A lot is spoken about search engine optimisation and its importance in helping a website increase its audience and generate traffic. There is no doubt about it, if you want to get your website noticed by as many people as possible, SEO is the most successful way of doing so and the results of a good strategy have a long-lasting effect.
While there are elements of SEO that can be picked up from some of the many resources online, for the vast majority of website owners, an SEO provider is the first port of call. The term SEO and the ultimate benefit of achieving a prominent search engine ranking are well known to most people that do business online, but what exactly can a search engine optimisation provider offer you that make them so important.
White hat methods
The world of SEO is an ever-changing and ever-evolving one and the major search engines are constantly updating algorithms that move the goalposts on the standards and practices that are acceptable.
If you are attempting to implement your own SEO strategy with little knowledge of how search engines work, you may well find yourself falling in to the trap of ‘black hat’ SEO – the use of techniques that are deemed unethical by Google and the others, and will see your website penalised, or even banned, when flagged. When developing an SEO campaign it is essential that ‘white hat’ tactics are used – these are the ethical practices that will naturally boost the ranking of your website.
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With a lack of experience, it can be hard to differentiate between white hat and black hat, and your business could suffer the harsh consequences as a result. It is the job of an SEO provider to stay abreast of the latest trends in SEO and ensure they are always using methods that adhere to the guidelines set out by the search engines. Providing you find a company that is reputable (there are plenty out there that are not!), white hat optimisation is something you can guarantee.
A good SEO strategy is one done with the purpose of establishing and growing your online brand. With every search engine optimisation method used, brand enhancement should be a central focus. Everything that is done online impacts in some way on your brand, SEO providers know exactly how to perfect brand development so that your website and business grow in reputation.
SEO companies can write, or help you write, press releases and manage blogs to really develop your online presence. They can also monitor everything that is being said about your business online to ensure you earn a good reputation. Becoming known as a well-respected and reputable business will have a positive impact on search engine position and can help attract quality traffic.
Organic SEO (the type of SEO that does not rely on paid links for search engine position) is an on-going process, the results of which are not immediate. Good SEO takes time and will increase the position of your website naturally. Any SEO company promising instant results (even if they can prove them) is probably using unethical practices, so do not be dazzled by the promise of an immediate number one ranking.
A long-term SEO strategy allows you to remain on that first page of a search engine for a considerable period of time and also takes into account the growth of your business and available budget.
The ranking of your website is influenced greatly by keywords – these are the words and phrases that are being used by searchers to find your site and those similar. Using tools such as Google Analytics, SEO providers are able to see how your keywords are performing – which ones are ranking well and which ones are failing. They can then set about researching the keywords that are the most profitable for your business. Analysis usually includes:
- The study of competitor websites and keywords used
- Competition level of each keyword
- Global search volume
- Current search engine results
The comprehensive research will result in a range of keywords that can be expertly placed within your website content to increasing search engine standing.
To rank highly in the major search engines of today, top-quality content is essential. Google in particular is very strict on what it deems to be quality content and will penalise anything it perceives as low quality or ‘spammy.’ SEO providers are generally skilled in producing quality content, laced with the right amount of keywords to positively impact on your search position.
It is important to keep content fresh, relevant and informative – both on and offsite – and professional search engine optimisers will come up with a strategy that looks at delivering top content on blogs, reputable directories and across social media.
Having an attractive website that loads quickly and is user-friendly will have a positive impact on a search engine ranking, as it will improve the reputation of your business. A little known fact is that many SEO providers also offer a range of web design services, aimed at improving the performance of your site. These services are usually not about redesigning a website from the bottom up, rather making tweaks and alterations to improve usability and search engine ranking. Meta title and description tags may be changed and sitemaps improved so that search engines easily index webpages.
While DIY SEO does have its advantages in terms of cost, choosing a search engine optimisation provider is much the preferred option in the long term and can guarantee better ROI, as well as effective promotion for your business in the long term, setting you up for a successful future online.