Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often considered an expensive necessity that most brands and businesses know too little about. As is the case with COVID-19, SEO is a familiar concept that is widely spoken of but lacking general understanding. This incomprehension has contributed to a thriving SEO support industry, but it has equally contributed to a significant amount of fraudulent exploitation. How do brands know their SEO agency is providing them with relevant and accurate services?
The simple answer is three-fold:
- Learn the basics before you employ an agent/agency
- Ensure all the deliverables, expectations and/or KPIs are clearly documented and agreed in a scope of work
- Regularly review the progress and methodology used
Learning the basics can be daunting especially for the non-technically inclined (such as this author of this article), however as we have all exponentially matured in the digital world during the past nine months, the essentials are a prerequisite for all marketers.
Fundamentally, technical or rather not so technical (as this writer found out for himself), SEO is all the aspects of your site that contribute to its performance in organic search in whatever form that takes. It can be broken down into six key areas as identified in this recent blog post on Threewhiskey.com :
- Indexation: This is all about making your content/website accessible, thereby allowing the search bots to crawl your website and rank it according to site structure, “clean” links and uniqueness of your content.
- Metadata: These are the fields that search engines use to determine the page content at a very high level. Metadata should be interesting and draw people in. This is where keywords should live.
- Site speed: This is Important for user experience, but has been a ranking factor with Google since July 2018. Even a one second delay in mobile loads times can impact mobile conversions by up to 20%.
- International targeting: Essential for global SEO as it gives your site global appeal and makes it accessible to all regions. Hreflang is an attribute that tells Google which language and country you are targeting for a specific page, allowing search engines to serve the page to users searching in that specific area.
- Structured data: Search engines are always striving to deliver relevant and reputable results to their users, matching their search intent. Since structured data provides crawlers with more information, it promotes better “findability”.
- User experience (UX): Historically, we’ve seen a pattern where Google has been continually developing their algorithm to factor in UX. At some point at least six months from now, they will build on this even further by factoring in three more UX metrics: Loading, Interactivity and Visual Stability.
An understanding of the above key metrics will you define your SEO and overall business strategy and will benefit you and the SEO partner in reaching your goals. However, by the time you have mastered these metrics Google will have undoubtedly released yet another new algorithm for you to upskill yourself with. Is SEO therefore a waste of your money? The simple answer is Yes and NO.
Yes: If you follow the above principals and provide your website with regular quality key-word/phrases induced content your ranking will undoubtedly improve.
No: if any of the above are performed inadequately or you fail to provide any fresh quality content despite mastering the above metrics to perfection.
Sometimes, a simple tweak that takes half a day of work can revitalise your website. There could be some fixable technical issues. You might have a product offering on the top of page two of Google that can get boosted onto page one. Other times, you can spend a lot of money month after month and see no increase in the visitor numbers.
Another common situation is achieving an increase in traffic, without an increase in sales. This apparent puzzle is because you often need to rank for keywords with buyer intent. But with all this said, the most important ingredient to a successful SEO strategy is the regular development of qualitative and informative content. After all content remains KING.
Is SEO a waste of money? It might be the best thing you could ever do for your business, or completely pointless. We’ll give our best advice on this, and explain why. Contact us to set up a chat.