Welcome to the world of digital marketing, where acronyms like SEO are thrown around like confetti. If you’ve ever scratched your head in confusion when someone mentioned SEO, fear not, for today, we will unravel the mysteries of this baffling term.
In this guide, we will cover the basics of SEO - what it is, why it’s important and how your business can benefit from it. Ready? Let’s get started!
First things first:
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
In its most simplistic form, SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility in search engine results. The search engine results are the web pages that appear when you type a query into Google.
Each time a user types a query, a search engine works to sort through the vast number of web pages available and return results that are most relevant to the query.
For those of you who understand better with pictures, consider this example:
Imagine search engines as a giant library. When you type your query into the search box (Google), it’s like entering what you’re looking for into the library catalogue. The search engine then searches through its “library” of web pages to find the most relevant results for what you’re looking for.
Does the picture in your head make more sense now regarding SEO? Good.
Now that we’ve discussed what it is, let's examine why it’s important.
Why Is It Important?
While Google Ads and other paid search ads bring in traffic, the majority of web traffic is still driven by organic search engine results. Remember, there is a difference between paid traffic and organic traffic.
Here is a useful infographic that explains the difference between organic and paid search.
As you can see, organic traffic is still by far the most influential source of website visitors. This means that SEO should be a top priority for any business that wants to reach more customers.
With the SEO meaning behind us and the importance established, let’s take a look at the core components.
What Are The Core Components Of SEO?
There are three core components that you need to know about:
Technical SEO has to do with the technical side of things, such as the code and structure of your website. Here is where it might be necessary for you to hire a web developer or an SEO specialist if you are unfamiliar with the technical tasks.
Technical SEO involves tasks such as:
- Creating a Google sitemap
- Designing an SEO-friendly site structure
- Optimising website speed
- Making a website mobile friendly
- Fixing content issues
- Identifying and fixing errors in the website’s code
On-page SEO as a service has to do with optimising the content of your website. This is all about making sure that the web pages on your website are optimised for search engine visibility.
On-page SEO practices include optimising title tags, content, internal links, and URL.
Let’s give you an example:
You own a marketing business, and you want your website to appear in the search engine for the keyword “marketing services”. Therefore, a good on-page SEO practice would be to include the following:
- Title tags: “Marketing Services | Our Business”
- Content: informative and engaging content about Marketing services
- Internal links: Links to related pages on your website that discuss marketing services
- URL: www.yourwebsite.com/marketing-services
Off-page SEO has to do with the activities and elements outside of your website that can help increase its visibility and ranking. Now you might be wondering what’s out there other than your website that can affect your search engine optimisation. There is quite a lot
Off-page SEO activities include link building, social media marketing, influencer outreach, and guest posting. The whole point of these activities is to give your business website more authority in the eyes of search engines.
For example, if you have a guest post on a well-known and highly respected marketing website like Business Insider, search engines will take notice. They may even decide to give your website more credibility and rank it higher when someone searches for “marketing services”.
For the effective use of SEO, it’s important to combine all three core components. Technical, on-page, and off-page SEO together will provide many benefits for your website. But what benefits can you expect?
The Benefits of SEO
At this point, you might be wondering what are the benefits of SEO. Is it just to rank on the first page of Google’s search engine? The answer is no; there are a lot of benefits to SEO. Let’s dive into the benefits below:
1. Increases brand awareness:
Without a solid brand, your business won’t be distinguishable enough to compete with larger companies.
Take our example from earlier - if you are a marketing agency competing with huge players in the industry, you need to have a solid strategy to even appear on the first few pages.
This is where brand awareness comes into play.
By optimising your website for search engines, people will become aware of your brand and services as they search for related topics.
2. Boosts credibility:
Every business owner wants to be seen as an expert in their industry, and SEO is a great way to achieve this.
When your website is ranked higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), it tells the internet that your website is trustworthy and credible.
This, in turn, will increase the trust of potential customers, who are then more likely to purchase your products or services.
3. Supports content marketing:
Content marketing is an essential part of SEO - your website needs content in order to elevate itself on the SERPs.
Think about it. Without written content, search engine bots wouldn’t be able to crawl and index your website. And without that indexing, you won’t appear in any SERPs - making it impossible for people to find your website.
Content marketing also helps build your brand’s reputation - as with SEO, the better quality and more relevant the content, the better chances you have of people finding and trusting your brand.
To learn more about content marketing services, read this blog post: What Is Content Writing?
4. Maximises PPC campaigns:
While SEO and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns are separate entities, they still work together.
Using SEO alongside PPC campaigns heightens the chances of a successful campaign and helps improve your website’s visibility.
By targeting keywords related to your products or services, you can get your website to appear higher on the SERPs. This will encourage more people to click through to your website.
5. Improves user engagement:
Customers expect a certain level of engagement when they visit a website. They want content that is easy to read, with the answers to their questions quickly found.
Let’s continue with our example from before:
A customer searching for “marketing services” will expect to find accurate and useful information on the website. If the website fails to meet their expectations, they’re likely to leave - which means you’ll lose potential customers and miss out on sales.
The best way to ensure that your website meets user expectations - and therefore improves user engagement - is to make sure that all the content on your website is relevant, well-written, and SEO-optimised.
All in all, you can see that SEO is beneficial for your business and website in many ways. So if your business falls short on something, it might be time to think about SEO services.
What Are SEO Services?
SEO as a service is a set of strategies and tactics used to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
You can hire an experienced agency that focuses on SEO services in Gauteng, or you can do it yourself.
When hiring an agency, they will analyse your website and suggest changes. The changes can be related to anything from SEO marketing tactics to SEO content optimisation.
If you decide to do it yourself, you will need to be familiar with various practices. This requires time and effort on your part – but it’s definitely possible.
SEO in South Africa
When it comes to South Africa, SEO is just as important as anywhere else.
According to Statcounter, the search engine market share in South Africa was around 94% in May 2023, with Google as the front-runner. That is a lot of people!
So if your business operates in South Africa, then SEO should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy!
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Hopefully, after reading this guide, the head scratches have stopped, and the baffling term “SEO” is no longer a mystery.
This type of marketing is an important part of any business in 2023, and it can be done independently or with the help of an experienced agency.
If you are looking for an experienced agency to help you with SEO, we at Starbright are here to help. With our reasonable packages and a team of SEO experts, we are sure to help you get the most from your website.
Trust us when we say if SEO is done correctly – it can do wonders for your business. We look forward to hearing from you soon!