Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is well worth the investment.
Because that’s precisely what SEO is: a long-term investment. And, it’s worth that investment because search capitalises on something that social marketing and other digital methods can’t really tap into – user intent.
Think about it. Why do you use a search engine? To find something you’re looking for, whether it’s information, a deal, a product, a service or other.
You don’t go on Facebook to look for a new washing machine or to look up the address of your local supermarket. That’s not what it’s designed for, social networks are for communicating with friends and family.
Going onto Google, Bing and other search engines signals that you have a problem that needs solving. And, more often than not, a search engine usually helps you find the answer, such is the amount of information available on the internet.
But how does that information get sorted?
That’s probably the most complicated part of search marketing, but not something that you should spend every night awake panicking in a sweat about.
That’s because there’s no real definitive answer. Google says it uses over 200 factors to determine how it ranks a website and, as people’s search behaviour is constantly changing as they use Google, Google therefore alters its technical algorithms behind the scenes to reflect that.
Small businesses, start-ups and SMEs can take huge advantage of search marketing and optimisation to get their website higher up Google’s rankings when people enter a specific search term, or ‘keyword’. The majority of people searching on Google click the first handful of links they see on page one.
Companies shouldn’t be promising that they can get companies to first place on the front page of Google, though. It’s a near-impossible task. It’s understandable, too, that people may be put off by the technical side of search and may have heard some horror stories about things like link building.
For those of us that have performed search marketing right over the years though, the results are unquestionably effective for those that employ a creative search strategy focused on social media, creative content, strong inbound links, and a well-curated optimised website that works well for them and their site’s visitors.
Creative inbound marketing focused on search
Despite there being more than 200 ranking factors, we feel those are the key things to concentrate on when agreeing to a long-term investment in search marketing for one simple reason: You’re doing this for the benefit of your potential customers, not to please a faceless search engine.
It’s called inbound marketing because it attracts people specifically looking for you, instead of disrupting their day with interruptions and outbound advertising:
1: A savvy social presence
Social signals have a factor in search, and building a social presence not only helps with your overall marketing efforts but opens a key dialogue between your business and existing/potential customers. Facebook and its targeting tools are especially useful; having that interactive element online naturally helps draw in new business the more time you spend with it.
2: Creative, entertaining content
Not only can creative, original content (such as blogs, guides, videos and more) attract your audience but it also has specific search benefits. Search engines love fresh, unique content and a cleverly-angled piece can not only help you with rankings, but also has the potential to be shared by your audience if you hit their sweet spot.
3: Building effective links
Link building’s often under the spotlight but those who work hard and build the right links reap the rewards. A strong portfolio of inbound links from relevant, authoritative brands and sites are worth their weight in SEO gold, but a lot of groundwork and outreach has to be done, as well as being as transparent as possible in the process.
4: A website that flows
Once you’ve targeted and harnessed your traffic through search, it’s effectively useless unless you have a site that works for the people visiting. A site that’s easy to access, creates a user experience and a journey that flows, provides clear product information and is easy to buy from is just as important as the search marketing campaign that gets them there.
There are other factors to consider, but all of these techniques and more make up a core part of the practice of inbound digital marketing. The process of people finding you naturally, liking what they see, and becoming long-term customers.
Paid search gets you quicker results
Paid Search (also called Pay-Per-Click or PPC) can get you results quicker than ever and impressive returns if you have some budget spare to invest in search visibility.
See those yellow ‘AD’ boxes on Google when you make a search? They’re PPC results, where people can bid for certain keywords to show higher up in searches. If someone were to put a PPC bid against a keyword – say 80 pence against the keyword ‘shoe shop in Manchester’ – and a searcher clicked it, you would pay that 80 pence. If they buy a pair of shoes for £40, though, it’s money well spent.
The higher the bid the higher the search ranking, but that’s why PPC’s such an incredible option to complement a creative SEO strategy. Create a page especially designed to boost product sales and help people find it with a low-cost keyword, and you can see potentially high returns almost instantly.
Even better, the PPC side of your strategy will be working for you while the long-term, natural presence of your creative search and inbound methods take hold, building you a solid digital foundation to take your company forward.
Most importantly, every business is different. You don’t have to go overboard on budget; there’s a search and PPC niche for every small business and start up to explore, and if they find a sweet-spot with some well-researched keywords, the combination of PPC and inbound search can lead to an explosion of serious online growth.
Want to learn more about how a bespoke SEO and PPC strategy can help you attract local business and new leads? Contact the Webspresence team today to find out more about how inbound marketing can help you grow.