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What is search engine optimisation and why is it important for marketing?

SEO is crucial for making your website more visible, which supports everything your marketing needs to succeed.

SEO might be a fairly new acronym on the wish lists of businesses wanting to be found by potential customers, but ranking highly in search has been an aspiration decades before Google was even a word, which we now can’t live without.

Some of us might remember the Yellow Pages, a thick book that listed alphabetically the contact details of all the businesses in your state, which thumped onto our doorstep every year.

Opening it up, you’d see lots of oddly named businesses: AAA Electronics, Aardvark Homewares, A+ Home Cleaning.

And no, it wasn’t that we were all having a love affair with the letter A – it was because businesses wanted to be the first name customers saw when they went searching for a product or service.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the digital equivalent of the letter A. Here’s how.

What is search engine optimisation (SEO)?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it is broadly the steps marketers take to make sure businesses rank highly in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

A business with great SEO will rank highly across a number of different search terms, whereas another with poor SEO won’t even make it to the first page of results.

Increasingly, businesses are investing in search engine optimisation, and that’s simply because for a growing number of consumers, search is the first place they turn to when they are looking for goods and services.

Ranking high in search can dramatically increase website visitors, which when followed up with a strong marketing strategy can lead to a proportionate increase in profits.

How does SEO work?

Search engines send out bots to crawl the internet, gathering information from websites, which are then used to determine the relevance – and the degree of that relevance – which is used to respond to search queries.

So, what information do these bots collect?

There are literally hundreds of different pieces of data that form a search algorithm. They can include key words in headings and copy, the number of other websites that link to yours, the frequency of content published, and the metadata that sits in a website’s backend.

Search engines are constantly refining and changing the search algorithms, so SEO professionals need to be consistently across these changes.

Black hat vs white hat SEO strategies

Whenever there’s a system, you’ll find people who try to game it, and SEO is no exception.

Some unscrupulous SEO professionals have used what we call black hat strategies, which are dodgy ways to increase search ranking. Some examples include keyword stuffing, invisible keywords (white text on white backgrounds), or linking to other (irrelevant) pages within their website.

Companies that engage in black hat SEO strategies soon discover that Google is right on to them. Companies can be penalised with poorer search engine rankings and serial offenders can even be blacklisted and not show up in search at all.

White hat SEO strategies are more long-term and more ethical SEO strategies. They include unique and relevant page titles or article headlines, regular and original content, and descriptive image ALT text.

Why is SEO important for your marketing?

Given it is estimated that about 75 per cent of internet searches start with a search engine, the importance of ranking highly cannot be understated.

It’s also essential for marketers to consider search engine optimisation in terms of supporting other marketing efforts.

Consumers might hear your radio ad, for example, and want to find out more, but they are more likely to remember your name or strapline than your URL. They will find your website by googling your name, rather than typing out your URL.

SEO also works to support your other marketing efforts, such as helping your content to perform more successfully. Having strong SEO in your content strategy allows things like articles and webpages to rank in search for years after it has been published.

Finally, getting your website to rank on the first page of Google is critical for attracting customers and converting sales, and that can’t be done without a solid SEO strategy.

Need help with your SEO?

Unlike advertising and other forms of marketing, effective SEO cannot be purchased. It requires skilled and experienced SEO specialists who understand the intricacies of search algorithms and are across their ever-changing nuances.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with SEO specialists who work with businesses, big and small, to bolster bottom line results.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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