The internet is a very big place, and there are literally billions of websites out there now. With so many websites all competing for users’ attention, getting noticed is becoming more difficult. What’s more, the majority of internet users will begin their browsing sessions by either opening up one of their favourite bookmarked websites, or by loading up a search engine so they can find what they need. The majority of online traffic is now driven by internet searches.
When a user searches via a search engine, the search engine provider not only fetches relevant results, but it also ranks them so that the “best” results are at the top.
Of course, defining which website is the “best” is a subjective proposition. In order to help search engines make more accurate judgements about a website’s value and its contents, website owners can optimise their sites in a variety of ways.
These techniques are collectively known as search engine optimisation (SEO), and they are an essential component of contemporary web design.
What is Search Engine Optimisation SEO?
Search engine optimisation refers to a range of techniques that websites use to improve their visibility in search engine results pages. Improving a website’s SEO will improve both the volume of traffic the website receives and the quality of the traffic it is receiving.
There is a wide range of techniques that are used to improve SEO. These techniques can be divided into two types – white hat and black hat. Black hat SEO techniques are techniques that aim to subvert search engine algorithms and mislead them as to the popularity or the authority of a page. On the other hand, white hat techniques are techniques that website owners are encouraged to use by search engine providers.
By improving their SEO score, websites can make themselves more visible in search engine results pages and, therefore, maximise the amount of traffic they are able to generate from these sources.
SEO is an integral part of any contemporary website design and marketing strategy. Websites that don’t actively work to improve their SEO aren’t going to hit the top of the results page by magic.
What Is SEO Development?
SEO development is the process of devising a long-term strategy for managing the SEO of a website. SEO development begins by taking stock of the current website and its performance and ends with a viable long-term strategy that will enable the website owner to manage their SEO effectively well into the future.
There are no shortcuts with SEO; it will take time and work if you want to penetrate the coveted top three spots on a SERP. It is also no good giving your SEO a boost, even a significant one, and then leaving it at that. If you aren’t actively working on building and maintaining a good SEO score, then you are going to find your website slipping very rapidly back down the results pages.
Generally, SEO campaigns are planned on the assumption that results will take around a month to become noticeable, with maximum effects taking around 12 months to manifest. Websites might run shorter SEO campaigns now and then to capitalise on transient trends and temporary opportunities to make a website more visible.
What Is SEO In Digital Marketing?
Within the field of digital marketing, search engine optimisation is just one of the many tools the marketers have at their disposal. While SEO should be an annoying concern for any website, meaning that you should always be paying attention to it while your website is active, every other marketing campaign and launch of a new product or service should be accompanied by an SEO component.
SEO itself consists of numerous different layers. For example, the underlying structure and architecture of a website will affect its SEO score, as will the internal and external links that are contained within your content. These aspects of SEO can benefit from the input of a digital marketer but will generally fall to other people, such as the content writers and web administrator.
However, other layers fall well within the purview of digital marketers. For example, SEO requires a considerable amount of research and monitoring of keywords in order to identify the best targets for each campaign. Digital marketers need to understand each and every layer of their SEO, even those aspects that they don’t take personal responsibility for.
SEO is also just one digital marketing technique that digital marketers today need to have a firm grasp of. Some would argue that SEO is the core of any digital marketing campaign, but others would disagree. In either case, SEO is clearly an integral part of digital marketing.
What Is An SEO Manager?
An SEO manager is an individual responsible for overseeing SEO campaigns and coordinating with all the individuals involved in delivering it. The role of an SEO manager is like that of a director; they tell everyone else what they need to do to fulfil their own roles in the campaign.
For smaller businesses, there may only be a few people involved in SEO-related tasks. There might even be a single individual who assumes responsibility for everything. But as a business grows and its SEO campaigns become bigger and more complex, there will be more people involved in delivering them, and a dedicated SEO manager will be necessary to manage the logistics.
In order to function as an effective SEO manager, individuals will need to have a solid understanding of all the individual components that make up an SEO strategy.
Planning an SEO campaign begins with gathering data and using it to identify which keywords to target and how to develop a link-building strategy. The SEO manager is also responsible for ensuring that the website is being updated and maintained in a way that is conducive to SEO.
What Is SEO Marketing?
While every website should be engaged in SEO to some extent, some websites will benefit from it much more than others. For those websites best positioned to reap the rewards of SEO, it should be the focus of much of their marketing.
The majority of the tools and techniques that digital marketers use in SEO are available for free. However, these sit alongside a range of other search engine marketing techniques that are bought and sold just like PPC ads and other forms of digital marketing.
Some people consider SEO to be a subset of SEM, whereas others view them as two separate but parallel concepts. Both SEO and SEM are built upon the same research techniques, which are used to identify and prioritise keywords. Many of the most popular keyword research tools are available for free. In fact, the suite of tools and features contained in Google’s Search Console is all that many websites need to manage their SEO.
Because websites need to pay for SEM, those websites that have the largest budgets will have a distinct advantage over their smaller competitors. However, this disparity is not insurmountable, and small websites with limited budgets can still make an impact with their SEM if they target the right keywords.
What Is The Main Difference Between SEO and SEM?
The main difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO is generally free, whereas SEM will require a monetary investment in most cases. However, there are also some important differences in what these respective strategies are able to achieve and their primary focus.
Put simply, SEM is more focused on increasing the prominence of a website and drawing in a larger volume of traffic. By contrast, SEO tends to be more focused on improving the relevance and quality of the traffic generated.
Because of the nature of SEM, the results it produces can be observed much sooner. It takes time for an SEO strategy to mature and pay off, whereas an SEM campaign can produce results almost straight away.
What Are SEO Services?
For websites and businesses that don’t have a dedicated SEO team of their own, marketing agencies that specialise in SEO can handle it on their behalf. While there are a plethora of SEO tools available, many of them for free, without the requisite background knowledge, it is going to be difficult to achieve much with them.
As a result, many smaller websites rely upon SEO service providers to manage their strategies for them. Websites can pay for individual services to plug gaps in their own capabilities, or they can hire an SEO agency to conduct a full audit of the current state of their SEO and suggest the most appropriate route forward.
Search engine optimisation is an important concern for any website that wants to be noticed. Businesses rely on SEO to ensure that their products and services are displayed more prominently in search engine results pages and that search engine users are more likely to be taken to their website than their competitors.
In order to be effective, SEO needs to be ongoing, and there needs to be a strategy in place for managing it both now and in the future.
My name is Dawn McGruer and I am the author of this article and I always feel that search engine optimisation is the most neglected and misunderstood area of online marketing.
For many years I think SEO has been sold as a dark art by many agencies using complicated jargon and keeping it firmly under wraps as to what actual activities are part of the SEO process.
At Business Consort – Digital & Social Media Academy we offer an array of resources and courses to maximise your digital marketing efforts to scale and grow your business.
I hope you found this article and it helped demystify a little bit more about the world of search engine optimisation and if you would like to find out more about search engine optimisation check out my Dynamic Digital Marketing Book, I share my experiences, checklists and tools to help brands and businesses appear on page #1 on Google and share insights and trends that you may find useful.
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