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The baffling world of internet search and how to understand SEO.

Why do you need SEO?

The purpose of SEO, or search engine optimisation, in a nutshell, is to improve your visibility online. You want potential customers to find your website easily when they’re searching online for the services you offer, and implementing SEO is the way to do it.

We get it: you’re a hardworking business owner and you’ve already invested in getting your website up and running, but you’re still not getting those conversions. It can get frustrating. Perhaps it’s time to delve into the wonderful world of search engine optimisation and find out how implementing good SEO can benefit your small business.

Search Engine Optimisation

How does SEO work?

In today’s digital world, it’s hard not to have at least a vague understanding of SEO. You know it affects the way Google (or other search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo) ranks search results, and you probably know that optimising your website is key to getting to that sweet top spot on the results page (a.k.a., the SERP). But how exactly do you achieve this?

In simple terms, search engines return results they determine best suit the intended query of the user. They read the metadata and content found on your website and use algorithms to determine its relevance to a query. It’s a complicated beast to understand with ever-changing goalposts. But you don’t have to understand SEO in its entirety to implement a good SEO strategy. What is key to remember is when creating content for your website, you want to ensure you’re providing the exact information that your target audience is seeking out.

You can never do too much research!

SEO is a data-driven process and should form part of your overall digital marketing strategy. It can be an efficient and cost-effective way of reaching your target audience. The best place to start is to get to know your audience so you can understand how they search for the products and services you provide.

You should start with looking at keywords. They form one of the key factors in implementing your SEO strategy. As mentioned, it’s not critical to understand SEO in all its intricacies, but with appropriate research you should be able to outline a list of keywords to form a starting point.

Keywords and keyphrases are what those seeking out your services are likely to type into their search engines when looking online. The better you research and get to know your audience, the easier you’re going to determine the right keywords for your business. You can also use marketing tools such as ahrefs, Semrush, or Ubersuggest to offer suggestions to widen your options.

SEO means establishing credibility.

It’s not just about identifying keywords and search terms that your intended audience might be searching; you also need to build your site’s credibility. Think of SEO as a kind of PR for your website. The higher your rankings, the longer users stay on your site, and the quality and relevance of your content play a massive part in your website’s credibility. And let’s be honest, your business too. If you’re trying to rank for irrelevant keywords in an attempt to hook in users, that’s not going to help.

Credibility also means remaining relevant. If you don’t regularly update your content, your website is seen as stagnant and will be penalised as such. This is why so many small business owners turn to professional copywriters to write regular, meaningful blog posts for their websites.

To understand SEO truly is to know not to go too far.

As mentioned earlier, search engines use very clever algorithms and bots to assess the data in the source code of your website. It’s all very techy. You want to avoid keyword stuffing or buying dodgy backlinks in an attempt to boost your website authority – Google and the rest have plenty in place to counter these measures and you could end up being penalised.

The quality of your content is also key to the effectiveness of your SEO strategy, as effective engagement with visitors drives traffic to your website. Your content tells users who you are and what you do, and above all why your products and services are right for their needs.

It’s important to remember that the strategic use of the right keywords in your content is necessary to ensure their presence for ranking purposes but without the risk of compromising the quality of your content.

Create and publish regular, meaningful content.

Organic search is how most people will discover your website and find out about your products and services. They are going online to search for specific terms, keywords, or to ask questions. Having a clear understanding of the information your prospects are seeking out will help you determine the most suitable search queries that will lead a user to your website. You want to provide what they’re looking for, so the better you understand them, the more likely they’ll find you when they’re searching online.

But SEO goes so much beyond simple search terms. It’s about the user experience – is the information they’re looking for easy to find once they click your link? Are your services relevant to your keywords? How long does it take your site to load? Is the language you’re using suitable for your audience? Don’t lose sight of the human beings you’re trying to reach by focussing too much on the technology. Keep your content relevant and meaningful.

Moving forward on your SEO journey.

There are plenty of reasons why it’s worth it for small businesses to invest in SEO. Implementing a well-planned SEO strategy will help drive your target audience to your website. Remember to do your research, ensure you’re only publishing solid, quality and informative content, and you’ll soon start hitting those top SERP results you’re looking for!

While it’s certainly not straightforward, learning to understand SEO is not insurmountable; it just takes time. If you don’t have the time to spend doing the research and generating quality content yourself, then why not hire a professional and save yourself the headache?

Contact Mint Feather Creative to get started.

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