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What is SEO and why is it important?

Search Engine Marketing

A search engine result doesn't appear by magic. Instead, where you appear on Google comes down to what you know (or don't know) about SEO.


SEO stands for search engine optimisation, which is about optimising your site to rank higher on Google and other major search engines


Search engines analyse several ranking factors and then decide which pages to promote. The web page that best matches the ranking criteria appears on that all-important 1st page.


What is SEO, and why is it so important


At this point, you might be wondering what all this SEO fuss is about. Surely anyone can figure it out? 


Let's work through it:


·  Make a list of Google's ranking factors. 

·  Open Google Search Console to see where your site isn't doing so good.

·  Add new content that ticks all of Google's boxes. 

·  A few days later, you appear on the 1st page of Google. 

·  Leads come flying in. 

·  Sales are through the roof. 

·  "SEO? Completed it!"

·  Everyone thinks you're a genius. 

·  You strut down the street like a boss. 


Simples. 


Well, unfortunately, things are a bit more complicated than that.


The SEO work starts, then never stops...


Google recently updated its search engine algorithm; it quite often does that. On average, Google's search engine algorithm updates 12 times per day.


Thankfully, there's only one update you need to worry about. It's called Google's Helpful Content Update, and it completely redefined how Google identifies and ranks 'good content.'


The update was to improve the overall quality of online content by incentivising marketers to create authoritative content with real value. It means cheap tricks like keyword stuffing or misleading titles to inflate click rates won't work anymore. And thank god (or google) for that. This type of digital housecleaning was long overdue. 


A successful SEO strategy is a bit like building a new house. First comes the planning, i.e. identifying your audience and deciding what kind of content to create. Now comes the construction, i.e. writing your content and freshening up web pages. 


Job done! It's time to sit back and admire your new site. It's beautiful. 

Beautiful houses


An SEO manager's work is never done.


But you're not finished yet. In fact, you're just getting started.


Like a new house, a website needs constant tending and maintenance work. Without ongoing SEO TLC, your site will start to suffer. Fewer and fewer people will come to visit.


Then it won't be too long until it starts slipping towards the digital graveyard, which, in this case, means page 2 or, god forbid, page 3 of Google search queries.


And that's not (much) of an exaggeration. 


75% of people - three-quarters of your potential customers or clients - never scroll past the first page of Google.


"Search engine marketing should be a top priority for any business that relies on a strong online presence,"

advises Alan Davies, the founder and director AXD.

"If you're not ranking on Google's first page, you're missing out on a tonne of traffic. Even worse, that traffic is going straight to your competitors!"


The straightforward guide to SEO


All content must be optimised, from your homepage to your SEO landing page examples, to match Google's ranking criteria and satisfy your audience's expectations. 


The big goal (in fact, the only real goal) is to make it as easy as possible for search engines and users to:


Understand what your website is about, instantly

This is the internet. Nobody waits for anything on here. And we certainly don't want to 'think' - or at least not too hard. Click and absorb. That's what we expect.


Find a relevant page or content

Does your content answer a specific question or provide information someone is searching for? Is your audience better off for reading it? If so, it's content, and everything else is just fluff. And nobody's got time for that anymore.


Find the right answer

There's a special place on the internet for 'theories and 'speculations;' it's called BitChute. The top links on Google provide authoritative and factually correct information on commonly searched queries. A listicle' unveiling' the world's ten most influential shapeshifting reptilians might be fun to read. But it will never appear in Google's People Also Ask box - and that's probably a good thing. Content on the lizard people conspiracy should explore why so many people believe this kind of stuff.


How can I make my SEO strategy stronger?


That's enough SEO theory. Let's roll up our sleeves and look at some practical tips for an SEO strategy in digital marketing.


We'll start by looking at on-page SEO.


What is on-page SEO?


On-page SEO refers to the cosmetic side of your site, which is the front-facing content people see when they search for your company name and click your links. 


On-page SEO makeovers focus on these key areas:


URL: 

URL is your Uniform Resource Locator. Translated from high-tech speech, that simply means your web address title. Keep them concise, relevant, and compelling—a minor ranking factor but still something to pay close attention to.


Meta Data: 

Metadata tags tell Google and people what you're content is about. Meta tags include the title tag under your Google link. It's one of the first things users notice. So it has to be short, sharp, and straight to the point. This is your elevator pitch.


Keywords: 

Keywords aren't as important as they once were. Google's new content algorithm is more concerned with context and relevance. Put simply, Google Search Console Keyword research still matters, but how you use keywords to talk to your users' matters much more.


Internal Links: 

The proper internal link-building structure can boost your SEO score, sending you soaring up through the Google search engine results. Internal links should follow a clear path that guides users from your homepage to the content they want, with as few clicks as possible.


Images: 

Place images near the relevant text, and compress them for faster loading time. Add captions to provide more context. Alt text for image best practices includes originality and brevity. Use keywords sparingly and don't include phrases like "image of" or "photo of." Post original images when you can.


Off-page SEO


You can do off-page SEO on other sites and platforms to attract more traffic. It includes:


Local listings: 

Local listing (or local SEO) improves your visibility in local searches, such as "barbers near me." It's great for attracting customers who are ready to buy; nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices lead to conversions. Get your local SEO strategy started with a Google My Business account. 


Backlinks

Quality links from high-ranking sites bring target audiences directly to your pages, showing Google that others view you as a credible and informative source. 


Guest posting: 

Getting your content onto other sites helps you build high-quality backlinks. It enhances your reputation as a thought leader in the industry while exposing your brand to a new audience—a great quick win.


Social media: 

Social media marketing drives quality traffic to your site or blog, encourages engagement and sharing and turns customers into advocates and community members. 


Technical SEO


We're going to skim over technical SEO. Not because we're lazy. Instead, it's an act of kindness.


Technical SEO refers to the back-office stuff that makes your site work and pages load. We're talking about indexing, structured data testing tools, XML sitemaps, and a host of other terms that leave most of us scratching our heads like a monkey staring at a Rubix cube.


People who are into technical SEO are REALLY into technical SEO. They can spring clean a website in the same time it takes us to read through the opening pages of "The beginner's guide to technical SEO." They are, quite frankly, a godsend.


Don't try this stuff at home, kids. Seriously. Leave the technical work to the technical experts. 

Dog sat at a computer wearing glasses and a collar


Why SEO matters

Imagine selling a house without an estate agent listing. 


Don't bother telling anyone the next time you want to sell your car. Use the power of visualisation instead. 


Just close your eyes and ask the universe. Then it's only a matter of time until someone knocks on your door with a wad of fresh banknotes.


Stupid, right? 


But unless you're doing everything you can to boost your site's SEO, then you are, we're sorry to say, in the same boat as those wishful thinkers who believe reading 'The Secret' is a recipe for business success.


And you're smarter than that.


Launching your SEO strategy


Phew! That was a lot to take in. Planning and implementing an SEO strategy is far from straightforward and requires high skill and technical expertise. So don't worry if you feel overwhelmed.


If you don't have the resources or time to get up to speed on SEO, leave it to the experts, us! 


We're a specialist SEO agency in Manchester with tonnes of experience helping businesses land on Google's first page. We offer a complete end-to-end SEO strategy that includes on-page and off-page SEO, and we'll take care of all that technical SEO stuff we mentioned earlier. 


We guarantee to drive traffic, raise brand awareness, and generate more leads.


We help our clients grow faster than the market, and free up resources to work on other projects. With our support they average a 200% lead growth rate within the first 12 months. 


We're offering free SEO consultations now. Book your discovery call here.

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