Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been the buzzword in the online business world during the last decade or so and while this is one important area in a business website, there is a belief that people, especially the beginners are giving too much importance to it while ignoring some more important attributes. The whole purpose of a business site is getting found in searches by potential customers on the internet which is why we leave no stone unturned in our quest to make our website search-friendly. But we are not only looking at getting found, are we? More than getting found, we should be looking at staying found by keeping our customers engaged by giving them good content through regular updates of our website.
SEO in brief
SEO is the discipline in online marketing aimed at increasing organic visibility of websites in search engine results. The rationale behind the SEO efforts is to improve rankings, getting found in searches easily, drive internet traffic (customers) and more acceptance by search engines as an authority site in the target market. These are achieved through technical and creative elements, the ultimate aim being structuring our site in ways that search engines understand and agree easily. To a newcomer, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the technical jargon related to SEO and one can easily get lost in the rabbit hole. We should always remember that SEO isn’t all technical and isn’t just about creating tactical sites purely from the search engine’s perspective. It is also about making sites that are user-friendly for a great browsing experience.
Is it really needed?
The total volume of internet traffic in the world is driven mostly by commercial search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Searches made through these search engines are the primary ways that drive internet traffic although traffic does come through social media platforms through social shares. The latter is minuscule compared to the huge traffic through search engines. Your websites get hit through targeted searches through these search engines, and it is indeed a great loss when your website isn’t found. You lose out on opportunities that would have come had your website be found readily in the targeted searches. It is true that the internet traffic provided by the search engines can make or break your success. Hence, it makes sense to invest some time (and money in some cases) on SEO than on other types of campaigns and marketing. Targeted traffic provides incredible business opportunities through exposure that cannot compare to other marketing channels.
Search engines aren’t smart always
We think that search engines are smart and do all the crawling on their own if the content is good. But the fact is, they can be pretty blind and need help and directions to find our website in targeted searches. A wrong SEO can seriously limit our business opportunities and keep our website hidden and buried in some corner of the wide internet space. A mismanaged SEO can keep our website obscured from internet searches. We do not want our website to be invisible, do we?
SEO helps get our website more visible by getting ranked higher up in searches by keeping the content where people would find it readily. Remember, most searches for a specific keyword do not go beyond the first page of the search results.
Pitfalls of getting stuck with SEO
For a beginner in online business, the metrics involved in SEO can look immense and when the website isn’t found in internet searches, things can get extremely frustrating. It is one of the surest ways to get demotivated and people start doing things on their own in trying to tweak the system, and in the process ignore the most important aspect of an online business – a regular content creation that is of value to people. Newbies should watch out for some dos and don’ts like:
- Do not overload or page: This is one of the most important rules of SEO: Do not over-optimise your website. Known as “keyword stuffing”, an attempt at trying to cram too many keywords in your content could lead to your getting penalised by Google. Here, instead of climbing up the ranks, your overall rank can go down and your website’s visibility could go for a toss. When this happens, you could go back to your content and edit it to bring it back to things as they were before the climb-down happened. Try to add content with fewer keywords packed and monitor your site’s movement in the ranks. Too much of a good thing isn’t always good – too much over-optimising is bad for SEO.
- Give your site time to grow: For a newcomer, a drop in the rankings could trigger a panic attack and ruin the site’s chances of growing by doing unwanted things in the SEO. Here, people mostly start changing things immediately and in the process end up damaging everything. Do not panic. Your website is still evolving; give it time to grow.
- Avoid using more than one H1 tag on a page: H1 or Heading One tag is the largest and most prominent heading on a page and is one of the first things to be noticed by search engines. This makes it a very powerful SEO element. Search engines prioritise H1 title if there is only one but will treat a content as less relevant when used more than one. It’s simple: H1 for the main title (possibly with a keyword) and H2 or H3 for other headings within the content.
- Do not buy too many backlinks: An important SEO element is a backlink – an incoming hyperlink from a webpage to another website. There are online vendors from where we could actually buy these backlinks to link our website to their network of articles on other websites. Too many links could get you spotted and penalised by search engines. Try sticking or organic backlinks instead of the paid links.
- Submit your Sitemap to Google: Submit Sitemap to Google. Sitemap is a list of pages accessible to search engine crawlers and users. You do not have to know XML language to write your sitemap. There are many third-party tools, plugins to create one. The plugins will enable Google to browse your site’s content.
- Create your Bing Webmaster account: Remember, about 30 percent of the total internet searches happen outside of Google and are done through Bing and Yahoo! We do not want to lose this section of the search, do we? Bing controls the searches for both Bing and Yahoo! Create a Bing Webmaster Tools account that will help you get insights into how your site gets indexed and ranked in Bing and Yahoo! It’s a free and a very simple process.
- Do not rely on the insights of info provided by online SEO service provider: No two SEO sets of statistics provided by two different service providers are alike. So do not get stressed out too much on these statistics.
Keep updating your site with new valuable content
Always remember, the search engines are there to help people find the most relevant searches. Their algorithms are kept secret and keep on changing. You could try different ways and means to get the attention of the search engines but ultimately, it’s creating good content that is of value to people that are going to win. Do not procrastinate in adding new content regularly.
READ MORE: “Down The SEO Rabbit Hole”