Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is extremely important for your online marketing strategy. Web Pages are ‘optimised’ when people are searching for keywords associated with your brand, product or service on search engines such as Google or Yahoo.
The search engine then ‘ranks’ your page based on various different, unknown, algorithms. Some features of which, include how relevant your content is to that keyword, and therefore, how closely matched your business is to what the consumer is searching for. Ultimately, around 40% of the clicks on Google go to the top rankings, with the remaining 60% of clicks being used on the rest of the search pages. SEO is really important for business growth and brand awareness.
Ranking high on Google can significantly improve the organic traffic on your site. Statistics from recent studies show that 41% of clicks go straight to the top ranking. SEO will definitely give you results (although not immediately) and as soon as you start your SEO strategy, you will begin to see steady increases in your traffic. Google Analytics is a great multi-purpose tool that can help you to track visitors and create reports to show these improvements.
Ranking on page 1 (or even number 1!) on Google for a specific search term is not only for the benefit of improving traffic, but it also makes you far more credible in the eyes of Google and your customers. Customers subconsciously note the top pages ranked on Google, and chances are that if they continue to see your site in the search results, they will subconsciously deem your website as credible. You may not think this is true; but if you think back to the dark ages of the Yellow Pages, you wouldn’t skip to page 11 if you were looking for an electrician, you’d more than likely start at the top of page 1 of that category and work your way through.
Gaining a surge in traffic from your SEO strategy is one thing; but without converting this traffic, the whole thing may seem pointless. Let’s say people search for a keyword, and your site is number one on the search hits, they click through to your website; and since you have ranked as number 1, your content should be pretty spot on too. As they are a REAL potential customer, ie. actively looking for what you are selling with a clear intent (since they typed in the search term that matched them with your site) they are more likely to purchase from your website. These purchases are called a conversions as this is usually the main business goal of your website, other conversions could include completing website forms or gaining a lead.
As well as this, as more users who have already shown intent are visiting your website, this helps reduce bounce rate, as these people who are actively looking for your products are less likely to click on your website and then leave without completing any actions. You can track where people have clicked on a page through tools such as crazyegg, or alternatively, you could look at your Google Analytics data to see behaviour flow reports.
An SEO strategy can also allow you to gain insights into your actual target audience, rather than individuals who may share mutual interests. Ultimately, the people searching for terms which you have ranked for means that they are searching for your business, since the keyword should be relevant to your offering. By using Google Analytics, you will be able to measure and track the behaviour of your site visitors to further optimise your site to suit their needs.
Although an SEO strategy must be maintained and updated regularly to maintain your ranking position, organic ranking is still cheaper than Pay-Per-Click adverts on Google. Unlike PPC, maintenance of your strategy will mean that you will continue to rank at the same spot (or higher) and you will be unlikely to lose your spot, especially if you rank first! Depending on your keyword, PPC can vary in cost but none the less, this will not ensure that you will even appear on the homepage, depending on Google’s bidding rules. Learn more about PPC bidding here.
As more and more people are turning to the internet to search for products and services, there is a likely chance that your website will be the first aspect of your business that the customer sees. Therefore, it is really important to ensure that your website is discoverable by users, as well as ensuring that your site is engaging with your customers and encouraging them to convert. Some of the most basic requirements for successful optimisation are things such as site speed, high quality quality and easy navigation of the site. This being said, the indirect requirements include user friendliness, easy accessibility and ultimately,the site has to be useful for the user.
One of the main requirements of any search engine when crawling a site is the relevance and quality of your content compared to the users search query, and how closely the two match up. This means that your site must follow a sensible structure and pass a certain level of quality in order to rank high for a search term. All of these elements play a really important role in the user’s experience, which in turn encourages engagement and interaction with your brand.
The chances of your competitors already following an SEO strategy within their business is already ranking well…and if they aren’t, we strongly suggest to get yourselves ahead of the game. Do not underestimate the power of SEO; and remember, if your competitors are doing it, then you should be too.