Search engine optimisation (SEO Manchester) refers to the practice of optimising your website to appear higher in search results and in line with more accurate search phrases. This is done through a multitude of techniques and is one of the most highly recommended practices by digital marketers when it comes to driving new customers to your website. Some of the areas involved in SEO include keyword optimisation, meta tag creation, copy-writing, link building and blog creation. SEO is typically considered a more organic approach to search engine rankings in comparison to paid marketing, as a result it can take a little longer to see your website climb the ranks of Google.
Lumos offer a range of services within the scope of search engine optimisation. Often we will focus on one aspect at a time and track and monitor the results. For example we may decide to focus on building backlinks to your website, in which case we will create a plan to gain you high quality backlinks using our existing directory of quality links and create content to generate links within your niche. Similarly, we may focus on keyword research and implementation for your website to help you match with people that are searching for what you offer and to make sure you are ranking for the right keywords. Ultimately we will discuss with you what options best fit the needs of your marketing
Why do we need SEO?
So, the big question: Why do we need SEO? There’s only so far paid traffic can get you, that is without generating an abnormally large bill, perhaps still generating mediocre traffic, leads, and sales to your business or website.
SEO allows you to create consistent, free organic traffic to your website. While this takes time to create and rank, the results pay dividends. If your business is physical, for example, a local coffee shop or convenience store, this too will create additional footfall to your business.
Instead of paying for traffic (paid ads etc.), once SEO strategies are implemented the traffic is more or less self-sufficient, generating consistent results. This is much more cost-effective than paid traffic, perhaps also resulting in customers with greater search or buyer intent.
You may be wondering: what is buyer intent and why does this matter? Buyer intent, also referred to as search intent is the stage of purchase or decision the consumer is currently at. For example, if a consumer searches the phrase, “is it worth hiring a professional to clean my windows?”, their buyer intent could be perceived as low. On the other hand, if the consumer searches the phrase, “window cleaners available today in x area” then their buyer intent is high. To some extent, you can tailor your content, including keyword usage to target consumers with a higher buyer/search intent, thus equaling more sales compared to dead leads.
Adopting an SEO strategy not only allows you to generate free organic traffic, but this traffic may contain higher buyer/search intent. Consequently, this leads to an increased ROI (return on investment), with the only costs concerned with website management, content creation, outsourcing of content (you can also create this yourself if you have the time to keep costs down), and webmaster fees. While it may seem like a bundle of expenses, adopting an effective SEO strategy is much more cost-effective than consistently paying for traffic.
What is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?
On-page SEO is focused on creating keyword-focused content and SEO optimised pages. On the other hand, off-page SEO is concerned with building backlinks, guest posting on other sites, and increasing the authority of your website.
All businesses and/or websites should adopt both an on and off-page SEO strategy. Think of on-page SEO as everything you or your webmaster can do on your website. For example, other than SEO-focused blog posts and content, this also includes alt tags, custom code, meta descriptions, headings, keyword usage, and more.
Conversely, off-page SEO is everything not physically on your website. As previously mentioned, this can include guest posting on other sites, building the authority of your site, and generating backlinks. However, off-page SEO also includes other factors such as social promotion, e.g. boosting Facebook posts, Instagram Ads, and pins on Pinterest, managing public reviews, setting up Google my Business, and the general reputation of your business in the public eye.
By this point, you’re likely wondering: is it best to focus on on-page or off-page SEO? The answer is both. Arguably, you should pay more attention to on-page SEO as this is what you have more control over. However, without off-page SEO, your website will struggle to gain authority and higher rankings in search engines such as Google.
As a general rule of thumb: dedicate sixty-per cent of your efforts to on-page and forty-per cent to off-page. Many businesses choose to outsource their off-page SEO strategy, as this is arguably the more difficult of the two.
Outsourcing may include guest posts to other sites, managing public reviews, and building up your social presence through methods such as Instagram influencers, features on popular blogs, and creating an exclusive Facebook community or forum. In particular, off-page SEO can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.
The decision regarding whether you should outsource this ultimately depends on your SEO experience, budget, time constraints, and dedication to learn these SEO practices. Even the most novice in SEO can become sufficient, if not experts through practice, dedication, and the willingness to learn. However, you will make mistakes on the way, so be sure to have someone on hand to help should these occur.
If you want to understand SEO, it’s important to know the basic terminology. Below you will find a few basic terms and their definitions to further help you understand the process and complexity of SEO practices:
- SEO – search engine optimisation;
- Backlinks – a hyperlink from one site pointing to another;
- Branding – name, design, icon, or symbol associated with a business, person, or website;
- Webmaster – a person who maintains one or multiple websites;
- Analytics – a method of measuring the success of a website, e.g. views, bounce rates, etc.;
- Bounce rate – the percentage of people who click off your website without interacting with your content or clicking another page;
- Domain authority – how well a website will rank (how established it is);
- Page authority – how well an individual page will rank;
- Keywords or key phrases – words to target for optimal organic performance and reach;
- Alt tag – text that appears when you hover over an image or when the image is unavailable;
- White hat SEO – SEO strategies fully compliant with search engines’ guidelines;
- Blogger outreach – relationship building with other bloggers in your niche;
- Grey hat SEO – SEO strategies mostly compliant with search engines’ guidelines;
- Clickbait – provocative content designed to intrigue consumers and increase clicks to pages;
- Black hat SEO – practices breaching search engines’ guidelines (not recommended);
- Impressions – the number of times your page has been seen (not necessarily clicked) in search results.
There are many more SEO terms; however, these are some of the basics you are likely to encounter. If you’re unfamiliar with other terms, seek advice from your webmaster, SEO team, or even perform a quick Google search – the internet is full of knowledge.
However, if you’re serious about your SEO efforts, learning this terminology is essential. While it may seem a little overwhelming at first, refer back to this course chapter to refresh your memory. With that being said, getting stuck in with SEO efforts yourself is a great way to pick this terminology up, allowing you to speak to your webmaster, content writers, or other freelance creators as accurately as possible for the best results.
Remember: you don’t need to know every term in the theoretical “SEO handbook.” However, familiarising yourself with the basics is a great way to analyse your current efforts, allowing you to greater understand the success or shortcomings of your current SEO efforts.
How can SEO help a business grow?
Now that you’re clued up on some of the basic SEO terms, let’s discuss how SEO can help a business grow. Adopting an SEO strategy increases the authority of your website, allowing users to find your site and particular pages or pieces of content easier. The higher you rank in search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go) the more traffic your site will generate.
The more traffic you receive, the more leads, sales, shares, and general engagement you will experience. Remember, if you have a physical store, this too will increase footfall, with locals and tourists easier able to find you.
Once again, it’s important to note that SEO results will not happen overnight. For this reason, many businesses steer clear of SEO efforts and opt for paid traffic alternatives such as Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, and other paid strategies.
However, if you’re looking to grow your business, maximising ROI and minimising expenses, then adopting an SEO strategy is essential. Furthermore, quality SEO strategies (e.g. quality content, a clean and professional website, and optimal user experience) allows you to build trust and credibility with your desired audience. As you likely already know, the more a consumer can relate or trust a business, the more likely they are to make a purchase or other engagement (e.g. signing up to your mailing list).
This trust and credibility are built overtime, and for this reason is why SEO is a long-term method of organic traffic and reach. Often, with many businesses, SEO efforts compound – results take a while to appear, but once they do they manifest altogether. We like to use the analogy of a train, slowly picking up speed throughout the journey. For example, if you create ten SEO long-form blog posts on keyword focused topics in your niche, these will likely not rank too well, to begin with (this is not always the case). However, as your site authority builds, a handful of these will perhaps dominate search engine rankings. And thus generating further organic traffic – the train has begun to pick up speed and your website will continue to grow, creating this compound organic effect.