Driving Traffic 101 - What Is SEO And How Long Does It Really Take?
As soon as you start a business, people are going to start talking about your SEO and what you are doing to ensure you have good SEO. You will receive hundreds of emails a day promising you the best SEO results, and honestly, your head might start to spin.
Here's our guide to help you decide what you need to be doing next in order to drive traffic to your website.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. When someone goes to Google to search for a topic, SEO is the technique which determines which results are shown on the Google search results listing page.
Google uses robots, known as crawlers, to crawl all over every single web page on the internet daily and it indexes and ranks these pages according to the keywords and topics that the web page is talking about.
Googles index of millions and millions of web pages is then used to match the words a user has typed into the Google search box with appropriate websites that are considered relevant to that users search query.
So the keywords you include across your website are fundamental because this is what google uses to "read" and understand what your website is about.
Googles aim is to provide the very best search experience for it's users, so it's no.1 goal is to find the very best websites which deliver the best content that exactly matches the word the user has searched for. It simply wants to deliver useful search results.
Over the years Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has evolved in such a way that just typing a list of keywords on a page is seen as cheating the system and now it is vital to have well-worded content and blogs that naturally incorporate your chosen keywords. If Google thinks you are playing the system, it will just bin your site and not use it in the search results.
Why is it important for my business?
The aim of any online business is to get your website as high up the Google search results list as possible. If you achieve a listing on the 1st page and even better the no.1 slot then the volumes of visitors to you online store will be extremely high.
If you end up buried on page 14 of the search results listings, we can promise you that you won't be getting any fresh customers discovering your website anytime soon. So the higher you can rank on the search results listing page the better.
So if you are a florist in Brighton your aim is to be in the top organic search results (not the paid adverts that often appear at the very top of the page). With so many businesses out there competing online, you really need to drive traffic constantly, and Google search is now the most likely way for customers who don't already know your business name will look for a service or product.
In our florist example above - potential customers will simply type into Google Search "Florist Brighton" - so you will want to show up in the results for this keyword term. This is where you need to ensure you have included this likely keyword or search term across your website.
Can I do it myself?
Yes. But it takes time. Ask yourself if this is the best use of your time?
You certainly can make a good start on SEO yourself, driving more website traffic for free and websites like clickminded.com offer courses that will help you understand each aspect and what you can do.
Adding new and regular content to your site, in the form of blogs will also help, so be sure to write unique pieces focused around your keywords. Full technical SEO delivered at a professional level takes in everything from your content, to your social media, email marketing and sales funnels and uses tools like Google Analytics to see progress which can be time-consuming.
How long will it take to see results?
Building your SEO is not a quick overnight project - it will take at least six months to see the benefits and it is a cumulative process. It should be something that is worked on every single day if you are committed to growing your online business, and while it does take time, the investment in SEO is always worth it.
How to brief an agency for SEO work
If you feel you do not have the time, or more importantly that it is not the best use of your time as a business owner to be focusing on this - then looking for an SEO agency to get more website traffic for you is a good idea.
You must approach them with a full brief that clearly includes the objectives of your business, target audience, brand, the competition, anything you have already tried in terms of SEO and your budget.
You will also need to provide a sense of direction to likely keywords and how your customers currently describe and search for your business. Don't forget if your business also has a physical presence to include local search terms in your SEO project, such as town/ city locations and districts or areas you cover or dispatch to.
“A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today... so get on it! ”
- Emma Blake
Make It Happen In Your Business
SEO is a fundamental aspect of getting more website visitors to land on your page and discover your online business. Without working on this area, you are missing out on an important strategic method to tell people about who you are and what you do.
Like many strategically important things in business, SEO does take time to deliver organic traffic (visitors) to your website for you but you can make a start today with many free tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool and great small business SEO tools like Keyword Finder (Mangools), Moz, SEMRush and Ahrefs - all of which have free trial periods.
- Consider carefully whether it is the best use of your time to be working on your SEO or whether you could delegate this task to someone else whilst you focus on driving sales...
- Get to know how your customers describe your business when they are searching for it. If in doubt - ask them what keywords they would type into Google and what they would expect you to appear in the search results for.
- Research keywords which best represent what your business is about using one of the keyword tools mentioned above. Record the most popular keywords with the highest search volumes into a spreadsheet.
- Also make a note of any keywords that have higher search volumes but less competition for them - these are a great opportunity for you to capture some organic traffic.
- Talk to potential agencies about your requirements and see how they can help you with your SEO - even if just initially so you can learn how they would tackle it for your business.
- Learn all you can from the worlds best SEO experts.
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