If you’re a business owner or manager you may have heard repeatedly that well-targeted SEO can be an invaluable resource for attracting customers and driving sales. SEO can provide a foundation to grow a business from, enabling you to reach customers in new ways and retain loyal customers who keep coming back. The tricky bit is knowing where to start.
If you’re new to SEO or even digital marketing in general, we’re here to help. There are some simple aspects you can have an understanding of which will help you put efforts into the right places.
What You Need to Know
Lets start with the basics. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation, put simply this is the results you see in search engines which aren’t paid ads. When you google or search something on a search engine the results you get are based on a multitude of factors. How you search a word or phrase can impact the results you receive, we call these keywords.
Other factors that play a part are the technical make-up of your site, it’s relevancy, backlinks (more on this later), content onsite, positioning versus competitors, site history and how established it is in the respective sector and much much more. A host of varying factors are taken into account by Google and it uses an algorithm to decide how your website may or may not appear for certain keyword phrases. This is the same for other search engines but we primarily focus on Google.
Google is the biggest search engine and responsible for most traffic driven through people using search engines. We call this organic traffic as it is traffic driven more naturally than a paid for ad. So why does this matter to a business? A 2014 independent study showed organic traffic made up 51% of major websites traffic (traffic being people visiting your website), whereas social media drove just 5%.
If you can harness the power of organic search then you can effectively drive not only volumes of traffic to your website but also make sure the people finding your website are super relevant. It is to be expected a portion of visitors you drive to your website will convert into customers if you are doing this in the right way. Read on to see how SEO can be used specifically to drive sales.
You’ll hear some frequently used terms in the industry so here’s a quick guide to help understand what’s what:
Search Engine Optimisation: the method and practice of using marketing tactics to make a website more visible in search engines for prospective customers
The words, sentences or phrases people may use when searching something in a search engine
Websites usually hyperlink to other websites (where you click text to take you from one to another). When websites link to your site we call these backlinks. These can be used to improve SEO performance
Visitors coming to and starting sessions on your website (periods of time browsing) who have found your site via search engines like Google
Pages, blogs or other types of articles on your website. Content can be produced for different reasons to further boost traffic to your site and engage customers. Content can be planned around a keyword strategy to target terms which work well for SEO
Using a range of PR tactics and strategy to drive results for SEO. This can be focussed on backlinks and getting links from relevant, authoritative websites in order to boost your SEO performance of your site
On average, a rank is where your site is shown in Google search results. There are 10 organic website listings per page of Google search results, meaning if you rank 10 or under, you are appearing on page 1 of Google and are likely to drive more search volume for people searching this term than competitors listed on page 2 onwards.
Google and other tools estimate how many people on average search per month for a keyword or key phrase. This number is the estimated search volume, meaning if everyone who Googled that word/phrase visited your site, this could be the number of prospective customers you can target. Not everyone who searches your keyword will click your website in Google results, so it is important to expect a small percentage of your search volume is a realistic figure – this will be dependent on your site content/products, the keyword, the intent of the customer and where you are ranking. The search volume figures themselves are also not an exact science, different tools estimate wildly different volumes for particular keywords as exact figures aren’t available from search engines. This is where having an expert SEO marketer comes in to decipher the varying tool statistics and put this into an actionable plan that will drive results.
Tips for Local SEO
This is a key point we have seen businesses fall down on for simple reasons. When someone begins to look at keywords to target for a business it’s typical to see mistakes with targeting keywords that are way too competitive for smaller businesses to compete.
Say you’re a florist and you want people looking to buy roses to buy from your local flower shop, it might seem a natural first choice to look at keywords relating to the product. You might look at a basic keyword such as ‘roses’ which can have hundreds of thousands of monthly searches in the UK alone. As the prospective traffic is so high, every major player in this market will be targeting this term and they can invest more infrastructure and resources into securing top rankings for large volume terms. According to Ahrefs, only 5.7% of pages will rank in the top 10 search results within a year of publication.
The other issue is, even if you managed to rank and drive high traffic to your site for a top keyword like this, most of it will be irrelevant users. If you’re a local business especially, you wouldn’t advertise in cities you don’t have stores so this works the exact same way. You will have far better success targeting your strategy to small search volume keywords which are being used by highly relevant people in your local area, people who are also in a position to buy your product or service.
Say you are a Manchester business, you may want to look at targeting the broader north west of England. You might decide to also target different parts of Manchester, such as: Bolton, Salford, Trafford etc. It makes sense to have a keyword strategy (as part of a broader organic strategy) which brings together your products, your customer intent and your location to find the sweet spot to target.
With the right strategy and expertise, you can find your niche online and drive relevant customers to your site. If you are looking for support with content marketing or digital PR for your site, please get in touch.