There are plenty of blogs and articles out there that tell you what SEO is (many from Sleeping Giant Media as well – shameless plug) but often there is less out there that tells you why it can be useful for your business.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019, internet traffic has soared with daytime traffic up 75% and evening traffic up 65% and people are looking to Search Engines more and more for answers to their questions. This means that it becomes increasingly more important to appear on the first few pages of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to get your great business in front of a great consumer!
With this in mind, I am here to tell you why your business needs SEO and some hints and tricks you can do yourself to bolster your ranking!
People Are Lazy
Quite the sweeping statement, but I wouldn’t say such a thing without the facts! Google reports that the link that appears in the number one position on the SERP gets the majority of the clicks with the subsequent clicks seeing progressively less in terms of engagement. Actually, you will find that once you get to Page Two and beyond the engagement is a fraction of that of the first page meaning that if your business or content isn’t almost instantly accessible, then you have missed that opportunity to capitalise on the search.
I hear you asking, Giant, how do I get to the best spot to be put in front of my prospective searcher? Well, it’s all about SEO. SEO is the process and tool that allows the Search Engine to really understand what your business is about and what service you provide. The more it understands about your business, the easier it is for the Search Engine to pair your business with people looking for what you offer!
In turn, the more you utilise SEO, the more likely you are to appear higher on SERPs which allows for you to get in front of the people unwilling to scroll through to the second page. Ultimately, the easier it is for a user to get to what they want with the least amount of clicks, the better the experience is for the user and the more the Search Engine likes you.
You Speak To The People Who Want To Listen (And Sometimes Some Who Don’t)
If you appear high on the SERP it’s because the Search Engine believes that the site it is showing has the answer for the user. Hopefully, that is true, but sometimes even Google gets it wrong. A poorly optimised site can put irrelevant sites in front of users which results in a higher bounce rate when the user realises it’s not what they are looking for which can then result in a negative hit to your ranking.
Through SEO, you can ensure that your pages are optimised in a way that Google understands their content and therefore the relevance to search queries. This is done through a myriad of ways:
- Proper use of Metadata (Page Titles & Meta Descriptions)
- Relevant and strategic use of keywords
- Great readability of content
- Strong backlinks (think of these as endorsements from other sites)
Once the Search Engine understands what is on the page, it is likely to put you in front of people who need your services. After all, people are going to these Search Engines with an issue and a well optimised and relevant site should mean that you are put in front of someone who is already in need of your services. This means that any traffic to your site already has intent and therefore there is a higher chance that the user will do what you would like them to do; from buying your homemade face masks to signing up to your newsletter on pasta recipes.
Your Site Gets A Polish
We know that to be ranked as high as possible it is important to be the answer to the question but there are a lot of factors aside from relevance that feed into ranking (and we kindly covered them here). Some of these don’t just optimise the relevance but they also serve to develop the site’s individuality and Brand Image. A well-optimised site is a well-optimised user experience after all.
As great as your business is, it is unlikely that you are without competition. And that competition may be just as savvy as you when it comes to optimising the relevance of their content which means the Search Engine needs to look at other things in order to give the user the best possible experience. After all, they want to answer the user’s query just as quickly as you!
So what else does it look at? As mentioned, it’s all about the user experience and you can have the best content in the world but if it isn’t in a coherent, navigatable manner then the ranking will reflect that.
This can happen in two ways:
- If the Search Engine struggles to crawl the site and finds multiple links that are either broken or convoluted it will consider that as part of the ranking. It looks for the shortest possible route to the answer – if this is too long then it doesn’t deem it as optimised if there is a quicker alternative for example.
- If it finds that users are clicking on the site and then clicking off again, potentially due to slow site speeds, hard to find content or overall poor navigation, it recognises that users don’t find your link a suitable answer to that question. The Search Engines also factor site speed into the ranking – the slower it loads, the lower the ranking is good to bear in mind.
Essentially, the process of optimising your site using SEO doesn’t just ensure the relevance of the content but also the accessibility. This, consequently, allows for a better user experience that doesn’t just promote a higher ranking but encourages returnability and shareability by the current users. Consider your site like a real-life store – the harder it is to navigate the less likely you are to keep the user in the store and if they didn’t enjoy their time, they won’t come back.
To do this, you can ensure that your site loads quickly by optimising the images used and ensuring the media on there is short and relevant as to not require long loading times. It is crucial that your site can be accessed comfortably on mobile devices – mobile traffic made up 40% of usage in the UK in 2020 and because of this Google actually judges your sites responsiveness on mobile so if it doesn’t load properly or it is clunky to use, you will be penalised for that! If your competitor has a site that works smoothly on a mobile while yours is optimised for desktop only, you will find that you lose out in ranking so ensure that the site looks just as good in someone’s hand as it does on a screen!
SEO plays a huge role in ensuring that your site gets the ranking it deserves in the eyes of a Search Engine. As smart as these sites are, they are only as good as the content they read so ensuring that your site is optimised in terms of relevance while also providing a great user experience is integral to boosting those rankings on the SERP. This then puts you in front of the people who are looking for your business or service and everyone benefits.
A well-optimised site isn’t a short term fix either; it provides stability and longevity in the fact that if users believe your business or page is useful then return traffic and increased clicks serve to support its relevance – it becomes a cycle that the Search Engine reads and recognises. That isn’t to say that you won’t need to revisit the content periodically to ensure it remains relevant and to reinforce your links but this all feeds into maintaining a well-optimised website that returns favourable rankings and conversions.
Of course, if this seems like a lot we are always happy to help. Here you will be able to see more about SEO in general and what we do, from auditing and training to keyword research and strategy proposals and everything in between! There is a lot to SEO but our Giants are always happy to help out so if you need to you can contact us here!