With online marketing becoming increasingly popular within all industry sectors; and with businesses fighting to appear on page one of Google for a set phrase; it is likely that you will have heard snippets about SEO.
However, many are still unsure what SEO is and more importantly, whether it is worth it.
The simple answer to the latter is yes, SEO for any business that is looking to reach a wider audience is important; and thankfully despite many myths, SEO is not as scary or confusing as many fear.
To help provide an understanding of what SEO is and how it can / should be used within your online marketing strategy; our marketing professionals at JE Consulting have compiled this insightful blog – and for those who want to give their online marketing a bigger boost, we can assist.
SEO – What is it?
First things first, what is SEO? The abbreviation stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and whilst it sounds scary, it isn’t.
In simple terms SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website within the organic results of a search engine; with the premise being that the higher you appear within the search engine results the more likely you are to have people click through to your website.
Perhaps more simply put, if you’re a firm of accountants, you’ll want to appear in search results when people search for “accountants in (insert location here)”, and for this to happen you need to ensure that you are incorporating “white hat” SEO techniques within your online marketing strategies.
How to Use SEO:
We’d take a good guess that many of you reading this are using some form of SEO within your online marketing, without even knowing it.
For example, do you have a company Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / YouTube account? Do you have a company blog? On your website you have used a phrase similar to “as accountants in…..”?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, then you are using a very basic SEO technique; as social media platforms provide something known as “social signals” which help SEO rankings; whilst using certain phrases which include your industry sector and location, will be picked up by Google’s army of small, friendly, yet invisible search robots – again boosting your rankings.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should stop reading and rest on your laurels. Whilst some of you may be utilising SEO better than you thought, without analysing your online marketing strategy it is hard for us to tell; but what we do know is that Google are forever changing their algorithm, which influences the performance of SEO, so it is important that businesses continue to refresh and enhance their techniques.
For those who might have heard of SEO, but are unsure what it is or how to use it, there are two elements which need to be kept in mind throughout the process – keywords and links.
Keywords are simply the phrases you want to be found for; and to come up with your list of keywords, take a minute to think about how you may find your company via Google if you did not know the name of it?
For example, if you’re a firm of accountants in the West Midlands, you would want to appear as high up as possible on Google’s search results when someone searched for the phrase “Accountants West Midlands” – therefore, this would be one of the keywords you should optimise for.
Keywords can then be narrowed down further, based on the city (e.g. Birmingham) and town / village (e.g. Sutton Coldfield) you’re located in. By now, an accountancy firm in Sutton Coldfield will have a minimum of three keywords / phrases to optimise for; and the list can be expanded further by adding services you offer to your keyword list, e.g. tax advisors Sutton Coldfield; VAT Birmingham, etc, etc.
The performance on your keywords will depend on the competitiveness of the keyword, for example appearing on page one of Google for the phrase accountants Birmingham is likely to be a harder task than appearing on page one of Google for the phrase accountants Aston.
In addition to the competitiveness of a phrase, the ranking you achieve for a keyword will depend on how you utilise the keywords. As a rule of thumb, those keywords you are optimising for need to be interspersed within your website as and where relevant, as well as on any social media platforms you operate; blogs you write; or forums you use.
The more you can use the keywords in a relevant way within your online marketing strategy, ensuring the copy still reads well, the more likely you are to begin ranking highly for the phrases.
But to help the keywords, you need to include relevant hyperlinks.
We’ll have all read copy online, which has a phrase highlighted and underlined in blue, which when clicked on takes us somewhere else. This is known as a hyperlink, and they are important tools within successful SEO campaigns.
Using a hyperlink with a certain keyword will help people find out more information about that specific phrase, or services a company offers in relation to it. Therefore, if you have used within your blog the phrase “Birmingham accountants”, you should link the phrase back to the homepage of your company website.
Within your website, when you use keywords, these should also be linked to other pages on the site, which provide information relating to the phrase used; providing a looped affect – and directing visitors to the most relevant information for their needs and requirements.
Using these two techniques alone will kickstart your SEO; however for those accountants and solicitors who want to make sure they are making the most out of their online marketing strategy – from social media, through to SEO, the marketing team at JE Consulting can assist.