Let me answer this by posing another question. Imagine two stores, located at the centre of Oxford Street in London and that Google is the street. Both are clothes stores, both have a clear sign and both show clearly what they are selling.
One shop has the latest fashion in their window and their store is easy to navigate. Inside they have a big catalogue on all their products and outside they have multiple signs along the street showing advertisements/social media.
The other shop’s window shows outdated clothes, whereas their store is difficult to navigate. Their catalogue is just a small brochure and they have no outside adverts or social media.
Which store are people more likely to go to and has a better presence on the street?
If these stores were websites, shop A would be showing great practice of using SEO techniques. They’ve shown great functionality (layout), authoritative content (catalogue) and great public relations (advertising).
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), a term originally popularised by Danny Sullivan as ‘SEM’ (Search Engine Marketing) is a tool which helps increase a website’s presence and rank in unpaid or ‘organic’ search engine results. In order to stay relevant and at the forefront of search engines such as Google, your website must be constantly optimised to reflect what their current algorithm is looking for. It is becoming increasingly common that if you’re not found in a search, you’re seen as non-existent.
As of 2017, Google’s search engine is locating not only large amounts of content, but high quality content as well. It used to be that content farms could easily bolster a website’s rank, but now search engines are much more intelligent than that. Having unique epic content is crucial for marketing your business and “well-written, authoritative , long form blog-posts SIGNIFICANTLY outperform filler blog posts” (Jantsch and Singleton 2016, p. 8).
Every business must pass three stages of growth. These are: traction, expansion and conversion. Initially, your website will have no brand, no content and you should focus on marketing your website so it gives a clear message to your target audience about what’re you’re selling. Optimise your layout so it’s fluid and seamless to navigate. Create interesting content that will bring customers to you. This is known as traction.
Once your brand is clear, you can expand your website using content marketing & link building as a primary SEO tool. Affiliating other websites can be a mutually beneficial way of advertising and offering your epic content can get you high quality back-links. It is important to note that the quality of your back-links is more important than the quantity.
Lastly, you now have a high volume of traffic and it’s time to convert them into paying customers. A highly ranked and shared website with good content will help convert visitor’s into taking your offers. A useful tool for scoring how your domain will rank in search engines is MOZ.
A good understanding of what SEO is will lay the foundation for a successful SEO strategy. Search engines are a medium for shouting out your latest projects and achievements and it’s easier for people to hear you if they can see where the noise is coming from.