A standalone website without any SEO will not attract many visitors. In this blog we look to understand SEO and why digital marketers can’t guarantee number 1 position within search.
Unless you’re active on social media or driving paid adverts to your site, you will struggle to drive traffic and generate leads. This could make that nice looking website of yours pretty redundant.
Sure, if you speak to people and tell them to about your business they might be able to find your business name in search. However, we’re talking about the phrases that describe your business like SEO west bromwich for example (shameful internal link, SEO related).
If people don’t know your business and you don’t come up in search it’s going to be difficult to increase leads via your website.
We often come across websites that look great with the most draw dropping designs. Upon checking the metadata we see that none of the pages are set up for search. Potentially missing out on thousands of pounds of potential new business.
It’s a difficult area as web designers often focus on the looks and the digital marketers are the ones that sort the search engine optimisation. Sometimes web designers will leave the metadata blank as it’s not something the client sees. As an agency with a marketing background we make sure that basic metadata is done for all our web design clients.
Search Engine Optimisation is a wide area, often we get clients asking can we be number 1 or why am I not showing up on the first page. It’s not a simple task to achieve. It all depends on the level of competition, dealing with an ever changing platform and continuing to create great content.
Like with many areas of marketing the more time, effort and money you put in, the better chance you have of ranking for your search terms.
There are two stages to look at:
A website requires meta information to let search engines know what the web page is about. There are 3 key meta requirements for each page, meta title, meta description and image data.
Each page needs to have metadata added to stand a chance of ranking in search and attracting visitors.
To improve the chances of the page ranking you will need to focus the page around the keyword, making sure that you include the phrases in relevant places within the content. Including title tags, sub headings and in the content. All whilst keeping content content readable for quality purposes.
We initially include the metadata within our website packages, however, rewriting and adjusting content is a more advanced part of SEO.
Often when choosing keywords it’s often based on common sense, you simply ask the question what would people search to find your product or service. You also have to factor in things such as location or specialist areas, so if you run a car garage in London. Targeting traffic in Scotland or Nationally would be a waste of time. Similarly, if you only sell Adidas trainers then it’s better to target adidas trainers than just trainers in general. As visitors looking for Nike trainers will bounce anyway.
Once you’ve chosen these keywords we can do keyword to see if there are any opportunities. So for example if a car garage london has 100,000 searches a month but is highly competitive, but there are 10,000 searches for car garage south london with no competition this might be a better scenario.
The research might also uncover opportunities down the line for blogs and ongoing content.
Once decided on, the keywords can be applied to the relevant areas we mentioned.
This might not be the end, as often to improve ranking we need to adjust the layout of metadata or change the keywords.
It’s worth mentioning before you think about trying to game the system. As Google has evolved and their AI has become smarter, companies in the past could just stuff this meta data on any page. However, now, if you were to rank your terms and conditions page it would likely lead to a high bounce rate and tell Google this page isn’t a good fit for that search, penalising your whole site in search.
For competitive terms or if you’re looking to branch out and target a wider scope of traffic you will need ongoing SEO. This is usually done in the form of producing content such as blogs or additional pages. Additionally you also need to focus on building links and improving your domain reputation.
Blogs allow you to target search queries which you are unable to build dedicated pages around. If for example you had a skirting board company, you wouldn’t have a main page as “How to paint skirting boards?” but you could produce a blog around the subject.
Understanding SEO ranking and how it work and why you can’t simply overtake competitors
Imagine the Search Engine rankings were a race and you wanted to be in first place. If the person in position 1 started jogging 5 years ago at a slow and steady pace. Then to overtake you will need to run at a faster pace to catch up.
This might not be not be the full story but it gives you an idea that you simply need to put in more resources to overtake. The work will depend on the competition. Often those in position 1 take their foot off the gas as they are already number 1 which leaves opportunities. For example they might write 400 word blogs just to get the traffic from lower competition keywords, but you could write 800 and offer a much higher quality blog which search engines might favour.
Before you get excited, catching up and overtaking highly competitive keywords will require many factors. Not just content length.
Understanding how competitors SEO can stop you from ranking
The first problem you have with a new site is domain age. So if your competitors have been online with a website for 5 years building their brand. Without any other seo at play your new site sits behind them. Thankfully, this is one of many small factors at play but it’s worth noting that if you just match that site their domain age will keep them ahead.
Secondly, if your competitor has committed lots of resources to SEO you have other areas to catch up on. For example if they’ve hired an inhouse digital marketer who writes blogs, produces content and builds links. They have been doing this for 3 years. The in house marketers salary is £2k a month. So on their SEO they have invested £36k.
To overtake your content needs to be better in some way, longer, better links, more links or better optimisation. Now if you want to overtake with better content that budget needs to be greater than £2k per month as the work needs to be more detailed and to catch up. You’ve also got to factor in that the other company is not going to stop marketing either. So depending on the time it takes and how much you wish to spread your budget this is what it could potentially cost to overtake. The other company may react and increase their marketing budget then it becomes another story. This is why we can’t make guarantees to rank.
It’s not just those in position 1, other companies in 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc might also be competing on SEO. So in highly competitive areas, it might be a struggle to get on the first page without considerable resources.
Not all keywords are going to be as competitive so budget wise could be a lot lower and achieved with maybe a single blog and a couple of links a month. The example above is showing why it’s not simple to get to position 1.
SEO is therefore an ongoing process. Even if you get there, competitors are going to want to overtake and look at ways to do so. Therefore, you might have to switch to defence rather than attack.
Google is also constantly changing and whilst one method might work for a while, they may switch emphasis on other factors. For example mobile friendly websites rank better than non mobile friendly site so even if you tick all the other boxes, you might fall short in some instances.
Understanding SEO factors WHICH EFFECT my Sites Ranking.
Age of Site
Older sites tell Google that this company has been operating for x amount of years which signals a level of trust which new sites don’t have.
Your page titles, descriptions and image data tell google a quick summary of your pages and what you want to rank for.
It’s important to use your keyphrases in metadata, but also make sure they relate to the content on the page. This will avoid high bounce rates and telling Google your site is what you say it is.
Writing better quality content with more images and better references, which keeps readers engaged will likely have a better chance to rank over poor content.
This is often one of the ways in which you can overtake other content, as Google wants to provide the best results for the searcher. More indepth and researched content will do this.
Each site has a domain authority based on the quality of links coming back into their site. So a link from the BBC will be a lot more powerful than obtaining a link from a local business blog. This is because the BBC’s domain authority is bigger as it’s a more trustworthy source.
The more high quality links you have the greater your domain authority. However, these links need to be relatable, you can’t have a blog about pets simply linking to your car garage website. It will most likely have a negative effect as Google will see you trying to game the system and penalise you.
You can’t control what the competition does, they can do exactly what you’re doing and commit more resources.
They can hire digital marketing agencies like ours, or take on multiple digital marketers.
If they’ve been doing this for years then it’s going to take time and resources to close the gap and overtake.
Speed of Site
Google have recently put emphasis on site speed for user experience. The slower the site the greater chance that the user will bounce. Again one of many factors, if your site is super fast but there are no images or the text is poor, you’re not going to rank.
If you would like to check out your site speed check out https://gtmetrix.com/.
However, word of warning, many people get carried away with chasing these grades and it would take thousands of pounds to restructure or rebuilt code which might take away other benefits.
This signal tells google what the searchers experience was like, so for example if you search kittens for sale and a page about dogs pops up. It’s not what the user wants, so they click the exit button. If a large amount of visitors are doing this Google will decide to lower the ranking to improve the search quality.
A bigger site can often capture more traffic as you can focus pages around more keywords and also show Google that you’re a larger company as you have the time/resources to add new content.
If your site remains the same for years, over time you will fall, as Google will think your site is abandoned. This is why adding new products or creating a blog are useful methods for adding new content.
It’s difficult understanding SEO with so many different things to consider. If there is little or no competition around your target search phrases, then as long as your metadata is implemented and it matches up with your content. You stand a good chance of ranking. However, in most cases where there is competition then you need to do ongoing work at a higher rate than the websites above you.
There are many factors to consider when performing SEO, however the impact it can have on your sales could outweigh the costs of getting there.
If you had a physical shop, having it in a back alley would not result in large footfall, but having a shop on a busy high street could drive plenty of visitors resulting in more conversions. Yes the rent in most cases would be higher but the opportunities would also increase.
SEO helps you compete for your main search terms, however even if you’re number 1, you might look for additional traffic. By performing SEO on longer tail keywords you can target more traffic and increase overall visitors to the site.
If you’re looking for SEO services based in West Bromwich or the surrounding areas, feel free to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin has been involved in Digital Marketing for over 10 years. He’s worked with a variety of small businesses from telecommunications companies to skirting board manufacturers.
Working in small businesses has led him to develop various skills from graphic design to web design and search engine optimisation.
Along with his degree in Business Management and his digital marketing experience he formed Pug Mug Marketing in 2017.
After growing many small businesses, he believes he has the experience to help grow yours.