SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This means “optimising” a website to improve its visibility to relevant searches in a search engine (Mainly Google as it is the most used search engine in the world). It means that your website is easy to find when people type certain terms into Google and if they are relevant to you then you will be close to top of the page. This does not happen overnight though and many large companies put huge amounts of time and money into ensuring that they are at the very top of the page when people search Google for terms relevant to their business or products.
Why do I need SEO?
If you are looking to improve visitors to your webpage or website then you need to consider improving your websites visibility or “ranking” within Google. Google assesses a lot of different elements to rate your website and rank it for certain terms. For instance if you are selling a product, and someone searches for that product you need to be on the first page of results. Only 1.5% of people ever click on to page 2 of the search so your chances of making a sale or gaining a visitor are hugely limited.
Is having a website not enough?
People still have a “build it and they will come” belief with websites. The truth is that you could have a stunning website and sell the best items at the cheapest price, but if Google does not see you enough then no one will ever find you. It’s a bit like owning the best shop in the middle of the countryside with no signs pointing towards it. No one will find it and eventually it will have to close. You need to let the world know that you are there. Think of Google ranking as spreading the word about where you are or the internet. Letting people online know you exist.
If you don’t do this, you’re going to lose out to a competitor who is doing it.
Is there a quick fix?
In a word: No! The process takes time and should be ‘natural’- meaning that the links to your website (A major ranking factor) have to appear naturally. This means you have to create regular, unique and quality content that people will want to link too (either from a website or via social media).
Google has strict guidelines in place that mean if your SEO appears to be unnatural, Google may become suspicious that you are “gaming” the system and give your website a penalty in the search rankings. Links to your website must be relevant and from reputable sources.
NEVER PURCHASE LINKS OR ENGAGE IN LINK SCHEMES.
SEO done properly takes time and you should see your rankings slowly increase as you climb the search results towards the number one spot.
What about these companies who offer 100,000 links for £100?
In the short term this may push your rankings up considerably. In the long term this spells disaster. When Google sees these unnatural links it will penalise you heavily by giving you a ranking penalty. For minor penalties you could be dropped by 5 to 10 places (Pushing a page down in the search results). For serious penalties you can be penalized with a 50+ place penalties and could face permanent exclusion until the bad links are removed. This will take a great deal of time and could close your online business overnight. Imagine trying to fix 1000+ dodgy links to your site. You will have to look at every link to your website and work out which links should not be there.
Is it expensive? How can I compete with the bigger companies?
This question depends on many different factors. For instance, the industry you work in, the products you supply and how effective your competitors have been in their SEO campaigns. For example, if you wished to rank for a term such as “whiskey online” you will find that a great many large companies have put a great deal of time and resources into ranking at the top of Google’s search results You will need a lot of time, a lot of money and an SEO company that really knows what they are doing to get your ranking anywhere near Google’s first page. It may be more practical to look at ranking for other search terms or broadening the range of terms relevant to your product. (you SEO company will advise you on this). You will struggle to compete with the might and budget of these bigger companies on the obvious key terms but that is not to say that you cannot attract business through optimising for other search terms to generate more traffic and ultimately more sales for your website.
Effective SEO will pay for itself. Any reputable SEO company will be able to clearly demonstrate progress.
I’m still not convinced. Maybe it’s not the right time for SEO.
With the current “double dip” recession, many businesses have not survived. High street shops are closing their stores and the public are being more selective in their spending . The same cannot be said for online sales however. The UK online economy is growing rapidly, with the UK e-commerce industry number 1 in the world.
Where high street shops are closing, the online industry is thriving as business people look for ways to cut their overheads and find new business. It’s difficult to make people walk in and spend money in your shop, but online if you have a decent website and good SEO behind you: you can thrive. Then longer you leave the move the more companies you will be competing with. So now is the ideal time.
To survive you have to adapt. If business on the high street is failing then you have to look for an alternative. That alternative is to sell online. But to succeed in doing that you need to let the world know where you are via the internet. Most people now check prices online before making a big purchase and usually find that high street shops cannot compete with online store prices. But to appear in those search results it is critical that you have effective SEO to promote your online business.