Demystifying SEO- How to make sense of Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been around for a long time, yet many people are still confused and intimidated by it. And for good reason! It’s an area that is constantly evolving and keeping marketers on their toes. SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results. Just to add to the confusion, it can often be referred to as “natural search”, “organic search” or “earned” results. Basically, all these terms mean the same thing.
SEO is one of those channels that often falls between the cracks- does responsibility sit with the marketing team or with the development team? Traditionally, SEO was considered to be quite “Technical” so It was left to the “techie people”. However, as the importance of SEO as a marketing channel has increased, the ownership has shifted to marketers who are thankfully reaping the rewards.
But what if you don’t know where to start? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to get started!
For anyone who’s not familiar with Google AdWords (also referred to as paid search or Pay-Per-Click or PPC), it’s an online advertising service offered by Google whereby companies can “bid” for certain keywords in order for their text ads to be shown in Google Search Results. The business sets a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) that they’re willing to pay for a particular keyword and only get charged when someone searches for that keyword and clicks on their ad. The goal with Google Ads is to get to a place whereby you are targeting potential customers with relevant keywords, delivering relevant ads to them, and sending the user to an appropriate place on your website that answers their search query.
There is of course lots more to Google AdWords than just that. But for today, I will focus on why Google AdWords is an important element to every marketing strategy and what it can do for your business.
Google Ads Help You Find Customers Who Are Ready To Buy
Most of us go straight to Google when we’re looking for the answer to a question. It’s the same when we’re looking for a product or a service. Google AdWords can help you find customers who are in the buying frame of mind. As a result, you can expect to see a higher conversion rate with this type of marketing.
Target Customers At Various Stages of The Purchase Journey
You can also target potential customers at various stages of their purchase journey. For example, if a user is searching for a new broadband provider, a business such as Virgin Media should target different keywords and use different ads at each stage of the users journey. A typical purchase journey looks like this:
- Awareness- The user tries to find businesses who offer broadband services in Ireland
- Consideration- The user has found two businesses but wants to compare the services
- Familiarity- The user has narrowed down his search to one business but now wants to find the best deal available
As you can see below, the keywords in red are different for each stage of the customers journey so that the business can provide customised ads to the user. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to Google Ads.
Google Ads out-perform Social Media Ads
One thing I’ve noticed while working with businesses is that many of them rely heavily on social media marketing to drive traffic to their website. However, when I investigate their site traffic using Google Analytics, social media often accounts for a very small percentage of traffic. Why is that? Typically, consumers use social media in their “down time”. They’re typically not in the “buying” frame of mind. Whereas, Google users behave very differently. Google users show intent by actually LOOKING for your services (you could say they’re “warm leads”). If you’re targeting the right keywords, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see an increase in traffic to your website.
Note: Social media still has an important role to play in your marketing strategy which I’ll talk about another day!
Use Conversion Tracking to measure “Sales”
If you read my last blog post you’ll know that I’m a big believer in measuring all online activity to ensure you’re spending your budget in the right places. One of the best things about Google AdWords is that it’s possible to measure online sales that come from AdWords activity. Depending on your website, a sale can be anything from selling a product to downloading a pdf to joining a mailing list. By placing a piece of code on your website, a conversion is recorded every time a visitor completes a defined action. This allows you to see which keywords are most valuable to your business.
So, where should you start?
A good place to start is to read a previous blog I wrote on SEO which includes lots of tips and tricks. I’ve also summarised the key SEO tasks to below.
- Conduct keyword research to understand what search terms your customers are using. You can do this via an old-fashioned brainstorm or by using a tool like Google Keyword Planner.
- Optimise your website content with these keywords. Make sure you only focus on one keyword / keyword phrase per page.
- Implement technical optimisations in the backend of your website. This includes page titles, page descriptions, header tags, page urls, alt tags etc. This is usually where SEO gets confusing for people. Blog coming soon specifically on technical SEO!
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Google prioritises the mobile version of websites in the search engine results page.
- Ensure your website loading time is at industry standard. You can test this via Google Page Speed Insights here.
- Claim your Google My Business listing to maximise local SEO (more to come on this in a future blog).
I’ll be writing more detailed blog posts on each of these tasks over the coming weeks so keep an eye out for those. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading,