Search Engine Optimisation has been with us for a long time. Ever since search engines have existed to crawl the data on our websites, it has been important to ensure that those websites can be found for the products or services they offer and by the desired geographic audiences. Over the years many experts, non-experts and cynics have suggested that SEO is dead. This is not, and never has been, the case.
Google has worked hard to kill off the old-school, black hat techniques of spammy link building and keyword stuffing that at one point in time may have enabled you to manipulate search. With thanks to countless algorithms (often with cute names) the emphasis is now back on delivering a good quality website to your audience.
SEO is going nowhere. Recent research by Searchmetrics found that search results are more important than ever with Statista predicting that, in the US alone, SEO spending will increase to $79 billion by 2020 (up from just $11 billion in 2008). This just goes to show that now is as good a time as ever to ensure that SEO is part of your overall marketing mix. SEO is no longer a stand-alone discipline and, for the best results, should be integrated as part of your overall promotional strategy. After all, if your website is not optimised for search, not only will it not be found, but with today’s focus on user experience and social engagement to support SEO, it will probably not convert either.
Start with your website
Your website is a great starting place, it is the online brochure that should tell anyone, after just one visit, exactly what you can offer, what makes you different and what the benefits are to them choosing your product or service over a competitor’s.
Deliver a great service
What people say about you is also really important and will support your online visibility. Google is trying to think more like a human being, so it can deliver results that are just what we are looking for. So, it is no longer just about trying to rank your website for the phrase ‘dentist in London’, it is also about being the best dentist in London by encouraging your customers to leave reviews, by ensuring that your local listings are up to date and by delivering authoritative, informative and engaging content via your website and social media platforms.
Embrace Social Media
Social media and SEO go hand in hand. For Google to consider your content effective, it has to be worthy of sharing and what better place to share the content you have found interesting than on social media? It is also worth considering that Google is not the only place people search for the things they need – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube all provide search facilities and depending on the age group and preferences of your target audience it may be just as important, if not more so, to ensure your brand appears on these channels. Again, the effectiveness of your social efforts may be in part dictated by what people say about you, so you’ll need to ensure you have a prompt and positive customer service response.
Filling in the gaps
With Google taking away much of our data on how people find us and what they are looking for – consider the ‘not provided’ organic keywords and the limitations of Google’s Keyword Planner – social media does a good job of filling in the gaps. It can show us what content generates the best engagement and what issues raise the most questions so we can fine tune our content strategy to address this. So, you know that SEO is not dead and that social media needs to be an integrated part of your online marketing strategy, but here’s a final thought: monitor and measure. If you want to really understand your customers and make the most of your marketing spend, you’ll need to track how people find you, how they use your website, what puts them off and when and where they make a purchase. This is valuable data that shows whether your tactics are working or if you need to go back to the drawing board and start again.
Then you’ll know whether you are really killing it.
For an integrated, fully supported approach to SEO, social media and online marketing please speak to Blue Horizons today.