Can you get me to Number 1 on Google?
This is the question I get asked as a website designer more than any other.
To help answer this I want to discuss what is SEO and should you be paying someone to do SEO for you?
One of the most common spam emails myself and my clients receive (and forward to me) are emails promising them the number one spot in Google. Very often including some fake jargon and “a report, we carried out on your website showed…”
Unfortunately, business owners can sometimes fall for this trick, panic and think their website is underperforming on Google.
Small business owners also put a huge emphasis on being number 1 in Google. Is it good? Most certainly. Is it needed to be a successful business? Certainly not.
There are of course other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo but when Google represents 90.77% of the market share for searches, it really is the focus of any SEO. So, I will refer to SEO in terms of Google for purposes of simplicity.
Your position in Google is relative to your competition, their success in SEO and their digital marketing that you are competing against. Not only that, Google play their cards close to their chest on how it ranks websites. The age of your business, your marketing budget, how many competitors are in your market and many other factors also need to be taken into consideration.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
SEO can be split into 3 main categories:
On page SEO: This is the content that exists on your website, the wording and what people can see and read. The aim is to have well written comprehensive information or media that your target market will likely be searching for. On page SEO is not just about saying who you are and what you do, but it also includes trying to identify the answers to the questions and information your target market is looking for. You want the content of your website to answer as many search queries as possible, so you show on as many SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as possible.
Off-page SEO: Everything that is on the internet that refers to your website. These are inbound links, also known as backlinks. The aim here is to have as many reputable websites referring to your website as possible. Social media sites, news sites, blogs, industry websites and business indexes are all great places to have a link back to your website. The more trustworthy and relevant the website is linking to yours the better.
Technical SEO: This is the technical side of your website, and how your pages are coded and designed to rank well in search engines. Compression, images, metadata, clean code, website speed, security certification and more are all factors that Google considers when ranking your website. Your website should be designed well, coded to industry standards and follow SEO best practices for best results.
Search Engine Optimisation is a huge topic with numerous theories, tips and tricks, hundreds of different “you must do this secret to reach number 1 in Google” and numerous SEO “Experts”
I’ve been building websites for over 10 years, I’ve read numerous articles, websites, expert opinions, watched countless tutorial videos and seen first hand with the websites I build and manage what works.
Google puts emphasis on content more than anything else. Well written, intelligent content answering people’s questions in an easy to digest manner. Google is in the business of answering questions as quickly as possible.
Google ranks the websites that are providing the highest quality answers to the searched query from the most relevant, fastest, safest and most trustworthy websites first.
So, if we reverse engineer that, for your website to rank first in Google you must have:
- answers – the information people want and are searching for
- relevant – keywords, your target markets subject area, location of the business, age of content
- trustworthy – supported by links and activity elsewhere on the internet referencing your website, age of your website, website traffic
- safest – SSL enabled, spam free, honest websites that are providing a service
- fastest – Load speed, coding and how easy your content is to read and understand (readable on all devices)
Should I be paying someone to do SEO for me?
Effective well performed SEO can create long term benefits, it can create ongoing leads from organic enquiries. Rather than a short-term spike in enquiries that a Facebook advert may obtain for example. Moving just a few places up in a SERP can have a significant effect on your organic (free) enquiries.
Whether or not you should be paying for SEO and just how much you should be paying for SEO all depends on your marketing objectives, current position and budget.
The first step for any SEO agency or expert when hired by a business is to carry out an SEO report on that website. The report will look in depth at your website, it’s load speeds, the content, which sites link to it and what keywords it ranks for currently. By analysing the 3 sections; On Page SEO, Off Page SEO and Technical SEO they can make recommendations and create a plan of action.
You may need to consider hiring an SEO expert if your website is any of the following:
- Older than 2 years
- Loads Slowly
- Hasn’t been updated regularly
- Hasn’t got an HTTPS address
- Relatively few search results for website URL
- Hasn’t been tailored to answer people’s questions quickly
You may also need help from an SEO Expert or Digital Marketer if:
- You don’t find time to write articles or content for your website
- If you don’t know what keywords you want to be ranking for
- If your website hasn’t been updated in a long time
- You have difficulty adding content to your website
To have the best chances of ranking 1st for your desired search terms you need to be adding rich content to your website on a regular basis.
Then linking to that content and your website from other websites such as Google Business Listing, Facebook, Twitter etc. The best content is videos, photos, articles, Q + A’s and news pieces. This could be adding your latest projects, writing expert articles, walk through videos of your business and more.
Technical SEO can be performed in a relatively short time frame and then it becomes small tweaks. On page SEO (Content) is then the most important aspect to ranking high in Google and it is a continuous process. This will most likely require you, the business owner, to set aside time to designing, mapping and providing that content. If you need help with generating that content such as professional photos, film making, copywriting, suggestions and recommendations then this is where a Digital Marketer can help. These are the services that are valuable and worth investing in and all help towards your SEO.
SEO needs to be considered as a part of a larger marketing plan and budgeted accordingly.
There are no magic tricks or fast methods when it comes to ranking high on Google. It takes time, it takes work and sometimes it takes a bit of good luck. If someone offers you a quick, guaranteed 1st place google ranking, be wary. If someone is offering to help you write and produce bespoke customised content that is targeting your desired market, then consider their advice.
Looking for some SEO help in Worcestershire?