your SEO effectively. Google Analytics is a good place to start with your investigations!

Mobile markets are bigger than desktops – You don't need statistics to show you that the online mobile market has exploded in the past few years, overtaking desktops last year. Optimization is about creating a website that fits this new style of online browsing. If potential customers are looking for you using mobile devices then make sure that you provide a quality user experience. If you are not sure how your website measures up then you could simply try out Google's Mobile-Friendly Test by entering your website URL.

Search engines are expanding – When you think about search engines, do you automatically think of Google? The tech giant has such a big share of the market that 'Googling' has become a verb we use when we are searching online. However, this is changing, with browsers looking at other search engines, such as Firefox opting for Yahoo as its default. Search engine DuckDuckGo has gained in popularity too for those who favor searches without personalized tracking.

Keywords need to correspond with ROI – Rather than focusing on one keyword and using it to chase your website up the ranks, keywords are much more about considering what your target market is actually tapping into the search engine. Intent or long tail keywords require you to zoom in on what users are doing, how, and when. Keywords are still relevant in SEO but they need to be precise and throwing a smattering of keywords into the mix is not enough.
Also, certain keywords may get many hits but are these the best hits? It is not always about numbers but how these translate into conversions, revenue and profitability. Don't measure keyword success in simple numbers but find out what the ROI (Return on Investment) is for your SEO efforts.

Clear website and quality content is king – A user-friendly website, with clear navigation, SEO keywords and optimized with relevant, quality content is what is really going to build up traffic. Each page needs to be built around keyword themes, with unique content, so that search engines can crawl through your site easily and rank you higher. You want your site to really respond to what your potential customers are looking for, so keep the content natural and focused; don't strangle the style and meaning of your site with keyword stuffing which is a turn-off to search engines and users alike.

Quality links count – In the old-days, not so long ago, the name of the SEO game was link-building; getting as many links as possible out there on other sites. Inbound or back links are still incredibly important and can act as a stamp of legitimacy for your site. However, today it is all about quality not quantity, with links on relevant sites potentially bringing in more referral traffic and more users from your target group. The result? Better brand exposure and SEO with greater opportunities for conversions.

Social media has a pivotal role – Last, but my no means least, social media is an evolving platform that has changed from a medium to share content only to a viable marketing device. Users will often come to your website via social media so to optimize your online presence, in line with SEO, you need to create an up-to-date, engaging, and personalized approach that often steps outside the realms of classic marketing campaigns.

Monitor and track – A vital element of any SEO strategy is to follow how it is working. Google Analytics or another analytics tool can provide valuable data for understanding how changes affect your traffic volume and ultimately your conversions. To be successful with your digital marketing strategy you need to know what works and be able to quickly and effectively adapt if a method is not working how you perhaps envisaged.

Online marketing such as PPC (Pay Per Click), email marketing, and relevant online PR all need to work well and complement your SEO strategy. This means creating the right balance between paid ads and organic SEO searches in the result pages, cross-selling of content via relevant emails with keywords, and interesting press releases to really boost brand awareness and increase visibility for your site too.