If you own a small business, odds are you have a website. If you invested the time and money to make that website the best advertisement for your business—one which drives sales and helps your business grow—odds are you want people to see it. Here’s the rub: if you don’t also invest in effective search engine optimisation (SEO), they’re not going to find your site online. Period.
What Exactly Is SEO?
Simply stated, SEO comprises a series of steps you can take, both on and off your website, to achieve higher search engine rankings (meaning, of course, that more prospective customers will see it and visit it). Here’s a slightly more substantial definition from Moz:
“SEO is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.”
Why Is SEO So Important for Your Business?
Sounds good, but what does that actually mean for your business? In other words, how will an effective organic optimisation of your site increase its exposure? Consider these head-turning stats from Search Engine Journal:
- Almost 1/3 of all organic traffic on Google goes to the website at the top of search engine results
- More than 90% of organic traffic on Google goes to the sites on the first page of search results
- More than half of all website traffic (on average) comes from organic search
- More than 40% of business revenues come from organic search
Stated differently, if your website isn’t effectively optimised, dramatically fewer prospective customers are going to visit it. That also means dramatically fewer consumers are going to buy your products and services.
It’s Not as Easy as It Looks
What’s the obvious conclusion? You need to get your IT team to optimise your site, right? Wrong. SEO can be a complicated challenge, in large part because search engines like Google are continually shifting the goal posts. Look at Google, for example. Every time Google announces a new algorithm update, the rules change, and that can mean your site drops in the rankings. And those updates are many, from Panda to Penguin to Pigeon to Hummingbird.
So, what can you do to stay on top of the latest changes and ensure your site’s continued relevance? Top on your list should be enlisting the help of an agency with the deep knowledge and experience to use the best SEO skills and tools available. Those tools are many (making the choices difficult), but among the best for monitoring those pesky algorithm updates and ensuring good rankings are the following 4:
- Google’s webmaster tools: perhaps the chief advantage of this tool is that it comes from Google. The webmaster tools will let you see your site through Google’s eyes, in other words. You’ll also see key metrics (like page speed) which can impact your organic ranking on Google.
- Hubspot’s website grader: the website grader is exactly what it sounds like—a program you can use to test your site on 4 principal scales: performance, mobile readiness, SEO and security. You’ll receive a score in each of these areas (from 1 to 100) and a detailed report which will help you make the necessary changes.
- Check my links: Google doesn’t it like it when links on your website are broken or don’t work. The first step in eliminating broken links is to find them. You could attempt this manually, but check my links makes it a lot easier. It will give you the number of links on your site and highlight those which don’t work.
- The SEO toolkit from SEMrush: keywords (and how well they’re working) are a key element of your site’s ranking. The SEO toolkit will show which keywords are ranking for each page on your site. It will also tell you how well the page is ranking for that keyword, how many searches it gets per month, and how well it stacks up to the competition.
This list of SEO tools is far from exhaustive, but it will give you a sense of the knowledge base a competent SEO agency can bring to the table to help your business achieve higher rankings in Google, and in this way to help your business thrive.
To learn more about the ways our digital marketing, website, branding and SEO services can help you drive sales to grow your business, contact us today.