SEO: The Cornerstone of Online Marketing

seoIn recent times the internet has become far more accessible, and in response to this Australians are heading online in droves. The rise of the smart phone has proved instrumental in supporting this, as people are now able to access the internet when on the go, wherever they may be.

As an increasing number of people rely on the internet, online marketing is quickly replacing traditional forms of marketing, such as print advertising. In this day and age, it is virtually essential that businesses have a website, as this allows potential customers to easily find them online.

While having a great website is one thing, making sure that it can be found is another consideration altogether. You can have the best website in the world which offers amazing products and services – but if potential customers cannot find it then all of your hard work is going to waste. People use the internet to search for products and services that they require, and nearly all of the time these searches are carried out via major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. So how do you make sure that your website can be found via these major search engines? The answer is search engine optimisation.

Search engine optimisation, commonly known as SEO, is the process of optimising a site so that it ranks well with the major search engines in relation to relevant keywords. For example, a hairdressing salon located in the Melbourne CBD would most likely want to rank highly for “hairdresser in Melbourne”, as this is a commonly used search phrase which is very relevant to the business. Ideally, the first page is where you want to be, as people rarely scroll beyond this page when carrying out a search. By gaining first-page exposure, you are sure to see a big increase in terms of website traffic, as more people find and therefore click on your page. Ultimately, an increase in website traffic results in an increase in sales – and in any business, that is good news!

How does SEO work?

seo2While this all sounds simple enough, getting your website onto that first page is easier said than done. Search engines such as Google utilise an algorithm in order to determine which websites best match the search term in question. Ensuring your website is deemed the ‘best match’ is quite a complicated process. SEO works on different parts of your site in order to achieve this – using a range of techniques such as site structure analysis, keyword-optimised content and meta-tags and also quality off-page back-linking.  If you choose to enlist the help of an SEO company (and in most cases this is the best way to go about it) then these different components of search engine optimisation are carried out by individual technicians who are experts in their specific field. This ensures quality work and therefore a better result.

Every now and again, Google performs an algorithm update – and this is where SEO can become very complicated. The SEO field is very dynamic, and techniques that worked two years ago are redundant today. Over-optimised content and poor quality back links no longer make the cut – and can in fact damage rankings rather than improve them.

While some updates have little impact, others (such as Penguin 2.0) can generate catastrophic results. There have been cases where websites have literally dropped off the first page into oblivion, destroying months of hard work and therefore wasting countless marketing dollars. When these algorithm updates occur, it really pays to be with a reputable SEO agency as they should have the knowledge and foresight to update their practices in time to prevent any major issues.

Long term results

Proper search engine optimisation typically takes time, as it is not an overnight process. Any experienced, trustworthy SEO company will tell you that a well-planned and executed SEO campaign is a long term online marketing strategy – one that, when done right, delivers exceptionally good results.

However, there are options available for businesses who require instant results. Pay per click (also known as cost per click) services are often used short term while an SEO campaign gains traction, with Google Adwords being one of the most popular services. Essentially, you pay to occupy a first page, top ranking ad position (the ones you see just above the organic search results) – and each time someone clicks on this ad, you pay a fee. While high organic rankings are far for lucrative and cost-effective, pay per click services often generate an overnight increase in website traffic, providing businesses with great exposure.

When it comes to promoting your business, online marketing really is where it’s at. In this day and age, it is crucial that businesses maintain a strong web presence – and search engine optimisation is instrumental when it comes to achieving this.