SEO and organic search
The digital marketing arena is alive with acronyms: SEO, PPC, CPC, CPL, API, B2B, CTR, DM – still with us? Granted, it can all be a bit overwhelming to businesses, but there’s one acronym, that’s certainly worth remembering and that’s SEO – unless you want to miss out on a slice of the pie in terms of online traffic that is. But how do you make SEO work these days, without over engineering it? It’s all about keeping it natural and organic.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation as it’s also known, is essentially the practice of boosting a website’s position within a search engine’s ranking positions (SERP’s). It’s a neat practice that initially started with web marketing folk, from content management execs to full blown SEO consultants, applying a set of basic principles to a site’s pages, such as optimising copy, uploading meta data and ensuring pages were coded correctly. However, as the slightly more astute web monkeys found ways to game this process by keyword stuffing and spamming, search engines like Google made their search algorithms more and more sophisticated. This lead to SEO practice becoming a much more natural process and whilst many of the best practice principles still apply today, SEO is far more about quality content and a cracking user experience than it is about manipulating code.
Modern Day SEO
With major search algorithms such as Google Panda, Google Penguin and Google Hummingbird behind us, you can be sure that any form of cheating, gaming or black hat SEO practices are either impossible to achieve or carry such high penalties that businesses can literally bring the house down on their entire digital strategy. It’s no surprise that more and more businesses are turning to digital agencies and SEO agencies to spend the time ‘doing it properly’.
So, what are all these algorithms? Well in short, Panda was designed to penalise low quality sites that had poor or duplicate content, Penguin sought to filter out sites with unnatural or artificial links, whereas Google Hummingbird was rolled out to understand conversational based searches using natural language.
Each algorithm took a different approach to the selection of quality sites, but there was one similarity that they all shared and that was the promotion of natural content. After all, Google, like any other search engine, is aiming to give users the best results possible to ensure they remain the top choice of search engine. In order to do this, they are looking for the most authoritative, engaging and relevant search results available to a user. In essence, what results give the user the most value, answers their questions most sufficiently and enables them to navigate easily to what they are looking for.
What Does This Mean for Businesses?
To get noticed by Google, websites need to tick all the right boxes. Yes, they need have the fundamental technical elements in place to act as pointers to a search engine’s spiders when crawling sites, but equally they need to be promoting great content that engages the user and is worthy of being shared, thus creating a network of back links and brand recognition across the social media landscape. Above all, this needs to be unique and natural.
It’s sounds like a contradiction having a content strategy but then being advised not to engineer your SEO too heavily, but the main point is to build content organically. Write content that isn’t duplicated anywhere else. Write content that engages the user immediately when they land on the page. Write content that reflects your brand voice and is well linked to other sources.
Blogging is a great way to achieve this natural content, as well as sharing press releases, offers, quips and authoritative material across social media marketing platforms to boost authority and to maintain a strong online presence. With all this in mind, the average SEO person these days is likely to be just as skilled at good PR as they are at HTML coding and other technical practices.
Encouraging user generated content is also great. Not only does it give another dimension to your content, it’s also another voice to advocate your brand. User content may form an opinion of your business, review or otherwise, and acts as a great rank signal to Google.
Despite the varying debates on the importance of SEO, SEO continues to be a fundamental part of any digital marketing strategy for most industries, yet most businesses struggle to find the time to formulate and execute a successful SEO strategy. It’s a timely process that takes thought and skill, but one that offers longevity in terms of digital success and an ever-growing slice of the pie.
Need Some Advice?
Are you looking to improve your online performance? We’d love to help. We are an experienced digital marketing agency in Folkestone, Kent, serving businesses in London and the south-east. Get in touch with our SEO team or Social Media team at Whitefish Marketing on 01303 720 288.