What is the big deal with SEO?

Web Optimization Concept Design
Quite simply, the majority of people now use the internet to find things they want to buy. They may want to buy them online or they may be searching to find out what stores are in their local area. If your site is not optimised, it is likely that the only time your website will show up in search results is when a person searches for your company name. However, that isn’t how people generally search for products or services.

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What is the big deal with SEO?

If you have a business website, you have almost definitely heard something about SEO. Whether it was a cold call from abroad asking for a monthly fee to “look after your SEO” or your website content management system (WordPress, Magento, Shopify, Wix etc.) telling you to do certain tasks to “improve your SEO”, the topic has definitely come up. But what exactly is SEO and why is it important for your website?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. What this refers to is a process of making your website attractive to Search Engines like Google. What we mean by making a site attractive is making it so that Google values your website enough to make it show at the top of the search results when someone searches for something you offer. For example, if you sell shoes for children, it would be idea for your website to show up on Google every time someone searches for things like “kids shoes”, “buy shoes for kids” “shoes for children”, “boys shoes”, “girls pumps shoes” etc.

Why is SEO important for websites?

Quite simply, the majority of people now use the internet to find things they want to buy. They may want to buy them online or they may be searching to find out what stores are in their local area. If your site is not optimised, it is likely that the only time your website will showup in search results is when a person searches for your company name. However, that isn’t how people generally search for products or services.

If your site is not optimised, you don’t show up in search results and therefore, people are unaware of your business and instead find your competitors who have had their website optimised. Google places websites in order of how attractive they are relative to what has been searched. There are many factors that go into this ranking system and it is important to ensure your site scores well on each of them in order to rank high in search results. The cold hard truth is that without SEO, your website will not be found – unless you spend a lot on other types of advertising such as social media, Google Ads or other means. However, when done well, SEO is by far the most cost-effective method over the medium to long term.

What are the important factors for ranking in Google?

As mentioned, there are many elements or factors that Google considers. The main ones are the following:

  • Website content – is your content written well. Does it cover the topic and answer queries that people may have?
  • Website speed – if your website is slow to load, Google sees that as bad for visitors. In fact, most people won’t wait for a slow site to load!
  • Website authority – this is essentially to do with how trustworthy your site is. It encompasses various elements which include the number and quality of websites that have links to your website.

This list just covers the three major factors; there are many more but these are a good place to start. 

Who can optimise my website? Who can do SEO on my website?

It is important to note that, like many services, there are agencies that do SEO well, and there are those that don’t. It isn’t always apparent which is which. Having some understanding of what SEO is and what the important elements are is a good start because then you can question the work being proposed by an agency. Here are some quick tips to help you identify the good and the bad. This is not a definitive list and instead should be viewed as potential “red flags” which should be queried.

SEO Agency Red Flags

  • Makes bold promises about results. We all want results but SEO as an ongoing process is not easy to predict. It also takes time to see proper results for anything worthwhile.
  • Focuses on ranking your business name or phrases which are not particularly relevant to your business. This is a red flag as these things are particularly easy to rank but not effective in getting customers. 
  • Wants to create large amounts of poorly written content. Google likes good content which is interesting to read – Google can tell the difference between good content and spam!
  • Talks about creating hundreds or thousands of links. Links are good but links can also be bad. Google wants your site to have links from relevant sites and it isn’t easy to acquire those. An outdated short-cut some try take is to buy link placements from poor quality sites. Google also sees this and can tell the difference between natural and spam links. 
  • Delivers vague or obscure reports without explaining what they mean/what work has been done. Too many business owners believe they won’t be able to understand SEO; this makes it easy to con them. Most SEO is not so complicated and getting some info will help you at least understand the concepts.

What are keywords in SEO?

As mentioned, it isn’t easy to tell the difference between good and bad SEO work but a little knowledge can go a long way. One of the key elements to track your SEO results is to track how your website ranks for certain words and phrases. These are referred to as “keywords”. In the above example about a children’s shoe shop, a couple of keywords could be “kids shoes”, “buy shoes for kids” “shoes for children”, “boys shoes”, “girls pumps shoes”. 

Essentially, they are the phrases people search for which you want your website to show up in Google for. Most SEO practitioners will provide you with a list of keywords they want to try rank the site for. It is important to note these and go through them. If you think they are irrelevant to your site, ask them why they are included. Good “keyword research” is the foundation of good SEO work. Ranking the correct keywords is the key to seeing results. 

It should be noted that ranking a new website for very commonly used keywords (such as “kids shoes”) is unlikely to happen quickly. Keywords like that tend to have a lot of competition and so it is better to focus on less competitive keywords in the beginning. Over time, as Google sees the progress of your site and the value it provides to people, it will begin ranking your site for more competitive keywords. 

At Firebrand Digital…

We know SEO. Our team have been involved in SEO and related fields for over 15 years. However, in that time we have constantly kept up to date with all of the developments in our field. Like all types of technology, the last 15 years in SEO has seen huge growth and changes in methods and what is required. Things that worked 5 years ago could now get your website banned from Google! (e.g., creating massive amounts of links to your site from irrelevant websites.)

We are experienced, knowledgeable and communicative SEO practitioners who know what we are doing and are happy to ensure you do too!

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What is the big deal with SEO?

Quite simply, the majority of people now use the internet to find things they want to buy. They may want to buy them online or they may be searching to find out what stores are in their local area. If your site is not optimised, it is likely that the only time your website will show up in search results is when a person searches for your company name. However, that isn’t how people generally search for products or services.

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