Search engine optimisation opens your business’s communication efforts to the doors of the internet, creating opportunities for more sales and establishing trust.
When you’re looking to establish long term brand awareness, expand your audience and earn more revenue, Search Engine Optimisation is indispensable. As search engines like Google and Yahoo become the predominant way for people to find products and businesses, having a professional SEO strategy is crucial to the quantity and quality of your website traffic. When you brand yourself well on search engines, you’re not just opening your door to new prospects and customers, you’re also establishing authority and credibility in your market.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of optimising a website and its pages to position higher on search engine results. When a search engine like Google or Bing indexes your website for the search results, it uses bots called crawlers to gather information about your pages. These bots start at a known webpage and follow all connected internal and external links to determine its contents. Crawlers scan every page, analysing all contents such as titles, lengths, key words, subheadings and usability. Later, when a user makes an online search, the data found by crawlers will determine how relevant your website is to the search, and thus how high on the search pages it will rank.
While you can pay agencies like Google AdWords to temporarily advertise your website on the top of search results, a costly, limited in quantity process that only lasts as long as you’re paying, you cannot pay to change your website’s permanent rank on search results. That’s why appropriately optimising your website towards search engine likings is crucial to its success. Whatever the case, customers are far more likely to trust a website that is organically listed by Google, making SEO an indispensable marketing technique for the century.
Undeniably, we live in a digital age. When people seek solutions, they no longer go through books or newspaper articles – instead they go straight to a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. The whole purpose of search engine optimisation is to achieve higher website rankings on search pages. That undoubtedly means when you have a professionally optimised website you’re opening your doors to a plethora of new readers, prospects and customers, moreover, ones who are already looking for the solutions you have to offer.
Having a website is one thing, but being easily found is another. Consider that the number one position on a Google search result receives 31.7% of all clicks, and that moving up just one spot can increase your click through rate by 30.8%. When you’re trying to attract customers to your business, these numbers are neither small nor to be ignored. If you want to avoid being ignored, making sure you rank on the highest search engine page results is crucial as most readers won’t bother to scroll past page one. As search engines continue to index your pages for search results, the better your SEO optimisation, the more people will find your page and be willing to click.
When you optimise your website for SEO, you dont just increase the quantity of your traffic, you also increase the quality. When you spend money on a typical marketing campaign, not all the people who see it are interested, and of those interested only a minority will convert to customers. In the case of SEO, the people who find your website in the search engines are already looking for what you have to offer, thus making your conversion rate undoubtedly higher. For example, an ordinary plumbing advertisement may receive a 1-2% conversion rate at best; however, a prospect who searches Google for “plumbers in London” are already looking for those and is far more likely to convert.
Search Engine Optimisation also has a profound impact on local searches. As nearly 80% of local searches on mobile lead to conversion, searches like “gyms near me” are becoming more common place for people finding local services. Utilities like Google’s My Business make it easy for businesses to list themselves with their websites and contact details on local searches. When John’s Bakery is automatically recommended to all local bread searchers, attracting more clients becomes a profoundly easier task.
It is generally accepted that the higher a website ranks on google, the more credible and trustworthy it is. When you search in “mobile contracts” on Google, you dont expect large carriers like Vodaphone or Sky Mobile to be listed on page 17, instead they show up on page 1. Just as equally, when you optimise your site to rank well on Google, you prove that you’re a credible source and a long established brand. From the perspective of a prospect, the knowledge that Google or Bing would trust you enough to rank on page one or two shows credible authority in your website.
Similarly, seeing a website ranking on page six or seven does very little for a business’s reputation. Lower listing is usually a sign that Google has found little use in your information; when Google doesn’t recognise you as a useful source of information, neither will your readers. When you optimise your website for SEO, you dont just attract more viewers who are interested, but you also prove to them beforehand that your website is already trusted by many people including the search engines themselves.
Your reputation as a credible is source is no trivial matter. If prospects are going to convert to clients, knowing that you are recommended by Google and Bing has a profound impact on their perception towards you. It is usually assumed that the more popular a business is, the less likely it is to be considered a scam. Considering that, page one websites are often met with the mentality, if everyone else is reading it, it must have credibility.
Unlike other forms of traffic, search engine optimisation is exponentially cheaper and longer lasting, making for a much higher return of investment. Let’s say your goal is to rank number one on the search engine for the phrase “Norfolk coast holiday homes”. If just 1000 people search this query every month (not to mention other similar variations), ranking first (which has a 31.7% click-through rate) will result in 317 qualified visitors to your website per month. Assuming you have a 1% conversion rate, that’s roughly 3 (3.17) new customers every month, or roughly one every 10 days.
Naturally, most digital marketing campaigns use Google Ads, a paid marketing platform where if you were to bid on the same keyword “Norfolk coast family homes”, you would pay roughly £3/click for every person who entered your website. With the same 1000 people searching this query per month, and an average click-through rate (for Google search ads) of 1.91%, you would get just 19 qualified visitors per month. If your business continues to have a 1% conversion rate, you would be waiting five months for one customer. Moreover, with a cost of £3 per click and a 1% conversion rate you would be paying £300 per customer.
Another key difference between SEO and paid search is their growth trajectories. Growth from paid search advertising is purely linear. The more money you invest, the more clicks you acquire. While this can help you scale quickly, every incremental growth of traffic is mirrored by an incremental growth in cost. SEO on the other hand is free, and follows a much more efficient trajectory. Once growth starts to pick up on a site, you can pick up exponentially more sales from already interested customers at a much lower cost.
Original content and search engine optimisation work hand in hand; by creating useful, relevant content for visitors, including blog posts, videos, texts and images, your site will rank higher on search pages. Content marketing serves one key purpose bound to create interested prospects: creating high-value content offers. A high-value content offer, often known by its acronym HVCO, is a free piece of content designed to both attract readers, and then provide those readers with something useful.
Generally, these content offers can include tips, how-to guides, product reviews, educational information, personal advice and anything else that could give value to readers. By producing content that is authoritative and useful for readers, search engines place your posts higher and higher in search results pages, making a great opportunity for free marketing. When you cover enough topics in your industry, building brand awareness becomes increasingly easier as more and more people become familiar with your posts in their search engines.
And that’s where blogging enters the game, and why so many major corporations will use a blog: as a vehicle for attracting customers and establishing authority with high-value content offers. If you’re serious about attracting valuable customers, they need to be serious about the solutions you have to offer. If your content can offer a solution to the burning problems in the mind of the readers, not only have you attracted someone towards a solution, but you’ve also established yourself as a professional in the field, and the authority they will turn to when your reader chooses to become a customer.
Ultimately, content marketing can guarantee one thing: that your business can build strong relationships with its readers and then provide them with solutions to the problems they’re having. When you can actively take a reader and entice them towards your branded content, you’re doing two key things. First of all, you’re establishing with the reader that you’re an expert in the field. This makes you appear both trustworthy and approachable. Secondly, once your prospect is screaming at you, wanting you to help them with the solutions you have made them aware of, as an established professional in the field, they will naturally go straight to you to help them. That’s a bond that cannot be missed.
When you think of competitive advantages, you usually think of things such as brand loyalty, cheaper costs, patents and good timing. But now consider that on average 94% of a website’s traffic will come from Google. Not from advertising, but from Google. That says a lot about search engine optimisation, not only that it’s a massively overlooked competitive advantage for the digital age, but that the vast majority of a business’s sales are directly linked to their search engine ranking.
Because of this, your largest competitors will undoubtedly be investing in SEO, trying to take every opportunity to compete for the top search pages. If you consider that website results on the first page of a Google search receive 90% of traffic, you simply cannot afford to not be there, especially when your largest competitors already are. That’s not just a sign that a well optimised site will receive more visitors, but it also shows that there is a clear correlation between market share and search page rankings.
If you’re not gambling with your business, you will know your brand’s presence, market share and sales are all predicated on your ability to market your product and persuade prospects. In the 21st century that no longer means buying posters or newspaper advertisements – it entails going exactly where people go when they want a solution: their phones. Competing for a spot on the search engine pages thus becomes like competing for a place on the high street; the better your position, the more people will find you and enter.
When your entire business model depends on attracting and persuading customers, optimising your website for the search engines becomes an indispensable lesson. When you can spread content that attracts people to your brand and its products, selling becomes a much more predictable game. Getting started is not hard either, with the quick setup of a professional website you can have powerful marketing techniques running within 24 hours.