Davey Potter And The Magic SEO Wand
Many Irish businesses call up asking can we ‘SEO’ their website. The problem here is that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is not a verb and we cannot provide the quick fix solution that people often look for. Many people think that all it takes is a little SEO magic and their site will appear at the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Results Pages). Unfortunately this is not the case and SEO is an on-going process for most businesses.
The good news however is that SEO can be fairly straightforward and that there are rewards to be reaped if businesses are willing to make a relatively modest investment and have a little faith. This article attempts to explain what is actually involved in the process of optimising a website and what business owners should keep in mind when considering SEO as a marketing tactic.
A Quick Overview
SEO is the process of improving a website’s organic search traffic. This can be broken up into 2 main parts:
- On-Site SEO – Not surprisingly on-site SEO refers to work that is done on your website.
- Off-Site SEO – Off-Site work primarily refers to link building and reporting.
Castles Built On Sand Crumble
Initial research and analysis followed by on-site work is an absolute must at the beginning of any campaign. The most important thing to do for any campaign is to set out goals. These goals will determine what keywords you focus on initially which in turn will determine the overall direction of your campaign. Although on-site factors only count for about 25% of Google’s ranking algorithm, this should not be scoffed at however as it’s vital to build a solid foundation to work from.
There are a few essential processes involved here:
- A thorough site analysis helps to identify problem areas of your site at the beginning. Rectifying these problems early on will increase the benefit of subsequent work on the site.
- Competitor analysis will determine how much time needs to be spent on your campaign in order to overtake your competitors and help you to set realistic goals.
- Keyword Research – It is important to pick the right keywords to target at the beginning as all other work done will be based around this.
A good SEO company will always put time into research and analysis.
Related: 15 Ways to Win the SEO Battle
Just Say No!
Google looks at the quality and quantity of inbound links to a website in order to determine it’s worth. Typically links count for about 75% of Google’s ranking algorithm. It is important to work on building the right kind of links to your site however and this is why the process takes time when done correctly. A good SEO company will source quality websites related to your own to acquire links from.
Some companies will offer a high number of low quality links for what seems like a bargain price. Low quality links include directory submissions, low level article submissions, social bookmarks, blog/forum comments and generally constitute link spam. Unfortunately these type of links have little value. They can offer a base for a website but do not achieve results without good quality links.
In Google’s latest algorithm update (Penguin), many sites were penalised for having ‘unnatural’ or ‘over-optimised’ link profiles. This isn’t just a once off and Google are constantly trying to filter out ways in which unscrupulous SEOs attempt to manipulate the search results. Therefore it is wise to play within the rules and just say no to dodgy tactics.
A good quality link comes from a respected website, usually from within a paragraph of text relating to the theme of the website being linked to. These type of links are generally earned through publishing quality articles on your own website or on other peoples sites. One high quality link is worth a thousand low quality or ‘spam’ links so they’re definitely worth getting.
If you are contemplating using an SEO company a good question to ask is how and where they get their links.
Buying Vs Renting
I may be a little biased here but I reckon SEO offers a better ROI (Return on Investment) then other online marketing methods. Although PPC can provide immediate results, the investment needs to be made continuously. SEO requires a more substantial initial investment but the results are long-term and will continue after the campaign ends.
A good analogy is that SEO is like buying a house while PPC is like renting.
The Average SEO Campaign
There is no average SEO campaign. Each will differ depending on the goals, audience and budget of the business, the overall quality of the website and whether there has been previous SEO work completed on the site. Basically there are too many factors involved to boil it down to a predefined formula.
Generally if an SEO company is asking a lot of questions about your business this is a good sign. It means they are interested in achieving your goals and not just offering a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
I wrote DIY Search Engine Optimisation a few months ago about taking the DIY approach to SEO. I’d never try to discourage anybody from doing this and the truth is it can work very well especially if the business owner is web savvy and active online, and if they are in a less competitive industry. The truth is however that most business owners simply do not have the time to invest in something like SEO. If you are willing to learn the ropes and have a go by all means go ahead but keep in mind that your time may be better utilised elsewhere.
Related: The 7 Day SEO Diet
An SEO Campaign is for Life Not Just For Christmas
OK well perhaps not for life but what I mean is SEO will not give you overnight results. Typically we recommend that clients commit to a six month plan in order to see a substantial ROI (Return On Investment). This is because once the initial work is complete it takes time to build up links naturally. It is important to keep this in mind if you are considering SEO services as often companies who offer quick-fix solutions are chancing their arms. If you are prepared to take the plunge and invest in SEO over a period of time, as you would with other marketing activities such as PPC Advertising, you will see the long term benefits.