Why SEO Is Important to Online Marketing

As digital marketing innovations have emerged over the past few years, some advertising tactics have grown obsolete while others have simply adapted to the ever-changing climate of online marketing. SEO, perhaps one of the least understood internet marketing tools, has survived the evolution of online advertising and now offers more than just keyword and website ranking insight. A company that depends upon their digital marketing activities to bring consumers closer to their brand should keep in mind the following reasons SEO still needs to be an integral part of their overall strategy for reaching online customers.

1 – SEO is #1 in ROI for Digital Marketing

While SEO performance is hard to predict and takes time and resources to perfect, it can easily have the highest ROI of any online tool used. It all depends on a company choosing the right keywords and driving enough traffic to their webpages to increase the ranking and gain more of the audience share. A top ranked SEO site can receive as much as 33% of the engagement from all Internet users. For companies that capitalize on popular search terms and generate highly-visited webpages, the ROI could continue to grow exponentially. While being in the top spot is a difficult feat, it is entirely possible with proper analysis and adjustment of an ongoing web presence.

2 – SEO is Tightly Linked to Social Media and Blog Sites

If SEO is managed well, a company’s social media and blog sites will also get a lot of traction. SEO originated as a collection of links ranked by their click rate. Keywords strengthened the click rate when closely tied to consumer behavior and common search terms. Social media and blogs take link building a step further; in the same way websites are ranked on their amount continuous visits, social media sites and blogs are ranked on their amount of visits, comments, likes, and shares. The more robust a social media presence, the better a company does on the whole. An effective SEO strategy will help link content marketing pages with target users when used properly.

3 – Video Ads are Built with SEO in Mind

Social media and other forms of content marketing are quickly gaining ground on the original forms of online advertising that once reigned. As a result, video advertising is expected to take the top spot in coming years as the most-used form of advertising, simply because its engagement rates have skyrocketed in the past couple years. Consumers gravitate towards content they can view rather than content they have to read.

Although it is not as prevalent as social media for now, advertisers are beginning to transition over to this booming media form and consumers should expect to see a rise in content-rich videos across the Internet. The most popular videos will of course be built around SEO keywords and linked and shared in ways that optimize traffic and increase the long-term SEO ranking for that brand.

4 – SEO Lays the Foundation for PPC, Banner Ad and Email Marketing Campaigns

Although content marketing continues to succeed at achieving customer engagement, PPC, banner ads, and email marketing campaigns still play a significant role in the overall strategy. Email currently takes second place to SEO in ROI, meaning that a strong SEO strategy coupled with an optimized email campaign could mean online marketing gold for top-performing brands. Email blasts can be supplemented by PPC and banner ads that all redirect to the same webpage. Although both successful SEO and email campaigns require a large commitment of time and resources, as well as constant adjusting to match market trends, their payoff is well worth the investment.

While many people assume SEO is archaic because it’s been around for so long, its easy to see that it still remains a central part of online marketing strategies and has evolved to meet the current industry needs. There are multiple sources online as well as agencies that can help bolster a brand’s SEO ranking. Companies wanting to boost their current SEO performance and those who are new to its capabilities should start to explore the endless opportunities this tool offers for online exposure to consumers

Why Business Owners Need To Hire An SEO Agency

Being a leader of a pack can be very hard, most especially if you talk about business. In order to be on the top, you need to make sure that all tasks are done properly and efficiently. Business owners also need to have skilled and competent employees who can help them. And, they need to make use of all the options that are available.

As of today, the internet has been a part of any business. By going online, business owners can enjoy numerous benefits which can help their business to become better and more profitable. However, online reputation may vary depending on the updates and changes in the search engine algorithm. So, in case that you wish to make sure that you can obtain the benefits of going online, it is best to hire an SEO agency. With the help of an SEO agency, business owners can enjoy the following benefits below.

Improved visibility online

Most business owners only opt for wonderful and appealing websites. Unfortunately, these appealing websites cannot suffice your business needs if clients cannot find it. With the help of SEO experts, business web pages can be more visible since these experts will help you make these pages more reliable. Experts in SEO can also help you broaden the awareness in the community which can help make your online reputation better.

Increased online rankings

Search rankings are important when running an online business. This is needed since some individuals usually opt for web pages that are seen on the first page of their browser. Luckily, SEO agencies can help you increase your online rankings by using different methods. For one, experts can use natural keywords. Next, they can help you create quality backlinks. And, they can also boost traffic to your website. With all these, business owners can increase their online rankings.

Make use of better online platforms

Other than increasing visibility and rankings, SEO experts can also help you make use of better online platforms. For instance, SEO experts can use social networking sites to increase your visibility online. They can also create videos to market your business. They will also help you create good and relevant content for your website.

Reduced expenses

Finally, SEO agencies can also help you reduce your expenses. This is possible since you do not need to opt for other services to improve your online reputation. In addition, some SEO agencies also offer other online services to ensure that your website is safe, better and reliable to attract potential clients.

What Is SEO and How How Has It Changed Over the Years?

Many business owners will here hear the phrase ‘search engine optimisation’ (or SEO) from friends in the business community or even competitors and may consider it as a route to increasing sales, but what is SEO? Alternatively, a business owner may have tried ‘SEO services’ in the past and found it either didn’t work as well as expected or was working, but no longer as effective – this article explains what SEO is, and why ‘new’ SEO is working better than ever.

I have been working in search engine optimisation and ranking website market, before it was even called SEO. Here are the changes in SEO since the start of the new millennium and what you should be looking for in the SEO services that your SEO Agency offers or provides.

We take a look back at SEO through the years and explain what SEO is today and how best to utilise it for our website.

SEO in 2000

Back at the start of the Millennium the ‘big’ search engines that most people were using were Lycos and Excite. Of course, back then a very small percentage of the UK population had access to the internet and those that did had a slow ‘dial-up’ system.

Websites were one or two pages with basic information to allow them to load quickly (within 20 seconds). SEO practices back then were to ‘hide’ as many keywords on a page as possible, so the website was found for those searches without making the page look to spammy for visitors.

In 2002 Google launched something called ‘AdWords’ and it was predicted to be the death of SEO, as people could pay for prominence, on the now the number 1 website for starting internet searches.

In 2003, Yahoo purchased Inktomi, AltaVista and FAST, which was basically the end of all of the ‘smaller’ search engines. Google started to stamp down on ‘spam’ practices and websites. At the same time Google realised that ‘AdWords’ were not going to kill off SEO and that in fact the ‘natural listings’ encouraged visitors back to their search engine platform. Google started to recognise ‘professional SEO’ experts and promoted good SEO rather than spamming SEO.

2004 saw the first website ‘banned’ from the internet as Google took action against websites that were spamming them. They also took legal action against the “SEO Company” responsible.

To rank a website in 2006 you just needed links back to your website and so buying links / link exchange was all the rage and most websites had a web page where they would list companies and links to their website (I am still amazed how many websites continue this practice).

Between 2004 and 2008 Google, now was the only real “player” in the search engine world, started taking action against poor linking practices and companies and started tightening up on spam and buying links. The ‘Noughties” ended with all “naughty” SEO practices being practically stamped out, as Google concentrated on ranking websites based on their content and it’s relevance to the search being carried out.

SEO in 2010

Between 2010 and 2015 we started to see the search engines take notice of ‘Social Media’ sites and soon the results were filled with Twitter ‘tweets’ in the results. (I can still see the face of one of my customers when searching Google for his business, and the whole first page of the search results were compiled of tweets of a Twitter conversation that two members of staff had been having about how terrible the company was!)

Videos and images were also brought in to the search results with the Google ‘Caffeine’ update.

Google introduced “personal search results” with the websites shown in the search results based on your previous searches and websites you had visited before. This caused a ‘bit of a stir’ in the SEO world as customers claimed their websites were “top of Google” for any search they did related to their industry, just because they had visited their own website many times before, so Google of course fed them back the website for all relevant searches. This can still be a bit of an issue until you show them the new ‘Google Incognito search’.

The focus on ranking websites was on being found for BIG keywords. A ‘Plumber’ in Bristol would want to rank for that search, and so that was the focus.

Google ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’ updates figuratively killed off ‘link exchanges’ with huge penalties for websites who had irrelevant links pointing towards them. At the same time Google introduced “no follow links” to allow websites to provide relevant links to other websites and information without penalising either party. It was the start of “safe linking”. Quality and relevant content was now the key to ranking in the search engines.

A report by the ‘Office For National Statistics’ in 2014 stated:

38 million adults (76%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records began.
Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
74% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the most popular online purchase in 2014.
Of all adults in Great Britain, 67% are aware of Internet storage space services, but the take up of these services to store data is much lower at 35%.
In Great Britain, 22 million households (84%) had Internet access in 2014, up from 57% in 2006.
Fixed broadband Internet connections were used by 91% of households.

The UK was now (almost) internet savvy and usage of mobile phones to visit websites was huge.

SEO 2015 and Onwards

The biggest change to the search engines in 2015 was the ‘penalisation’ of websites that were not “mobile friendly” – a mobile friendly website has different information for the smaller screen to make it easier for the user to read and understand. In ensuring that users got the best experience Google started ranking mobile friendly or responsive websites (where the website automatically changes its size and format to fit the screen) higher in the rankings.

The UK population were using their mobile phones for local searches, and local companies could at last gain an advantage over the large corporates or ‘national’ companies on the internet.

The introduction of ‘semantic search’, where Google brings back websites in the results not based on the keywords, but the content on a page, again changed the way SEO agencies looked at working on websites. Ranking for the ‘Big’ keywords, such as ‘Plumber Bristol’ became less important, as internet users became more savvy with their searches. ‘Long tail keywords’, and as many as possible, started to grow website visitors and more importantly, conversions.

What is The SEO Process Today?

It is probably correct to say that the processes or practices associated with search engine optimisation have now out grown the term ‘SEO’

In years gone by working the content and structure of a website was enough. Now, there is so much more to do to not only rank a website in search engines, but to get customer engagement. A better description of the service would be ‘digital marketing’.

Old practices, as mentioned earlier, meant ‘big’ keywords were key to ranking. A focus on a single keyword per page or even for a whole website would rank the business and back then it was all about ‘rankings’.

Old way of doing SEO

Today there are a number of factors to consider in regards to SEO. ‘Semantic search’ is the main driver and conversion the main goal, not rankings.

Semantic search is where Google returns information on the page, not the description the website creator input, back to the searcher. An example of this would be to take the ‘Plumber Bristol’ example. A few years ago you would have concentrated on ranking the business for “Plumber Bristol”, “Plumber in Bristol” and perhaps “Emergency Plumber Bristol” – although this still holds true for businesses that offer a solution for ‘distress purchases’ (where time and a solution outweigh the need for information and advice) better practice throughout a website is to add content that offers advice and guidance and includes ‘long tail keywords’ (3 or 4 word searches) such as “Emergency plumber with free callout in Bristol” or “Reviews for an Emergency Plumber near me”. Google wants the user to have the best experience and find the relevant information quickly, and semantic search achieves this. This is also sensible for a business owner. Would you rather your website was found by a searcher looking for “Plumber Bristol” where they could be after information, looking to get a job, looking for a plumbing service that you may not offer, or for a specific and targeted search such as “best emergency Plumber near BS7″? “Plumber Bristol” will get you a website visitor, being found for “best emergency Plumber near BS7″ will get you a customer.

In terms of keywords this is the largest change Google have made and it is here to stay. SEO or digital marketing is no longer about where you rank, but how many different search terms you can be found for and their conversion in to paying customers.

Website Content

A few years ago (and only 2 or 3 years ago) Google suggested to professional SEO Agencies that 300 words on a page was sufficient content. Last year they stated the MINIMUM should be at least 500 words.

Every day I am asked to review a website by a potential customer – and most of them have between 150 to 250 words on a page. This is common practice. There are two ways to look at this. Either Google has to change it’s expectations as most websites do not meet their grade or another way to look at this is as an easy way to jump the competition by simply adding content to your website. Do you think Google will lower it’s expectations or expect websites to improve to their standard? Google released the ‘mobile friendly’ update knowing that somewhere around 80% of websites would need to be upgraded – and they did it anyway as it benefitted over 50% of there users. Quality content effects 100% of their users.

I recommend to our customer about 800 words per page. This is enough content to be ‘semantic search’ friendly, provide relevant content and not be too word heavy.

Good practice is to have:

Page Title – say what the page is about (‘Big’ Keyword if you must)
Headline – asking a question
First paragraph explains briefly explains the content / solution
Image / or video
Longer description of the solution

Take our Emergency Plumber in Bristol, as an example:

Page Title: Emergency Plumber Bristol

Headline: Are you looking for the best emergency plumber near you in Bristol?

First Paragraph: Smith Plumbing offer a 24 hour emergency plumbing service in Bristol. We do not charge a call out fee and can be with you in 20 minutes. That is why our customer reviews and feedback say we are the best emergency plumbing service in your area. Call now on…

Image of the van or the Plumber looking professional

Longer description: What they can fix, common problems they resolve, some of the quotes from their customers etc.

This has a number of benefits.

Firstly, those people who just want a Plumber will read the first paragraph, see the image of the van (build authority and professionalism) and call the Plumber. Other people will want more information which they can find further down the page. Is this cheating at SEO? Absolutely NOT. You are providing relevant information to the user and Google will love you for it. How content is structured and written on a page is the “new” SEO.

The second benefit is that your website will start to be found for a combination of the words on the page – semantic search – in the example above the Plumber could be found by customers and potential customers looking for “Smith Plumbing”,”emergency Plumber near me”, “Emergency Plumber in Bristol”, “Best24 hour emergency plumbing service in Bristol”, “emergency plumber Bristol reviews” and dozens more search terms. If you were a Plumber would you rather be found for one big keyword or multiple relevant customer converting keywords? I thought so, and so does Google.

Old practices were to create website content for the search engines. Now you must create content to provide value for customers. This is an easier process than you might think.

What were the last 5 customer enquiries to your business? What was the problem they were trying to resolve? Write about the problem and your solution.

Link Building

The historic way of ‘link building’ was to get as many links from as many places as possible. This year we has a very large company contact us about their SEO and they were horrified when we suggested that they needed to remove their 1.4 MILLION links back to their website as they had spent a fortune over the years buying the links. Irrelevant links, and the more you have the more detrimental it is, highlights to Google the irrelevance of your website – regardless of how relevant it might be.

Today, a few, relevant links is far better than a Million links back to your website. Today, links have to be built through engaging relationships. Taking our Plumber once more, a link back from the ‘Gas Safe register’, a local plumbing centre or bathroom showroom, and a few local websites that like his information would be enough.

Social Media

Even though we still get a some companies like this now, a few years ago when we suggested businesses should be on Facebook I was normally told “Facebook – that is for teenagers isn’t it? That is not our market”. If done well, Facebook can drive more traffic and paying customers to your door than your website. Facebook’s largest user group is 25 to 34 year olds, second largest is the 35 to 44 years old age group. The 45 to 54 year olds are using Facebook more than teenagers, and as nearly as much as 18 to 24 year old.

Facebook Users UK age – courtesy of statista

Facebook allows a business to build a brand, engage customers, get customer reviews and instant customer feedback. Unlike reviews on your website which potential customer may see if they visit your website, a review on Facebook is seen immediately by all of the users friends and if their friend ‘likes’ the comment – all of their friends, friends. More and more of our customers are getting leads from Facebook. People are asking their friends for suggestions on businesses to use and getting dozens of suggestions back – if you are on Facebook you are more likely to get a direct link to your contact information.

What is next for ‘Social Media’? Live streaming! Twitter has purchased a company called ‘Periscope’ which allows you to live stream video from your phone. “So what?” I hear our ’emergency plumber’ asking. If I were a Plumber I would be live streaming my work as I fix a problem, with the video going out live to all of my followers and their friends – my own television channel that is free-to-air across the whole world. Next time your business conducts a ‘brain storming session’ – periscope it – your customer will tell you what the solutions are.

Video Marketing

There are no ‘old’ SEO practices for video as it just didn’t exist and when YouTube started out it was for showing funny videos of cats and the like.

Today that has all changed. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and is owned by Google. YouTube has over 1 BILLION users worldwide and every minute, 300 hours of videos are uploaded. It would take you about 2 years to watch all of the videos that will be uploaded in the next hour. It would take you the rest of your life to watch all the videos uploaded today. Google’s own statistics say that by 2018 73% of searches put into a search engine will result in the person watching a video. Think of it another way, in a couple of years when 10 people search the internet for your product or service – 7 of them will watch a video, 2 will visit a website. That is why I create videos for our customers as part of our ‘digital marketing service’.

SEO Company Bristol offers a full digital and internet marketing service, including search engine optimisation or SEO.

What Should An Affordable SEO Service Include?

As a business owner you have probably heard the world SEO being thrown around in marketing meetings. Whether you understand it or not, SEO is imperative to the success of your business in an online environment and without it you are not going to achieve high rankings in search results.

Before you start identifying what affordable SEO services should include, it’s important to understand what these three letters means and how they can affect the success of your business online. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is constantly changing and evolving, which is why it’s so hard for companies to manage their own SEO campaigns. Unless you have hours of time to spare each day, it’s worthwhile hiring a professional company to manage your campaign for you and help push your business forward online on your behalf.

SEO includes a host of different factors from using keywords that your customers will use when searching for products and services you provide, to ensuring that your location is clear on everything you do to appeal to the local algorithms used by Google. SEO can be exceptionally frustrating, confusing and daunting if it isn’t something you know and use daily, something you stay up to date with and have complete confidence that you are improving your brand visibility and not hampering it.

The first thing that all affordable SEO services should include is an analysis of your website. Everything should be checked from the use of keywords to the layout of the design and the speed in which pages load to navigation throughout the site, ensuring that your customers enjoy the best online experience when visiting your website.

Your website is an impression your customers will have of your company. You need a professionally designed website which is easy to use and fast to load. In addition to this, the online marketing company you choose to help you with your campaign should also forward a sitemap of your site to the search engine companies, ensuring that your company gets noticed and gets the recognition that you deserve moving forward.

In addition to this, the company should also focus on your off page campaign, this includes everything from press releases to articles and blogs. Each one should be written focusing on what will interest your customers, the writing should be high quality and informative, with careful use of keywords.

Years ago affordable SEO services was just using a host of keywords, both long tail and short tail keywords, stuffing them into a piece of writing and that would do the trick. With search engines now focusing on their own users experience, how keywords are used has changed to eliminate over stuffing and rather focus on being interesting and informative.

Further, you will want your affordable SEO services to focus on your local business. Google has put an algorithm in place which focuses on local. This means that every page on your website needs to have your address and location, you need to open a Google+ account and verify your website, address and email in order to comply with their regulations. This will help drive traffic to your site and company on a daily basis as people search for particular products and searches in their location.

The final thing you will want to ensure is offered as part of your affordable SEO services is links. Link building is imperative to your SEO success. You may not fully understand link building, but it can help improve navigation throughout your site and off site, driving more visitors to your site on a daily basis.

Storm Brain Designs is an innovative online marketing company offering customers with branding and creative services to help them achieve success. The company caters to companies of all sizes and in all industries, providing them with affordable marketing and branding services to meet their particular requirements. Storm Brain Designs offers superior levels of customer service and support with a range of services to meet each customers unique marketing requirements. They have a dedicated team of in-house designers and technical team members offering web design and development, search engine optimization, online and offline marketing campaigns, app development and so much more.