As a current university student with marketing aspirations, it seems remarkable, but I had never heard of the term SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimisation, until recently.
Now, when nearing the end of my marketing degree, and I find myself applying for marketing internships and marketing related positions, I’m confronted by the blank space under the ‘skills’ heading of my resume. What ‘skills’ do I have that are relevant in this digitally dominated marketing landscape.
Like many of my fellow soon-to-be graduates, I find myself turning to Google to fill in the gaps between the marketing theory I have been learning, and the real-life marketing savvy that is impossible to gain through theory alone, and which is so vital in this modern marketing landscape.
The search results are endless: ‘Top 10 marketing skills’, ‘Skills every marketer should possess’, ‘Skills you will need to become a successful marketer’…
Onevery site I visit I’m bombarded with the terms ‘excellent communication’, ‘soft skills’ and ‘analytical skills’ and in many of my searches I also come across ‘SEO skills’.
Although this is an incredibly important part of any marketing strategy, like me, you may be asking yourself what exactly is SEO and how is it employed in a modern day marketing mix.
With some research under my belt, in this blog I will do my best to provide you with a beginners guide into the wonderful world of SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation, is the online marketing practice focused on increasing the visibility of your website through organic search engine results. In simple terms, SEO is the process of making specific changes to your website content and design to make your site more attractive and relevant to a search engine.
How does SEO work?
Search engines seek to provide their users with a list of high-quality websites, relevant to the subject matter the searcher is looking for. In order to do so, search engines will scan or ‘crawl’ a website’s information and content. This allows them to deliver the most relevant results to those who are searching within certain topics or keywords.
Why is SEO important?
When conducting a Google search all of us are guilty of only clicking on the websites that are provided on the first page.
This is where and why good SEO is so important. A website that is optimised for the subjects and topics that are relevant to your business has a much better chance of being ranked on page one. The better your ranking on search engines, the more visible it will be in these searches, and the higher the number and the better quality of visitors received by your website. This provides the chance to engage with more and better-quality potential customers. It’s pure gold in terms of brand exposure, customer communication and sales potential.
How should you use SEO?
- Understand your customers
SEO is about understanding how people use search engines to ensure that your website is ranks at the top, or near to it, when they search for products or services within your category. By making your web content relevant to your customer’s needs and how they use search engines to find solutions in which to satisfy these needs, the better your chance of appearing at, or near to the top of search results.
- Use key words on your website strategically
Adding keyword phrases to page titles, in content or even as the name of an image file on your website can help your SEO strategy. Use keywords that are relevant to your business, services or location – anything that a customer would use in a search engine to find solutions in your product or service category.
- Improve the user experience and usability of your website
Improving your website’s user engagement and getting users to stay interacting with your content can boost your websites ranking. Search engines not only rate the relevance of your keywords on pages, but they also evaluate duration of site visits, number of repeat visits, bounce rate, broken lines, pages viewed, inbound and outbound links and so on. Here are ways to improve the visitor experience, the usability of your website and SEO.
- Present neat clear and organised information
- Optimise your site for mobile devices
- Fix broken links
- Make sure it is readable and easily understood, especially for your target audience
- Add multimedia elements – videos, audios, photos
- Use outbound links
- Break up your content with headings
- Optimise your images – file, format and size
- Improve your page loading speed
- Add new and relevant content to your website on a regular basis
Now, more than ever before, consumers turn to an online world to find answers to their questions, and products and services solutions for their needs. Search engines serve millions of users everyday, helping them find the answers and solutions to these questions. This presents an ongoing and very powerful opportunity. Marketers must learn to harness SEO with the aim of directing traffic to their website, increasing visibility and attracting more potential customers.