SEO is a term thrown around a lot these days as the power of search grows, but what is SEO actually? Understanding and carrying out SEO on your website is crucial if you want to generate leads from search traffic. But there’s an overwhelming amount of information available on the topic it’s confusing to know where to start.
If you’re in the “overwhelmed” camp and are thinking “more leads sound great, but what is search traffic exactly? What is SEO? Is it hard to do? How do you do it?” then never fear – read on as I’ll explain SEO and its role in your business. I promise there will be no technical jargon in this article!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and simply means taking certain actions on your website to help you be found when people use search engines such as Google. Say I search for “Cake Decorator Perth” on Google, if you had carried out some SEO on your site for that term, then hopefully you would appear in the search results.
But I have a website – why do I need to worry about people Googling me?
Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean you can automatically be found in searches. When you search on Google, you are searching an index of the web at that point in time. You are not searching anything that is online. Huh, you might be saying?
How it works is that Google sends its bots (or crawlers, spiders – whatever works for you) around the web and they look for certain information on your website that helps them work out what your business is about. Not everything is visible to the crawlers, they are only able to see certain data – they have no concern for how beautiful your images are, or how amazing your homepage slider looks. They want to know the nitty gritty, so they can ensure a good experience for “googlers”! The crawlers report back to Google with this key data and this creates the index that you search when you visit Google.
The crawlers obviously can only report back what they find on a website, so if you are a “Cake Decorator in Perth” but haven’t done any SEO to let Google know that’s what you do, then what they record for your site won’t reflect your business. Then when someone searches Google for “Cake decorator Perth”, chances are you won’t show up.
The index is constantly updating to reflect changes on websites, so don’t be too concerned about that side of things. And of course, beautiful images may help you convert in other ways. This is just a brief overview of how the indexing works so you can understand the concept and use that understanding to improve your SEO!
How can SEO help with my business?
If you can make money through your website, then SEO is your friend. Good SEO on your site should equal more traffic – which equals more conversions – which equals more money and exposure for you. Sounds good, right?
Social media is fun, but let’s be honest it’s a lot of hard work too, and super time consuming. It’s a great way to generate leads and traffic to your site, but you must work at it. Even if you schedule your posts in advance, you must come back after they’ve been posted and engage with the comments. Most likely whilst you are doing that, you will see some other notifications pop up and next thing you know an hour of time has passed and you’ve achieved very little. Not to mention the fact you are dependent on Facebook and their algorithm – and we all know how often that changes!
Search traffic is different. You write your page content or blog post once, you carry out the SEO and then you wait. Someone might find it in a week, then more in a month, some more 6 months later…and three years from now visitors will still be landing on your page – long after the initial time in putting the content up there. Again, you are dependent on the Google algorithm, however useful content with sound SEO (as part of an overall SEO strategy) should see you ranking long after the content was written.
A combination of both marketing strategies means you have leads from different sources – so you aren’t reliant on one or the other. Much safer!
It sounds like it might be complicated – is it?
You can do as deep as you like with SEO. There certainly are more technical things you can do to help improve your SEO, but there are plenty of simple things you can implement as well. If you focus on the basics at the least you should see improvements in your results. Once you get the hang of the basics, it’s not as confusing as it seems!
Basic SEO to think about for your website
We could spend a lot of time on how to choose keywords for your business, and how to use them as part of a longer-term strategy – but let’s keep it simple. First, you need to understand your target audience so you know what sorts of phrases they will be searching for and to guide the content you will write. Next, you need to do some research to come up with appropriate keywords to use. Once we have the keywords, we need to place those keywords in some key areas on your website. Try to include your keywords in:
- Title (the title tag for the page)
- First paragraph/top of the page
- Body content on the page
- Meta Description
- Alt text on images
Note this is a guide – if it doesn’t read well and sounds unnatural to include the keywords in your first paragraph – don’t force it!
How do you “do SEO” on your website?
The things you are focusing on for SEO don’t change, but the platform you’re on determines how easy or difficult it can be to do them. Each platform has its own tools you can use to carry out SEO practices. For example, if you’re running a WordPress website, then the Yoast plugin makes it super easy to carry out SEO on each page, post or product. It guides you though what you need to think about and gives you a score and pointers on how to improve the SEO for that page or post.
As I mentioned previously, there is a lot more you can do to really focus your SEO strategy, but understanding how search works and knowing some of the simple things you can to do should help you see some growth in traffic.
Hopefully, I have convinced you of the merits of SEO, and made it sound a little less scary. If you still feel unsure, or need a helping hand – please feel free to reach out to us. We offer very affordable, transparent SEO help for all knowledge levels and businesses from cake decorators to dog trainers (and beyond!).